Showing posts with label War of the Austrian Succession. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War of the Austrian Succession. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Battle of Cuneo ( Madonna Dell' Olmo ) Piedmont 26th - 30th September 1744.

 This article is of my own perspective on the events of this battle. Any mistakes are my own.  

In this ongoing war in Italy, the Spanish and French Governments realised that they needed to take out the Sardinian Kingdom in order to secure northern Italy for the Spanish Crown. The politics in France were convoluted, however the French Crown was at this point in the war, commited to helping Spain.


Acting on the advice of the mountain warfare expert, General *Pierre Bourcet, the French army under the Prince of Conti had split into nine columns and moved east through the valleys of the Alps bypassing Piedmontese strong points, then successfully regrouping to storm the Citadel of Demonte. The Spanish army under General  the  Maquis of La Mina had moved from Genoa to link up at Cuneo.

( * Napoleon also sought the advice of this General prior to his invasion of Italy. )

The Prince of Conti had a plan to take the fortress which was a key part of the defence of Piedmont. This combined Franco-Spanish  army was 50,000 strong. The Prince's plan involved in splitting the army into three parts. The first part was to dig the siege lines. The second part was east of Cuneo to stop any Piedmontese forces interfering with the siege. The third part was to be the field army


Meanwhile Charles Emmanual 3rd, King of Piedmont-Sardinia was not sitting idle. This Monarch and his First Minister, the Marquis D'Ormea were absolute masters of the Machiavellian politics of the 18th century. The King was also very much involved with his army on a par with Frederick of Prussia though not so draconian!!..

While the French and Spanish Generals, themselves no novices in the 18th century art of war, were starting their attack, the King had devised a plan of his own. He did have 3,000 Grenzer light infantry and a Regiment of Hussars sent by the Empress of Austria, however his plan was entirely dependant on his own army in which he had complete confidence. 

I thought at this point it might be worth giving some information on this army, as the Italian theatre is often overshadowed by the events further north and east. The Piedmontese army at this time was an Infantry army much like the Dutch, Danish and the other Italian States. There were only four regiments of Dragoons and two  of Horse. There were no Light Cavalry so , during this war the Piedmontese relied on the Austrian Hussars.


The bulk of the army were the Infantry. There were 32 Regiments, totalling 58 battalions. Of the Regiments, there were 8 National, 10 Provincial, 3 Italian, 3 German, and 7 Swiss.

There were also the Vaudois which were a regular Militia of up to 10 Battalions. Finally there was a peasant militia ( another 10,000 )that  the King could call on if required. The army had a well trained Artillery Corps of 1,500 men to service the Guns and to instruct other staff. In addition there was a very respected Corp of Engineers attached to the Artillery.

( I obtained this information from " The war of the Austrian Succession, A Wargamers Guide Part 8 uniforms of the Italian States" by  Stephen Manley ).

Within Cuneo was a garrison of 3,200 men commanded by General Leutrum who, although into his eighties led a spirited defence!!.

As the siege of Cuneo commenced, the King moved his army from Saluzzo, South toward their opponents. As the two armies moved into position to the West of Cuneo, the Piedmontese placed abattis on broken ground to defend their right flank from being overwhelmed.. Battle commenced when the Austrian Grenz charged toward the village of Madonna Dell'Olmo ----..


THE SPANISH ARMY;

23,000 Infantry ( including artillery )= 23 points x 2 = 46 points.

2,000 = Cavalry = 2 points x 2 = 4 points.

1 General   ( La Mina ) @  1 point.

2 stands of Spanish Guard @ 4 points = 8 points.

2 stands of Irish Infantry @ 3 points = 6 points.

2 stands of Walloon Infantry @ 3 points = 6 points.

5 stands of Spanish Infantry @ 3 points = 15 points.

1 stand of Spanish Light Infantry  @  1 point.

2 stands of Cavalry  @  2 points = 4 points.

3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.

THE FRENCH ARMY;

21,000 Infantry ( including artillery ) = 21 points x 2 = 42 points.

