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Marsaglia - 4th October 1693

This scenario was supplied by Steve Darrell * Background * The Battle * Notes * Order of Battle * Map * Game Report * Sources Background Italy had always tended to be something of a backwater theatre for the French in the Nine Years' War. Partly this was because of strategic priorities (and prestige), partly it was because of logistical problems. France's entry point into the north Italian plain (and therefore Savoy, one of her opponents) was Pinerolo (Pignerol), a fortress on the eastern side of the Alps. France's only other possession east of the Alps was Casale, on the far side of the Duchy of Savoy. In the summer of 1693, the Confederates under the Duke of Savoy besieged Pinerolo. This alarmed Louis XIV so much that he sent Catinat, the French theatre commander enough reinforcements to allow him to advance and relieve the fortress. Catinat advanced on Turin (the Dukes capital) which forced the raising of the siege. Catinat advanced towards the Duke who decided (against advice) on a battle. The Confederates faced north with the Cisolla and the town of Marsaglia behind them; they tried to seize the Piosaga heights but the French beat them to it. The Battle The French advanced at about 9 am and had the better of a short artillery engagement. They attacked all along the line. The French right was almost immediately successful, exposing the centres flank. On the French left the issue was in doubt longer, but Vendome used the second line to secure victory there too. When their right gave way the Confederate centre also collapsed. The fighting had lasted about four and a half hours. The pursuit carried almost as far as Turin. The Confederates are said to have lost 8,000 to 12,000 men and all their guns, against 2,000 to 3,000 men for the French. Notes Unsurprisingly its hard to get details on this conflict (for example different sources confidently quote Confederate losses as 8,000, 10,000 or 12,000). If anyone can add anything to my information Id be very grateful, whether on this battle in particular or the Nine Years War in general. By the way, the battle is also known as Orbassano and

Marseille. Catinat praised his infantry in his report to Louis, saying "I do not believe, Sire, that there has ever been an action which has shown better what your majestys infantry is capable of." As a result Ive rated the French infantry reasonably well. The Allied infantry are rated much the same though with slightly worse exhaustion rates. I have little information on particular units, so Ive gone with the obvious generally - the Gendarmerie are rated as good, Spanish infantry arent. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the battle is Catinats use of artillery. He certainly seems to have managed to advance guns up close to the Confederate position. Chandler concludes that he kept his guns ready-limbered to accompany the advance and quotes Catinat : "Our cannon were served to perfection, M. de Cray making them follow our troops continually." Ive reflected this by calling the French artillery poorly trained, while the Confederates are stuck with civilian drivers. There are other solutions, e.g. using battalion guns or allowing the French guns to move once. However, if the French have battalion guns but the Confederates keep batteries I think the French will be at a disadvantage that doesnt seem to have been the case historically. Giving the Confederates battalion guns as well makes their guns as mobile as the French, which would also seem wrong. Just allowing the French to move their guns once is introducing another artillery type into the game, which Id prefer to avoid, and in any case the quote above makes it sound like they were more mobile than that. Ive generally avoided any special rules about the period (fire drills, pikes, firearm cavalry etc). Im unconvinced these are a good idea, particularly at the scale of V&B. I tend to prefer to rate these things as part of the initial morale rating- theyre either big enough to make a difference or theyre not. Its also difficult to decide on field equipment in a lot of cases - it seems that units tended to abandon pikes and adopt flintlocks rather faster than the rules and regulations suggest (i.e. the paperwork had to catch up with reality) and its unclear whether theoretical fire systems (as opposed to practising firing ) made much difference. In the battle, the French infantry seem to have attacked with the bayonet, making little use of musketry. A slight inconsistency is to use linear formations for dragoons but massed ones for cavalry : the idea is to relatively weaken the dragoons who dont seem to have been fully developed as cavalry in this period. This may not be worth it, especially since there's one unit on the French left (Fonboissard : Preissac) which I've left as a brigade but MC since it's converged from horse and dragoon units. Of course, this is a wargame and historical accuracy is in the mind of the beholder, so if you disagree with the above and want to introduce modifiers for methods of fire drill etc., feel free.

