Saturday, November 22, 2014

Action at Trois Bras...

On the weekend of Warfare, with DG down from deepest darkest Wales it seemed churlish, and down right profligate, not to get together for a game....  after much pondering and head scratching* I decided on a WWII Skirmish game - we were going to try Chain of Command, but DG's played it only a few times, me not at all, I didn't have a set of the rules, so we agreed to play my usual rules for this scale "Rate of Fire" [clicky] which are published by Crusader (same team who do "Rank and File" .. if you fancy trying Rate of Fire, or having a read, you can get a PDF version for only £6 by the way!)

* We chatted about this on Sunday on the way up to the show - has anyone else noticed the tendency for wargamers to try and cram as much as humanly possible into any face to face event??  DG mentioned it happens at his local club..  in his case, on club nights, despite having more units on the table than could possibly be played to a conclusion in an evening, reinforcements always arrive, rendering the likelihood of playing the game to an outcome, which was already remote, even more remote!   In my case I spent days thinking how best to cram as much into this game opportunity as possible...  ridiculous really...  we came to the conclusion its because everyone is so busy that either, one, they feel the need to make the time as "useful" as possible, and/or two, that because the face to face events are so infrequent, they have to be huge...

Anyway - for this scenario we have an idea I knicked and adapted from Curt's blog [clicky] ...

Preamble..

It is France, somewhere near the Channel coast in the the summer of 1940. Everywhere German arms are triumphant as, despite the technological advantage in some equipment, the French and British armies are being pushed back ruthlessly, in a style and speed of war they have never experienced before..

Imagine the concern then when someone at French HQ realises that there is a consignment of a new type of aviation fuel sat, forgotten until now, in a railway siding on the outskirts of Trois Bras...  The fuel had been in transit to an experimental air base for testing by the French air force, but due to the rapid advance of the German army, and conflicting requirements for railway transport, the carriage containing the fuel has been left behind and is now sitting on a siding on the outskirts of the French town of Trois Bras, where it is in danger of being captured by the Germans.

Despite the huge confusion prevailing at the time, French HQ scrape together a scratch force of two sections of infantry (one of British, one of French), under over all French command (as the fuel, and therefore the mission, is theirs), with a lorry to transport them and recover the consignment.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the French, a fifth columnist has passed the same information to the Germans, and reacting quickly they too have put together a hasty scratch force of two motorised sections under a young Lieutenant...

Speed is of the essence, and both commanders are advised no more troops can be provided to either force.... they will have to get the job done with the troops and equipment they have available.

OOB

As this was a pick up game and it had been some time since we played I went for simplicity, with minimal/no toys (eg. HE, smoke, mortars etc) this was going to be a straight infantry fire fight...so both sides were of the same morale/training level, and both sides consisted of:
  • Officer commanding
  • Two sections of 6 men (five riflemen and a SMG armed NCO) 
  • Each section has an attached LMG group - for this game the MG42's were given the same number of dice as the Allied LMG's (usually they have more)
NCO's and officers of the German force were one level higher than the British/French - just to see how it turned out...
Game Mechanics:

  • German (me) entry point from the road top left of the following
  • Allied (DG) entry point from the road bottom right
  • Lorries are left off table 
  • the only way to remove the fuel is by truck - which has to be on the road apart from the last bit along side the track
  • the fuel is in the goods wagon in front of the guards van


The Game:

All is quiet - the only sound is that of heavy artillery in the distance - the town has been abandoned following significant bombardment by both Allied and German artillery, and the attentions of the German Luftwaffe ground attack squadrons....




Allied sections enter the table - leaving their lorry off table the British section cuts down a ditch towards the end of the ruined terrace...  the French keep to the road...


Opposite the German troops have also entered and make a bee line for the other ruined terrace...


..and move in to occupy it just as the British section reaches the fence line - picture following - the red die in the distance marks the British Bren position


There then ensued a brisk fire-fight as the German section in the end of terrace exchanged fire with the British, and the other section engaged the French... casualties in the LMG sections were heavy and required a constant recycle of crews...  officer casualties however were low...

Despite having some success clearing the fence line, German casualties however were heavy - and in the end they triggered a force level morale check that saw both sections heading for home - picture following...


With the French controlling the battle field we considered that they had managed to rescue the fuel consignment and won the game....


Post Match Analysis:

I think I ended up with one, or maybe two, more casualties than DG, but it was enough to trigger what "Rate of Fire" calls a force morale check - which both of my sections failed...
Somewhere under there is some experimental aviation fuel.....

A very simplistic game but we enjoyed it - and given the right royal whopping that I gave DG in the recent Chiraz campaign game it seemed only fair that on this occasion the dice well and truly turned and bit me on the bum.... I lost count of the 1/6 combinations I got where I needed 6/1! Having said that my luck did turn a little bit in the second half of the game but by then DG was ahead enough to maintain the lead...

The following shows our approach lines - the X's mark the LMG's - for the next game I look forward to bringing in some mortars/HE, and with the recent purchase of the vehicle supplement - may be some light armour...

2 comments:

  1. Cheers Ray.. always difficult to make a WWII skirmish game look "pretty"... :o)

    ReplyDelete