4,000 Cavalry = 4 points x 2 = 8 points.

1 General ( Conti )  @ 1 point.

2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.

9 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 27 points.

2 stands of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points = 4 points.

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

4 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 4 points.

Note; I have no information on the composition of the French and Spanish forces in the battle, so the above list is my best guess.

THE PIEDMONTESE ARMY;

1 General ( King Charles)  @  3 points.

1 General ( Castagnole )     @ 1 point.

1 stand of Cavalry  @ 2 points.

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

1 stand of Austrian Hussars @ 1 point.

1 stand of Guard Infantry @  4 points.

1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points.

2 stands of Vaudois Militia @  2 points = 4 points.

4 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 4 points.

( I've added the Engineers to the Artillery ).

1 stand of Austrian Grenz Light Infantry @ 1 point.

8 stands of Line Infantry  @ 3 points = 24 points.

GARRISON OF CUNEO;

3,200 = 3.2 points x 2 = 6points r/d.

1 General ( Leutrum )  @ 2 points.

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

2 Stands of Infantry @ 1 point  = 2 points



Notes,

* The rivers cannot be crossed by any troops except at the bridges.

*Any stands entering the rough ground cannot move further that turn and suffers a minus 2 on a Die roll if engaged in close combat.

* For the purposes of fire and close combat the abbatis counts as a trench for the Piedmontese to defend, as do the gabions for the Spanish.

* The Piedmontese move and fire first every Game-Turn. The Piedmontese retain the initiative Point for the entire game.

* The Piedmontese win any tied results.

* The garrison of Cuneo cannot sally out during the battle although the garrison can fire at any enemy targets.

The Winner:

This is tricky! because the Piedmontese lost so that their militia had time to play havoc with the enemy supply lines. Therefore. The Piedmontese must attempt to stay on the field for 8 Game-Turns. If they do, they win

If the Piedmontese retreat before 8 Game-Turns are complete, they have lost.

Historical Note.

As stated above, this was the the Kings plan. To keep the Spanish and French focused on his army while the Piedmontese Militia wrecked havoc on the enemy supply lines and magazines. This was exactly what happened.

Spanish and French jubilation gradually turned  to depression in the days following the battle. La Mina and Conti realised that without supplies their position was untenable. As the autumnal rains set in the army retreated back to France.

Credits;

The figures are mostly Miniature Figurines with some Peter Pig and Essex Miniatures.

The abattis is from Irregular Miniatures.

The gabions are made by Last Man Last Bullet Miniatures.

The tent models are from Peter Pig.

The citadel and house are scratch built.

The trees are from various manufacturers.

Most of the hill sections are made from cork tiles. There are some made by Brian at Essex Miniatures.

The river and road are made from thin card.


The battle was fought on  the  3 foot by 2 foot table. ( 90cm x 60 cm ).

FOOTNOTE:

I managed to fight this battle solo. After 8 Game-Turns the Piedmontese won the battle.

However, it was a near run thing!. This was the situation at the end of Game-Turn eight.


These Modenese were glad to sit out this battle.





Monday, 6 December 2021

Battle of Dettingen; 27th June 1743.

This is my own interpretation of events. Any mistakes are my own.

As part of the Pragmatic agreement the British Government sent troops to Europe to aid the Empress of Austria in her fight against Prussia. This was also in response to French intervention on behalf of Bavaria. The French were supporting  Charles the 7th of Bavaria as the elected leader of the Holy Roman Empire in opposition to Austria.


The King of Britain, George the 2nd was also the Duke of Hanover.  As much as he wanted to be seen as a staunch ally of Austria, the action was perceived by some to be a move to protect Hanover from any French takeover. This rumour was further strengthened when the Pragmatic Army stayed on the northeastern bank of the Main.

[ George was also known as an "Elector". These were a group of Princes within the Empire who formed a Council to elect the Holy Roman Emperor ].

