Saturday, June 13, 2020

Battle of Caldiero 1805; 2nd French initiative

The second French initiative starts with a MOVE card; with the French on the attack, this is going to generate a LOT of action. Now mighty be a good time to pour yourself your libation of choice!

General de Brigade Launay lacks an LD label... because he rolled a 1 or a 2 on his D20 for his rating. That means we have to roll now to determine his rating. 

A 10 on the exceptional Leadership table gives him a Leadership  type of 12. 

Blue LD 12 score of 10 vs red D6 score of 4 yields a "Triple Magic Move"  - 3 segments, and segments may be used for changes of facing or formation, and cavalry and units in Attack Column may be able to engage in immediate melee!

Even 3 MOVE segments will only get the Brigade forward 24", not quite to the Austrian positions. Thus there will be no immediate melees!  

The Austrian battery is in range, but less than 50% of the target's frontage is within its unobstructed field of fire (+/- 45 degrees), so the infantry is not a valid target... for this battery.  

More of Launay's Brigade moves up boldly... perhaps recklessly? 

The 5th infantry unit moves 2 segments...

Then applies its Oblique allowance  to move to its right, and then expends its last segment to deploy into Line. 

 The brigades Battery is both too far away from the enemy for effective fire, and it's field of fire is becoming blocked. Artillery movement is a bit different. The battery expends 1 segment to Limber...

 then moves forward 1 segment (8")...

and then expends its final segment to unlimber.  

The inactive side can fire units during the opponents initiative, provided they are "loaded" and otherwise eligible, AND the fire is in response to enemy action - moving, changing facing or formation, or firing at the unit in question. In the case of a unit being fired upon, the results are simultaneous. Otherwise, the fire ocours first and the results are assessed immediately. The fire can be issued at any point along the move of the enemy, and will take effect at that point.

The French unit is within 6" of the battery, so it is shooting at UP 2 for Point Blank range for Artillery (you can think of it as double canister if you like).  The battery rolls a D12+1 vs the targets D6 defensive die. 6+1 = 7 vs 4; a difference of three pips, so the unit losses 1 UI (indioacted by the single rock marker. Tjhe French lose their first Morale Point (white chip). Because the die roll was EVEN and higher than the defense die, the unit will become Disordered ("chicken" marker).

It is pushed back the difference in pips, 3". This rather elegantly  and immediately represents a Morale failure and retreat. The retreat does not cause disorder by interpenetrating friendly units, BUT it must get completely clear of them. If necessary, it retreats further until it is clear, as is the situation here.  

The QRS for those following along at home!

The next Austrian battery lacks a valid target (note that the infantry likewise could not fire upon the battery).

 The Northernmost Austrian battery now has a valid target. It is unrated, abnd thus rolls D20 to determine its Combat Die . A D20 roll of 6 for a Regular 6 lber Foot battery results in a CD of 10. 

 The range is a little over 18", Medium Range, which is DOWN 1, but Artillery firing at attack column is UP 1, so a D10 is rolled against the targets D6; 10 vs 5. The French lose a rock and a Chip; because the Austrian Die was EVEN and higher, it also becomes disordered and is forced back 5".

Although not an eligible target for the Battery as seen earlier, the same is not true for the  the Austrian Line behind the works. The range (from the front of the works) is between 2 and 4 inches, Medium range, which is No Change. The target is in Line, also no change. It is the First Fire for this unit, which is an UP 1 for infantry (but NOT Artillery). 

D10 UP 1 is a D12 vs D6;  8 vs 3. We know what happens now, right class?  :-)

Correct!  Lose a chip, get a "rock and a chicken", and retreat 5" in Disorder.  

 Like the other uniuts that have 'Opportunity Fired" so far, the infantry is marked with smoke and cannot fire again until it "reloads". It also gets a small Musket marker on its label to remind us that it has used its "First Fire" bonus. Fresh troops are always a good thing!

 Valory's Brigade is next;  The LD  roll is 9 vs the D6 of 5; a Double Move, but no "magic". 

The 16" of movement permitted allows the Brigade to come up even with the somewhat battered Brigade of Launay. 

 Opp Fire, between 6 and 12", so Short Range, UP 1. With no compelling reason to shoot now, the battery decides to hold its fire. 

Lenchantin rolls up another Double Move for his command (rolls not shown). A 16" advance will place them in alignment with the other Brigades.  

And so it does! 

4 vs 1 for Brigade Compere's MOVE  means what, gentle readers?
Right, a "Double Magic" move!  The French are eager today! 

