I decided that I wanted a little variation from the horse-and-musket miniatures games I have been playing, so opted to get a small WW2 game to the table. Since I have painted up a company of British Paras relatively recently, I went for a scenario from the Two Fat Lardies' pint-sized campaign Kampfgruppe von Luck: the Attack on Le Bas de Ranville, which studies the fight of 12th Para Bn, 6th Airborne Division against 21st Panzer Division elements on D-Day.
The campaign features the Germans attacking a series of British defensive positions, essentially. The first scenario is more-or-less an offensive patrol to locate and push in the British Paras' outposts. As typical for these TFL scenarios, it is roughly a platoon per side, with additional supports given to weight the battle. As part of the solitaire mechanisms I use with me playing as the British Paras, the Germans were very likely to have a bigger force, but its composition was not quite certain.
For rules, I was using a variant of the second edition of the WRG 1925-50 Armour and Infantry rules, rather than the 1st edition that I usually play. I won't comment on the differences here but will save that for the game notes.
This scenario pits a slightly reinforced Panzer Grenadier platoon against a British Para platoon still under-strength from all of the stragglers from the drop not having formed up yet. Because of the solitaire mechanisms I use, the German strength isn't entirely clear (I 'commanded' the British Paras, and 'controlled' the Panzer Grenadiers).
|The battlefield: 12 Para has pushed its outposts out from Bas de Ranville towards Longueval; in this test game, there is a section on each side of the board (top and bottom), with a reserve section and Platoon HQ elements to the rear (right)|
|The Paras in the hedgeline, with a rifle group pushed forward into the wheatfield (centre-left)|
|A Para section on the other side of the area|
|A wider view of the Paras laydown|
|One of the first German elements to arrive is an MG42 team|
|Along with the lead section of the Panzergrenadier platoon|
|A wider view of the German arrival|
|The Germans advance steadily through the wheatfield until they spy some of the British defenders and open fire (the rifle group at the top-left has spotted the Paras)|
|One of the German LMG teams is cut down by the British fire|
|The Panzergrenadier Company commander moves forward to find out why his lead elements are stalled|
|A closer view|
|Another Panzer Grenadier section has turned up and is attempting to go right-flanking (bottom-left) to turn the British position|
|The positions at this point - an indecisive firefight so far, with most troops spending their time suppressed. |
|The leading German section loses its second MG42 team|
|The German attack falls back in confusion (left)|
|A Pak 40 auf S307(f) turns up to support the stalled attack (*okay, it is an SdKfz 251, maybe a /22 or some-such)|
|Fire from the Pak 40 eliminates the British Paras' sniper team|
|Reinforced by two further sections, the German platoon attempts to get forward again|
The battle petered out a little after this, with the attackers getting a negative reaction result without actually inflicting or occurring further casualties. Since it was only a test game, I didn't persevere past this, since I had identified some issues that needed resolving. They weren't rules issues as such, since the rules worked fine and the changes which I identified I generally approved of, but more in how the rules interacted with the scenario and much more importantly, how they interact with the solo rules I use.
Long-term readers (sufferers?!?) of this blog will know that for WW2, I love using a solo system called the Threat Generation System
(TGS),which I had become very happy with in integrating into WRG 1925-1950 Armour & Infantry first edition; however there is a key change in the second edition which made this first game a bit clunky and difficult to manage.
What happened is that in the first edition, units were located at a specific range, depending upon their activity and location. Stationary infantry were very difficult to spot, firing tanks very easy to spot, and so on, but the key thing was that spotting was automatic at the specific ranges. This was quick and comprehensible in itself, but also integrated really well with the TGS, since I could make the range bands for generating threats the same as the locating distances. Second edition introduced a die roll to acquire. To my mind, this definitely slowed the game with many more die rolls but more importantly, I had a little trouble getting my head around the concept at first in terms of game-play. Acquisition is tied in to the firing mechanism (fine) but what did it mean when units that were advancing attempted to acquire a target to fire at it, but failed, but had picked an activity option which optimized firing? I did get answers to this but it took me a little while to get there, and it was after this game.
The scenario issue is more related to morale: these Chain of Command pint-sized campaigns pit reinforced platoons against each other, basically. However, both editions of the WRG rules use platoons as the basic sub-unit for morale, with the boss being a company commander with multiple platoons under command. Chain of Command however uses a whole force morale mechanic. So the question is whether extra forces in these scenarios should be considered as part of the platoon (and thus the platoon morale test becomes the same as the force morale test) or whether the attachments should be thought of separately.
Anyway, if nothing else it was good to get the WW2 toys onto the table (a variety of Baccus 6mm, GHQ and Heroics & Ros in this case, I think), and the scenario is interesting too. It wasn't the most enjoyable game I have ever played, or most interesting in terms of gameplay, but as it was a test I had already figured this was likely to be the case. More soon.
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