Friday, 17 September 2021

Battle of Campo Santo, Modena, North Eastern Italy, February 1743.

 This is my personal interpretation of events,  any inaccuracies are my own.

The information on this battle is a bit sparse, at least in the english language. The events took place during the War of the Austrian Succession. Having previously lost parts of Silesia to the Prussian King, Maria Theresa the Austrian Empress was casting around for redress and Italy caught her attention.

In the Regal "swopmeet" that took place after the Spanish Succession  war, the Spanish gained southern Italy. This area combined with the island of Sicily became known as " The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies". This  Kingdom was ruled by King Carlos the 3rd who happened to be the eldest son of Philip the 5th and Elizabeth Farnese of Spain.

Elizabeth also wanted a Kingdom for her younger son the Infante. The former Farnese territory of Palma and Piacenza were already controlled by Austria. Tuscany looked vulnerable as did parts of  Piedmont, tucked up in the North Western corner of the peninsular. Piedmont was already under pressure from France and in the end cast its lot with the Empress.

Charles Emmanual  of Piedmont was a soldier king much like Frederick of Prussia and a wily politician to boot. The French and Spanish monarchies had family as well as political ties but there was no strategic unity. The French government would not allow passage of the coastal route to Italy by any Spanish army.

Thus it was that the Spanish fleet in avoiding  English warships managed to get an army into Genoa.

The Duke of Modena, Ferdinand the 3rd D,Este also sided with Spain when the Austrians prematurely invaded the Duchy.

By 1743 the war in Italy was bogged down. The Spanish army under De Gages kept trying to cross the Panaro northward into Modena. Traun, the Austrian commander managed to stonewall the Spanish General each time.

Both Generals were under extreme pressure by their respective governments. De Gages had three days in which to achieve a victory or he would be sacked. Traun was under a similar threat.

Eventually De Gages was able to stymy the Austrian/Piedmontese army enough to get across the Panaro, using pontoon bridges close to the village of Campo Santo.


 I  could not find an exact composition of  the Austrian/Piedmontese army but fared better with the Spanish. There is still an element of guesswork involved.

The Spanish suffered from an almost complete lack of artillery in Italy, with the Austrians only doing slightly better. Remounts for the cavalry were also a problem and it was not unusual for the Spanish to have an entire Squadron of  troopers dismounted. 

With desertion and sickness being a major problem, along with the harshness of the terrain, De Gages used a "rule of thumb" that each infantry battalion  held 350 men with 120 troopers in a squadron.

Austro- Piedmontese Army;

9,100 infantry = 9.1 x 3 = 27 points.

2,400 cavalry = 2.4 x 3 = 7 points

25 guns + 750 gunners = 0.750 x 3 = 2 points.

1 General [ Traun ]   @ 2 points.

1 General [Schulenburg ]   @ 1 point.

4 stands of Grenzer Light Infantry @ 1 point =4 points.

1 stand of Grenadier Line Infantry @ 3 points.

4 stands of Austrian Line Infantry @ 2 points  = 8 points.

1 stand of Austrian Hussar Light cavalry @ 1 point.

2 stands of Cavalry @ 1 point = 2 points.

1 stand of Dragoon Cavalry  = 1 point.

2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.


1 General [ Leutrum ] @ 1 point

1 General [ Aspremont ]  @ 1 point.

2 stands  of Dragoon Cavalry @ 1 point = 2 points.

1 stand of Vaudois Light Infantry 2 points

1 stand of Grenadier Line Infantry  @ 3 points

2 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.


Spanish-Neapolitan Army;

11,550 Infantry = 11.550 pts x 3 = 35 points r/u.

1,440 Cavalry = 1.440 pts x 3 = 4 points r/d.

12 Guns + 360 gunners = 0.360 x 3 = 1 point.

1 General [ De Gages ] @ 1 point.

1 General [ De Atrisco ] @ 2 points.

1 General [ Beaufort ] @ 1 point.

1 General [ McDonald ] @ 1  point.

1 stand of Spanish Light Infantry @ 1 point.

2 stands of Walloon Line Infantry  @ 2 points = 4 points.

2 stands of Castile Line Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.

2 stands of Spanish Guard Infantry @ 3 points = 6 points.