Firing can only take place at the beginning or end of a Move. The advance of the infantry is likely to block the artillery's field of Fire; thus it decides to take a long range shot at the opposing  battery - It has a poor CD of 8; firing at Long Range is DOWN 2, and firing at unlimbered Artillery is DOWN 1 more; DOWN 3. However, a D4 is as low as it goes, so the battery rolls a D4, and unsurprisingly, misses. It is marked with smoke. It then limbers and moves forwards 8", while the rest of the Brigade moves forward 16". 

Brigade Camus rolls another "Double Magic Move". 

The  12 lber battery with a base CD 12+1 decides to do the "Shoot, Limber, and Move"  number as well. It is DOWN 1 each for Medium Range, enemy behind class II Works, Enemy uphill, and shooting at Unlimbered Artillery - DOWN 4! In a spectacular demonstration of prowess, it scores a 6 vs targets (poor) D4 Defense die roll of 3; the target loses 1 UI and is Disordered, the Austrians surrender their first Morale point. Unlike other units, Unlimbered Artillery, along with units behind works and in Towns, do NOT fall back, but rather hold their position, on a Won Even roll (unless they Rout, which we will come to!)

Brigade Camus moves up 16" The Garrison of Caldiero Opportunity fire at Short range - UP 1 1st Fire, UP 1 for Short Range, Down 1 for firing from Town (loss of fire control).  It's base D10 goes up to a D12, and it rolls big; 11 vs 4. It inflicts 2 UI loss on the opposing infantry, and 2 French Morale Points are surrendered. However, because the riollw was ODD, there are NO morale effects - the unit maintains good order, does not retreat, and does not rout. 

These losses take place immediately; with the 2 rock marker, the infantry chooses not to shoot back, perhaps hoping to rally off the hits before the next INFANTRY FIRE card. 

The Austrian battery decides to shoot at the skirmishers to its front - Point Blank Range Up 2, Artillery Firing at Skirmishers DOWN 2, 1 UI (rock) lost, DOWN 1. The battery started with a CD12, but can only roll a 5; the defending Legere, having a "Crack" rating have a D8 defense die, and roll a 4; there is thus no significant effect, with no other units to shoot at the same target looking to add their pips to the sole hit obtained here. 

Brigade Goulus  rolls a Triple Move, but it seems the Ghouls have no Magic. 

The Brigade's battery does a "Shoot, Limber, Move, and Unlimber; rolling a D4 it misses, to no one's surprise!

 The Brigade has plenty of movement (24" to attack the suburbs of Caldiero, and had they rolled EVEN, any attack columns could have engaged in immediate Melee. However, they... did not.  
Ther Raw Hungarian unit garrisoning the' 'burbs Opp fires at the advancing French in Line, but miss (4 vs 5); note that although the rolled EVEN, they failed to beat the targets roll, and thus no Morale effects occur. 

 The French, having escaped unscathed, shoot back. Not the best unit in the army (CD 8), they are at Short Range (UP 1), First Fire (UP 1), but are shooting into a Class III Town section (DOWN 2). They mange to get the best possible outcome: 8 vs 1!

The Hungarians lose 2 UI  (rocks), and because they lost 2 or more UI from a single fire, and the shooters roll was EVEN, they ROUT back 7", doing the "Shuffle off to Budapest!"  
2 Austrian Morale points are surrendered as well. "L-audace, tojours l'audace!", as the Emperor was fond of saying!
Note that the Austrian battery on the far right could have fired, but chose not to. 

But wait, there's more! :-)  French Reinforcements arrive! First is Espagne's Light Cavalry DIvision. he adds 1 to hsi score (see scenario rules), but rolls a single MOVE, with no fancy business.

3 regiments of Chasseurs with a supporting Horse Battery trot 12" onto the table. 

Valentin's Reserve Grenadier Brigade gets just a single MOVE segment, and enters the table in March Column along a road; this increases their move by 50% to 12". March column is terribly vulnerable to Melee combat, but they would appear to be pretty secure where they are! 

Solinac's Reserve Brigade gets 2 segments, with no fancy pants allowed!

Horse Artillery move 10" per segement instead of 8" for Foot Artillery, and can perform up to TWO actions per segment; thus they can limber and move on the 1st segment, and move and unlimber on the second. They don't need to make use of that ability here... yet. 

Lacour's small Dragoon Brigade gets just one segment. 

They saunter forwards 12", providing some security to the French right flank. 

