There was little hesitation on either side, and the first turn saw plenty of movement.
Both armies advanced according to their orders, although the command rolls created some variety in the urgency of their marching. Good old General de Bevue was a bit slow off the mark and the more impassioned Amore got the jump on him a little.
So, to the action:
The Medetians advanced, while their Cuirassiers swung right to cross the river.
The Fleurians, being a nation with a long memory, remembered what had happened to their French allies at Blenheim and decided that the best time to attack was while the enemy’s cavalry was disordered after crossing water. With that, the Legion Hussars galloped forward and prepared to charge the first line of Medetian heavy cavalry as it emerged from the river Asta.
Pagani’s battery got into position overlooking the bridge and unlimbered swiftly, its commander seeking out the first target for its guns.
Meanwhile on the eastern flank, with lots of lighter troops involved, things were moving more quickly. Friant’s Jager company occupied Spurlacco and immediately took up defensive positions to repel the inevitable Medetian onslaught. It was certainly coming; TheWeissach Grenz soon emerge from the woods, supported by Sebastiani’s grenadier company – the perfect assault troops.
The Wurttemberg Jager moved up alongside the village, to provide its defenders with flanking support. With the enemy’s Braganza Regiment coming coming on inexorably it would be require careful decision making from the Jager commander on how long to stay and fight, and when to pull back. Shooting commenced at long range in an attempt to disrupt or at least slow the attack.
Across the River Asta, Rasalle’s battery had deployed in its central position. Although the respective batteries were within each other’s line of sight throughout the battle there was only to be a single attempt at counter-battery fire (when no other target was viable), which had no success. No, the artillery was to ply its deadly trade against horse and foot, as it was trained to do.
Skirmishing began on the edge of the village, with the safely ensconced Fleurians getting the better of their enemies in the initial exchange.
On the other side of the battlefield the lone squadron of Legion Hussars charged home into Sebastiani’s Cuirassiers as they pulled themselves up the river bank. Although outnumbered and outmatched they had momentum and elan on their side.
The clash lacked weight however, and the hussars effectively bounced off their heavier opponents, losing the fight by one.
What had been a daring move of dash and courage soon turned to disaster as the hussars, lacking support and having failed to make a dent in the Medetian regiment, suffered a moment of doubt and made for the rear!
General Amore waved his hat and shouted ‘bravo!’ as his victorious cavalry brushed themselves down and dried themselves off. Although they showed restraint and didn’t take off after the retreating enemy, the Medetians had won a foothold on the enemy side of the river, just as their infantry on the other flank was pushing forward decisively between the village and the all-important bridge…
..and that’s where we need to leave things until the next installment. Will General Amore’s bold plan continue to succeed after such a good start, or would the slow but steady (and often tipsy) General de Bevue be able to turn the tables and provide Fleurie with an early victory in this campaign?