Friday, January 19, 2018

Young Bonaparte's debut: Dego 1796

Yesterday evening the Fencibles played a scenario of the first 6 days of Bonaparte’s 1796 campaign in Italy, the Dego phase. This scenario is unusual, with 8 turns representing 6 days of combat and some modifications to represent the much larger scale. Some may say it is more like a board game. That didn’t bother us at all. The figures are 15mm; the French are in correct uniforms. The Austrians are wearing the pre-1809 dress with leather helmets. No, I don’t plan to buy and paint Austrians with casquets. The Sardinians are actually Seven Years War Hungarians. If that offends you, read no further. We figure close enough is good enough. Allied units and leaders are in italics in the photos. The sharp-eyed may notice the houses move around during the game to villages not currently occupied with troops. 

The first game started just after 4 PM.


And our lousy dice against hot enemy dice made their first appearance.


Now both sides rolled poorly.
Actually, the brigade wandered for one day (low movement dice). It felt like more at the time.

And then Dego fell in a nasty series of fights.






As the game wound down…
Wukassowitsch had spent days lolling around the Riviera coast. Beaulieu arrived had them form up and then they struck with a vengeance.

The game took about 2 hours to play 8 turns. It was a tie but almost an Allied victory. The game saw lousy French combat dice against hot Allied combat dice, though Allied marching was abysmal and the French marching was quite speedy. French losses (higher than actual) were 7 stands of infantry with 1 run off, an artillery unit and La Harpe. Our house rules for officer casualties determined that he lost his left leg and was out of action for 4 months. Allied losses (slightly less than actual) were 7 stands of infantry with 2 run off and 1 artillery unit. Andrew arrived to see the last turn and we broke for dinner.

After dinner we switched sides and played again.
Andrew commanded the Allied offensive along the Riviera, no doubt battling hordes of paparazzi along with the French.





The Austrian threat to Montenotte was squashed.
The drive on Ceva continued.


And along the Riviera
Captions are wrong in next picture, Dego was contested by both sides.
Now the town was recaptured from the French.
I missed getting photos of the action around Ceva. Two assaults were launched. The first frontal attack failed, driven back at bayonet point. The second attack was weaker and stopped by withering musket fire. Had the French captured Ceva (a long shot) it would have been a French victory. The French did have two attacks. We only managed one in the first game. As it was, the Austrian recapture of Dego gave us an Allied win.

The game took two hours and three minutes to play. French losses (much higher than actual) were 10 stands of infantry with 1 run off.  La Harpe was badly wounded and out of action for 6 months. Massena was stunned badly when struck by a piece of his aide’s head and not really quite right for 4 days. Allied losses (less than actual) were 7 stands of infantry, 2 run off and Beaulieu badly wounded, hors de combat for 3 months.

My analysis of the second game isn’t as clear. Perhaps this was a feature of wine Bill brought for dinner. Jay also brought a bottle. It will keep until next time. Thanks to both.


All enjoyed the game. It was a series of small fights, much depending on who actually arrived in a timely fashion. There are rumors of more of these in the works from Chris Pringle, designer of BBB rules. We look forward to them.

We won’t be having another game until three weeks hence. Tickets to see Mark Rylance are worth the delay.