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"Sacile 1809 - A Horse Foot & Guns Refight" Topic

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Whirlwind19 Mar 2020 10:21 p.m. PST

Please see link for a refight of the Battle of Sacile 1809, using Baccus 6mm figures and the Horse, Foot and Guns rules to recreate the battle between Prince Eugene's Franco-Italian army and Archduke John's Austrian forces, modified from a scenario on Michael Hopper's book Duel of the Princes.


Durban Gamer20 Mar 2020 4:12 a.m. PST

Interesting write up, thanks for posting!

Whirlwind20 Mar 2020 2:42 p.m. PST

Thanks very much

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2020 8:03 a.m. PST

That was interesting. Understand your comment about base removal v attrition but I guess it is just that idea that the 'unit' or base is not annihilated but more combat ineffective. However I agree that in this period, the opportunity to merge weak units or reform them rather than just remove them is more realistic.


Whirlwind21 Mar 2020 9:11 a.m. PST

Thanks very much korsun0. Yes, I very much agree that the 'destroyed' units are (merely?) combat ineffective rather than all killed and wounded, I was thinking more of how such losses happen. So for example, imagine that an artillery unit has a 10% chance per turn in HFG of eliminating an infantry unit at 1000 paces; and so on average it will destroy the target on turn 5; but there is an equal chance of it happening on turn 1 and turn 10. Compare this to an attritional game, where (for example) the artillery unit needs to cause 5 damage on an infantry unit to break it, and at 1000 paces it nas equal chances of inflicting 0,1 or 2 damage each turn. On average the target will still break on turn 5, but the curve of probability looks very different, and perhaps it is more in keeping with how Napoleonic firepower should work. Not sure.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2020 7:03 a.m. PST

Righto I see your reasoning; a question of possible outomes vs probable outcomes to some degree. Hadn't thought of it like that. A barrage at range will slowly cause damage, I'm no Napoleonic scholar by any means but that happened at Waterloo didn't it where the Dutch-Belgians on the front of the slope were slowly worn away by fire. They didn't get destroyed in turn 1, but by turn 5 were looking a bit battered Good point.

SHaT198420 Feb 2021 5:12 p.m. PST

I don't usually indulge in these matters and smaller scales, but if I may offer some 'scenery' comments.

1- If I hadn't seen the write up at bottom of blog I wouldn't have known there were any elevations at all! Maybe just the high angle pix but I expect that 'valleys' and the like will actually contain a region higher than the troops! I'd suggest using more depth, create more 'effect' by actually depicting slopes etc.

2- the scale doesn't lend itslef to good terrain- fixed wide bases etc. SO you have to make terrain that 'normalises' the look. Wider roads if you 'really' want to march on them; bridges- well they may as well like the roads and flat cutouts rather than costly models- after all few actual troops seem to use them.

3- Was the battlefield treeless? Well, even if it was, not 'forested', humans as a rule enjoy shade so some roads and villages should have tree-lines and orchards/ gardens.

4- Roads again- black-no. Brown dirt of some shade(s)-yes. Although I use 30 year old brown felt in 1m strips (that you can curve gently), or 'cut' in curves you will use- I have several shaped 45/90degs/S bends etc., same for stream and rivers. Colour to your hearts desire, will save spreading flock/ grasses all over. And make them longer- less joins mean better 'viewing'.

5- As with trees, add hedges near built up areas. A few cultivated patches also helps. These things add interest and 'diversions' such as 'boggy' fields- cav can't use etc.

Anyway, just my take on getting more ejoyment from gaming… cheers d

Gazzola21 Feb 2021 10:25 a.m. PST

Great game, pics and link. I enjoyed researching and writing this action up for Miniature Wargames magazine, along with Eugene's revenge victory at Rabb where it seemed he learned his lessons from the loss at Sacile. I think Rabb would be a great follow up game and like the real battle, could go either way.

Erzherzog Johann22 Feb 2021 11:56 p.m. PST

I've said before, I think it's very difficult for EHJ to win at Raab. Yes, he chose a good defensive position (he wasn't as tactically incompetent as he's usually considered to be, but his army was not only outnumbered (although not by a huge margin), more importantly, a huge proportion of his troops, both infantry and cavalry, were insurectio militia, of very dubious quality. At Raab, the regulars fought well, as they usually did, but the insurectio did only what could be expected – they were unable to carry out the task they had been given and were overwhelmed.

Gazzola25 Feb 2021 3:52 p.m. PST

When I was researching and reading for the magazine article on the battle of Raab, I did not get the impression that the Austrian commander Johann was tactically incompetent. If anything negative, he may have been somewhat overconfident and believed, because he had beaten Eugene before at Sacile, that he could do so again. As you say, the ground was of his choosing and I think he positioned and held it rather well for most of the time. He held the high ground and in terms of numbers, Johann was only slightly outnumbered until much later on and both sides had troops that did not take part in the action or arrived too late to make any difference. And from what I remember, the Insurrection units didn't do too badly either. Should he have fought the battle there in the first place, is a good question. Perhaps he felt he had no choice and he may not have found a better spot or even had time to find one. And perhaps he thought Eugene might make the same mistakes he made at Sacile? All in all, Raab is a very interesting action.

Erzherzog Johann26 Feb 2021 2:29 a.m. PST

I think Johann's failings were strategic, rather than tactical. He massively depleted his army during the withdrawal after Sacile by continually detaching forces that were, in many cases, subsequently overwhelmed or otherwise neutralised. Of course the main problem was the task he was given in the first place. Had he been given the task of holding the access points out of Italy, he would almost certainly been able to keep Eugene from entering Austria.

Gazzola28 Feb 2021 8:33 a.m. PST

He may, then again, he may not. It is one of things we'll never know. As it turned out Eugene was able to join up with Napoleon, and the rest is history. Doesn't mean we can't change history in wargames though. LOL

Erzherzog Johann28 Feb 2021 4:40 p.m. PST

That's what it's all about eh :-)

Whirlwind10 Apr 2021 11:34 p.m. PST

Hadn't noticed the more recent comments on this until now, my apologies – thanks all.

Thanks for your comments SHaT1984. I will see what I can do to incorporate them…

1 – Relief is hard to get looking nice, relatively accurate and playable on a small table. Partly it is camera angle, as you say, the relief looks bigger to me whilst playing it. I sway between using stand alone hills which are easier to see, in both the positive and negative sense.

2 – I have tried wider roads before, but they are so far out to the ground scale that they just look wrong to me.

3 & 5 – I normally do this, dunno why I didn't for this one! I am slowly working on some more village-y type bases rather than just an 'urban' area base with some buildings on top.

4 – Fine. The roads currently are roofing felt drybrushed brown, but, especially in the pictures, they still look too dark. Adding length is a little trickier for storage reasons (the maximum length of the roads currently is basically the maximum length of a storage box – I will see if I can rustle up a bigger one!).

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