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 a regiment with an entire Squadron of  troopers dismounted. 

With desertion and sickness being another 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.


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 ] C-in-C  @ 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 Militia @  2 points

1 stand of Grenadier Line Infantry  @ 3 points

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



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 pts x 3 = 1 point.

1 General [ De Gages ]  C-in-C  @  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 unless forced by a “move-back” result.

The area was covered in irrigation 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 their 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 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 cross imposed on it. This circle was imposed on a black eagle. This symbol sat on a blue background.