2 stands of Irish Line Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.

2 stands of Neapolitan Swiss Guard Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.

2 stands of Genoese Line Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.

1 stand of Modena Line Infantry @ 2 points.

1 stand of Neapolitan Light Infantry ( the famous Albanians. This was an elite unit. No deserters were allowed within its ranks.) @ 1 point.

3 stands of Spanish Cavalry @ 1 point = 3 points.

1 stand of Neapolitan Cavalry @ 1 point.

1 stand of Neapolitan Light Artillery @ 1 point.

Note. The Spanish regiments on the left were Provinciale troops. Although classed as Militia they were trained as the Line. Both Spain and Naples had single battalions of these troops. I have some stands of figures with  Modena and Genoese flags so these were put into the line as Provinciales!

Historical  Playing notes;

Traun had moved his army sideways  to the North-east to give him a  slight superiority on his left. both sides massed  their  cavalry on the Eastern flank. The cavalry of both sides fought their own private battle.

The Spanish cavalry although smaller in numbers managed to overrun the Austrian cavalry therefore any die thrown for a Cavalry stand in the Spanish army will have one additional point added.

Cavalry cannot engage in combat with any opposition infantry.

On the western side of the battlefield the Austrian Grenz Light troops never moved from the vineyard they were ensconced in. Apparently the Grenz managed to stop the advance of the Spanish left flank. Therefore, the vineyard counts as a trench, and the light troops are not allowed to move from that position.

The area was covered in irrgation ditches, therefore cavalry can only move three squares instead of four.

Neither the river Panaro  or the Canal can be crossed except at the pontoon bridges. The pond cannot be crossed by any stands. Any stands forced into the rivers will be counted as casualties.

The two Generals were completely opposite in their command style. Gages stayed where he was for the entire battle. Traun was everywhere and he had two horses shot from under him. Therefore De Gages cannot move from his position for the entire battle

The figure representing Traun can be moved anywhere. If Traun becomes a casualty, the figure is moved back two squares and reinstated.

Casualties in this battle were very high for both sides.

● The battle will last for eight Game-Turns.

● The Austrians get the Initiative Point and will move and fire first on the first Game-Turn , thereafter both side will dice to see who goes first and has the Initiative Point.

●The winner will be the side losing the least number of stands after 8 Game-Turns.

The figures are a mix of Miniature Figurines, Peter  Pig and Essex Miniatures. The buildings are all scratch-built as are the pontoon bridges.

The trees are from various manufactures. The field bases are from S and A Scenics. The road and river sections are made of thin card.

The square stands are made from picture framing cardboard. The round 40mm mdf bases were purchased from Minibits.

The flags were made from masking tape and hand painted.

Final Word;

The Genoese had  a red vertical cross on its flag which was the origin of the flag of England. Modena had a blue vertical cross. Both were on a white background.

Naples, had a large vertical Maltese style vertical cross with the same symbol repeated in each quarter again on a white background.

Piedmont,s flag was a red circle with a white vertical imposed on it. This circle was imposed on a black eagle. This symbol on a blue background.

Friday, 13 August 2021

The 5th Century in Britannia Part 6; Arthur The Warlord.

 As before, this is my interpretation of events in this era as a wargamer

484AD ; Ambrosius has been buried in the old amphitheatre at Caerleon. At the Winter Solstice, all the Nobles are gathered in the former headquarters building of the Legionary fortress. They are there to decide who will be the next Pendragon. Some of the Kings have been lost by feud or by natural death. The current leaders are;

Dumnonia ; Geraint Llyngesic [ 480 to 514AD ] " The Fleet Owner",his son Cadwy.

Gwynedd ; Einon [ 500AD ] with his sons Cadwallon and Owain.

Powys ; Cadell [ 500AD ] with his son Cyngen.

Alclud ; Cinuit  [480 to 485AD ] who will be succeeded by his son Tutagual.

Gwent ; Iddon Ap Ynyr [480 to 490AD] with his son Caradog.

Note; Although Carleon is in Gwent, King Iddon has his own stronghold at Carwent. Carleon is regarded as an army base, as it was when the Legions were present.

