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Bonaparte in Italy: The Defense of Mantua & the Quadrilateral, July 29, 1796 - January 30, 1797


Like a thunderstorm from out of the Alpine foothills, Marshal Wurmser's Austrian army jolted the French advanced guard of General Massena from their entrenched heights on Monte Baldo. Bonaparte summarized the bleak situation: "The enemy have broken through our line in three places; they are masters of La Corona and Rivoli. Massena has been compelled to yield to superior forces; Sauret has begun his retreat to Desenzano, and the enemy has captured Brescia and the bridge of Ponte San Marco. You see that our communications with Milian are cut off."

Ordering Augereau to join him at Roverbella, Bonaparte directed Serurier to raise the siege of Mantova and fall back, to cover the alternate line of communication via Cremona. Although this meant abandoning the precious siege guns, it gave the French the freedom to unite their forces and engage on their own terms, massing against each Austrian wing in turn.

Staking everything on success, Bonaparte set his forces in motion toward Brescia, leaving a small brigade of 1,500 men at Castiglione to delay three corps of Marshal Wurmser. There was no room for retreat - any reverse would mean utter catastrophe. Bonaparte rode five horses to death, covering 122 kilometers in 42 hours; but the French commander regained the initiative. He routed the Austrians at Lonato, while Wurmser approached Castiglione, a mere five miles away.

Though he succeeded in turning about and driving Wurmser back into the hills, the contest for Italy was far from over; the Austrian Army would return to hurl themselves against the understrength French forces covering the quadrilateral of fortresses - Verona, Legnano, Peschiera, and the ultimate prize - Mantova.

Rules: Napoleon at Bay System (48 pages incl. notes)
Quick Set-up Tables: six 8.5" x 11" Sheets & Displays
Scenarios: Four (July, September, November 1796 and January 1797
Map: One 22 x 34" section by Joe Youst
Counters: 280 (300 including blanks) two-sided pieces by Masahiro Yamazaki
Game Design: Kevin Zucker

GAME SYSTEM: CAMPAIGNS System - Series 1X = 3,200m/hex, 1,000 men/SP, 2 days/turn.

—description from the publisher

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