Friday, January 22, 2016

Maida 1806 using Carnage and Glory 2 (Part 1)

Maida     July 4th, 1806     Part One: The Scenario

The battle of Maida in Southern Italy, July 4th, 1806

Continuing with the Carnage and Glory 2 system, we ran a small division-sized scenario in the attic.  The system can handle any size battle. With a smaller scenario such as this, playing time should take approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours. This scenario can easily be adapted for any rules system.

The 1/42nd Ligne advances against the 78th Highlanders

The battle of Maida in southern Italy is a great pick-up game. There is a division of infantry on each side, with a few guns and a light cavalry unit thrown in for fun. The terrain is very simple as well, allowing for a quick set-up and break-down after the game. Maida is a perfect choice for a scenario to start learning the Carnage and Glory 2 system.

Before the actual AAR of the game with Carnage and Glory 2, here's the scenario information:

Historical background of the battle: To support the defense of Sicily, British Major General Sir John Stuart organized an expedition to invade southern Italy. After landing at the Bay of St. Euphemia in Calabria, a short engagement resulted and the defending French General Reynier (actually Swiss) was alerted to the presence of the British force. Both sides were mistaken in the assessment of the other's forces; the British totally underestimated the French numbers, while Reynier was thoroughly confident that he could push the British back into the sea. Reynier concentrated his forces near the town of Maida, as the British marched onto the Maida plain. The engagement was on.

 General de Division Reynier

The battle: The French marched towards the British force in line formations, contradicting the popular notion that they threw themselves at the British in columns. The smoke from the artillery, as well as the dust produced by the cavalry, actually shielded the movement of the French as the lines closed. An attack on the British right into the scrub brush was repulsed by British flankers and the
Corsican Rangers, while the action in the center consisted of a firefight between the French and the redcoats, with the British gaining the upper hand and advancing. At this point, French General Compere saw the British infantry discarding their greatcoats and assumed by the movement (and confused by the smoke and chaos) that the British were retreating. The French charged with great élan, only to be met by steady lines at 30 paces. The resultant point-blank fire was devastating, and the French began to rout, taking the entire center with them.

 The 1st Legere routing after a British volley

General Compere was wounded twice before falling right in front of the British infantry. The redcoats pursued Compere's force all the way to the village of Maida, inflicting 900 casualties with the loss of only 50. As this was happening, the French right flank was holding its own, but became isolated and forced to withdraw. After some successful volley fire by the 23rd Legere, and with the help of Reynier's chasseurs, his shattered force withdrew from the field. Due to the lack of British cavalry, there was no further pursuit. The battle was a resounding British victory, even though the British force (after advancing inland with great success) embarked for Sicily after a few weeks due to Marshal Massena's advance upon southern Italy after the siege of Gaeta ended. Many historians view Maida as the first clear example of the superiority of British lines versus French columns, but in actuality, most of the French and allied infantry deployed into line formation as well. Possibly the real reason for the French defeat is the fact that Reynier totally underestimated the grit and toughness of the British infantry; his troops didn't wear down their opponents with skirmishers and artillery, preferring to gut it out in a losing succession of firefights and charges. The charge of Compere's infantry into the fire of the British, and the ultimate rout from the results of those volleys, began a "domino effect" that fractured Reynier's force, allowing Stuart to counterattack with vigor. The final casualty figures were approximately 1,200 French to 340 British. Maida was hailed, in spite of its small number of combatants, as a "great" victory by the allies. In truth, the French seemed unbeatable up until this point, so any good news was considered "great" news. As a side note, the Emperor Napoleon shrugged off the defeat, stating that Reynier "merely had a bad plan."

                                     The historical deployment

The scenario details:  This scenario is a challenging battle for the French to win. The British infantry lines are especially tough to break. Thus, the recommended strategy for the French is to be patient and to use their greater advantage in offensive skirmishing, greater overall numbers, and a unit of cavalry. The British should employ historical tactics, that is to punish the attacking French with musket volleys/artillery and to counterattack aggressively when given the opportunity.

 Colonel John Kempt

Terrain: The battlefield of Maida has relatively simple terrain. Treat the low scrub bushes on the left flank of the British as 3/4 speed for movement purposes (disruptive terrain movement is not necessary).  The Lamato river is shallow and dry in parts, so the stream may be forded at will (treat as disruptive movement and 1/2 movement speed). The area to the British right across the stream is rather rough and rocky, filled with shrubbery; I treat this area as disruptive terrain as well.

Weather: The weather is sunny/clear and the ground is firm.