As before, the asssembled Nobility cannot agree as to whom is to lead them. The one person who has any influence, Merlin Aurelianus is bought before the assembly. He is neither Druid or of the Church. However the 59 year old has deep knowledge. He was given his cognomen by Ambrosius. The question is put to Merlin. Who will be Pendragon?. After a moment of thought, he gives his answer;


The chamber explodes in a babble of angry voices. Merlin raises his hand and all goes quiet. Merlin reminds them that Arthur Ap Uthyr Ap Constantine was born out of Wedlock. He is not related by bloodline to any Royal House. If Arthur prevails against the Seaxons, the Dal and the Picts, all will share in his glory. If Arthur fails, no Royal House will be condemned.

The next question is of the Army. All Merlin will say is that the Army will be ready. In his mind Merlin knows the outcome of the battle between the Red and the White Dragon.

485AD; As this year progresses to April, a number of incidents happen which although not connected, will have a major influence on the future.

* In Gallaecia, Riothamus has a major problem. Hermeric, the elected High King is Aryan. He issues an Edict that all Catholics must convert or face exile. By April, 9,500 Suebians are crammed aboard 80 ships heading North to Totnes in Dumnonia.

*Hispania is almost a Visigothic Kingdom. Euric has died and has been succeeded by his son Alaric the 2nd.

* At the same time Clovis who has succeeded his father Childric the 1st, as King of the Franks moves to Paris ready to invade Soissons.

* At the end of March 485AD, at Caerleon, in front of the Army veterans the 18 year old Arthur is raised on a shield and proclaimed as Pendragon.

* In Amorica [ Brittany ] Budig the 2nd [ also known as Emyr Llydaw] is not only King of Cornouaille but also High King of Amorica. His son Riwal Mawr becomes one of Arthurs officers.

By the end of April 485, the ships carrying the Suebians reach Dumnonia. Geraint assembles his troops but the men are stood down when sprigs of leaves are seen tied to the prows of the approaching armada.

Soon Riothamus meets with Arthur, Merlin and King Iddon. The Suebians are allowed to settle around Glevum and along the River Severn with their families. The language of the Suebians is close to the Brythonic-Celtic spoken by the Britons. These new settlers become known as the "Hwicce" or "the friendly ones".

By May of 485AD, frontier raiding has been resumed between the Britons and Seaxons. Arthur wants to lead a major expedition into eastern Britannia to disrupt the continuing arrival of Seaxon settlers. However Merlin urges caution. The army is not confident in its new leader and the loyalty of the Kings is suspect.

From May to December 485AD, there are no major battles. The Navy of sixty ships commanded by Geraint patrol the West coast preventing raids by the Dal. There are still Briton communties in the south-east but they must survive on their own.

During this time,  the army is trained up with recruits from the Suebians. Riothamus is now to elderly to lead his people. He elects Rogatainus as a new leader. The Army that Arthur is to lead is of 5,000 men.

1,200 Veteran infantry in 4 cohorts of 300 men.

400 Light Archers in 2 cohorts of 200 men.

500 Elite Cavalry in one cohort.

400 Regular light Cavalry in one Cohort.

2,000 Hwicce infantry in 10 cohorts.

200 Hwicce light archers in one cohort.

300 Hwicce Light cavalry in one cohort.

The five Commanders are; Arthur [  The Pendragon], Medreut, Owain, Cadwy and Rogatainus.

note; 300 Suebians are given to Merlin as his Hearthguard.

March 486AD; The senior leaders of the Seaxons hold their Witan in Londene [London]. In the previous two years another 20,000 Jutes, Angles and Saxons have landed at points along the eastern and southern shoreline of Britannia. Food, shelter and donatives to pay their hearth troops were a priority for these leaders.

For Aelle,Bardulf, Colgrin and Osla there was only one option. Take the fight to the Wallisch. This time the Seaxons decide on different targets. Bardulf and Colgrin are taking their warbands North-west across the river Trent. Aelle and Osla want to attack westward along the Tamesis using the Akeman Street route.

Aelle has 3,800 warriors amongst the Jutes.

Bardulf and Colgrin can call upon 6,000 Saxons.

Osla has 4,800 Angles.

some of these warriors will be left to guard settlements.

April 486AD; A messenger gallops into Caerleon. The South Seaxons are on the move once more toward the Glyme. The horns are sounded. The army is assembled.

