Having carried out a more-or-less successful playtest (see here), I gave it a full dress go later, playing the game out in full and getting the Kampfgruppe von Luck campaign started.
Once again, I am using a variant of the second edition of WRG's 1925-50 Armour & Infantry rules.
The campaign features the attempts of 21st Panzer Division's 2/125 Panzer Grenadier Battalion, specifically the efforts of 8 & 7 Kompanies, to drive 12 Para Battalion out of Le Bas de Ranville on D-Day. In this scenario, KG von Luck's lead elements are trying push back the patrols of 12 Para that have pushed out of the village towards Longueval (incidentally, I haven't found this Longueval on Google; but it is to the South, towards the outskirts of Caen).
The British forces are based around a platoon from 12 Para, but missing some elements that have either been lost in the drop or were scattered too far away to reach their units by this point:
British Para Platoon:
HQ: 1 x Rifle Comd group, 1 x PIAT team, 1 x 2" mortar team, 1 x sniper team
1 Section: 2 x Rifle groups, 1 x LMG group
2 Section: 1 x Rifle group, 1 x LMG group
3 Section: 1 x LMG group, 1 x Sniper team
2 & 3 sections were therefore combined into a single section for this action.
German Panzer Grenadier Platoon:
HQ: 1 x Rifle Comd group, 1 x Panzerschrek team
Squad 1: 1 x Rifle group, 2 x LMG groups
Squad 2: 1 x Rifle group, 2 x LMG groups
Squad 3: 1 x Rifle group, 2 x LMG groups
1 x Rifle Comd group (the Company Commander); 1 x Car; 1 x Panzerschrek team; 1 x Unix P107(f) SPW half-track; 1 x Sniper team; 1 x Forward Observer, controlling 81mm mortar battery; 1 x MG42 HMG team; 1 x Werfer strike; 1 x Panzer Grenadier squad; 1 x Pak 40 auf S307(f); 1 x 15cm sFH13 auf Lorraine Schlepper (f)
The way I generate forces for these games for the side I don't control is taken from the Threat Generation system; in essence, every section, team and vehicle or similar is given a card from a pack of playing cards; and equal number of blinds is added; this deck is then shuffled and a third of the cards are removed. The remaining deck represents the forces which can turn up during this battle. In a narrative sense, the other core elements of the platoon are 'present' at the battle (i.e. its strength counts for morale checks), but won't ever be seen.
|The Paras in position. The two rifle sections are across the wheatfields in a somewhat echeloned line, with Platoon HQ elements in the rear (right)|
|A closer look at the British Left.|
|And the British Right.|
|A different angle|
|And one more|
|As chance would have it, just as in the first playtest, the German HMG turns up first...actually, this is second, a German sniper team turned up first, but you can't see them...|
|Accompanied, again, by 2nd Squad of the Pz Gren Platoon(!)|
|One of the squad's MG42 spots movement ahead and opens fire; the rifle group spots it too, but breaks left (top), hoping to keep the fire lanes open as long as possible.|
|On the other side of the clearway, another German squad turns up (a squad from another platoon, taken under command)|
|The early position, as contact is made: the German troops on the bottom are unaware and the British Paras are holding their fire; the rooty-toot of automatic weapons has broken out at the top (but with no-one hitting anything of very much)|
|Some support arrives for the German on their extreme left: a Pak 40 auf S307(f) has come up to assist.|
|A wider shot|
|The German sniper team is advancing cautiously down the right flank, not realizing that the British Paras have the drop on them and they are walking right into the sights of a Bren gun...|
|And are chopped down in a couple of seconds.|
|However, on the other flank, one of the British Rifle groups was sick of eating dirt as 7.92mm rounds rattled pretty much non-stop over their heads, so they have withdrawn to the hedge line (right)|
|A German Panzerschrek team arrives to assist (if the Paras had any vehicles or buildings or fortifications, which they don't)|
|A wider shot: there has been lots of shooting through the wheatfields, not much hitting though...|
|The German MG42 team is spending a lot of time being suppressed by the Paras' sniper (centre-right) and an equal amount of time failing to spot the source of the fire! They are however helping to keep the rifle group suppressed.|
|With the support of the 75mm-armed halftrack, the Panzer Grenadiers advance steadily through the wheatfield towards the hedgeline - the Bren team is also falling back (top-right)|
|A wider view: the British on the other side of the clearway have also withdrawn, after one of the Bren teams was cut down by the concentrated machine gun and rifle fire of the Panzergrenadiers (bottom left)|
|The British HQ element haven't had much to do yet: they are awaiting decent targets before letting the mortar and the PIAT into the action.|
|The German Kompanie commander is moving up behind the lead section to find out what is causing the slow rate of progress (top-left)|
|The Panzergrenadiers on the other flank are gingerly pushing forward to regain the line of their rather exposed supporting HMG team (top)|
