Novi - 15th August 1799

This scenario has been developed by Bill Haggart


The Russian and Austrian forces under Suvorov had thundered  across the Po River valley, recapturing most of the territory conquered by Napoleon two years before. The veterans Moreau, Mcadonald and Schérer each in turn had been soundly defeated. Only the fortress of Tortona and the scattered French forces around Genoa  the coastal towns further west. The Directory placed their hopes in thirty year-old General Barthélemy Joubert. They saw Joubert as a possible rival to Napoleon and a replacement in the hearts of the French which they could use.  Joubert landed in Genoa with reinforcements on August 4th, ordering a concentration at Novi as preliminary to lifting the siege at Tortona as the Directory had ordered.  There was some hope that he could link up with the 15,000 man Army of the Alps under Championnet, or at least at as a distraction for Joubert's offensive.  Championnet could not reach Joubert until August 20th. Suvorov had acted with dispatch and advanced on Joubert as he reached Novi. After a few days of sparring, Joubert  held a strong defensive position against Suvorov's superior numbers. Thinking Joubert would continue to advance against Tortona on the 15th, Kray decided to attack what he thought would be French march columns.  Suvorov concurred.  Supposedly, Defelden's forces would hold the advancing French as Kray and Melas turned their flanks.   Joubert was set on enhancing his already formidable reputation and knew the Allies outnumbered him. He had no intentions of  complying with the Allied expectations.  

Orders of Battle:

Allied Army, Marshal Suvorov  AC    

(50,211:  43,011 infantry, 7,200 cavalry, 66 guns)

Kray’s Austrian Corps: Kray  CC (26,346) 

  • Corps Art Btn #1                   M5 [ ][ ] hvy
  • Corps Art Btn #2                   M5 [ ][ ] fld
  • Corps Art Btn #3                   M5 [ ][ ] fld
  • Corps Hrs Art Bty                  M6 [ ] fld

Right Wing: Bellegarde (DC), Ex=14

  • I.R. #33 Sztaray *                 M6 [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. #32 Gyulai *                  M5 [ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. #8 Huff                       M5 [ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. #10 Kheul                     M5 [ ][ ][ ] 
  • I.R. # 39 Nadasdy RW*              M5 [ ][ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R.  #39 Nadasdy LW*              M5 [ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. #45 Lattermann                M5 [ ][ ][ ]
  • Dragoon Regt. #1 Kaiser            M6 [ ][ ] med
  • Hussar Regt. #2 Erzh.Josph         M5 [ ][ ] lt

Advance Guard: Seckendorf (DC), Ex=3 

  • I.R. # 14 Oranien                  M5 [ ][ ][ ]
  • Szluiner Croat Btn                 M6 [s][s]
  • Hussar Regt #5                     M5 [s] lt

Left Wing: Ott (DC), Ex=10

  • I.R. #4 Deutschmeister RW          M6 [ ][ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. #4 Deutschmeister LW          M6 [ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. # 48 Vukasovich*              M5 [ ][ ][ ]
  • I.R. # 16 Terzy                    M5 [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
  • Szluiner Croat Btn                 M6 [s][s]
  • Dragoon Regt. #3 E. Johann         M5 [ ][ ] med
  • Hussar Regt. Erzh. Johann          M5 [s]lt

Defelden’s Russian Corps: Defelden  (CC/(DC), (15,552)

Defelden’s Russian Reserve, Ex=7

  • Gren. R. Rosenberg                 M5 [ ][ ]
  • M.R. Schveikovsky                  M5 [ ][ ] ne
  • M.R. Forster                       M5 [ ][ ][ ] ne
  • M.R. Tyrtov                        M5 [ ][ ] ne 
  • M.R. Baranovsky                    M5 [ ][ ][ ] ne
  • Corps Art Btn                      M5 [ ][ ] hvy

Advanced Guard: Bagration (DC), Ex=6          

  • Miller Btns                        M4 [s] ne
  • Bagration Btn.                     M5 [s] ne
  • Combined Grenadiers                M6 [ ][ ][ ] shock
  • Dragoon Regt. #4 Karaiczay         M5 [ ][ ] med

   Russian Cossack contingent:

  • Denisov Cossacks                   M4 [s] lt lncr
  • Sychov Cossacks                    M4 [s] lt lncr
  • Grekov Cossacks                    M4 [s] lt lncr
  • Semernikov Cossacks                M4 [s] lt lncr

Miloradovich’s Russian Division: Miloradovich (DC), Ex=3 

  • M.R. Jung Baden                    M5 [ ][ ] ne
  • M.R. Dalheim                       M5 [ ][ ] ne
  • M.R. Milorodovich                  M5 [ ][ ] ne

Melas’ Austrian Corps: Melas CC

Frelich’s Division: Frelich (DC), Ex=9 

  • Gren. Bgde Lusignan                M6 [ ][ ] shock 
  • Gren. Bgde Louden                  M6 [ ][ ] shock
  • Gren. Bgde Mittrowsky              M6 [ ][ ] shock
  • Gren. Bgde Nobilli                 M6 [ ][ ] shock
  • I.R. #36 Furstenberg               M5 [ ][ ][ ] ne
  • I.R. #18 Stuart                    M5 [ ][ ][ ] ne
  • Dragoon Brigade                    M5 [ ][ ] med
  • Corps Art  Btn                     M5 [ ][ ] hvy

*Hungarian Regiments

32 infantry, 11 cavalry, 6 artillery, and 10 command stands. Six stands of Cavalry are skirmish stands as are two infantry stands.  

