Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Battle of Caldiero, October 30, 1805 - A scenario for Field of Battle, 3rd edition


    Interestingly, there were battles of Caldiero in 1796 (November 12, Bonaparte vs. Alvinczy), 1805, 1809 (April 27-30, Eugene vs. Erzherzog Johann) , and 1813 (November 16, Eugene vs. Hiller)! Doubtless its location along the main East-West road across Lombardy from Verona to Venice, and only 15 km from the crossings of the Adige river accounts for it being such a frequent location for combats. The hot springs there, from which the town takes its name, were once the site of a Roman Bath. 

    Until the Covid-19 Pandemic necessitated cancellation of Historicon, I had in mind to do this battle for Historicon 2020. Maybe in 2021, then? Meantime, I decided to do a play test game using the newly released 3rd edition of my favored Napoleonic rules (well, really they now cover back to the English Civil War and up to circa 1900). If that goes well, I have in mind to replay it with a few other sets I have been meaning to try out as well. We will see! 

   During the 1805 Campaign, Austria sent its main Army to Northern Italy under Erzherzog Karl, expecting the French to do the same. The recently crowned Emperor Napoleon I of course instead famously executed his grand wheel from the Rhine to the Danube, resulting in the capitulation of the forces of "the unhappy General Mack" at Ulm, while a much smaller force under Marechal Massena was sent to Italy to hold back the Austrians. Thus the first phases of the campaign in Italy were largely defensive on the part of the French. Never the less, on October 18, Massena seized a bridgehead over the Adige at Verona. When he finally received notification of the capitulation at Ulm, on October 28, Massena promptly moved to attack the Austrians. Karl was already planning to withdraw towards Vienna, but felt that he needed to administer a check on Massena to prevent him from pressing him to closely. 

    Historians differ on whether Caldiero was a French or an Austrian tactical victory; I would say that in the isolated tactical sense, it was more or less a draw. In the strategic sense, however, it was a French success, as Karl wound up gradually withdrawing from Northern Italy without being able to intervene in events elsewhere. 


Map of the Battle of Caldiero, 29–31 October 1805
Map by Djmaschek - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16820105 (From Wikipedia)


    I have adapted this scenario for Field of Battle, 3rd edition, by Brent Oman, from that in Michael Hopper's 1805 scenario book, Rise of Eagles, which was designed for Shako II, but certainly gives you most everything you need to convert the scenario for use with most other rules sets. A future post will look at the changes from the previous editions of Field of Battle and the new 3rd edition. As I have noted previously, Michael publishes 4 more scenario books, all for the 1809 Campaign in central Europe. He has a number more nearly ready to publish including scenarios from Winter 1806-07, Spring 1807, a slew of Peninsular War scenarios, and more. He basically plows the revenue from the sale of existing titles into producing the next titles. Thus buying books from him is a doubly good investment! More information about the books and ordering them directly from Michael (who takes payment only AFTER you receive the books, AND agree are they are well worth the price. Who else does that nowadays?) is in prior review post, here

    For 1805, FoB3 rates all French Commanders as Exceptional, and all Austrians as Abysmal (the best and worse possible, on a 5 step scale), although these are guidelines and can certainly be altered by the scenario designer as needed. I think we can make an exception for Karl and move him up one notch to Poor. The same is true of Hohenlohe. (in the event I rolled low for both of them, so it made little difference! At least I rolled fairly low for Massena as well).  As alluded to, the ratings above are a general category. Each leader still has to be rolled for using a D20 against a table in order to determine their Leadership Die (LD) type. Abysmal commanders will mostly be a D8, the worst possible, with a few D10's. Exceptional commanders will almost never be a D8, some will be a D10, more will be D12, and few will be D12+1, the best possible. These LD ratings influence the ability of  their commands to  move and maneuver efficiently and skillfully when their side turns a MOVE card, and also their ability to rally their troops when a LEADERSHIP card is turned. If a 1 or a 2 is rolled for a Leader, his LD rating will not be determined until the start of the game, when another D20 roll is made for him, with a second roll of 1 or 2 being Abysmal regardless. (I will probably wait to do that roll until the first time I need to know the leader's LD; indeed, for a solo game, once cpuld wait to rate ALL the Leaders and units until the first time you needed to know their stats; I have never dome that myself, but it is worth considering, especially for a smaller game. 

