Sunday, 25 February 2018

Simulating War: Fire and Movement - The Crux of Battle - Extended Ammo Variant (Part 3)

Game Rules Note: A quick note on te extended ammo variant rules. As the game is described in Phil Sabin's book, every sixth British infantry fire a platoon is removed. As a result of discussions with various members of the Wargames Development group, quick addendum to exclude the British 3" Mortar and Vickers HMG from the equation and concentrate of "rifle ammunition" . However after play testing further even this restriction still seemed to penalise the British unduly. So in this game the ammo parameter is raised from every six to every nine. This still removes the temptation of the British Player to "blaze away" without restrain but gives a logistics factor nevertheless. The original value of "six" was chosen for ease of use, something to count "up to" on a spare dice. In this particular game, at this point there have been relatively few British infantry attacks so the rule has only now to come into play and a "C Coy" platoon [that had fired the previous turn] is removed from play. This is good for the British as they need every spare platoon they can get their hands on to press home their advantage.

Situation Review: The German left flank if of concern for the German Commander as it is only a matter of time before it unravels (see below):

Turn Eight's German defensive fire is particularly effective, bleeding the British troops attacking the German right flank. A combination of effective mortar fire and rifle fire "silences" the attack, even subduing the dangerous British Vickers HMG platoon (again). In fact the British lose anther platoon through casualty attrition (see below, success on the left but painful casualties to the British on the right):

The British player chooses to lose a baseline British infantry platoon to keep the momentum of the attack going forward (see below, Germans 3:1 British VPs):

That leaves the British Battalion Commander with the imperative need to attack the German left flank with his active troops. The German platoon in the wood is the target. One platoon from (lucky) "B Coy" flanks the position, another from "C Coy" moves behind in breakthrough support. The two remaining platoons attack striking hard with six causalities. [Note: Here as player/umpire I made a mistake as the British platoons are from two separate companies and should not have been able to support each other .. my bad (although being the German Commander I hurt myself). Instead of six it should have only been three casualties. Some form of "Computer Aided Assistant" would have been helpful here!] The German Commander knows he is really in trouble on his left flank (see below):

The German platoon in the wood is removed [Erroneously, probably a turn too early .. but it would have been suppressed for the next turn because of the combat results] from play (see below, Germans 3:2 British with respect to VPs):

The overall position for the Germans is of growing concern verging on disaster, looking particularly bad because of the British breakthrough on the German left flank. "Night may fall" ["Give me night or give me Blucher" seems unhistorical but appropriate] and yet save the German Commander. The German certainly needs to pin down the British on his right flank and contain the incursion (if at all possible) on his left flank from gaining German baseline hexes and thus attaining vital VPs  (see below, just before the British remove their "spent white counters"):

The German defensive phase on turn nine is key, but calamity strikes. No mortars are called in  and the German platoons can only suppress one British platoon (albeit the one about to close assault the far right German platoon. The German Commander chose not to close assault and inflict three casualties and suppress one British Platoon, but rather attack two and try and cause two casualties and make two British platoons spent and therefore inactive). This again leaves the British player with a mass of potential, having nine active platoons, including the Vickers HMG, plus a mortar attack (see below, that means a lot of "incoming" for the German defenders to face):

The British mercilessly advance on the German left flank [Note: In all probability this turn would have seen the demise of the German platoon and the lead British platoon would still be as advanced due to the overwhelming local superiority of the British on the German left flank .. so therefore I think the 'rule mistake' did not matter in the mix]. The three German platoons on the German front line have all been successfully suppressed which means it will be a very short turn for the German Commander next go. The British Battalion Commander certainly has the Germans within his OODA loop" (Observe Orientate Decide and Act). This is the critical point of the battle as the German player only has the "last redoubt" far away on the German baseline in play (see below): 

The long range German rifle fire from the "last redoubt" fails to suppress the British infantry attacking the central [red company] German platoon (distance and the hill cover saved it, the fact that the German was supporting his company [no negative adjacent minus] and the target was on a hill thus not stopping LOS made it possible). Worse still the German Commander failed to get the last of his mortar barrages in, thus meaning the British player has eight active platoons, two of which will be performing close assaults and the Vickers HMG and 3" mortar in play (see below):

For some reason (and I must confess not to be entirely sure of "why") another "C Coy" platoon was removed from play. I don't this was due to casualties taken but more probably because of the ammo rules for logistics as the British platoon did not end up in the "dead pile" counting for German VPs, and to be fair the British have been doing much more "rifle firing" in the preceding turns. All I know for sure is that I recorded the event in this sequence (see below, three British platoons "sniffing" as German Baseline hexes and possible VPs become tantalisingly close):

The British Commander chose to keep mortaring the last remaining German platoon from their "Blue" company and HMG the German "last redoubt", close assault the other two German platoons and move everybody else up, eyeing up those German baseline VPs (see below):

A spectacular result. All German platoons are spent, one German baseline hex captures, six more casualties on the Germans means they will lose another infantry platoon and most importantly of all all they can do is remove the spent status from their troops - effectively "missing a go" (see below, Germans 3:4 British VPs): 

The important thing now for the British Commander is to ensure the German player's platoons all  remains "spent" and he can then roll-up their position, if time permits.

Next: Hard Rain To Keep on Falling

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