It’s a strange sort of individual who frequents the Great Western Public House on a Friday afternoon in January. Amongst the homeless, the down trodden and a few ageing Cardiff City football hooligans sat the elder fathers of our movement. Chris was at the bar trying to get a pensioner’s discount on the one pound fifty breakfast whilst Colin explained his intention to transport us to a balmy day in April 1809, the Battle of Sacile. After some discussion of personalities we decided to sit Colin on the other side of the table from Chris and for me to direct the glorious French Armee!
The Austrians were ensconced in a tight defensive position above Fontano Freddo. It would take all my insight to come up with a workable plan. Steve , being inexperienced would launch a headlong assault on the heights, Jackson would bypass Vigonovo and roll up the Austrian right through the forests of Roverado. In order to help general Jackson with the heavy woodland fighting, I thought it wise to give him Sahue’s cavalry division…
Barbou’s Division led the assault up the slopes. The VIII Korps looked confident but it was decided to soften the Korps up with the heavy artillery of the Reserve. Steve was so confident that the attack would progress well he diverted half the Third Division to take possession of Fortano.
Meanwhile the Second Division took up position to the left of the village. General Jackson sent his light cavalry out wide to probe Martin’s flank! The assault on the Talponedo heights proceded a pace and the front line of the Austrians started to crumble.
Three times Steve assaulted the rise and three times his gallant blue coats were sent back down the hill. Claiming that the assault had only been a feint, we hastily amended our plan. General Jackson was to be given priority and our right would try and hang on to the gains in the town and its environs.
Archduke John looked dismayed as the advance of the French left restricted the redeployment of the reserve cavalry. Chasseurs and Hussars were locked in a swirling melee on the left of the line. They even managed to best their heavier German opponents. The Austrians fell back into the woods with only their Grenzers holding up the sweeping French advance.
The Austrian right wing may have been discomforted but their centre remained strong with fresh troops as yet uncommitted. Having been battered all day, the Archduke gave the order to move down the hills.
It had been a glorious day! The Blucher rules are great fun and the battle proceeded without any rules disagreements or “discussions”. I think they really capture the essence of the period and we were all very jealous of Colin’s collection at the end of the day. The French felt that they had done better than the actual commanders on the day and the Austrians could claim a commanding position at the close. We would have to leave the post game analysis to tiffin. Happy New Year to all our readers.