Italian initial deployment. On the right (West) the 1st ID, facing the Austrians. On the left (East) the 2nd ID, marching East.

Rehearsal game. Battle Report

In order to train teams to play Custoza 1866 with Bloody Big Battles, on September 9, 2021, we played a game in a reduced version, as a rehearsal.

June 24, 1866 – 2nd battle of CUSTOZA – Rehearsal Battle report Played on September 9, 2021, in the Miles Gloriosus Wargame Club in Roma, Italy

Organized by Maurizio (umpire), Figures provided by Falco: 15mm mainly by Mirliton and Lancashire

Players: Massimiliano and Falco as Austrians, Marco as Italians

Rules Bloody Big Battles, by Chris Pringle

Foreword

It has been a rehearsal for the larger battle of Custoza fought on June 24, 1866 (the 2nd battle, actually; the 1st having been fought on July 22/23, 1848) between Italians and Austrians. The real game will be played later.

Scenario

Gen. Durando’s Italian Army Corps has crossed the Mincio river and is marching towards the fortress of Verona. Two small Austrian Corps are due to strike Italians’ left wing. Austrian initiative.

Map

All terrain provides light cover. Hills’ slopes are steep. Villages provide just light cover.

Order of Battle

Italians:

- Lt. Gen. Durando; 1 Artillery stand;

- 1st Inf. Div. Maj.Gen. Cerale (Passive, Raw, Fragile): “Pisa” B.de (4 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); “Forlì” B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

- 2nd Inf. Div. Maj.Gen. Pianell (Raw, fragile): “Aosta” B.de (4 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); “Siena” B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

- 3rd Inf. Div. Maj.Gen. Brignone (Passive, Raw, Fragile): “Granatieri di Sardegna” B.de (4 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); “Granatieri di Lombardia” B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

- 5th Inf. Div. Maj.Gen. Sirtori (Passive, Raw, Fragile): “Brescia” B.de (4 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); “Valtellina” inf. B.de B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

- Cavalry B.de (2 stands; Passive, Raw, Fragile)

Austrians (all troops Tactical inepts and Veterans)

- V Army Corps, FZM Rodich:

• Inf. B.de Col. v.Bauer (Trained, Aggressive): 1st half B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 2nd half B.de (2 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

• Inf. B.de Maj.Gen. Möring (Trained, Aggressive): 1st half B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 2nd half B.de (2 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

• Inf. B.de Maj.Gen. Piret (Trained, Aggressive): 1st half B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 2nd half B.de (2 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

- Reserve Division, Maj. Gen. Virtsolog:

o Inf. B.de Maj.Gen. Benko v. Boinig (Raw, Aggressive): 3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand; 2nd half B.de (2 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 1 Artillery stand;

o Inf. B.de Col. Prinz zu Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (Raw, Aggressive): 1st half B.de (3 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand); 2nd half B.de (2 Inf. stands + 1 Skirmish stand).

Objectives

Objectives 1 and 2 are 10 VP worth; Objective 3 is 20 VP worth. If the Austrians take obj.3, the Italian line of operation is cut.

Plans

Italians intend to take obj.1 and 2, while securing both bridges.

Austrian intend to take obj. 1 and 2, in order to lure Italians to weaken the defence of the bridges, and the strike to get them.

Deployment

Austrians

Bauer on Hill 1, Möring on Hill 2, Piret on Hill 3, Cavalry on the left wing. V.Virtsolog in reserve. All facing south.

Italians

1st Div. on the northern road, between the bridge N, village A and halfway village B, facing north. 5th Div. on the same road, close to village B, marching east. Cavalry brigade and 3rd Div. on the southern road, between Hill 5 and 7, marching east. 2nd Div. on the southern road, just having crossed bridge B, and marching east.

