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.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Kampfgruppe von Luck Campaign: Scenario 002, Probing the Hedgerows

For the second battle in the Kampfgruppe von Luck campaign, the action moves to the outskirts of Le Bas de Ranville, where the platoon from 12 Para makes another stand against the advancing Germans having been forced to retreat in the first battle.  The Panzer Grenadiers of 2/125 Battalion must push through 12 Para's defences just to the south of the village.

Again, the rules used are a variant of the 2nd edition of WRG's 1925-1950 Armour & Infantry rules.

The Forces:

The British forces are based around a platoon from 12 Para.  Some missing elements have either returned, but the platoon was weakened during the last action and has thus been re-organized into two sections only:
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

However, an additional 10 Paras turned up, formed into 2 x Rifle groups and 1 x LMG group, allowing the British to form a 3rd section for this battle.

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, 1 x LMG group
Squad 3: 2 x LMG groups
Possible attachments:
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 Set-Up:

The outskirts of Le Bas de Ranville (top-left) and the woods and fields on the outskirts.  The road is sunken.  The Paras have a section in and round the farm building on the left of the road, a section in the woods with its Bren gun team in the square house nearest the road and the last section is in the hedgeline on the field at the top-right.  Platoon HQ is at the top edge of the woods, by the road heading to the top of the board.  The Germans are to approach from the bottom of the board, or up to half-way up the right edge.

Some of 1 Sect's riflemen by the wall (the remainder of the section are in the building)

2 Sect in the woods, with its LMG team in the building (left); the PIAT is hidden out of sight behind that building.

3 Sect in the hedgerow by the ploughed field

The PIAT team can be seen at the corner of the building (centre)

The Battle:

The 2nd Panzer Grenadier squad enters first; they have a car available if they need it, but there doesn't seem to be too  much tactical usage for it right now (I assume they used it to patrol so far in a relatively safe zone to save on boot leather!)

Meanwhile, the 3rd Squad enters on the German right flank - it is a bit exposed mind but still, good fire arcs.

Difficult to see, but the German LMG team and a sniper have advanced a bit into the woods (centre-left) but the Panzer Grenadier riflemen have spotted the Bren team in the building and have opened up rifle fire upon it

The advancing German 3rd squad spotted the Paras and opened up, with the Paras then returning fire.  Lots of early bullets expended, not much in danger of hitting at the moment.

This exchange of fire continues for several minutes, until suddenly the Bren gunner finds his mark and guns down the Panzer Grenadiers by the edge of the woods!

The 15cm sFH13 auf Lorraine Schlepper (f) turns up just in time: this should do just the job for demolishing the Bren team and the building they are holed up in! (the edge of Le Bas de Ranville is just at the top-left of the image)

The British sniper team were caught in a tricky spot by the arrival of the German SP gun, but throwing caution to the wind, managed to quickly leg it out of the way without getting gunned down

The SP gun trundles forward; unseen by it, the Bren gun team has evacuated the building before it attracts the 150mm cease-and-desist order...

You can just see the Bren gun team at the back of the trees behind the building

Not being able to acquire any target to fire at, the SP gun trundles further forward in support of the rather isolated Panzer Grenadier sniper and LMG team by the hedge

The plucky Panzerschrek team turns up again; maybe they can be used against some of the buildings if required

In a better position than last battle, the Paras' PIAT team has crawled forward to get a decent shot in against the vulnerable SP gun... (you can just see them behind the square building)

In time-honoured fashion, when the shot just can't misses! Eek!!

However, the Gods are sometimes even-handed when dishing out their surprises: all of a sudden, the long-drawn out firefight on the other flank ends when both German MG42 teams are eliminated in short order!!

At this point, the Panzer Grenadier platoon fell back, its morale shot!!! 

With no more troops approaching, there was nothing for it but for the surviving Germans to retreat back to the start line

The Panzergrenadiers scuttle back through the woods, out of sight

Silence returns to the edge of Le Bas de Ranville

Game Results:

The Germans suffered 8 casualties, the Paras no seriously wounded or killed at all.  It is now 1-1 for the campaign thus far.  Both platoons have suffered a bit, but the (smaller) German Panzer Grenadier platoon may be a bit too weak to continue and need replacing, but we shall see for the next battle.

Game Notes:

Another very enjoyable game, although definitely enjoyable for a solo player, I don't imagine it would have been as fun face-to-face!  The reason for this is that the Germans had an absolutely appalling deck and if it hadn't been for the SP gun turning up, they would have had no chance at all.  Since the Germans were allowed to arrive on a quite wide front in this scenario, I used a slightly different mechanism for German arrival: a single card was turned over, but if it indicated that forces were present, then the Germans could keep on turning over cards.  They would all arrive at the same location (if this seemed reasonable).  The reason for this was to create the possibility that the Germans would arrive quickly in force in a certain sector, rather than slowly and more predictably advancing and inviting a piecemeal defeat in detail.  That bit worked fine, except that most of the German stuff ended up in the discard pile initially and thus there was nothing to bring into action!  That said, the arrival of the 150mm SP gun might have done the trick for the Germans - the Paras gambled by taking extra riflemen to bulk out their defence, rather than gammon bombs or extra PIATs: if the German morale hadn't collapsed when it did, and the PIAT team had been eliminated, the Paras would have really struggled.

This game was interesting too for a partial vindication of SLA Marshall (!); quite a few of the troops, particularly on the British side, actually added very little to the defence.  If this were real, I reckon only 8-10 Paras, very disproportionately armed with support weapons, would have fired at all in the successful action.  The proportion was a bit higher on the defeated German side.  No  great conclusions from this, just happened to notice it in passing.

More germane from the gaming point of view is that this really is only a game that could be enjoyed solo, since some solo mechanisms, like this one, allow for the possibility of really radically imbalanced games which are still fun.  I recently played a game of Europe in Agony (a Thirty Years War game) which showed the same thing: a plausible train of events that had lots of tension and decision-making but were nevertheless not even remotely balanced.

Figures by Baccus 6mm, the vehicle by Heroics & Ros.


  1. Another fine game there and I agree that this is the sort of action that, for the reasons stated, only really works well for a solo game. But still there's a lot of fun to be had as it's part of a campaign and just adds more to the narrative. I'm certainly looking forward to the next action and maybe the Germans will get lucky on the support front.

    1. Thanks Steve. I think this particular Panzergrenadier Platoon might make one more push to see if it can get a bit luckier than this time.

  2. The defence was well handled. I'm sure I wouldn't have spread them out like that. Then, I would probably have lost!

    1. It had occurred to me too. But given the general line of German advance, it appeared justified...I was thinking of it more as an offset 2-up, 1-back than a linear defence, with the reserve section being made apparent by the direction of the German attack. The only real risk was the section by the ploughed field being isolated by fire, but in that case it could always have escaped to the North fairly easily, and if the Germans had tried to close assault that position, they would have run straight into a close range ambush from the woods.