First adversarial game with generated terrain with four players in two-player teams, German (defenders) and British (attackers).
We are playing with the Farren amendments (see Simulating War Yahoo Group) that states British HMG and Mortar firing does not accumulate British ammo usage [every "sixth" British rifle platoon firing removes one of the British units that had fired that turn from play]
Very sparse only five terrain filled hexes generated [three woods, one farm complex and two low ridges (Note: These may be hard to see but are centre left of the table behind the woods and top left)]
- 48 hexes with 1 in 6 chance of a terrain feature
- 6 terrain features generated lower than normal chance
German player chose Left Hand Side (LHS) baseline.
British player advances onto all plain baseline on the Right Hand Side (RHS) baseline.
Note: Two red bottle-tops denote farm complex hence the name Bottle Top Farm being used throughout the course of the game
Turn 1 German defensive positions:
The Germans refused their left flank and doubled-up platoons near Bottle-Top Farm. The one space gap hexing between German Platoons, as per many a familiar board game, (although no board game style "zones of control" are in play in this game) stops the British catching multiple Germans with 'one shot'.
Note: All the German positions are considered "dug-in" (1 x Ridges, 4 x Plain, 1 x Wood)
Turn 1 British "Move-On" and Artillery Barrage:
Four British Platoons are brought on. HMG Platoon is central unit, third counter up from the bottom RHS. Each German counter in Line Of Sight (LOS) of a British Platoon (Infantry or HMG) is attacked 1d6 (5-6 suppresses) by the artillery (see below):
A mixed bad for the British as only one German platoon in central wood is suppressed (see below):
German Turn 2:
Bottle-Top Farm is occupied by a German Platoon that goes from Dug-In to Mobile but the Farm Complex's protection is equivalent to being dug-in. The German rolls appalling combat dice, the mortar comes in but misses the British HMG rolling a one and the German Rifle Platoon fire is equally dire (see below):
Quote: "I didn't think I would roll a one there (aka the mortar fire)!" As the German players collectively shook their heads at their ibad combat dice.
Turn 2 British Player:
Caught between the dilemma of getting troops on the table, but not wanting to offer 'cheap targets' for the Germans. What to do? How many and how soon to bring them on?
Rule Note: Distanced fire combat is not from one hex to another but from the firer to a target hex and another adjacent hex (provided it is in LOS to the firer). All units in the hexes are attacked with the same dice roll.
The British player opts for the option of just pushing one platoon forwards (see below, top right) and trying to suppress through HMG, Mortars and two rifle platoons the defenders. Fear of crowding the baseline stopped the British from bring more troops on. In retrospect this may have been too cautious a strategy.
Turn 3 British Player:
Without exactly knowing why the British Players found themselves being lured into attacking Bottle Top Farm. It is questionable whether the German should had edged forwards and expose himself to the British attack. The British deem there is no time to lose and are pushing infantry platoons forwards in "haste".
Rules Note: The British Player can suppress a German dug-in infantry platoon from afar, but would not cause casualties. Casualties for dug-in troops have to caused by close assault, aka being attacked from an adjacent hex. This seems historically to be true.
Turn 4 British/German:
The focus of the British attack is now at the German right (with two full companies) but "for want of a reason not to" the British are also attacking company strength at the German left (was this wise?). Out of necessity the British player deems it prudent to bring on the mass of his troops and get on with it. Some troops to "Fire" and some troops to "Move" [get it?], but would it be wiser to remember "Fire, Move with a Reserve" is the official British Army doctrine. So perhaps"Fire-Move-Reserve" would perhaps be a better game title (see below, Bottle-Top Farm is being readied for attack):
Turn 5 British/German:
The Germans put up a furious fight at Bottle-Top Farm and all along the central front (see below), needing only 2+ to hit the adjacent British Infantry, whereas the British require a slightly harder 3+ in the terrain held hexes (wood and BUA).
Observation: The British players discover to their dismay, how many times "almost sure fire attacks" can still fail in this game .. so frustrating. If you really want something, best insure you will get it. Focus on localised wins.
The German player remains in place! (see below):
British/German Turn 6:
Bloody resistance at the Bottle-Top Farm (a weary sigh from teh British Player) defies all laws of known statistics and pseudo mathematical enquiry (were the dice loaded?). This is most unexpected. The siting of the Vickers HMG is also brought into question as it cannot support the attacks and the mortar cannot come in "danger close" for fear of a "Blue-on-blue". Despite the focus of the support assets the British attack on the German left is beginning to frizzle away (see below, also note the British have taken their first combat and ammunition attrition casualties, the Germans are still untouched apart from spending a lot of mortar ammunition for little practical effect):
British/German Turn 7:
Finally the German Platoon at Bottle-Top Farm redoubt is eliminated. The German player chose to take off the casualty here as opposed to the dug-in central plain hex as there was a "local German reserve" lying in wait behind the Bottle-Top Farm hex. Meanwhile the German 'Left Hand Side' Platoons were suppressed the British moved up their two remaining platoons on their right [1 KIA and 1 Ammunition Depletion] though it did not look a promising prospect (see below):
British/German Turn 8:
The Bottle-Top Farm Hex is occupied and the German Dug-in Platoon on the plain is also lost as a 'KIA'. Finally 'a good turn' for the British player. However the British Platoon will inevitably be close-assaulted by the German "ambush party" silently waiting behind the farm next turn. To the top of the photograph the British attack is turning into a "low odds" attack, pinning at best .. a wargaming lesson to be learned perhaps (see below):
British Turn 9:
The British player moves up to reinforce success in the south (bottom of the photograph) while relegating the northern attack to a now lost 'pinning operation'. The German "ambushers" are in turn close assaulted and a furious, though at first inconclusive (low dice rolls affected both sides), fire-fight ensues (see below):
British Turn 9:
The final German "right flank" Platoon is removed from play as the British successfully close assaulted it. The "gate" is open (see below):
German Turn 10:
The German Rifle Platoon in the central wood is in extremis being attacked on three sides (see below):
Rules Note: If more attention had been paid by the British players to the VP tracking then one of those Platoon would probably have been better placed running to the baseline instead (however remember that point made earlier, if you want it better make sure you take it).
British Turn 10:
The final position before race to the 'German Baseline' as the British have only one more movement phase left to come. 2 VPs await in their grasp provided that the Rifle Platoons remain "fresh" at the end of the German Turn 12 (see below):
Turn 11 British and Turn 12 German:
On British Turn 11 the central German Rifle Platoon is killed in the wood (maybe it was worth making sure of the kill by keeping that third British Platoon in the attack). The German Platoon had been a thorn in the British side for eleven turns, quite heroic. At the end of game (German 12 as the British do not get a go on turn 12) the British have managed to "turn" the German left by reaching the enemy baseline and finally break/eliminate the troublesome German rifle platoon in the center a seemingly good result. The HMG and Mortar had successfully suppressed the only German Platoon with LOS to the British Rifle platoons to no last minute German sting in the tail (see below):
Final Victory Point Count:
4 VPs from British Rifle Platoons KIA + 2 VPs for Surviving Rifle Platoons on table
Total: 6 VPs
4 KIA German Rifle Platoons and 2 VPs for Fresh British Infantry Platoons on German Baseline Hexes
Tota: 6 VPs
Although it has to be said the German players thought they had "lost it" as their defensive line had been broken. The VPs reflect that the Germans had done enough to "buy time" to safely retire to positions further back without being destroyed and inflicting similar level of casualties on the British side.
Rules Note: The Germans only count casualty KIAs as VPs not those retired because of ammunition depletion.