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.

Tuesday 31 January 2023

The Gembloux Gap Battle 4: Get the Guns!

The next action in the Too Fat Lardies' Taking the Gembloux Gap campaign is entitled "Get the Guns!" As 3 Panzer Division rolls forward, it came across the French gun lines.

If you followed the events of the previous action in the campaign, the French platoon was absolutely massacred with only a handful of survivors escaping.  However, the French cannot reinforce with a fresh platoon at this point in the campaign.  This battle therefore has only a token French force trying to cause some minimal casualties to the advancing Germans of the 3rd Rifle Regiment before they are overwhelmed and forced to retreat.  In the ruleset being used - the Farquhar Variant of the WRG rules - small platoons are quite sensitive to casualties so the French were set up to not last that long...we shall see what transpired!


The Forces:

The French:
1 x Rifle Comd Gp
1 x Rifle Gp
1 x Rifle + LMG Gp
1 x Panhard 
1 x 75mm howitzer and crew
The Germans:
1 x SMG Comd Gp
4 x Rifle Gp
2 x GPMG teams
Reinforced by:
1 x Coy Comd (SMG comd Gp)
1 x Motorcycle section (3 x m/c or 1 x Rifle gp, 1 x GPMG if dismounted) 
1 x Pioneer demolitions team
1 x MFC Gp (supported by 4 x 8cm mortars)
1 x Car

Set Up:

Fields, woods, a couple of buildings...the Germans are approaching from the top-right

The French Platoon commander is located in the bottom building (left), the infantry section is by the hedge by the road, the armoured car is in the bottom woods (bottom) and the gun is in the garden of the top house

The Battle:

the observer for the German mortars and the pioneers turn up first (top-right); but the sleepy soldats don't spot them

The Germans creep forward, covered by the wheatfields, unaware that the French platoon commander has spotted them from the second floor of the building

A German rifle squad arrives and begins to patrol towards the woods - thay have acquired a vehicle from somewhere, but choose to leave it by the road for the present

When the German mortar controller team and the pioneers reach the edge of the wood, the French infantry in the hedgeline open up on them

Only a few scratches, but it does send the Germans scurrying back into the centre of the wheatfield.  No one identified the source of fire, either.  Note that the German section going through the woods has reached the edge (top).

More German infantry follows up towards the wheatfield, including the Platoon and Company Commander to the rear - the latter sends a runner through the woods to order a right flanking attack.

Note that some of the French riflemen pulled back from the hedge around the house, in case the Germans decide to plaster the hedge.

The German Squad begins its attack on the flank - which the Panhard entirely fails to spot! Sun in their eyes?!?!?

The group of German riflemen advancing...

..and reaches the garden wall unscathed (and indeed, unspotted)

Creeping up behind the howitzer team, they get the drop on them - both are surprised, but the French artillery crew the more so...

The crew is killed, injured or captured and the gun taken!

Hearing the firing from the flank, the French retreat!

The main body of the Germans don't even see the French before they have run off!

Game Notes: 

Hmm, well. It was kind of fun whilst it lasted and I don't think I can fault it for realism but it wasn't really much of a game - the way the morale factors stacked up, the French would have been okay as long as they didn't roll a '1'...and of course, a '1' was duly rolled.  I let the chips fall where they may in these games though and off went the French.  I'm not normally one to comment on the bravery or cowardice of my tin soldiers, but I think it is fair to say that the French platoon commander has probably suffered enough and needs to be relieved rather urgently.  Nothing went quite right for the French - they ambushed the first Germans, but didn't convert that into meaningful casualties; the inter-locking arcs were done quite well, but the Panhard crew just didn't see the infiltrating German infantry.  So converting the game into pseudo-reality, what happened?  A small bunch of German soldiers advanced through a wheatfield, attracted some French LMG and rifle fire, which (at best) caused a very light wound or two, but chased off the Germans; silence descended on the battlefield; a German company commander sent a runner to a flank protection squad to probe forward; the German squad commander sent a few riflemen up ahead covered by his MG34 team; no-one saw anything; then the German riflemen suddenly found themselves at the back of a French artillery team at point-blank range, who they then shot or drove off; hearing the shots from behind his left flank, the French platoon commander, commanding a very scratch force, decided the game was up and ordered a retreat.  Virtually no-one saw anyone else or fired on anyone else.  Can this be faulted in anyway?

The only noteworthy thing about the rules in this one is that when one rolls to locate enemies, then you are kind of tied in to remembering which element has acquired which element. In some situations, this can get a bit confusing at times.  It wasn't too bad in this game, but definitely something to remember.  Apart from that, all straightforward.

Germans by Baccus 6mm, French by Heroics and Ros; buildings by Leven I think.  The fences are the ones from Commission Figurines.


  1. Hmmm, not much of a game as you say, but as part of a campaign, it all adds to the narrative. Reading up on the 1940 campaign, I have been reminded by how often early on the French and Belgians panicked and retreated due to fear of their flanks being turned, all lot of this caused by shocking command & control failures right up the command chain. So maybe the commander does need to be relieved...?

    1. Yes, very much so to all of that: in the context of a campaign, this kind of game and resolution is just about acceptable, not in any other circumstances