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 5: Defending the Heights

The next scenario in the Too Fat Lardies' Taking the Gembloux Gap campaign sees 3rd Panzer moving on towards the wooded heights above their final objective.  Thankfully for the French, they are allowed to deploy their final platoon to defend it, although this platoon has to last them until the end of the campaign.  On the minus side, the Germans can bring their armour back in to action again now, having had it rested in the last action.


As previously, the tactical rules being used are the John D Salt-penned "Farquhar Variant" of the WRG Modern 1950-1985 rules, reverse engineered to apply to WW2.

The Forces:

The French:
1 x Rifle Comd Gp
1 x Rifle + RGr Gp
3 x Rifle + LMG Gps
3 x Rifle Gps
1 x Panhard armoured car
1 x 25mm anti-tank gun 

The Germans:
1 x SMG Comd Gp
4 x Rifle Gps
2 x GPMG Gps

1 x Pioneer Gp
1 x PzIVB2
1 x battery of 105mm howitzers in support

The Set-Up:

The battlefield: the Germans are approaching from the bottom

The French platoon commander and the rifle grenadiers are in the buildings, the three rifle sections are deployed in the hedges and in the woods, the Panhard is just off the Y-junction to the left and the 25mm anti-tank gun is covering the road

Another view

The armoured car and the anti-tank gun

French infantry in the woods

The Battle:

German Pioneers to the fore again

They advance in the woods to the left

Not much happens...then the German artillery starts pounding the buildings and the woods (pre-planned strike)

And in an utter disaster for the French, the Platoon command group and the rifle grenadiers are all killed or wounded in the first moments of the bombardment!! Much of the French infantry is neutralized but not killed, thankfully

A Panzer IV arrives

The German pioneers advance gingerly forwards

The French infantry tries to pull back!

The French riflemen wait for a gap in the bombardment before retreating further...four more are cut down before they can get back...

The Panzer IV advances - but is acquired by both the Panhard and the 25mm anti-tank gun

The French shooting is awful! Only a single round hits...and that fails to penetrate the Panzer IV's frontal armour.  The panzer commander raises a swift prayer to heaven that he is in a new Panzer IVB...a IVA might have been toasted at this point

His own gunner is in more inspired form, hitting the Panhard and knocking it out in short order!

The bombardment has lifted and the Pioneers are advancing...not quickly enough to catch the retiring French infantry though!

The French run in pure panic!

The Panzer IV kills some of them whilst escaping...

Until finally they make their escape

The position is cleared before the German infantry even arrive(!)

 Game Notes: 

Well, I won't say it wasn't fun, as there was a certain jaw-dropping quality to every time I thought it couldn't get worse for the got worse for the French.  I don't think there was anything individually implausible about any of this, it was just that put together, it was almost a comedy of disasters.  The last French platoon has been gutted whilst the German second platoon is still in reasonable fighting is looking grim now...but it could all have been so different - one of the Panhard or the anti-tank gun should have been able to knock out the Panzer IV!

Figures and buildings as in the last game (Baccus, H&R, Leven)


  1. All I can say is "C'est la guerre!" Sometimes you just have to take these disasters on the chin and hope for the best next time. I always say I'm playing 'historically' when things like this happen to the French;).

    1. :-)...quite so!
      Yes, it was hard to fault the realism exactly, but again not what you would want from the average game. That said the brief exchange between the armoured car and the Panzer IV was a genuinely tense and exciting moment...