I had been asked to do another playtest of 'The Farquhar Version', which regular readers of this blog will be well aware of by now. If not, it is essentially a re-engineered version of the 2nd edition of the WRG Modern rules back into WW2, which was the 'missing link' in the WRG chain of WW2 rules (the 1st edition of the WW2 and Modern rules are roughly equivalent, as is the 2nd edition of the WW2 and 3rd edition of the Modern rules). Since I have been mainly using Too Fat Lardies' pint-sized campaigns with their 'reinforced infantry platoon' forces, that gives quite a work-out to the detail of the infantry rules but not too much scope for massed armour and artillery action.
Entirely separately, I have been wondering how on earth to stage an old Villers-Bocage scenario from Miniature Wargames 065: "Wittman's Surprise".
The history seems okay (for the time) but the actual scenario seems to fall uncomfortably between a tabletop scenario and a campaign. The forces imply a 1:1 model:soldier ratio but the distances involved (the 'operational map' covers 18km x 12km) seem to imply a campaign - but there are no mechanisms for how one might do this. As an aside, this type of WW2 campaign is not easy to pull off successfully, because of the potential for rapid movement of separate forces. It isn't easy for real HQ in real life to execute and track, for that matter.
So, I am busy re-designing the scenario as a campaign, which suits the 'spirit' of the original scenario I think, whilst I have used it as the basis for a more straightforward battle game for this play test:
|The position at the start of the battle: the British are in two columns coming from the North (top); tanks to the West (centre-left), a reinforced Motor Coy to the East with its head in the town (centre)|
|Two platoons of TigerIs, supported by a section of Wespes and an SP AA gun|
|The lead Tiger Pl is placed in an ambush position: the Coy Comd is in the woods in the centre, with one Tiger covering each road.|
|One Tiger in position to ambush the lead British tanks|
|And another about to open fire on the halftracks and armoured cars leading the British advance down the other road.|
|A closer look at the small town|
|The German Panzer Grenadiers off to the south, about to start moving up to their positions.|
|The German Recce Pl just outside the village to the east|
|The German PzIV Coy on the high-ground to the south-east. They are considered to be positioned just in the trees/over the ridgeline at the start of the action,|
|The battle begins with two Cromwells being brewed up in short order.|
|The rear troop of the column gets out of the road to try and flank the Tiger, whilst everyone else is reversing, hoping that the smoke from the burning vehicles in the road is enough to screen them|
|The British are in equal trouble in the town, with two armoured cars and an M3 half track (and the infantry section in side it) all knocked out|
|The Motor Company quickly debusses and deploys its 6pdr anti-tank guns also|
|But the lead Tiger has been knocked out (red/orange smoke, top left) by a Challenger coming onto its flank (in the fields, top); the crew invokes its special plot immunity and will turn up in another Tiger in 5 turns.|
|The plot developing slightly: the leading Tiger platoon has fallen back after the loss of its command tank, but the Panzer IV company commander has given the codeword for the barrage to start on the town|
Essentially not a lot happened after this; the British infantry had taken quite heavy casualties in the artillery bombardment and struggled to get forward. There wasn't much future in the remnants of the Cromwell Sqn pushing forward too hard either.