I've played this in daylight and the Italian advantage in protection ruled the day. This is at night with dawn approaching and that might just make a difference. I've rolled out everything for set up except each players' night acquisition rolls. I've also left your sailing formations to the players. The Italians are definitely expecting contact to the west and the French would not be surprised by contact to the east. You can of course reroll the set up as you like. This is a what if based on the historical French bombardment of Genoa and the surrounding area on 14 June 1940 in response to Italy's declaration of war on France. We (IMHO) just don't get enough scenarios with Marine Francaise that do not involve the RN following Churchill's wish to kill French. So, without further to do here is the Action in the Golf de Lyon.
Action in the Golf du Lyon
14 June 1940
Italy had declared war on France on 10 June 1940. The French navy (Marine National) decided to repay what they saw as Italian treachery with a bombardment of Genoa by the 3rd Squadron from Toulon on 14 June. It was originally intended that the bombardment would occur in mid-morning as the industrial area would be more fully occupied at that time. Loose lips sink ships, and the original plan became known to the Italians. What they did not know was that Vice Admiral Duplat commanding the 3rd Squadron thought the original plan exposed his ships to the Regia Aeronautical too much and moved the timetable up to dawn.
The Regia Marina planned to intercept the French sortie shortly after dawn to protect the industries at Genoa. The 2nd Squadra under Admiral Paladini got into position in the darkness of the early morning hours of June 14; having steamed north from the fleet concentration at Taranto. Paladini had refueled at Messina and had tried to economize his fuel after that. But the need to be in place trumped his efforts and none of his destroyers had more than two thirds of their fuel left. That meant that he would be restricted to fight in the immediate area as a pursuit to Toulon was now beyond the legs of his destroyers.
Meanwhile Vice Admiral Duplat was steaming east with all of the 3rd Squadron that was capable of sortieing. He had decided that he would bombard the Genoa area for an hour and no more. Besides the exposure to Italian air there was the trip back Toulon to consider. His destroyers at high speed were not known for their fuel conservation and he had to give consideration to an Italian naval response. He had left port well ahead of schedule after having it noised about that his force was escort a troop convoy from Algiers to Toulon. He had steamed due south at 20 knots until well out of sight of land and then turned east and reduced speed to 15 knots to conserve fuel.
Marine Francaise 3rd Squadron: VAdm Duplat
1st Cruiser Division: Vadm Duplat 5th Contre-Torpilleur Division
CA Algerie SF (Algerie class) DD Chevalier Paul (Vauquelin class)
CA Foch (Suffern class) DD Tartu (Vauquelin class)
CA Colbert (Suffren class) 7th Contre-Torpilleur Division
CA Dupleix (Suffren class) DD Albatros (Aigle class)
3rd Legere Squadron: Radm Derrien DD Gerfaut (Aigle class)
1st Contre-Torpilleur Division DD Vautour (Aigle class)
DD Aigle (Aigle class) 9th Contre-Torpilleur Division
DD Lion (Guepard class) DD Cassard (Vauquelin class)
DD Vauban (Guepard class) 1st Destroyer Division
3rd Contre-Toprilleur Division DD Le Mars (L’Adroit class)
DD Guepard (Guepard class) DD Le Palme (L’Adroit class)
DD Valmy (Guepard class) DD Tempete (Bourrasque class)
DD Verdun (Guepard class)
The French had a lot of destroyers under repair or refitting and were thus short 3 destroyers.
Regia Marina Squadra 2: Admiral Paladini
CA Pola FF DesRon 11
2nd Division: RAdm Casardi DD Artigliere
CL Giovanni delle Bande Nere DD Aviere
CL Bartolomeo Colleoni DD Geniere
3rd Division: VAdm Cattaneo DD Camicia Nera
CA Trento DesRon 12
CA Bolzano DD Lanciere
CA Trieste DD Ascari
7th Division: RAdm Sansonetti DD Carabinere
CL Eugenio di Savoia DD Corazziere
CL Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’ Aosta DesRon 13
CL Muzio Attendolo DD Granatiere
CL Raimondo Montecuccoli DD Alpino
DesRon 10 DD Bersagliere
DD Maestrale DD Fuciliere
The French were steaming east at 15 knots while the Italians were steaming north at 15 knots. Relative bearing has the Italians directly to the east of the French. It’s the morning watch at 0400 hours and there are 12 turns of night remaining. The wind is Force 3 from the west and smoke lasts 1 turn. There are no squalls or sea haze. Daylight visibility will be 30,000 yards. Max night visibility is 20,000 yards. Dawn visibility reduction to the west is 6,000 yards. There is quarter moon, but the sky is cloudy making it a new moon in effect.
I am leaving sailing formations to the players. The Italians are expecting contact to the west while the French expect if contact is made it will probably be to the east. I've attached the ship logs as MS word docs