Overview of the battlefield from the Northwest...

and the Southeast. 

The second French card is a LULL!  Fortunately for Massena, Karl is unable to seize the initiative.

The 3rd French card is ARMY MORALE!  If your army is out of Morale Points, this is when you can either concede the battle, or roll to see if your troops will fight on. Otherwise, the Commander Survival test must be done. All command groups that have had any of its units shot at or in melee since the last ARMY MORALE card  must check for the survival of their commander.  If the Divisional (Corps for large games) or Army Commanders have re-rolled any MOVE attempts, or attempted to rally any units, they must check as well. On a roll of "1" on a D12, the commander is lost. Otherwise there is no effect.

The ARMY MORALE card costs 1 Impetus Point to turn if the Army has any units routed, destroyed, or retreated off the table. As the French have no such units, it does NOT cost an impetus, and after it is acted on, the French will draw one more card.

Launay's Brigade was battered, so cl;early he has to check. "I'm O - K!"

Valory's Brigade has not suffered any UI losses, but was shot at earlier by the long range, seemingly ineffectual Austrian artillery barrage. No problems here, either. 

Same scenario for Compere, who passes as well.

General Camus is momentarily distracted as a bullet whizzes through his chapeau, harmlessly.

Audacity seemingly has it's price, as Goulus looks Ghoulish, rolling 1 "1". He is removed from play. He may not necessarily be (un)dead (in a campaign setting we roll for that). A replacement will be appointed on the next LEADERSHIP card, but until then, his Brigade is leaderless.

Al l of the units in his Brigade are thrown into Disorder; they are marked with "chickens" (in this case, the actual markers are sheep; his men feel baaaadly!)

Massena turns ARTILLERY FIRE as his final card (see prior discussion about the cost to turn ARMY MORALE). 

Unfortunately, the rapid advance of the French infantry has left all of their batteries without targets. 

"Smoke" markers can still be removed from the three batteries that fired earlier. It does not matter whether the batteries are limbered or not. Note that Routed units may not remove Smoke markers, however.

When play resumes, it will be time to dice for a new initiative!


  1. All the magic moves and so punny. Good exposition of the rules and the joy of playing French under them.

    1. The 1805 French vs. Austrians is the most lopsided in Leadership quality of the entire Napoleonic Wars, but seems justified by events!

  2. Very clear explanations of the mechanics of FOB, great stuff. The overview pics look awesome

    1. I concur! Excellent presentation.

    2. Thanks, Gary. As intended, I am picking up on some of the subtle changes from Field of Battle, 2nd edition!

  3. Really nice and clear breakdown, thanks very much!
    Best Iain

  4. Interesting to see this detailed account of Caldiero, and how you've rated the troops too. When I did this I was rather more generous to the Austrians which made it tough for the French! Still the latter achieved victory by taking Caldiero and holding it long enough. Looking forward to the remainder of the battle :)

    1. The French have a small edge in troop quality, but when the Austrian reinforcements arrive, they have a numbers advantage. The big French edge is in Leadership; the French rolled comparatively poorly for their leaders (it is the secondary front, I suppose), otherwise it could have been even more pronounced. The Austrian position is strong, but their weak Southern flank is a vulnerability.

    2. Yes I remember looking at their Southern flank after deploying all the rest of it and thinking, "hmmm, that's not so good!"
      Great stuff cheers Peter.

    3. The french will try to exploit that soon...

  5. What a massive and excellent report!!!! That was a TON of work!

    1. Thanks, Eric. I won't argue with you, especially after Blogger ate the first draft of it when it was about 70% done!

  6. That was a long turn, as you 'warned us'. I can but agree with everyone else: lovely photos and clear explanation. The brilliance of the Piquet/Field of Battle use of action-type cards to manage time is already in evidence.
    Losing ~70% of your work? Ouch, that must have been a cursing moment! Due to such events, I started typing my commentary into a separate word processing file, but have stopped doing it of late. Perhaps I should recommence the process? My main 'fail-safe' now is frequent use of the Save button in Blogger.
    I see that this 'episode' was sponsored by Princeton Mill Store—nice piece of product placement there Msr Director. I also like that the left hand of 'god' has photographed the right!

    1. Thanks, James. Filed of Battle really is a very clever and streamlined design.

      The ,last time I lost a post, I started composing them in Googgle Docs, which works well, but not so much for a very photo heavy series like this one! On the other hand, I always use it for tables that will be inserted into a post.