Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mantua Campaign

Tactical Map at start of Campaign

We have started the second phase of our Campaigns of Napoleon.

It is still in Italy, and it is still 1796, but the action has moved to the east and Bonaparte had deployed his army south of Lake Garda and has started the siege of Mantua.   This new campaign will deal with Wurmster’s first attempt to raise the siege.

The date may be August 1796, but the Austrian uniforms are more 1805 and the French 1812!   The early disclaimer that this is not attempting to be a recreation of the historical campaign eases my conscience that the uniforms are so obviously of a later date.

I have never been a great one for historical accuracy, and have never really understood the aggressive attention to details so prevalent amongst so many Napoleonic wargamers.

I feel we were fortunate to have entered the hobby in the early 1970s, when there was much less information available and the “experts” less keen to take themselves too serious.   It may be just memory, but the approach in the few available magazines (such as Wargamers Newsletter) seemed to be much more on the fun aspect rather than the serious approach so often encountered today.

I well remember an article by Don Featherstone, who I believe was a SNCO in WW2, in which he dismissed any idea that it was possible to recreate actual warfare on the tabletop.   Some of the heated exchanges on forum such as TMP sound like deranged history professors.  

I would like to take part in a good natured exchange of ideas on Wargaming and the Napoleonic period in general, but would not dare to do so on the internet.

Some years ago I got interested in Le Feu Sacre wargames rules.   They are a great set, and form the basis of my own “home brew” Napoleonic Wargame rules.   They also had, indeed still have, a very helpful forum for raising queries.

After a year or so I encountered a problem with cavalry v infantry square, and asked for advice.   I have always understood, and indeed still do, that the normal practice for Napoleonic infantry when confronted by enemy cavalry was to form square.   However in these rules it appeared better to remain in column.   

This remark was dismissed as someone who knows nothing about the period and has gained their knowledge from wargame books.   Not quite true, but even if it were what is wrong with that on a wargame rule forum?   The discussion got quite heated and resulted in quite insulting comments.  

It is a sad reflection on the standard of debate on the internet that this is so often the result.  I have seen it many times on TMP and am left dismayed that a group of people who all like playing with model soldiers can get so heated on such a trivial disagreement.  It makes you wonder how they ever manage to get through real life which would be hell without a degree of compromise and acceptance of others points of view.

Not sure how I got on to all of that.  The aim of this post was just to tell you all that I have started the Mantua phase of the Italian campaign and you can find it here:


  1. You should try 'La Bricole' Napoleonic Forum. We are a well mannered bunch of gentlemen and you won't be mocked for any lack of knowledge, we all can learn something.

  2. I had not heard of La Bricole. I shall certainly look it up. It would be nice to have somewhere to discuss the hobby, without the constant flame wars and obsession with minor detail of uniforms or history.

    I am sure that there must be many like me who love the period but not all the bad tempered exchanges which so often seems to go with it.

    Thanks for the suggestion



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