Order of Battle French, de Catinat (AC)

Army Troops Montbas : Guinaudan : Carabiniers HC IR Vaugrenan M5 Left Wing 1st Line Cavalry Division, de Vendome (DC), Exhaustion = 4 Gendarmerie de France HC M6 [ ][ ] Josfreville HC M5 [ ][ ] Catinat : Grammont HC M5 [ ][ ] Artillery Bttn 1 M5 [ ][ ] Lt, PT 2nd Line Cavalry Division, de Larray (DC), Exhaustion = 2 Villepoin : Catalan : HC M5 [ ][ ] Fonboissard : Preissac MC M5 [ ][ ] Centre 1st Line Infantry Division, de la Hoguette (DC), Exhaustion = 17 IR La Marine M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Conde : Catinat M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Sault M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Medoc : Bigorre M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Touraine M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Clerambault : Flandre M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Quercy : Nivernois : Sauvatre M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Furstemburg M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Vaubecourt M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Feuquieres M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT Dragoons : du Roi dAngleterre (dismtd)M5 [ ] Sk Dragoons : de la Reine (dismtd) M5 [ ] Sk Artillery Bttn 2 M5 [ ][ ] Lt, PT 2nd Line Infantry Division,d'Husson (DC), Exhaustion = 11 IR Clarke : Limerick M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Grancey : Perche M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Dauphine : Tierache M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR La Reine dAngleterre M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Barrois : Labour : Robecq M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT M5 [ ][ ][ ] [ ][ ][ ]

IR Beauce : Ile de France : Bretagne M4 IR Vendome : Gatinois : Poitiers M4 Right Wing 1st Line

[ ][ ][ ] PT [ ][ ][ ] PT

Cavalry Division, de Vins (DC), Exhaustion = 3 Bretagne : St Maurice HC M5 [ ][ ] Senneterre MC M4 [] Robecq : La Reine HC M5 [ ][ ] Artillery Bttn 3 M5 [ ][ ] Lt, PT 2nd Line Cavalry Division, le Grand Prieur (DC), Exhaustion = 2 Valencay : Courlandon HC M5 [ ][ ] Esseville : Ste. Liviere HC M5 [ ][ ] Confederates, Victor Amadeus (AC) Left Wing 1st Line Cavalry Division, Caprara (DC), Exhaustion = 3 Gardes du Corps : Savoie HC M5 [ ][ ] Taf : Carafa HC M5 [ ][ ] Montecuccoli : Palffy HC M5 [ ][ ] Artillery Bttn 1 M5 [ ][ ] Lt, CD 2nd Line Cavalry Division, Prince Eugene (DC), Exhaustion = 2 Royal Piemont : Savoie M5 [ ][ ] Masselotti : Genevois M5 [ ][ ] Centre 1st Line Infantry Division, Palffy (DC), Exhaustion = 14 IR Wurttemburg M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Saxe-Neuburg M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Stadel M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Schomberg : Loche M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Lorraine M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Catuena : Caprara M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Melli : Bisayc M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Naples : Savoy : Lombardy M4 [ ][ ][ ][ ] PT