|Another Panzergrenadier squad arrives|
|As does the 15cm sFH13 auf Lorraine Schlepper (f)|
|It has arrived in the nick of time, since the lead squad on this flank has walked into an ambush from the hedgeline, and one of the MG42 teams is eliminated|
|A wider view: the Germans are making slow progress, but they are at least making progress, albeit having taken a few casualties|
|The right-hand German Panzergrenadier squad (bottom) has made contact with the Paras (right) again, and more shots are exchanged|
|The Pak 40 auf S307(f) spots the Paras' Bren gun team (top) and blasts away at them with HE...|
|And they are eliminated!|
|It hasn't always been easy to acquire the British Paras in the high wheatfield, but the Panzergrenadiers are doing their best to get a strong base of fire arranged|
|On the other flank, the British Paras are still resisting very strongly...|
|Several Germans go down under a hail of accurate SMLE and Sten gun fire! But these Paras have very little with which to even delay the very light German armour...|
|The Germans mass fire...|
|But the German company officers and NCOs prove the best marksmen, and several Paras become casualties to the Panzer Grenadiers' MP40s!|
|The surviving Paras run for it, and the Germans move up to the hedge line|
|The firefight has been intense on the other flank, but more good shooting by the Paras has caused more casualties amongst the Panzergrenadiers|
|The Germans have advanced, but at some cost|
|However, the British Paras' morale is becoming more and more shaky, and with little to stop the advance of the German armour, weak and improvised though it is - since it hasn't presented any kind of target to the British PIAT team|
|The British platoon commander orders a retreat|
The Germans took 12 casualties, the British 10, although the Germans at least were in a position to recover their wounded. Crucially for the campaign though, not all the German casualties were amongst their 'core' troops.
A much more enjoyable game than the test game, since I had ironed out most of the creases in the interface between rules, scenario and solo system which had slightly be-devilled that test. Key to making it all work was simple and clear orders for the German side, which were:
"To advance cautiously but determinedly (i.e. at a rate slow enough to be subtle and not give spotting advantages to the opposition). Opposition is to be pinned by MG and HE fire and outflanked on any clear flank. Supporting armour and weapons are to advance no faster than the leading squads on each flank."
The practical effect of the above was to limit the speed of advance, the speed of armour, but most crucially to allow the following mechanic: a German element could try and acquire a target but had to pick an option that allowed movement and if they failed to acquire, they had to move anyway. If they had already acquired a target, they were allowed to go stationary and simply fire. This seemed to work well as a guide for German tactics in interacting with the solo system.
A much simplified version of the TGS system was used to generate the position of the German attackers: two cards drawn at the beginning of a turn, one for each flank, with any arriving troops placed 2xd6-1" from the table corner. This made a broad advance most likely, but with the possibility of one or other flanks being overloaded. And this was what in fact happened, the Germans overloaded their left and found a gap in the admittedly weak Para anti-armour defence, which ultimately forced the British retreat - exactly as a TGS should perform! So a very good work out for these WRG variant rules, the TooFatLardies scenario and the TGS system. Figures and vehicles by Baccus 6mm and Heroics and Ros.
That game certainly seemed to play better than the first, which is a good thing of course. At least the test game achieved some clarity for you. I like the card force generation system which is perfect for solo play. I'm looking at something similar for some planned games with BKCII and might give this a try.ReplyDelete
Thanks Steve - and you are right, it did. Any card system which can beat the solo player, as it did in this one, is worth adopting! I am actually thinking of writing a fuller article about it...watch this space.Delete
A good run of a campaign scenario with rules it was not designed for. Glad you got the TGS working with it.ReplyDelete
Is the WRG second Edition 1925-1950 the one with all the different postures (HOLD, ATTACK etc) and troop classification (e.g. STUBBORN)? I have played it once and I really liked the concepts but my brain went into overload trying to remember how everything worked!
Thanks Shaun. You are entirely correct that all those concepts are in there. However, I mentioned in passing that I was playing a variant of it and lots of that stuff is missing from this particular version. It isn't my variant, so I will find out how much the writer is happy for me to discuss, or he may prefer to do it himself. It is a very good version though, working well.Delete
That would be great but fully understand if it is not discussable.Delete