Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Battle of Castiglione 1796 - The Planning

Looking NE, French on Left, Austrians on Right

Having enjoyed doing the 100 Days Bicentenary refights last year, and having missed many of the earlier Liphook Bicentenary refights I've decided to try and 2-3 "decadal" Napoleonic battles each year - it will also give me some focus for my figure painting and book buying. For 2016 that means battles from 1796 and 1806. Whilst Jena/Auerstedt is obvious for 1806 (particularly since I visited the battlefield in 2006 for the bicentenary re-enactment) the 1796 choices are less obvious. I must admit I don't know a lot about the Revolutionary Wars and Napoleon's campaigns in Italy so I needed to do some reading up. The "name" battles like Lodi and Arcole seemed to be all about bridge storming - which never plays well in wargames. But Castiglione looked like the best choice as not only were there no bridges involved but it's also cited as one of the key battles in Napoleon's tactical development; featuring a feint withdrawal, flank/enveloping attacks and a "Manoeuvre De Derrière"

The view from the French Lines
it, since it's such a set piece, but is light on detailed numbers and some of the account doesn't match well with his maps. I bought the hefty Road to Rivoli by Martin Boycott-Brown, but that adds little, and contradicts more. There are some OOB on the web, but most miss out any mention of guns - and this was also in the day of battalion guns. Timings are also all askew. I found the Grand Manoeuvre scenario, but the provenance of some of the assumptions was unclear (only 4 bn in  Massena's Corps which others put at 10,000 strong?), and the holy grail appears to be Bernhard Voykowitsch's book
- but not about to fork out £50 on the chance of a copy.
Behind the French advance looking towards Solferino
So I've had to make all sorts of educated guess work in putting the scenario together, but once I started building the terrain out of Hexon and laying the forces out it all started to look like it would really be worth the effort. An infantry heavy battle, a mix of flat plain and hilly ridge line, French forces out-numbered at the start but with the promise of reinforcements on flanks and the Austrian rear to come.

I'm just putting the finishing touches to the deployment and scenario (timings? victory conditions?) but battle will hopefully commence before the week is out.

By request here's a link to my scenario and OOB - take it as you find it! http://www.converj.com/docs/wargaming/scenarios/Castiglione%20Scenario%201796.pdf


  1. Thanks for the interest. Added link to the post - and here - http://www.converj.com/docs/wargaming/scenarios/Castiglione%20Scenario%201796.pdf - take it as you find it!