Monday, April 25, 2016

Napoleon's First Italian Campaign 1796-1797

A number of interesting books have made it into the library since Christmas.  While many have had a cursory browse, only now do some enjoy a closer examination.  The first to get a closer look and a few sample photos, is Military History Press', Napoleon's First Italian Campaign (NFC).  Edited by Matt DeLaMater, the long ago author of Napoleonic wargame rules, Legacy of Glory (remember that one?  I do!  Still have a copy), Napoleon's First Campaign, is an oversize, coffee table book published with great care.  Leather bound with gilt stamping and heavy gilt-edges pages, NFC is a work of art as well as a fine addition to this little presented campaign.
Montenotte by Keith Rocco
What elevates this quality exterior is the contents therein.  Included in this 266 page tome are 55 works by noted artist, Keith Rocco.  Fifty-five Rocco works!  The paintings are fantastic and having such large and related works in one volume is quite a treat.  I am still not accustomed to seeing Austrians in greyish-brown jackets, however. 

For the account of the campaign, NFC draws on Ramsey Weston Phipps' four volume, The Armies of the First French Republic and the Rise of the Marshall's of Napoleon I.  The text for NFC originates from Phipps' fourth volume.  All four volumes were published after the author's death in 1923.
Guide of the Army of Italy by Keith Rocco
In addition to Rocco's works, Phipps' text is annotated.  Distributed throughout the text are a number of museum display pieces.  Want to see an Austrian grenadier's kit?  A reproduction of such can be found within.  Campaign maps showing troop dispositions and movements are found scattered throughout the text helping provide a very helpful visual to accompany Phipps' storytelling.

Having an interest in Rivoli and read many accounts of this battle, I turned first to Phipp's account.  Stirring stuff with good explanations as to why the Austrians attacked as they did.  Reading this account energizes me to pull this battle out of the gaming archives, set it up, and give it another outing.

At a list price of USD$185 it might seem expensive.  For what is included and the production quality, it seems a good value.  My own copy was purchased during a half-off sale so this fine work set me back only USD $93.  A bargain!

A handsome book and one to consider if you enjoy Rocco's artworks and Napoleon's 1796-1797 campaigns in Italy.

10 comments:

  1. Sorry Jon, I manage, with my pickets, held back your followers :o) not to comment on this post about your books and perhaps an up coming table top battle/game of Rivoli? :o) .... anyway... would love to have a copy of Napoleon's First Italian Campaign - looks like an awesome and a "must have book" in anyone's Napoleonic Library....

    All the best,
    cheers,

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    1. Phil! This is a marvelous book but on a campaign that is not too well known and rarely gamed, I suppose. Still, the early campaigns are quite interesting with smaller armies than in later years. I think under utilized on the gaming table.

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    2. Campaigns are always fun and better to game than the head to head one off game on the table top. The Italian Campaign is a perfect example for 3 or 4 players to take part, commanding armies moving counters on the map board, then once engaged play table top battles etc... usually Campaigns (in real time) last between 4-5 weeks or 4-5 weekends/secession's.....

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  2. Wow! Where did you find that for just $93?

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    1. I bought the book from the publisher. It might have been a Black Friday sale or some such. Anyway, it was half price! I very nearly bought too.

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  3. Excellent buy, and looks lijke a wworthwhile vbook - a bit out of my price league even at half off, though. OTOH, I agree there is a KOT of gaming potential in the Fiorst Italian Campaign.

    Do you remember the n=monio campaign games in The Courier, "Wurmser's First (and later, Second) Offensive?

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    1. Peter, for the price of a battalion or two of figures, you too good own this excellent work. I know, I know...we must strike a happy balance.

      Having only a few issues of The Courier, that is a series I have not seen. Would be interested in it though.

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  4. Wonderful book that. I would really like if someone would make digital editions of this one, and several others that are nowadays hard to get by. Bookshelf space starts to be limited, but one should always have comprehensive library at hand.

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    1. There is something very satisfying about pulling a large, beautifully illustrated book off the shelf for study. I simply do not get the same utilization from a digital copy. Digital does have its place, however and most of my collection of SoA's Slingshot is on digital.

      Appreciate the visit and comment!

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