Monday, April 16, 2018

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 15 - "Fortified Defence" - Setup and Game

After a shamefully long hiatus (* .. six weeks!), so it was that the combination of a missed Salute, a rainy Sunday, a missing grandson (he was at his other grand parents before people start worrying) and various female members of the family otherwise occupied finally allowed me to give thought to dragging the loft ladder down for the walk of shame...  I was dreading the sound of the catcalls and derisory whistling from all the little metal men, but as it turned out they were quite pleased to see me...

* to be fair - this is my busiest time of the year as it's launch month for my precious [clicky] and with the winter we'd had I was trying to fit a whole seasons maintenance into three days.. I've just about recovered....

I'd been sat in the smoking chair (in the garage - it's the only place I can have a beer and a cigar and be left alone) and reviewing some of the pictures from the Salute when I was overcome with an urge to push some lead...  a half an hours muse over what period to play and I decided it was more than time for me to drag the WWII North Africa forces out of their storage drawers where they have languished for far too long...

Scenario was easy - I just wanted a nice simple game to while a few rainy hours on a Sunday - One Hour Wargames it was and as I am working my way through the scenario's one by one, this time it was #15 - "Fortified Defence", a scenario, which according to the book is based on Fontenoy... sot he premise is two fortified towns held by one side (I diced and they turned out to be held by Commonwealth forces) are attacked by the second (the Axis, as I fielded Italian armour and infantry). Straight out of "Crusader" or the retreat from "Beda Fomm" during 'Sonnenblum' - I went with the latter, not that it matters, but just because I wanted to give a flavour to the tabletop forces deployed....

Six units aside and after dicing the:
  • Commonwealth force comprised - three infantry, two mortars, and one unit tanks (Cruisers - A9's)
  • Axis force comprised - three infantry (one was Italian), two tanks (Pz III's, and M11/30's), and one anti tank gun
..just for look and feel I tripled all unit sizes as it looked better in the scale I was playing, so rather than one tank representing a unit I used three, etcetc

You have 15 moves to take both towns with the benefit to the attackers being that on any move they can declare "refit" - and all their remaining forces are removed, but they get a complete replacement of all starting forces on the baseline. The defenders get an additional dice of casualties as fortification support (to be honest this is such a tough scenario, I didn't use it)

Rules were straight out of the book - last game we talked about modifying the observation rules, but in this game it's a little tough for the attackers already so I dispensed with the observation test and went with the rules per the book...
Commonwealth deploy first and went as per the following...  in my trusty old Airfix Fort Sahara (doubling as an abandoned Foreign legion outpost), two infantry and a mortar..  in the village, beyond the rough ground, which is impassable to all units other than infantry, I placed the other mortar and the remaining infantry..  I had the Cruisers to act as a mobile reserve.

Mortar nice and safe in the courtyard - with the infantry acting as observers..

Axis enter the table (for the first time)

My plan then was to focus all efforts on the fort, and then swing any remaining troops around to attack the village..  the scenario calls for both to be taken for a win, anything else is a loss, there is no draw..

Start of game and the Axis forces advance and open fire..  but are met with a veritable deluge of shrapnel and explosive.

It was at this time I realised that there was no way the Axis could win this game with the forces at their disposal... through good luck the Commonwealth had rolled for two mortars, with four other units who could spot for them, and a range four times anything else on the table, the units attacking the fort were faced with four dice of casualties every turn - the three from the fort and the mortar in the village..  in return, any attacks on the fort by the Axis were at half points - because of cover...  tough, nay impossible, order...

In the following - more four or five - one Axis infantry lost already, anti tank gun and Italian armour moving on the village..

Feuer! Tirare! Another Axis infantry unit gone...

...three or four moves later and the only Axis force remaining was the German armour, so I fired and declared re-fit as per the scenario - tactics second time round were the same but with the same end result unfortunately.. managed to capture the fort, but with one unit left (the German armour again) on only five points remaining (see following) I called it - there was no way they could take the other village...

Post match analysis:
  • Despite the one sided'ness of it I enjoyed the game - it was good to be pushing lead, and it was nice to have the Desert forces out on the table again...   
  • Rules are simple but give a quick and bloody game - I don't doubt I could tinker with them more, but would the added complexity add to the game? Not sure..
  • If I was to modify anything then the mortars may need looking at - everything else has a max range of 12" they fire at 48"..  so range may need looking at..  spotting is by any friendly unit.. maybe a test to simulate radio difficulties??
  • This scenario more than any other is very dependant on what you roll on the force table..  if either side gets a mortar and the other doesn't times are going to get tough for the side that doesn't...  may be a rule to limit, or ensure each side has one? Or the side that has the mortar is automatically the attacker?
  • I dispensed with the additional firing dice for the fort/village..  the occupiers were already strong enough...
  • Side entertainment while playing was "Sea of Sand" on DVD [clicky] - most apt..


  1. Hi Steve,

    Salute was exhausting but the Battlegroup Torch book is a worthy follow up to the Tobruk edition. The fort - am I correct in thinking it is an old Airfix Foreign Legion kit extended?

    All the best,


    1. DC.. here you go..

      ..part of their Waterloo Farmhouse stroke Coastal Battery range I think.. seem to remember they knocked it out as a battle set with a pack of the Arabs and French Foreign Legion included??

    2. PS. No extension required.. replaced a missing bit with sone plastic card, but that was all..

  2. Sea of Sand what a great film

    1. Very much so... scored it as a freeby years and years ago.. classic war films series in one of the Sunday tabloids.. must have watched it half a dozen times since then..

  3. So three of the six defending units were in the fort? That makes it pretty tough on the attacker.

    1. KK, indeed... scenario stipulates minimum one, but I can't think why anyone wouldn't want to put all of them in one or the other.. ahhh... now that's caused a thought.. I wonder if there is a unit limit on how many can be in a town in OHW.. must have a look..

  4. A nice looking game there Steve!