As stated before, the British troops were auxiliary to the Hanovarian army as were the Hessians. The other main component were the troops from the Austrian Netherlands ( modern Belgium ), commanded by the Duke of Aremberg.


June of 1743 found the Pragmatic army camped at Aschaffenberg enroute to Bavaria. While there the information came that the French had retired from Bavaria, having lost the campaign against the invading Austrians.

In order to save his kingdom , the Emperor Charles 7th ( who was also the Wittalsbach Duke of Bavaria ), made peace with the Austrians thereby negating the reason for the the Pragmatic army to be there!.

[ Very soon after this Charles 7th expired. His son Maximillian 3rd Joseph succeeded him. By 1745 Bavaria was in ruins. To gain peace with Austria, Joseph acceded to Hapsburg Austria,s right to rule the Holy Roman Empire, an entity in name only ].

The Allied army had further problems. Supplies coming down the river Main from the Netherlands had been cut off by French Forces. The senior commanders also had to wait on the deliberations of George the 2nd.  The King expressed the wish to lead the army in person.

This created further headaches for the commander's who were in charge of an army that was starving, and suffering from a breakdown in discipline. By the time the King arrived from Hanover, the army was in a bad way. In Council the decision was made to march north,through Dettingen to Hanau and back to the Netherlands.

The French Marshal , the Duc De Noailles, watching these events, conceived a plan to take advantage of the dire situation in which the allies found themselves. Realising that the Allies were heading toward Dettingen, the Duke laid his trap. 


To the south of Dettingen was a boggy ravine behind which Noailles positioned 21,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry commanded by the Duke De Gramont assisted by the Count De Harcourt.

On the west side of the river Main the Marshal positioned his artillery to fire into the left flank of the enemy army as it advanced toward the ravine. After the Allied army had marched from Aschaffenburg, the Duke sent another 12,000 men into the town behind the Allies. With the Spessart hills to the East, the. Allied  Army was effectively trapped.

Well, that was the plan which, had it been enacted would have been the end of the Allied Army and the humiliating capture of a King!

In a moment of madness, all the careful planning was undone. For reasons only known to the Duc De Gramont, this same gentleman suddenly left his advantageous position behind the boggy ravine and led the army across the only bridge onto the plain.

To the Duke De Noailles horror the cavalry then charged the left of the Allied army——-———.

Here are the armies laid out for battle,



THE PRAGMATIC ARMY; 38,200 + 98 guns.

[ 98 x 30 men for each gun = 2940 men. 2.940 pts x 2 = 5.880 or 6 points in guns].


BRITAIN;

3,600 Line Infantry = 3.600 x 2= 7 points r/d.
1,600 Cavalry = 1.600 x 2= 3 points r/d.

1 C-in-C King George 2nd @ 1 point.
1 General, John Dalrymple, Lord Stair @ 1 point.
3 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 6 points.
2 stands of Dragoon Cavalry @ 1 point = 2 points.
2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

[ note; The British Guards and Grenadiers were sent back toward Aschaffenburg to act as a rearguard which did not go down well with the troops!].

HANOVER;

10,000 Line Infantry = 10 points x 2 =20 points.
2,000 Cavalry = 2 points x 2 = 4 points.

1 General, Ilton @ 1 point.
1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points.
5 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 15 points.
2 stands of Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points = 4 points.
1 stand of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points.

HESSE;

4,200 Line Infantry = 4.200 points x 2 = 8 pts r/d.
800 Dragoon Cavalry = 0.800 points x 2 = 2 pts r/u.

1 stand of Grenadier Infanty = 4 points.
2 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.
1 stand of Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points.

AUSTRIA;

14,000 Infantry = 14 points x 2 = 28 points.
2,000 Cavalry = 2 points x 2 = 4 points.

1 General, Leopold Phillipe D,Aremberg @ 1 point.
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 pts = 8 points.
6 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 18 points.
2 stands of Dragoon Cavalry  @ 2 pts = 4 points.
1 stand of Hussar Light Cavalry @ 1 point.
1 stand of  Heavy Artillery @ 2 points.

