Friday, July 27, 2018

Montebello 1859, BBB


We have played Montebello 1859 a lot over the years, using the Bloody Big Battles rules. It is a short, fast scenario pitting a small, aggressive French force against a larger, clumsy Austrian army. Andrew has never played it before. He chose to command the lumbering Habsburgs. The dice were extremely kind to me on movement rolls and in assaults. My few lousy rolls were in firing, which is less potent in this period before breech loaders. Every turn that the French can launch an assault on the Austrians (even if it stopped by fire) keeps the Austrians from rolling for optional reinforcements. Basically, it represents the French bluffing the Austrians. I was able to launch assaults for the first 6 turns of this 7 turn game, a first.

Uniform purists are warned: the French are in 1870 uniforms and the Sardinian cavalry are actually French Chasseurs d’Afrique. Austrians wear a blend of 1859 tunics and 1866 overcoats. If that doesn’t make you blanch, read on.

There are 4 objectives. If the French hold 3 at the end they win. 2 garners a tie, any less is an Austrian victory.

After dinner and the excellent beer Andrew brought, we began the game. It opened as usual with Sardinian cavalry charging down the road into the arriving Austrians. Fortunately for me, the 84th Line marched down the road at full speed, reaching the outskirts of Montebello. This would prove to be critical.

The Sardinian cavalry not only survived but would prove heroic. The 84th deployed and took possession of Montebello.


In the excitement, I forgot to bring on my turn 3 reinforcements, the 98th and 91st Line regiments. They would arrive on turn 4.

The 98th moved up but most of the fighting was being done by the first two French regiments on the field and the cavalry. The cavalry marched to the right and laid claim to Genestrello. It had previously been bypassed by the hard marching French infantry. The 91st regiment occupied the previously bypassed Cascina Nuova. In previous games the French have forgotten to take some of these towns and had possible wins become ties.




The Austrians were finally able to bring on an optional reinforcement on the last turn, too late for it to get into the fight. They also finally began to flank the French, too little, too late.
Here’s a close-up of the scrum around Montebello, held by the French at game end for a win.
We played 7 turns in 106 minutes, a little over 15 minutes per turn. A bit of time was due to my old Canon getting cranky. It may be time to look for a replacement. Too bad my cell phone doesn’t fit on my tripod. The Austrians lost 3 bases of infantry, the French none.

I made some errors: the 74th Line defeated a raw Austrian unit. That unit should have been marked as spent since it lost a base. Also, bringing on the reinforcements a turn late was a mistake. I think that was all. Hopefully as umpire I won’t repeat these.

Montebello remains one of our favorite games. It requires nearly suicidal aggression on the part of the French.