Cavalry Skirmisher 1 HC Cavalry Skirmisher 2 HC Artillery Bttn 2 2nd Line

M5

M5 [] M5 [] [ ][ ] Lt, CD

Infantry Division, Rabutin (DC), Exhaustion = 12 IR Gardes de Savoie M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Senehant M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Savoie : Saluces : Cujessi M4 [ ][ ][ ][ ] PT IR Montferrat : Chablais : Delissa M4 [ ][ ][ ][ ] PT IR La Croix Blanche : Mondavi M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Napolitain : St Donste M4 [ ][ ][ ] PT IR Besveler : Major M5 [ ][ ][ ] PT Right Wing 1st Line Cavalry Division, Schomberg (DC), Exhaustion = 4 Baviere : Allemand HC M5 [ ][ ] Milanese HC M5 [ ][ ] Commerci : GdC dAllemagne : Espagne HC M5 Milanese : Wurttemburg HC M5 [ ][ ] Artillery Bttn 3 M5 [ ][ ] Lt, CD 2nd Line Cavalry Division, Masset (DC), Exhaustion = 2 Wurttemburg : Balthazar HC M5 [ ][ ] Prince Eugene 1 MC M4 [] Prince Eugene 2 MC M4 [] Notes * Victory Conditions: for both sides, this is simply to damage the enemy army as much as possible while preserving the condition of your own. * The map is supposed to be a table 6 feet by 4 feet. * Artillery battalions represent 10 guns (the Savoyards had 31, the French 30). * Artillery have not been counted for exhaustion purposes. * All infantry are poorly trained. * Note the training ratings for the artillery. * All artillery moves at the heavy artillery rate. * Artillery battalions should be distributed along their parent divisions, not concentrated. Historically, the Savoyard arty were distributed approximately as follows: * 1 unit with the right wing cavalry * 1 unit in the centre

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* 1 unit between the centre and the left wing. * Troops may be stationary at the start of the game. This is probably historically accurate, but if you feel it makes life too tough for the French, feel free to change it. * French army troops may be deployed as the French player sees fit. * Unit names with a colon (or colons) indicate that the V&B unit is a composite of historical units, these being listed with the colons separating them. This is inevitably somewhat arbitrary. * The cavalry skirmishers represent squadrons distributed along the infantry line, apparently to very little effect. The infantry skirmishers represent dismounted dragoons. From what I've read since, it would probably be better to represent them by another infantry stand, probably M4. Map The map is designed for a 6 foot by 4 foot table.

Game Report We played the game twice (not including one attempt aborted after a series of disastrously one-sided die rolls), in both cases with me as Victor Amadeus and Andy Nicoll as Catinat. This resulted in one victory each, in both cases in about the right length of time (i.e. around 5 turns). A couple of comments resulting from these games follow. The French cavalry seem to have had an edge (they had a formidable reputation

throughout the war) and I tried to reflect this in the ratings. This wasn't good enough to save them in one of the battles but given the rule mechanics the dice variability is always going to have a chance to swamp the ratings. This is not necessarily a bad thing - we're trying to get a game, not a guaranteed result, and some of the French subsequently seem to have felt they were lucky to win quite so big - but there's probably a case for making one or two more of the French HC units M6. The distribution of the artillery caused some problems for the French in one game - when their cavalry lost it tended to result in the loss of the guns attached to the cavalry divisions. The idea behind the orbat was to stop the French attempting to form a grand battery, which would be very unhistorical. It might be better to attach all the French guns to the infantry and avoid the grand battery problem by other means (e.g. gentleman's agreement). The historical Savoyard deployment is known and I attached the guns accordingly, but there's certainly a case for calling the left wing artillery unit part of the infantry division. I don't know when sunset happens in October in northern Italy but I'd be amazed if you can make the game last long enough for you to have to worry about it. This was an interesting game, but not one for the beginner : it's very hard to avoid command problems. Making the infantry divisions so large tends to mean that the centres will continue to fight until the victorious wings can interfere, which is accurate. I couldn't resist referring to the non-French side as "Confederate" in some of the above comments, as I thought it might attract the interest of those people who haven't realised military history ended in 1763 :-). While I don't think I've seen it used for the army in Italy, it's certainly used in contemporary documents to refer to the army in Flanders (e.g. "A Relation of the Most Remarkable Transactions of the Last Campaigne in the Confederate Army, Under the Command of His Majesty of Great Britain; and after of the Elector of Bavaria, in the Spanish Netherlands, Anno Dom. 1692" ; how's that for a snappy title ?).