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 6: Across The Dyle

The final scenario of the Too Fat Lardies' Taking the Gembloux Gap pint-sized campaign is the attempt to take Court St.Etienne as 3 Panzer Division moves towards the Dyle before the French engineers can blow up the approaches.


The French are really up against the wall: they have committed their last platoon, the Germans have one in reserve, and they will get three attempts at getting just two units off the board...

As ever, the rules used for these are John D Salt's 'Farquhar Variant'  of the WRG rules.

The Forces:

1 x Rifle Comd Gp
2 x Rifle Gp
2 x Rifle+LMG Gp
1 x 25mm anti-tank gun
2 x Renault R35
1 x Panhard armoured car 

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

1 x Sdkfz 222
1 x motorcycle section (dismounted) 1 x Rifle Gp, 1 x GPMG Gp
1 x le.IG18

The Set-Up

The railway station around Court St. Etienne - the Germans are approaching from the right

Renault R35s and a rifle section on the right of the French position

The French platoon command is in the two-storey building (bottom-left); another French section is in the gardens and the building with the lean-to; the Panhard and the 25mm anti-tank gun cover the left flank

The Battle:
German infantry turn up: a rifle squad and a dismounted motorcycle squad

They patrol stealthily through the woods around the train tracks

An Sdkfz 222 arrives

As does more German infantry

Having not located anything, the Sdkfz 222 just advances down the road; the 25mm anti-tank gun engages: one miss, one hit - which fails to penetrate!!!!

The Sdkfz 222 gunner makes no such mistake, and his fire kills or scares off the French anti-tank gun crew

The Sdkfz 222 then drives straight into the Panhard's arcs...

..which promptly misses! The Sdkfz 222 advances on towards the Dyle, oblivious...

Meanwhile the German infantry has advanced forward but been ambushed - an MG34 crew is cut down, the other German infantry are kept suppressed by fire from the French infantry in the buildings and the Renault R35 tanks

More and more German infantry join the firing line, including an le.IG18...

And in a few moments, it is all over! Fire eliminates the entire French squad covering their right flank, and again French morale collapses in an instant!

French panic is total, everyone runs/drives back to the Dyle to escape the onslaught

Game Notes: 

Again, a game with some great points, and I can't complain about any individual event, but the French collapse was a bit dispiriting - the failure of important shots and morale checks was pretty much 100%.  So the campaign overall has been great fun, although the German seemed to steamroller through the French in the last few games.  I hope that anyone who has followed it, I hope it was an interesting read.  When  I next do this, I think I will try a different French infantry organization to make them a little tougher as opponents, and perhaps try some different support choices. There may be a little work to do in terms of deciding the organization of these "Platoon plus" forces to make them optimally resilient in terms of the rules (and I don't think I have always been 100% consistent in the application).  And if nothing else, I think there has been a definite improvement in the look of these games over the years (although there is still a way to go there).

German figures by Baccus 6mm, French by Heroics and Ros, as are the vehicles; buildings mainly by Leven with a couple by Battlescale.


  1. Well it was all over just as it got started! The French certainly didn't have the Dice Gods on their side in this game. If the 25mm ATG had penetrated the 222 armoured car, things might have been different etc. With relatively few troops per side in engagements such as this, a loss of one or two units can sometimes have a disproportionate effect upon the game. Maybe this is why I now much prefer Battalion level encounters? Finally another lovely looking game and the overall look has improved:).

    1. thanks Steve, appreciate the kind comments. Yes, you have pretty much hit the bullseye with those observations: the rules do work at this level, but no side is that far away from a quick and irreversible collapse, which has its points but you wouldn't want it for every game.

  2. Hi, I'm a friend of Steve J's and the author of Honours of War and Shadow of the Eagles. I'm working on my own version of the 1973 WRG WW2 rules and would love to have a copy of John Salt's 'Farquhar' rules, if that is possible. I'd be happy to leave my email on this comments list if that helps. I've tried to contact Sue at WRG regarding my plans for some WRG-based rules but am getting no response.

    Many thanks, Keith Flint.

    1. Hi Keith, I can't pass them on directly - they aren't mine to pass on - but two routes: you can message John on The Wargames Website as indicated in this thread or if you put your email in here, I will pass that on to John. Either of those work for you?

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  4. Happened on your blog and this series of scenarios from the Wargames Website forum. Marvelous! Love the board, love the use of scenarios intended for one rules made to work under another! I've been looking for a game to try out Five Core Company Commander and this series may be the ticket. I will need to whip up a bit more terrain - some walls and hedges, time to put together some of the paper Hardcover buildings I've had for 40 years... And some substitutions, I have French armor, but no infantry in 6mm so maybe my desert war Italians will be standing in, etc.

    Which leads to another question. I played WRG 1925-1950 years ago (1980s, another round about 10 years ago) but can't find anything about the version you are using here. It LOOKS like a commercial product in the illustration you provide, but neither the rules nor the author show up in my searches.

    1. Thanks very much, appreciate it. I think that these Too Fat Lardies campaigns work reasonably well for this scale of battle but can I recommend some of Just Jack's campaign series for a set of really excellent scenarios pitched at that level? & are good places to start.
      I am a big believer in making the game fit the figures, so definitely proxy away, as much as you can.
      As for the rules, this is where the explainer is (and the address if you want to get hold of a copy for playtest purposes):

  5. Thanks for the nice reply. I've seen a couple of Just Jack's AARs, I think they are what pushed me over the edge on buying the 5 Core rules.

    After reading your AARs I went back and re-read both versions of the WRG rules I own, the 1975 edition and the 1988 version. I want to like the tactical modes, etc, in the 1988 but am still put off by them. Also realized that in a decade or more of playing the earlier WRG, including at clubs and conventions, I have never played a game as written. Nobody in the day seemed to use written unit orders, nor do reaction checks as frequently as the rules required!

    Ah well. Putting together walls, hedge rows and paper buildings to step up my table a bit more - another off-shoot of the AARs here and elsewhere!