    Similarly, in FoB3, all units have a Defense Die (DD) type and a Combat Die (DD) type. The Defense Die type is determined by the units quality rating (D4 for Rabble and Raw troops, D6 for Regulars, D8 for Crack units, and D10 for Elite units, which are rare (there are no elite units in this game, for example). The defense die type is used when the unit is shot at, and is a minor modifier in melee as well. The Combat Die is the base die that the unit rolls when shooting or in melee, and ranges from a D8 to a D12+1, the best possible. In both cases, the die TYPE is modified based upon expected factors such as losses, range, formation and so forth. So a unit with a CD of 10 that was shooting at close range would get an UP 1 for the range, taking it up to a D12. Going above a D12 merely adds an additional 1 to the D12 roll for each level, but the maximum score is still 12. For example, if I were rolling a D12+3 and the die score were 10, the final score would still only be 12, not 13. 

    I'd rate half of the Austrian line as Raw (D4 Defense Die type) and half as Regular (D6 Defense Die Type. 1805 was probably their worst year of the entire Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The Austrian Grenadiers of this era are a bit problematic, as the Mack reforms, introduced just a few months before the start of the Campaign, created a new Grenadier battalion in each regiment,  half consisting of the men from the original 2 Grenadier companies of the regiment, and the other half from  men drawn from the rest of the regiment. Thus I am going to rate them as half being Regular (D6 defense Die type) and half Crack (D8 Defense Die type). The French Line will all be rated as Regulars, while the Grenadiers and Legere will all be Crack (The FoB3 guidleines would certainly allow more Crack rating for this era as well as some Raw units). For this game, I will use the random rating schedule in the rules for the units and commanders, instead of fixed ratings. This involves a D20 roll on a table, with the unit type and the Quality rating being the factors taken into account. It's all much easier than it sounds, although I usually use standard ratings for Convention games.  

Mr. Hopper's book contains the exact formations and strengths down to the battalion; for my convenience I will use the regiments in my collection instead. 

    Each unit in FoB also has Unit Integrity by type. Each time it takes a "hit", it loses 1 UI. These have  changed somewhat from previous editions. Standard infantry and cavalry units now both have 4 UI, and artillery batteries have 3 UI. Losing UI decreases the unit's effectiveness in combat, and if it reaches zero, the unit will disperse. UI can be recovered on a successful rally attempt on a LEADERSHIP card. Each time UI is lost from combat, and Army Morale point is also lost. When the AMP's decrease to zero, troops become harder to rally, and the Army is at risk of breaking off the fight whenever they turn an ARMY MORALE card. That card is also when the Army checks for loss of Generals. 

   The Hopper scenario has the game lasting 12 Turns in Shako,so we'll time the arrival of reinforcements as half of that, rounding down. Thus the units slated to arrive Turn 7 will arrive on the 3rd MOVE card, and those due to arrive on the 9th Turn (which includes the Heavy Cavalry Reserves of Mermet and Lorraine, each of which enters along their baseline between rows 3 and 7 inclusive) will enter on the 4th MOVE card of that side. The French Troops listed as  entering on Turn 1 will get an UP 1 to their LD roll for movement on their first MOVE card. 

    The nominal scales for FoB in 25 mm are 1" = 40 yards, 1 Infantry unit = 480 - 720 men (I usually use 600), 1 cavalry unit = 400 to 600 (I usually use 400) men, and 1 Artillery unit = 6 to 8 guns. THis is quite a large battle, so I opted to increase the ratio for infantry and cavalry by about 50%, 

    Each Army the gets a Sequence Deck determination, which is done by comparing a D20 roll against the Army C-in-C's Leadership Die type. AS noted in my last post, FoB3 has only 3 grades of sequence decks, and the only difference is the balance between LEADERSHIP and LULL cards. Massena, having rolled rather poorly for his LD for an Exceptional rating, not too surprisingly wound up with an Average Sequence Deck, whilst Charles with an unenviable LD 8 rating, unsurprisingly wound up with an Inferior Deck. 

    Finally, each Army must determine how many Morale Points it has. This is done by rolling a D12 and comparing it to the number of units in the Army on another table. The average is 1 Morale point per unit, with a maximum variance of plus or minus 25%. There are no other modifiers to this roll, although a scenario designer can certainly assign the values themselves if needed to balance a scenario... or just go with 1 point per unit.  In the event, I rolled above average for the French, and below average for the Austrians. 

The colors listed for the Division level commands relate to a system I am going to use for the first time for this game, which will be explained in a later post. 

Terrain:
All towns are Class III, all hills, the small woods, and the earthworks are all Class II terrain. Hills do not provide cover benefit against fire.

Sappers:
Some French commands have a Sapper figure. As a part of a MOVE, these may be attached to any Infantry unit of their command. If that unit is in melee against enemy troops in Cover, treat that cover as one level less than normal. If the unit the sapper is attached to loses a melee, the sapper figure is also lost. 