Allied Army Notes:

While this army was a composite of Russian and Austrian troops, it was a victorious army. Its morale was generally high, its leader Suvorov inspirational.

This OOB is taken from Christopher Duffy’s book on Suvorov, "Eagles over the Alps". It is not clear whether there were battalion guns with the army, but given his past history of marching without waiting for them, Suvorov probably didn’t have them with him. If they had been present, the small guns would have been left behind in the assaults on the heights because of the vineyards and congested terrain on the slopes surrounding Novi. In the plain they would not have been able to elevate to hit the French. (It was A problem for all the Allied artillery.) Most commands have been given 50% exhaustion levels.  The Russian and Austrian Grenadier units have been allowed 60%.  Artillery has been counted for exhaustion.  Whether you have Mass stands for the Austrians and Russians is a judgement call considering their size and the debates over what Mass and Linear represent.  We have all infantry units on Mass stands and cavalry depending on size. 2SP stands are linear. All Cossacks are on skirmish stands. Duffy claims that Russian line infantry were used as effective skirmishers during the campaign. If players want, they can allow on skirmish stand per Russian Regiment. However, as the Russians are committed to an assault, the skirmishers will not be of much benefit. 

The Allied Setup:

Kray’s entire column sets up within 18 inches of Kray’s command stand which itself is placed on the "K" on the map.  Bagration’s Division sets up within command distance of his command stand which is located on the "B". Miloradovich’s and Defelden’s commands enter the board at 11:00 am within 9" of the "D" on the map edge. Suvorov comes on with these troops. Melas entire command comes on the 12:00 pm turn within 9" of the "M". All artillery is limbered and no infantry is stationary, but any may start setup or come on the board in road column. 


French Army, Gen. de Division Joubert (AC) 

(37,574**: 35,487 infantry and 2,097 Cavalry, 43 guns)

  • Army Reserve Art #1                M5 [ ][ ]hvy
  • Army Reserve Art #2                M5 [ ][ ]fld

Left Wing: Perignon CC (DC, of LW Reserve)

Left Wing Reserve, Ex=7 (5,877) 

  • 29th Legere                        M6 [s][s]
  • Brigade Clausel                    M5 [ ][ ][s]
  • Brigade Partouneaux                M5 [ ][ ][ ][ ][s]
  • Cav. Brigade Richepanse            M5 [ ][ ] hvy
  • LW Reserve Artillery               M5 [ ] [ ] fld

Division Grouchy (DC), Ex=6 (5,620)

  • 26th Legere                        M6 [s][s]
  • Brigade Grandjean                  M5 [ ][ ][s][s]
  • Brigade Charpentier                M5 [ ][ ][ ][s] [s]

Division Lemoine  (DC),  Ex=7 (6,410)  

  • 5th Legere                         M6 [s][s]
  • Brigade Garreau                    M5 [ ][ ][ ][s][s]
  • Brigade Seras                      M5 [ ][ ][ ][s][s]

Right Wing: Gouvion Saint-Cyr CC (DC of RW Reserve)

Right Wing Reserve  Ex=5 (2,845) 

  • RW Reserve Brigade                 M5 [ ][ ][ ][s][s]
  • RW Reserve Cavalry***              M5 [s][s]med 
  • RW Reserve Artillery               M5 [ ][ ]fld

Brigade Colli: Colli (DC),  Ex=4 (4,260)  

  • 24th Ligne                         M6 [ ][ ][ ][s]

  • 68th Ligne                         M5 [ ][ ][ ][s]

Division Labroissiere: Labroissiere (DC), Ex=6 (3,976)

  • Brigade Quesnal                    M5 [ ][ ][s][s]
  • Brigade Gardanne                   M5 [ ][ ][s][s]

Division Watrin: Watrin (DC),  Ex=6 (6,040) 

  • Brigade Calvi                      M6 [s][s] 
  • Brigade Arnaud                     M6 [s][s][s]
  • 62th Ligne                         M5 [ ][ ][ ][s]
  • 78th Ligne                         M5 [ ] [ ] [s]

Division Dabrowski: Dabrowski  Ex=3 (2,340) 

  • 17th & 55th Ligne                  M5 [ ][ ][s]
  • Polish & Cisalpine Legions         M6 [ ][s]

**  The larger infantry count has been taken from St.Cyr, while the     Larger Cavalry number has been taken from Jomini to provide some    Balance for the scenario. (OOBs taken from NAPOLEON #15 "The Allies  Strike Back")

*** All the cavalry in the Left Wing has been concentrated in the     Reserve while the 6th Hussars (400 men) and two squadrons of Polish Cavalry were actually in Brigade Petitot and Dabrowski’s Division     respectively.

