After what seems an absolute age, I finally got behind the familiar wargaming table to throw some dice. Playing "Battalion Attack", using the book's tutorial scenario (again), but this time the co-player (rather than an opponent) had also 'read the book' (Simulating War, by Phil Sabin), hurray. Pump-primed we jumped into the action walking the scenario through to the step-off point in the book, the start of German Turn Three (see below, British attacking left to right):
One advantage of having played the game/scenario several times before, is that the 'counters/logistics/terrain' are now prepared for in advance and subtle playing aids (e.g. units from the same company having the same coloured sticker, counters instead of cumbersome dice markers for ammo and causality counts). The "big plus" was that we never lost track of what was happening, or debated what the status of a unit was and whose turn was it to do something. The game mechanics ran smoothly.
The battle soon heated up with the British pressing the German held "Farm Crescent" hard with an important 'close assault' attack opportunity after the Germans had critically failed to nail a 'sure thing' (anything but a one .. we've all been there) on an adjacent British Infantry platoon (see picture below).
Note: The assault position (see below, before British move but after the German turn three was completed) was one the British had worked very hard (as in 'bled' casualties) to get to. The British 'Green Company' platoon adjacent to the "farm" will be assaulting this turn and a second 'Green Company' platoon is set to move up and exploit the situation and hopefully double close assault a suppressed(?) German platoon in the subsequent turns. This 'potentially' could crack the German 'Farm Crescent' defensive line wide open (which would be a 'first' in all my play tests of this scenario).
The odds were in the attackers favour: 1d6, with a British roll of (3,4,5,6) and the German defender would take three casualties as well as becoming suppressed and incapable of firing next turn, but a roll of (1,2) and the Germans would be fresh to wreck havoc on the exposed British Infantry platoons ("PBI").
The die was cast ...
The British attack was stymied (with a roll of a 1). If there was even a candid lesson in statistics and there is "no such thing as a racing certainty", then this is it. The Germans (after breathing a huge sigh of relief) in return elected to spread their defensive fire (rather than concentrate a close assault on one British Infantry platoon for slightly higher casualties) to suppress both British Infantry platoons (see below, two rolls of anything but a one [this time] sufficed for the Germans to achieve this):
The British "Green Company" are now left 'hanging on the wire'. The proximity of friendlies stopping their 3" mortar helping and the proximity plus terrain leaving the HMG with only 50% chance of being effective each turn. Piling more troops forward will not directly help the British but probably instead serve to increase their casualties Meanwhile the German mortar has been very effective in causing additional PBI casualties in the rear ranks of the British attack.
Next: The battle is pressed