307 Sacile (16 April 1809)
Sacile - 16 April 1809
Undeterred by the loss at Pordenone and still believing his French enjoyed a numerical superiority, Eugene attacked the Austrian army east of Sacile. Covered by artillery, the French moved forward around 9:00 AM and started to push the Austrians back in the center. Although the terrain was somewhat unsuitable for cavalry, Frimont still attacked with his cavalry and Severoli was wounded in the action, which brought the French advance in the center to a halt. Barbou joined the attack in the center and Eugene ordered Grenier to advance against Fontanafredda to turn the Austrian flank. The Austrians counter attacked all along the line and although the French infantry withstood two separate attacks, Eugene failed to commit the cavalry and finally ordered the army to withdraw around 5:00 PM. Scholars say that Sacile may have been Archduke John’s greatest victory, but his decision not to rigorously pursue was “one of his greatest blunders.”
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Archduke John
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 2 Tactician Cards
• Commander: Eugene
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 3 Tactician Cards
• Move First
• The Austrian player gains 1 Temporary Victory Banner when three or more village hexes are occupied or uncontested at the start of the turn (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start)
• The French player gains 1 Temporary Victory Banner when three or more village hexes are occupied or uncontested at the start of the turn. Uncontested means a unit occupies or is adjacent to village hex and no enemy unit occupies or is adjacent to the village hex (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start)
• All streams are fordable.
The Austrians do seem to be everywhere, but for me the killer arer the three cavalry units. My opponent brought them forward and then launched them into a cavalry charge which pinned three of my infantry units in square. Having seen the danger I did position the infantry so he'd get no dice in combat after I formed squares. But I was then down to two cards and the only cards in the centre and right were whisked away by the dquares. For the next few turns I only had two cards with orders for the left wing. I realised that his cavalry could waltz away, attack other infantry units, and they wouldn't be able to form square because my other squares couldn't form back for lack of cards. This is highly ahistorical! The regimental/battalion commanders would know to form back when the cavalry danger was passed. I've always felt this an imbalance in favour of marauding cavalry, but in this scenario it made me realise a well timed cavalry "feint" can paralyse the opposition and then the same cavalry units can begin to pick off other infantry units when they can't form square. Has anyone else found this in any of their C&CN experiences?
Fortunately for me, my opponent didn't realise the opportunity he had and eventually I was able to get back my cards (two only after those units were destroyed). Otherwise he played very well and deserved his victory, but man was it frustrating from my side?
As for the battle itself, I'm pleased to say that I won this game as the French yesterday in an 8-7 banner score and as the score suggests, it was an extremely tight affair and a stimulating game. Will have to see how I get on playing it as the Austrians next time round.
2nd game went much more quickly as aggressive French moves in the centre and right put them into the Austrian firing line early and they got hammered. Prudent use of the central Light cav by the Austrian also helped as it forced reduced French infantry into square then hit French artillery without support (heavily reduced or in square).
Finally getting the message that being aggressive in this game comes at a price - dead units!