Execution

Italians were effectively lured to the eastern side of the table (where Obj. 1 and 2 lay). In the final stage of the game, they were employing both the Cavalry brigade and the entire Grenadier Division just to pin the Austrian Cavalry brigade. On the western side, the Bauer brigade attacked immediately, resulting in a blunder, because just the eastern half brigade was activated successfully. Möring, Piret and the cavalry did better, successfully moving to attack Sirtori's Division, who was able to deploy, but was outnumbered and outflanked and had to withdraw. In the following rounds, the gallant Bauer’s left half brigade who attacked first wss routed, but the right half brigade successfully repulsed Cerale’s Division, being eventually routed by joined Cerale’s and Pianell’s divisions on the 8th round. On the Austrian left side, Möring and Piret pushed back Pianell, who was able to contain them with an orderly retreat. The Austrian Cavalry made a dashing ride from village from village C to village D, and then turned right, towards the final prize (bridge S), but was met by Italian cavalry. A harsh melée ensued, in which nobody prevailed. Italian Granatieri’s division joined the melée, without any luck, and the Austrians were able to sustain the fight for three rounds without being defeated (that was dice’s will). Austrian reserve arrived in round 4, but took two rounds to enter on the filed, because they were in march column on the road. In addition, one of Weimars’ half brigades unsuccessfully activated from 5th to 8th round. So, Virtsolog’s troops, having occupied bridge N, attempted a dash to bridge S, but were easily contained by Sirtori’s division. At the end of the 8th turn, both sides agreed to end operations. Conclusion In terms of objectives, both sides were equal, Austrians having got Obj. 1 and 2, and Italians having secured Obj.3. The Austrians, however, suffered twice the casualties of the Italians (10 stands against 5). So, the game ends with a marginal Italian victory.

 

Map

Italian initial deployment. 5th ID, marching East. On the right, the southern bridge (Obj.3).

Initial Italian Deployment. 1st ID, occupying the Village A.

Initial Italian deplyment. 1st ID, occupying Hill 5

Better view of Forlì Brigade, 1st ID, on top hill 5

Italian initial deployment. 5th ID on the northern road, close to village B. In the first round, they started to rotate to face north.

Austrian initial deployment. Bauers's Brigade, on top Hill 1

Austrian initial deployment. Moering Brigade behind Hill 2

Initial Austrian deployment. Piret's Brigade before Hill 2

Turn 1. Austrian initiative. Half of Bauer's Brigade was successfully activated, and gallantly attempted an assault on Cerale's right wing

On the left, Moering's Brigade drives to Sirtori's Division column, while Piret (upwards) is closing up to bar the road.

The aggressive Bauer's half Brigade is going to receive a bitter welcome.

and their attack is repulsed

On the East, Italian Cavalry is racing to Obj.2 and the 4th ID changed front to the North

The Italian 4th ID (left) and 2nd ID (right) swinging North

Sirtori's ID is forced to stop his march East and face the new threat

On the second turn, the 2nd Bauer's half Brigade comes to grip with with Cerale's Forlì Brigade, pushing it back.

Moering Brigade clashes with half of Sirtori's ID

Piret's Brigade marches on to help Moering Brigade and stop Brignone's 3rd ID

A cavalry melée is in the air

Bauer's troops occupy hill 5, and Forlì Brigade withdraws

Moering too, pushes back Sirtori.

Austrian Virtslog reserve arrives

With the help of Pianell's ID, the Italians stabilize their line

Virtlog's reserve crawls to the southern bridge

Bauer's gallant survivors endure Italian retaliatory fire and hold their ground,

Virtslog's artillery is silenced and must retreat

On the far South-East, both Cavalries eventually clash

Bauer's Brigade is reduced to a very handful of heroes, but they hold fast

The Cavalry melées proves indecisive: both repulse each other. Because of the indecisive outcome, Bringnone's Granatieri ID is directed to help the Italian Cavalry

In a second melée between Austrian Cavalry, versus the Italian Cavalry and the Granatieri di Sardegna Brigade, the result is a new draw! Dice will!

Virtslog's reserve still crawls in the West. The leading Brigade fails to charge the enemy for half a inch!

Bauer's heroes still stand fast!

In the West, Virtslog's recruits are checked by the Italians

The fight in the South-East is far from a solution, but drains even more resources from the Granatieri ID

And Bauer's heroes still hold fast, securing themselvs a place of honour in the Walhalla!

The end

One o'clock in the morning, both sides agree to end the fight. Austrians hold Obj. 1 and 2, while Italians hold Obj.3, thus in terms of geographical VPs is a draw. But the Austrians suffered twice the casualties than the Italians, so the latter won a minor tactical victory