FRENCH ARMY;

21,000 Infantry = 21 points x 2 = 42 points.
12,000 Cavalry = 12 points x 2 = 24 points.
54 guns  [ 54 x 30 = 1620 = 1.620 x 2 = 3.240 = 3pts r/d.

1 General and C-in-C Louis de Noailles @ 1point.
1 Louis de Gramont the 6th. @ 1 point.
1 General Louis de Lorraine Count of Harcourt @ 1 point.

1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points.
11 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.
2 stands of Light Infantry @ 1 point = 2 points.
8 stands of Cavalry @ 3 points =24 points.
3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.



Historical Notes;

I have read various accounts of this battle and in each, the numbers are different. The British troops were numbered as 16,000. Looking at the list of regiments, I can only tally approximately 6,000.

The Hanovarian army were dressed in uniforms practically the same as the British, with red being the main colour so I wondered if the  Hanovarian troops were thought of as British?



I had a similar problem with the French. I dont know wether the 12,000 that the Duke sent toward Aschaffenburg were part of the main army or were additional.

So, the figures I have given above are conjectural, but it seems to work. I think Noailles was on the west bank with the guns where he could order both wings of his army. However the troops intended for Aschaffenberg never actually got there. Simularly, the British and Hanovarian Guards were sent back toward Aschaffenberg as a rearguard, so were not involved in the action, for which they were later ridiculed by the Line troops!.


The river Main meanders in roughly a south easterly direction across modern Germany. The battle took place on part of the river that runs approximately north to south. The French batteries turned out to have very little effect on the battle. They were also masked by their own Cavalry.

Some time after the battle, Marshal Noailles told the French King, Louis the 15th that discipline in the army was collapsing. Given the defeats that the army had previously suffered along with the harsh natural conditions the army was operating in, it was understandable.

It would be down to Marshal Maurice de Saxe to restore French honour at Fontenoy.

It is interesting to note, that up to this point in time both Britain and France were not officially at war. Both were acting as auxiliaries to other Powers.

Fighting the Battle;

* On the 1st Game-Turn, the French move first and fire first and also have the Initiative Point.

* On Game-Turns, 2 to 8, the Pragmatic Army move and fires first and retains the Initiative Point. The Pragmatic Army also wins any ties.

* Any stands having to move into the river Main will be lost.

* The Ravine;
I'm not sure how much of an obstacle this was, but the fact that Gramont moved the army over the bridge illustrates how much of a problem it presented to movement.

Therefore, any stands moving into the ravine have to stop immediately. If, during " move back" a stand has to stop before the regulation spacing can be obtained, that stand is removed from play.


CREDITS;

Most of the figures are Miniature Figurines 15mm with a mix of Peter Pig and Essex Miniatures. The wagons are from Peter Pig.
The houses are from Total Battle Miniatures. The trees are from various manufacturers.
The square stands are cut from picture framing cardboard, the round mdf bases at from Minibits.
The hills are scratchbuilt as are the bridges. The roads and rivers are cut from thin card. As before, the board is 3 feet x 2 feet ( 90cm x 60 cm ).









Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Battle of Mollwitz Silesia; 10th April 1741.

On the death of her father, Maria Theresa became Empress of Austria.Prior to his death, Charles the 6th had tried to get the heads of Europe to sign up to the Pragmatic Sanction. This was an agreement whereby they would honour his eldest daughter as heir to the throne of Austria.

Of course no sooner had Maria Theresa been crowned than the storm clouds gathered. Chief amongst the potential protagonists was Frederick 2nd of Prussia.

His father had also recently passed away and in ascending the throne decided he wanted to transform Prussia into a major Political power.

First he made political overtures to the new Empress expressing his desire to became protector of her domain. Having spent time on assurances, he then sent his army into Silesia itself, all the time reasurring the young Empress of his best intentions, and to protect her interests.

However, the young Empress was not to be fooled and understood the Prussian troop movements for what they were. An invasion by stealth.