Victory:
Field of Battle has a standard mechanism for determining defeat or victory. If an Army has no Army Morale Points remaining when it turns an ARMY MORALE card, it must roll the LD of the C-in-C against a D12. If it scores higher then the D12, it may either to continue to fight, or voluntarily quite the field. If the score is equal to or lower then the opposing D12, the army must retreat and the game ends. The number of AMP's remaining to the victor compared to its starting total is used to determine the degree of victory. Additional objectives for the French are to seize the Northern heights (defined as having at least one French infantry unit that is not in rout on the second contour), and the exit of the main highway leading to Venice . If they fail to achieve either, a French Victory is decreased by one level (Decisive Victory - Major Victory - Minor Victory - Draw). An Austrian Victory is increased by one level should the French achieve neither of these, and reduced buy one should they achieve both. 


Battle of Caldiero, October 30, 1805
1 Infantry unit = 900 men, 1 Cavalry Unit = 600 men

French Army of Italy, Marechal Massena, LD 10
Average Sequence Deck
Army Morale points 55

Artillery Reserve, Annon, LD 12 GREEN
1 12 lber Battery
(added for balance)
DD 6, CD 12+1

3rd Division Molitor,  LD 12 WHITE

Brigade Launay, LD ? BLUE
5 French Ligne
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 8
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
1 8 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 10

Brigade Valory, LD 10 RED
4 French Line
DD 6, CD 12
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 8
1 Dragoon
DD 6, CD 12

1st Division  Gardanne, LD 10 BLUE

Brigade Lenchantin, LD 10 WHITE
4 French Ligne, 
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
1 Chasseurs a Cheval
DD 6, CD 10

Brigade Compere, LD 10 LIGHT BLUE
2 Legere
DD 8, CD 10
DD 8, CD 12+1
2 Ligne
DD 6, CD 8
DD 6, CD 10
1 8 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 8
1 Sapper

Light Cavalry Division Espagne, LD 12 MAGENTA
(off table, enters on 1st MOVE, Up 1)
3 Chasseurs a Cheval
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
1 4 lber Horse battery
DD 8, CD 12

Reserve Division Partouneau, LD 10 ORANGE

Brigade Valentin, LD 12 BROWN

(off table, enters on 1st MOVE, Up 1)2 French Grenadiers
DD 8, CD 12
DD 8, CD 12+1

Brigade Solinac, LD 10 PINK
(off table, enters on 1st MOVE, Up 1)
2 Grenadiers
DD 8, CD 12
DD 8, CD 12+1
1 Italian Infantry
DD 6, CD 10
1 Italian Dragoons
DD 6, CD 12
1 4 lber Horse Battery
DD 8, CD 10

4th Division Duhesme, LD 10 RED

Brigade Camus, LD 10 RED
2 French Legere
DD 8, CD 12
DD 8, CD 10
3 French Ligne
DD 6, CD 8
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
1 Sapper

Brigade Goulus, LD 12 WHITE
4 French Ligne
DD 6, CD 12
DD 6, CD 8
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
1 8 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 8
1 Chasseur a Cheval
DD 6, CD 12

Dragoon Brigade Lacour, LD  10 TURQUIOSE
(off table, enters on 1st MOVE)
1 French Dragoons
DD 6, CD 12

Reserve Heavy Cavalry, Mermet, LD 12+1 GREEN
(off table, enters on 4th MOVE)
2 Cuirassiers
DD 8, CD 12+1
DD 8, CD 12+1
1 4 lber Horse Battery
DD 8, CD 12+1

TOTALS: 48 units
23 Line
4 Legere
4 Grenadier
1 12 lber
3 8 lbers
3 4 lber HA
3 Dragoons
5 Chasseurs
2 Cuirasiers

Austrian Army of Italy, Erzherzog Karl, LD 8
Inferior Sequence Deck
Army Morale Points 50

Division Vogelsang, LD 8 BLACK

Brigade Wetzel, LD 8 RED
6 Line Infantry
DD 6, CD 8
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
DD 4, CD 12
DD 4, CD 10
DD 4, CD 8
1 6 lb Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 12+1

Brigade O’Reilly, LD 10 WHITE
1 Hussar
DD 6, CD 12
1 Chevau-Leger
DD 8, CD 10

Division Reuss, LD 8 WHITE

Brigade Kalnassy, LD 10 BLACK
5 Line Infantry
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 8
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 4, CD 8
DD 4, CD 8
1 6 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 10
1 Uhlan
DD 6, CD 10

Brigade Croll, LD 8 YELLOW
4 Grenadier
DD 8, CD 12
DD 8, CD 12
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
1 6 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 8

Brigade Colloredo, LD ? RED
3 Grenadiers
DD 8, CD 12
DD 8, CD 12
DD 6, CD 10
1 6 lber Foot Battery 
DD 6, CD 10