Deployment:  This action can be played out on a 6' x 5' table. The attached map demonstrates the historical deployment of forces (Compere's and Kempt's brigades deploy at 750 paces between them--echelon other brigades as on the battle map). Another option is to deploy as the players wish at 750 pace distance, as long as it is agreed upon between players. The British must deploy first in this instance.

Open Order: The British Combined Light battalion, Corsican-Sicilian battalion, Swiss infantry on both sides, French Legere and Ligne troops may form open order. The French Chasseurs may also form open order.

Skirmishing: British Foot, Grenadiers, and Highlanders have provided their light companies to form the Combined Light battalion, so skirmishers will be set as none for these units. The Polish conscripts also do not have effective skirmishers, either defensively or offensively. All other units may utilize offensive skirmishers.

Reinforcements: The 20th Foot regiment arrives on the bottom table edge in support of the rest of Cole's brigade. This unit can be programmed within the system as expected on Turn 2. In our game, they didn't show up until the game was almost over.

Artillery: All British and French horse guns are light 6 pounders, with no howitzers.

 Victory:  The game will last 8 turns. This time limit is to simulate Reynier's zeal to throw the British back "into the sea." The pressure to attack is definitely on the side of the French. As an option, players may fight until one side or the other fails morale, however long it takes.

The Order of Battle:

The French:

Division Reynier - Attack
  [ 101] General de Division Reynier - Active C+     (Mediocre)

    Brigade Compere - Attack
    [ 102] General de Brigade Compere - Active B     (Good)
 [ 101] 1/1st Legere                      0/ 905      C+ [sk]    (Veteran)
 [ 102] 2/1st Legere                      0/ 905      C  [sk]     (Regular)
 [ 103] 1/42nd Ligne                     0/1046     C  [sk]     (Regular)

    Brigade Peyri - Attack
    [ 103] General de Brigade Peyri - Active B-      (Above Average)
 [ 104] 1/1st Polish-Italian Legion       0/ 472       D+     (Conscript)
 [ 105] 2/1st Polish-Italian Legion       0/ 465       D+     (Conscript)
 [ 106] 1/1st Swiss Regt                      0/ 630      C  [sk]    (Regular)

    Brigade Digonnet - Attack
    [ 104] General de Brigade Digonnet - Active B-     (Above Average)
 [ 107] 1/23rd Legere                          0/ 630      C  [sk]      (Regular)
 [ 108] 2/23rd Legere                          0/ 636      C  [sk]      (Regular)
 [ 109] 1/4th Artillerie a Cheval           0/ 150 [ 6]  B-           (Elite)
 [ 110] 32nd Chasseurs a Cheval       0/ 328      C  [sk]      (Regular)

       0/  5689 Bayonets
       0/   328 Sabres
       0/   150 Artillerists
       0/     6 Cannon
       0/  6167 Total of all arms
              5 Standards present

The British:

 Division Sir John Stuart - Attack
  [ 501] Major General Sir John Stuart - Active B-     (Above Average)

    Brigade John Kempt - Attack
    [ 502] Colonel John Kempt - Active B-                  (Above Average)
 [ 501] Combined Light Bn.                0/ 694           B- [sk]   (Elite)
 [ 502] Corsican Rangers/Sicilian Vols    0/ 272     C- [sk]  (Second Line)
 [ 503] 1/RHA Battery                     0/ 100 [ 4]         B-        (Elite)

    Brigade Lowry Cole - Attack
    [ 503] Colonel Lowry Cole - Active B-             (Above Average)
 [ 504] Combined Grenadier Bn             0/ 485      C+      (Veteran)
 [ 505] 1/27th Inniskilling Regt              0/ 781        C       (Regular)  

    Brigade Acland - Attack
    [ 504] Colonel Acland - Active B-                    (Above Average)
 [ 506] 1/78th Highland Regt.             0/ 738       C+        (Veteran) 
 [ 507] 1/81st Foot Regt.                     0/ 603      C           (Regular)
 [ 508] 2/RHA Battery                        0/ 150 [ 6]  B-         (Elite)

    Brigade Oswald - Attack
    [ 505] Colonel Oswald - Active B-                   (Above Average)
 [ 509] 1/58th Foot Regt.                    0/ 576      C            (Regular)
 [ 510] De Watteville's Swiss             0/ 287       C           (Regular)
    Regiment Ross - Attack
    [ 506] Colonel Ross - Active B-                        (Above Average)
 [ 511] 1/20th Foot Regt.                   0/ 624       C            (Regular)

       0/  5060 Bayonets
       0/   250 Artillerists
       0/    10 Cannon
       0/  5310 Total of all arms
              8 Standards present

Coming Up:  Part 2 (the game)

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