20 infantry, 2 cavalry, 4 artillery, and 9 command stands.

The French Army Notes:

The Army facing the Allies was experienced and well led. They were the victors of the 1796-7 campaign, but they were outnumbered and on the defensive.  A typical French army in organization, small artillery units were difficult to combine and still keep their battle performance. The army was given a 50% exhaustion level of all the divisions.

French Setup:

The entire French Army may set up anywhere on the Lower level hill(light tan).  This includes the towns of Novi and Pasturana as well as in the village of La Cattanietta which is not on the hill. Units may start stationary and artillery unlimbered. 

The Map

The Novi map can be downloaded for off-line viewing. The map is in .bmp format and has been compressed using Winzip.

The terrain was very difficult to simulate as much of the very cultivated terrain of Northern Italy has proven to be in other scenarios. The heights were about 200 ft above the plain and covered with vineyards and small, terraced farms.  To simulate that, Units on the hill enjoy the hill combat benefits when attacked by units in the plain.  Any units must stop for the turn when coming in contact with the green brush lining the slope sides. They may move over it in the next turn but only at half speed. Any units attacked across the brush gain saving throws in addition to the +1 die modifier for defending on a hill slope. (We had tried having units disordered crossing the green brush line, but that proved to be too much of a French advantage and didn’t represent what actually happened.)  This green brush will also cause major problems for the French it they need to withdraw South through the Braghena Gorge.  The slopes with green brush should be considered steep slopes.

All town stands in Novi are considered prepared works for combat. In the words of Christopher Duffy, Novi . . ."in 1799 was enclosed by a strong medieval wall furnished with battlements and a deep ditch." [Page 138]  

The dark brown hills south of Novi are about 50 ft higher than the surrounding tan-colored heights. Units on these hills enjoy the combat effects of hills when attacked from below on the tan-colored terrain.

Other than the rules above, white, light tan and brown surfaces are open terrain, though in reality the entire rolling area was covered with farms and fields.

Game Length:

The game starts at  6 am and ends at the end of the 9pm turn giving a total length of fifteen turns. The Allies move first. 

Victory Conditions:

Both sides were intent on destroying each other’s army and the actual terrain was fairly unimportant.  Each side receives one point for each 10 SPs lost by the enemy(no rounding up), 5 points for each enemy division that is exhausted, 10 for divisions that have collapsed. Any units routed on the table at the end of the game count as lost for victory calculations. 8 Points are awarded for the occupation of all parts of Novi.

Scenario Rules:

This battle is the scene of the famous story told by Bagration.  About nine-thirty in the morning, when he had not received orders to attack though Kray was heavily engaged, Bagration went to find out what Suvorov wanted. Confirming rumors he’d heard, Bagration found the great man laying in the midst of his staff, apparently asleep.  After Bagration had been engaged in a discussion with Defelden and others for about five minutes, Suvorov jumped up exclaiming,  "God how I must have slept!  Like a stone! Now it’s time for action!"  Whether Suvorov was asleep or just listening to incoming reports waiting for the right moment as Bagration suspected, Suvorov’s "sleep" creates problems:  Half of the Allied Army was held inactive until late morning, all while Kray fought on alone.

So here is a choice:

A.) the first entry and release times are as in the actual battle.  And B.) "Suvorov Sleeps" adds a little uncertainty to the game for both sides.

A. The actual entry times: for Defelden’s corps and Melas is given.  Bagration may not move until the 10 am turn.  Kray’s corps is free to move the first turn of the game. 

B. Suvorov Sleeps:  At the beginning of the 8am turn, the Allied player rolls a D6:

On a roll of 5, Bagration is free to move. A roll of 6 allows Bagration to move and the remainder of Defelden’s corps to enter the board. If Bagration has rolled to move, but Defelden has not, then the next roll requires a 5-6 for Defelden to move. This is done at the beginning of every turn until both Bagration and Defelden can move. The very next turn, the die is rolled for Melas, who may move on a roll of 4-6. Melas may not roll to move until the turn following Bagration and Defelden both winning their rolls.  

This is a little more exciting and creates very different games each time.

Optional Rule: Suvorov was a highly inspirational leader, but displayed little of this ability during the battle of Novi.  If desired, players may use the Suvorov rule from the Trebbia scenario also on this website.

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