This time Aelle and Osla lead their Warbands further South from the site of the previous battle.

2nd Battle of the River Glyme, May 486AD.

The Seaxon Army; 6,500.

Aelle; 2,800 Jutes = 2.8 x 10 = 28 points.

1 General [Aelle] @ 2 points.

12 stands of Warriors @ 2 points = 24 points.

2 stands of Light Archers @ 1 point = 2 points.

Osla; 3,700 Angles = 3.7 x 10 = 37 points.

1 General [Osla ]  @ 1 point.

17 stands of Warriors  @ 2 points = 34 points.

2 stands of Light Archers @ 1 point = 2 points.

The Briton Army; 5,000 = 5.0 pts X 10 = 50 points.

1,200 Regular Infantry = 1.2 pts x 10 = 4 stands @ 3 points each = 12 points.

400 Light Archer Infantry = 0.4 pts x 10 = 4 stands @ 1 point each = 4 points.

500 Elite Clibanarii Cavalry = 0.5pts  x 10 = 1 stand @ 3 points + 2 Generals [ Arthur and Medreut] @ 1 point = 2 points.

400 Regular Light Cavalry = 0.4 pts x 10 = 1 stand @ 2 points + 2  Generals [ Owain and Cadwy ]@ 1 point = 2 points.

2,000 Hwicce Infantry = 2.0 pts x 10 = 10 stands @ 2 points = 20 points.

200 Hwicce Light Archer Infantry = 0.2 pts x 10 = 2 stands @ 1 point = 2 points.

300 Light Tribal Cavalry = 0.3 pts x 10 = 1 stand @ 2 points + 1 General  [ Rogatainus ]@ 1 point.


* The Britons retain the Iniative Point for the entire battle.

* The battle will last for eight Game-Turns.

* The Seaxons move first on the first two Game-Turns.

* From Game-Turn Three until Game-Turn eight, the Britons move first

* The Briton Army fires first on each Game-Turn.

* The Glyme is not very deep, so stands can move through with no penalty.

Once again both armies face each other  across the River Glyme. Aelle is contemptuous of the Britons, having been responsible for the death of Ambrosius. Confident that his warriors will easily beat the Britons again, he leads his men across the river.

Osla, seeing Aelle advancing, does not want the Jutes taking all the credit for this victory so he also leads his warriors forward.

This time , as the Jutes and Angles  attack,  they are stunned to hear Germanic voices within the Briton army.  The Wallisch are also putting up a stern resistance. As the battle went on the Seaxons start to tire. 

Arthur seeing the Seaxon line falter gives the signal. As the horns are sounded the Briton line parts and Owain brings the cavalry forward into the enemy. This is enough to break the Seaxons.

The cavalry are reformed as the infantry go forward to pursue the enemy through the trees. Nightfall brings an end to the slaughter. Three days later, Arthur leads his victorious army into Caerleon amid great rejoicing.

They do not have time to rest before another urgent message arrives at Arthur,s headquarters. More Seaxons are west of the Trent!

*Most of the figures are Hat Industries with some of the figures being Newline Designs.

*Arthurs horse is from Ceaser Miniatures.

* The hills were made by Brian at Essex Miniatures.

* Some of the tree bases are from S and A Scenics.

* The trees are from various manufacturers.

* The square 40mm stands are made of picture framing cardboard.

* The round 40mm bases are from Minibits.

Historical Note;

Nennius wrote that Arthurs first battle "was at the mouth of the River GLEIN".  I think he got the spelling wrong. I think it was GLEIM from the Anglo-Saxon GLOEM,which means "sparkle' or "glitter".

The current River Glyme gets its name from Old Brythonic, meaning " bright water", so thats  why I put the battle there.  I inadvertantly stumbled on this when I was trying to work out logically where Ambrosius would face the Seaxons.

The  mouth of the River GLYME joins the river EVENLODE near the village of Bladdon. The village got its name from the old name for the EVENLODE, which was the BLADE.

The River Glyme also marks the frontier of what I think ,was Briton territory at that time.

Finally, the river Glyme runs through the Blenheim estate at WOODSTOCK. It was partially dammed by the famous landscape gardener, Capability Brown to form shallow lakes.