Two Fridays ago, I christened my Italian Guard infantry in a battle that pitted John R's Italians and my French line infantry and Italian Guard against Tim and Andrew S with their Austrians. I should have realised that playing 2 wily foxes wouldn't make up for the power of my Guard infantry! We also trialled my command rules, which we found had a few bugs which affected mainly....ME! I rolled pathetically for my 2 brigade commanders resulting in difficulty in activating my orders; my first move resulted in only a third of my units moving, and an ominous gap opening between my left and right wings. In retrospect, the rules were too punitive and the order activation rolls should only affect the units outside the generals' command radius.
As the following AAR shows, I was pretty well absorbed in my own battle, and didn't see much of what was happening on the other side of the table, but I can report that honours were fairly even at the end of the night between Tim and John.
Anyhow, my Italian Guard Chasseurs were out on a limb on the right flank of my division, although they had support from my Hussars. Andrew's artillery focussed on them, while his infantry came around on the chasseurs' right in closed column. The Hussars charged in a couple of times against this threat, whittling their own numbers in the process, but slowing the Austrians' attack. The rest of the division slowly got into gear and came on, although the Grenadiers of the Guard took their own sweet time. The left flank brigade came on against Andrew's infantry, shedding one battalion to deploy into line to shield the other 3 against a built up area occupied by Tim's infantry. The remaining 3 launched a charge on the Austrians facing them, but only won a Pyhrric victory, forcing the Austrians back 3" while I retained the field with 2 disorders. As I was on an attack order, I couldn't conform to my orders if I was to retire and regroup. Maybe I should have performed a passage of lines to bring up the supporting battalions to take over while the disordered units retired and regrouped, but the 2nd line units weren't rated as strongly as the front line, so it would have been 6 of one half a dozen of the other.
On the other flank, I hurriedly rushed up the battalions as they activated, to support the isolated chasseurs and hussars, while the guns deployed on the ridgeline and played along Andrew's line to the front. The Chasseurs had shaken out into line to avoid the worst of the artillery fire (which wasn't great; Austrian artillery not being as good as French in our rules), supported by the Hussars on the right flank and a battalion of legere in column on the left. After the second legere battalion deployed, I skirmished the first battalion to counter Andrew's light infantry, who engaged in skirmish combat until Andrew's troop's quality told and forced my legere to regroup after losing casualties. By that time, my Grenadiers decided to obey their orders and moved up to support the chasseurs and legere, with the chasseurs a cheval linking my left and right wings.
Writing this report so late after the fact, I can't remember the sequence of events clearly, but Andrew charged my grenadiers with his Hussars, not realising my Italians were all Guard troops (he obviously isn't a reader of this blog!). He blanched a little as my grenadiers easily formed square and repelled his charge, but didn't suffer too much damage. He then moved his infantry into the attack while pinning the grenadiers in place with the cavalry, but my trusty hussars charged again, and suffered casualties again.
By this stage, Andrew had withdrawn his infantry on his left and regrouped, knocking off their disorders, so I knew that I was in for trouble sooner or later. What I hadn't anticipated was quite how soon; I had moved up my last battalion to threaten a square in the centre of his line and angled the chasseurs a cheval to go on a rampage through his light infantry and artillery, hoping to catch his cavalry in the flank. However, Andrew wasn't going to let that happen and launched his brigade at my disordered brigade that hadn't recovered after the initial successful charge. Andrew crashed through these units, catching the unit threatening the square in the flank, as well as the battalion deployed in line covering the left flank. This set off a cascade of morale failures down the line, resulting in even my guard units fleeing. I think I was left with the remains of my hussar squadron as the only unit not fleeing.
It turned out to be a comprehensive flogging and not an auspicious baptism of my new Italians! Also, I suffered badly with the new command rules. As Tim suggested, and we'll trial one day soon, the order activation rule should only apply to units outside the command radius.
|My command with yellow discs indicating unacknowledged orders.|
|Only 5 units advanced on my first turn! Not a great start to my rules change.|
|John's Italians also had a slow start.|
|Hussars, Guard chasseurs and legere advancing on the right.|
|My Chasseurs on debut!|
|The remaining troops, reluctant to advance, incurring the wrath of the generals.|
|At last, some movement!|
|Hang on; We're coming!|
|Andrew's Austrians hold the line|
|My thin green line!|
|Skirmishing legere go into action.|
|The left hand brigade shape up for their charge...|
|..and in it goes! Charging Austrians is like wading through jelly, though; unless you smash through first go, you'll get stuck.|
|John's dragoon's charge Tim's Austrians who manage to form square in time.|
|Grenadiers square up|
|Andrew's Austrians steam in|