Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Battle of Fossano

Campaign Map at start of battle

Bonaparte wants to defeat Colli and force him to retreat away from Alessandria before the Austrians can join the Sardinians there.

To protect Turin, Colli must either hold Fossano or retreat along the Turin road and look for another defensive position.   He has opted to hold Fossano with his 1st division because it also allows him to place his 2nd division at Alessandria until Beaumont arrives with the Austrian army.

Table at start of battle

Fossano is the town at the top centre

The centre road leads to Turin

The right hand road leads to Alessandria

1st Sardinian division are in and around Fossano

5th French division are in position to attack Fossano

1st Sardinian Division

General Brempt is classified as a Poor commander
He commands 3200 infantry, 400 cavalry and 400 gunners
His cavalry are heavier and better quality than the French
His infantry have better fire power than the French
His artillery has longer range than the French

5th French Division

General Bonaparte is classified as a Gifted commander
He is present at the battle, but does not command the division

General Serurier is classified as an Average commander
He also commands 3200 infantry, 400 cavalry and 400 gunners

His infantry are better skirmishers than the enemy

 Move 1 - 0800 to 0900

The Sardinian cavalry are heavier and more effective than the French

5th French – Artillery, supported by cavalry, unlimber to right of road
1st Sardinian – hold orders and enemy out of artillery range

Move 2 – 0900 to 1000

Bonaparte orders his cavalry and artillery to pin the enemy left
1st Sardinian – dragoons move forward to counter French chasseurs
5th French – infantry deploy to left of artillery and cavalry

Move 3 – 1000 to 1100

Bonaparte orders three infantry brigades to attack the enemy right
1st Sardinian – artillery fire and hit French infantry who fail morale and are shaken
5th French – three infantry brigades advance left of road

Move 4 – 1100 to 1200

Bonaparte is taking a risk advancing his infantry without cavalry or artillery support
5th French – artillery fire on infantry but miss
1st Sardinian – infantry form line and extend to their right

Move 5 – 1200 to 1300

1st Sardinian – artillery hit French gunners who make their morale
5th French – artillery, who are now less effective, fire on dragoons but miss

Move 6 – 1300 to 1400

Brempt moves his artillery to engage the French right
As they start to move the French gunners manage to hit the Sardinian dragoons
They have no infantry support, roll a low dice for their morale test, fail and rout
Without cavalry or artillery the Sardinian left is very vulnerable
Serurier responds by advancing his right wing.
The cavalry move forward to charge the limbered artillery
The artillery limber to move within close range of the enemy
The supporting infantry form column of attack and move forward in support

Move 7 – 1400 to 1500

As the French cavalry charge, the Sardinian gunners test their morale to react
They pass the test and seek shelter in the nearby infantry square
5th French – gunners screened by their own cavalry
1st Sardinian – dragoons fail morale and continue to rout
4th French – start to arrive at bottom of table

Move 8 – 1500 to 1600

Brempt orders his division to break contact and retreat north
Bonaparte joins Argereau and orders him to advance to the right of 5 division
1st Sardinian – infantry square and gunners retire towards Fossano
4th French – advance through the pass at bottom of table
5th French – skirmish with enemy infantry

Move 9 – 1600 to 1700

Serurier is finding it difficult to command his widely spread 5th division
He concentrates on his right wing
1st Sardinian – gunners enter Fossano, infantry start to retreat
4th French – continue to advance behind their cavalry screen
5th French – artillery cause casualties to square who fail their morale and are shaken

Move 10 – 1700 to 1800

Bonaparte orders Serurier to concentrate on the town and the rearguard
1st Sardinian – infantry rearguard stand firm in line
5th French – four brigades skirmish with rearguard, but will not close to volley range
4th division - still moving through the pass, but the leading brigades are advancing east of the road

 Move 11 – 1800 to 1900

The French have won the skirmish fight to the left of Fossano.
Both brigades of the Sardinian rear guard have been routed, as have their cavalry
A third brigade is fleeing through the town and is disordered
The gunners have abandoned their artillery
A night falls the Sardinians flee the field

1st Sardinian division in rout

Bonaparte has achieved a considerable victory
For the loss of 80 infantry 40 cavalry he has broken the enemy division
He is also well placed to either march on Turin or turn on the 2nd Sardinian division at Alessandria

Brempt has lost 400 infantry and 40 cavalry; he has also abandoned his guns
His division is broken and in rout, and will take at least 24 hours to rally

We used our own wargame rules to fight the battle
They can be found here

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