Division Lindenau, LD 8 RED

Brigade Lippa, LD 8 YELLOW
(off table, enters on 3rd MOVE)
3 Grenadier
DD 8, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 12+1

Brigade Hohenlohe, LD 8 BLACK
(off table, enters on 4th MOVE)
3 Grenadier
DD 8, CD 12
DD 8, CD 12
DD 6, CD 10
1 Hussar
DD 6, CD 10

Division Sibschen, LD 8 YELLOW

Brigade Kottulinksy, LD 10 BLACK
5 Line Infantry
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 4, CD 10
DD 4, CD 10
DD 4, CD 12
1 6 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 12+1

Brigade Soudain, LD 8 WHITE
5 Line Infantry
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 4, CD 8
DD 4, CD 8
1 6 lber Foot Battery
DD 6, CD 10

Brigade Michalowich,  LD 8 RED
4 Line  Infantry
DD 6, CD 12+1
DD 6, CD 10
DD 4, CD 10
DD 4, CD 8
1 6 lber Foot Battery DD 6, CD 10

(off table, enters on 3rd MOVE)
DD 6, CD 10
DD 6, CD 8
DD 4, CD 10

DD 4, CD 10

Reserve Cavalry Division Lorraine LD 10 GREEN
(off table, enters on 4th MOVE)
3 Dragoons
DD 6, CD 12
DD 6, CD 12
DD 6, CD 12
                 

TOTALS: 55 units
29 Line
13 Grenadiers
6 Foot batteries
1 Chevau Leger
1 Uhlan
2 Hussars
3 Dragoons



Map is from Michael Hopper's 1805 scenario book; used by permission.

Overview of the table, looking from North top South. The Austrians will be chiefly deployed along the ridge line. The road in the center, lined with polar trees, is the Verona - Venice highway. 


View of the Northern half of the table from the West (French) side. The main ridge lines are ones I made myself for my big Wagram game back in 2009. I didn't feel like digging out my Geohex, and with a little fudging, I was able to put these pieces to work. 


The Southern half of the table from the West.


Northern third from the East (Austrian) side. 


Middle third of the table from the West; Caldiero itself is in the center.. There are also some "Class II" (more or less, light cover) earthworks to be placed in various locations on the ridges, which I will add when I set out the troops. 


The Southern third of the table from the East. As you can see, the terrain is much more open here.

24 comments:

  1. Nice outline of scenario. Looking forward to action reports and finding out about your Command ‘colours’ system :-)

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  2. Nice preamble to playing the scenario.

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    1. Much more expository detail than usual for the occasion of the release of FoB 3

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  3. There's a fair bit of detail there, and nice to see the mountains in the distance make a reappearance.

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    1. They should really be in the North, but the table wouldn't work right that way. Either way, the hide all of the junk on the remaining 8 feet of the table! :-)

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  4. Impressive work and gorgeous terrain!

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  5. Peter, your work on setting up and laying Caldiero is an impressive piece of research and work. You provide everything needed for another to duplicate this scenario. Very good to see Hopper’s maps. His books are a great resource just as this scenario of yours will become.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jon. In this case I really am just adapting Michael's scenario, with some additional background and FoB3 information. Caldiero isn't a battle with the information Michael has culled readily available elsewhere!

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  6. Looking forward to the next installment

    I always wonder at the number of units many Napoleonic players can muster!

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    1. Thank you, David. I could probably field about twice as many units as here, although then getting the exact match right gets tricky. Even here I had to do a bit od a fudge with the huge number of Austrian Grenadier units present.

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  7. This is all looking very good.

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    1. I am finishing setting out the troops today!

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  8. Son you got yourself some terrain there, buckets full. But that's a good thing:) One can never have enough beautiful terrain.

    That is one heck of an outstanding write up. It's like reading an Osprey book. Maps, order of battle, pictures. This is going to be a fun one to watch over the coming days.

    Cheers
    Kevin

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    1. Thanks, Kevin. I got distracted writing it up, reading about Roman Baths!

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  9. Promising looking field of battle! Just one point, though. You might want to reverse 'east' and 'west' in your text. I'll be looking forward to the sequel.

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  10. Always love the level of detail and the scope of your projects Peter.

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  11. Excellent - really enjoyed the description and the set up - looking forward to the next instalment!

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    1. Thanks, Tony. It is taking me longer than expected to complete the troop set up, the reasons for which will become apparent in the next post in this series.

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  12. Very interesting set up,I need to paint up lots more French line infantry clearly! Looking forward to the next post!
    Best Iain

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Iain. I think I may finally be approaching having "enough" French Line!

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