To Maria Theresa and the members of the Hofkreigsrath  ( the military council ) there was no alternative but to declare war thus starting the War of the Austrian Succession. Silesia was the " Jewell in the Crown " of the Hapsberg family inheritance, and could not be lost.

April 1741 found the Prussian army scattered in cantonments across Silesia. The snow was still on the ground and Frederick and his Generals were not expecting any movement from the Austrian forces.

Therefore the abnormally fast advance by 18,000 Austrians under General Neipperg caught the Prussians by surprise. However having moved so rapidly Neipperg then encamped his army near Mollwitz giving Frederick chance to react.

On the 10th of April 1741, having successfully united 20,000 of his troops. Frederick marched his Army toward the Austrian positions. The King caught the Austrians napping and could have attacked while the Austrian army was unprepared.

However, this was the Kings first battle and gave orders for his army to be arraigned  into a formal battle line. This gave Neipperg time to hastily assemble his forces into position.

The Prussian Army.

General Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin = 2 points.
General Count Adolph Friedrich von Der Schulenberg. = 1 point.
Colonel von Posadowsky = 1 point.

16,000 Infantry ( 16 points x 3 = 48 points ).

4,000 Cavalry ( 4 points x 3 = 12 points ).

30 guns = 3 gun models

Infantry;
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points =8 points.
11 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.

Cavalry;
6 stands of Line Cavalry @ 2 points = 12 points.

3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.

Austrian Army;

Field Marshall  Neipperg =1 point.
General Carl Romer = 2 points.
General Berlichingen = 1 point.

10,000 Infantry ( 10 points x 3 = 30 points.)

8,000 Cavalry ( 8 points x 3 = 24 points )

20 guns = 2 gun models.

Infantry ;
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.
9 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 18 points.

Cavalry ;
1 stand of Heavy Cavalry = 4 points.
6 stands of Line Cavalry @ 3 points = 18 points.

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

This is the map ;




The Austrian General Neipperg had spent time in a military prison. He was held responsible for losing a previous battle against the Turks. Therefore, having been given the chance to redeem himself he wanted to attack.

Fredericks army was a new force and the King felt ready to test his troops and himself under fire. The Infantry were drilled to perfection. However, the Cavalry has always played second fiddle to the Infantry. Neither Frederick nor his father had any indepth knowledge of cavalry manoeuvres and used  the Cavalry for decoration rather than any practical use. Some of his troopers were so untrained that they were frightened of their horses.

General Carl Romer knew the Prussian Horse were sub standard so launched a cavalry advance. This was how the battle started.

This is how the table looks before the battle commences;




Notes;

● The Austrians move first on the first Game-turn, after which all subsequent Game-turns are diced for as normal.

● The Kleiner Bach can be crossed in normal movement as it had no effect on the movement of troops.






At one stage of this battle the Prussian infantry were struggling and thinking defeat was imminent, General von Schwerin urged the young King to quit the field. Frederick rode away thinking the worst. However Schwerin managed to rally the Prussian Infantry who eventually overcame the Austrian cavalry then the Infantry.

This is why Frederick is not represented on the table as it was Schwerin who controlled the infantry and instructed the young King.

Frederick never forgave Schwerin for sending him away, and vowed never to leave the battleground again.

In fact it was observed that the Austrian infantry seemed to wilt under the disciplined fire of the Prussian troops.

Also,one of the best Generals of his time, General Romer of the Austrian Army lost his life leading the Cavalry in the attack.

Well, the rest is history. The figures in the photos are mainly Miniature Figurines with some Peter Pig figures. All 15mm.

I used to have a massive collection for this era. I now have small groups of stands assigned to various states. Thus the Prussian army is composed of Prussian, Brunswick and Wuttemberg troops.

The Austrians are helped by Saxon, Reichsarmee and Bavarian troops.

This is a set-piece battle and when played out could go either way. As always the table is 3 feet by 2 feet. The buildings representing the village's are scratch built with cardboard.

As always, this is my interpretation of the actual battle.