Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Death of 1 Tyneside Scottish II - France 1940

Death of the Tyneside Scottish redux...

This game was played before Christmas but I never quite got around to writing it up.  The first game used the Nuts! rules and was quite satisfactory, but it does take a bit of time to get through when there is a full platoon or more on the table - I definitely think that the squad and the fire-team/rifle group is a sweeter spot for those rules.  So I also played a game using Neil Thomas' WW2 rules from his Wargaming: An Introduction book.

The theoretical orders of battle and the initial set-up were pretty much the same as in the first game: a full platoon of raw British infantry pitted against variable numbers of German infantry and armour arriving to stop them escaping.  Unlike Nuts!, Neil Thomas' rules don't have solitaire rules embedded within them and I think WW2 demands some kind of system, rather than simply metaphorically turning the table around, so I used my favourite, the Threat Generation System which I normally use for games using WRG 1925-1950.  The system also contains - or perhaps implies - observation rules too, which Neil Thomas' rules don't.  This allows an unpredictable arrival and strength for the enemy, so there was every chance that things would work out differently...and so it proved.

The Battle:

Another look at the village of Ficheux

And the boys of A Company advancing...

It was always going to be a difficult battle for the Brits, but when more tanks turn up than the Tommies even have anti-tank is going to be tough!

The Adjutant is killed by machine gun fire, leaving the CO and RSM to wonder how they are going to escape from this one...

Especially as the German panzer grenadiers have reached the outskirts of the village in support

Having eliminated (captured) the British command group, the tanks turn on the supporting platoon...

...and the first Tommies begin to fall...

Ignoring their casualties, the British infantry push forward...

Feeling vulnerable, the Panzers pull back...

And form a baseline at the outskirts of FICHEUX

More German infantry arrive to support...

Another view, noting the Germans covering the road

The British are stuck, everyone suppressed by German fire

The Platoon commander is staying back to direct the fire of his anti-tank rifle

A good shot knocks out a Panzer!

Yet more German grenadiers arrive (the others are in the buildings)

The British are taking more and more casualties but cannot get forward

A few Brits manage to get away...

But there is no escape for the Tommies on the South side of the road, as the German Panzers, supported by heavy fire from the buildings, outflank them

The British section surrenders.

After the Platoon commander and the anti-tank rifle gunner are killed by shell fire from the tank, all hope is lost

Game Notes: A more satisfactory result for the Germans this time, mainly as a result of more Germans arriving more quickly.  The whole British platoon was more-or-less eliminated, less 4 or 5 Tommies who managed to escape.  The Germans did lose a tank and suffered a few casualties but nothing serious.

The Neil Thomas' rules for WW2 have the same vices and virtues as pretty much all his other sets.  They are a distilled essence of all the other traditional sets with some nice touches, in particular how troop quality links with morale and suppression: better troops are more likely to fight successfully but are also likely to incur more casualties in doing so, at least initially.  I have certain intellectual reservations about the mechanism but it is well thought out as a piece of rules-writing.  They have no rules for command and observation and so on, with the latter in particular seeming to be an ommission...although I imagine that Neil Thomas falls very much in the category of designer who would say that since everyone can see the toys on the table, it is no use tying the game down with mechanisms to make the players pretend they can't see them.  I have some sympathy with this...The rules are slightly odd in that it isn't clear whether a tank is supposed to represent a single tank or a unit of tanks, although again, I don't think the author really cares too much about this kind of thing.  I have intellectual problems with this too, but it seemed to work reasonably enough as a 1:1 game regardless.

I have another post to write about my hobby over the last couple of months which I don't want to anticipate too much, but I have found only the simplest rules enjoyable, so I very much appreciated the Neil Thomas' rules and found that they worked well in conjuction with the Threat Generation System.  It rattled on much more quickly than the Nuts! game and seemed to scratch my current itch a little better.  I am looking forward to experimenting more with them.


  1. Very interesting and a nice sized action and table. It is a long time since I had this book (getting rid of it was a mistake), but I do have his One Hour Rules book and of the two, I think his WWII rules make a better job of it in the 'Wargaming: an Introduction' book, but as you say with enough omission that you feel like adding some 'missing elements'.

    I remember not liking the fighting to the last man part of the system, but I think that was a more visual thing than how it represented the deterioration of the unit, since figure count becomes an important sub-system.

    For their weight though, they do give an entertaining game and his rule writing always leaves you thinking about design, abstraction and the necessity of excess rules over head.

    1. Very much so. I find his ideas really challenge much of what is out there. It isn't so much innovation, as minimalism: how to make the simplest possible version of traditional wargames rules.

  2. Excellent, and I was intrigued enough by the threat generation mechanism that I hunted down the requisite issue on EBay.. :o)

    1. I don't think that you will be disappointed, it is a really neat set of systems.

  3. I've never read this book, but do like his approach to his 19thC and Napoleonic rules. It's nice that he sets out his stall, so you know the reasoning behind the mechanisms etc.

    1. Yes, very much so. They are very easy to modify too.