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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cassano 1705

Ignoring the nasty "buzzy" things on the "Bag the Hun" table, the gentlemen of the club prepared for a re-enactment of the battle of Cassano.

In 1705 Prince Eugene crossed the Italian border to relieve the siege of the cities and castles of Piedmont. Success would keep the duke of Piedmont in the war, failure would surely lead to his defeat. Key to this plan was the bridge at Cassano.

At Cassano the French deployed in and around the Cassano redoubt which protected their supply routes. They were confident the series of irrigation ditches to their front would protect their forces long enough for them to move to meet any threat.

Eugene, of course, had other plans and was across the first ditches before the French knew what was happening.

It was at this point our scenario started.

I led the Allies, taking the cavalry, abley supported by Clive on our left and centre and Steve M on our right. Facing us was Malcolm holding the redoubt and left flank, with Chas taking the centre and right flank.

The Allies rushed to cross the remaining ditch, with Malcolm doing his best to frustrate this. Chas deployed a holding force and rushed the bulk of his army from right flank towards the left where it could cover the redoubt.

As the Allies scrambled over the ditch they were "pinged" by skirmishing dragoons and infantry. A couple of units were caught disordered by charging cavalry and Clive's men suffered at the hands of an infantry firing line.

Weight of numbers drove the French back, but the ditch was slowing our advance, as units halted to redress ranks (JJ would have been proud !). Elsewhere Chas's men made a steady pace towards the fortification.

Allied dragoons forced their way through Malcolm's line and blocked Chas's progress, as Steve pushed the French left back.

Despite Chas's best efforts, the arrival of large numbers of Austrian cuirassiers caused several French units to fire high, waiver and run, but a new line held strong and both sides released their cavalry reserves.

Meanwhile Steve's first assault on the redoubt was turned back by a face full of cannister.

By this time so many cavalry were crammed into the centre that no one could move and Steve renewed his assault on the redoubt.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the Adder waved to the defenders of the redoubt as he crossed the bridge in his coach.

Malcolm's men were last seen being cut down by the bayonets of Steve's fresh grenadier units.

A hard fought battle and the French could complain that had their muskets been on target when the cuirassiers charged things might have been very different.

When told of the casualties amongst his forces Chas was heard to say "More men will be conceived in Paris tonight than were lost on the field today." His report of the battle is said to be very critical of his subordinates and the Chardonnay served with dinner.

I thought it was a good game with around a thousand 28mm figures on the table. The rules (Rank & File) gave a simple, quick game, with a believable result and we played at least 20 turns. Not a competition set, but fun for club bash involving lots of figures.

On the other table JJ & Jason couldn't agree on the difference between the front and the rear of an aircraft (remind me never to fly with them !) and JJ's pencil case got broken.

Vince

2 comments:

  1. Following that battle the French commander took to his bed, with a bad case of D&V, due to a warm chardenay no doubt.
    A good account of the battle, I knew we were doomed when the French infantry bottled their final vollies at the Currasiers, what more can a great general do!
    Malcom played a blinder holding out on the left wing. Gave me time to leave the field of battle in my splended coach.
    As a interesting fact, the battle coach has never been captured, what an insperation to my army that must be.

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  2. Having seen that coach on battle fields throught the ages, I can confirm that I have never seen it captured.
    The Adder usually throws his last Dacoits into the fray, whilst exiting, stage left, to the words "the world will hear from me again".
    It must be the elixir vitae that is keeping him going.......

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