Friday, 23 February 2018

Simulating War: Fire and Movement - The Battle Turns - Extended Ammo Variant (Part 2)

The British Battalion Commander needed to force the "big push" forward. Using the quiet calm of the sheltered terrain before the ridge line of the German left he mustered as assault company (platoons elements from "B Coy" and "C Coy" in reinforced company strength). If the Vickers HMG or the 3" British mortar could suppress the German platoon in the wood they were going to "go for it". To keep the pressure up the fourth platoon of "D Coy" was committed (the final British infantry platoon) to the opposite flank to take advantage of the suppressed German position. This meant clustering them horribly but the advantage was deemed worth the risk of exposing three platoons to extreme range rifle fire (see below):   

All moved, the British await the German response, at least three German rifle platoons have "shots" and there is always the depressing thought of the German 81mm mortar potentially being called in (see below):

"Holy mother of mysteries, they missed!" No being shot didn't win the war in itself but it sure boosted player morale. For what seemed the first time in a long, long time the Vickers HMG was free to play its part on the attack alongside the 3" mortar. These two important weapon systems were called on to suppress the end German bastions to keep the attack momentum going  (see below, potentially eleven British actions this turn! An unheard of bounty!):

Both outlying German bastions were suppressed. Though looking back at the pictures the British Battalion Commander placed an enormous amount trusted in his weapon systems, just as well they didn't "jam" or "disappoint".  Closer examination sees a potentially better move; rather than sending "B Coy" [red markers] over the top, one platoon could have laid extra suppression on the farm "just in case" and still achieved the same result with a platoon from "C Coy" [yellow marker]. The "B Coy rush" gave the German Commander a fire targeting dilemma, does he try and suppress both platoons or close assault a single platoon and cause more casualties which would remove another British infantry platoon. On the German left the British push forward. Note: One platoon stayed behind to be able to spot for the indirect mortar support (see below): 

The British spent counters are removed revealing for the first time in the game a quite "open" board with the British Infantry half way to their objective. Will this be a turning point or rather the high point of something akin to Picket's Charge? (see below):

The Germans retaliate with yet more defensive fire. However just when it seemed highly likely that "B Coy" is pinned on the wire in gory WWI fashion, the marginal advantage that the hilly terrain afforded comes to the British salvation. Neither British infantry platoon is suppressed. Elsewhere the German mortars and rifle fire take a murderous toll, suppressing the Vickers HMG (again) and making good use of what could be the last rounds of the German 81mm mortar the British take more infantry casualties on the German fight flank (see below, the price being paid is high .. the current score being Germans 2 VP to the British 0):

Despite the suppression counters on four of his platoons, the British Battalion Commander has seven offensive actions to juggle. Plenty of scope for offensive action. There will be two close assaults going into the German left flank by "B Coy" [red counters] and follow up moves two moves by "C Coy" [yellow markers] behind them and one 'fire to suppress' and 'mortar spot' on the central German platoon (five actions). On the German right flank there will be one fire for suppression attempt and one move to be adjacent to the enemy (two actions). There is a sense that this is a "make or break turn" for the British. If all goes well the majority of German stands could be suppressed at the beginning of the next German Turn and perhaps one platoon even removed (see below):

The British comes in trumps. Two close assaults are successful and cause six German casualties (that will be a German platoon and 1 VP for the British player) with the mortar suppressing the central German platoon, the only miss being the rifle fire failed to suppress the right flank German platoon (see below):

A close-up of the close assault and luck "B Coy" [red counters]. The German player has to chose which platoon to lose. He decides to retain the platoon in the wood as it gains a +1 defensive Dice Roll Modifier (DRM). Although its long term prospects look poor (see below):

The situation at end of the British phase and completion of Turn 7. The Germans have three actions and possibly a mortar attack to make but the British have eleven platoons in play which means  the Germans have eleven targets. With the Germans only having three or four shots the British will be able to attack no matter what. The German left flank looks particularly tenuous (see below):

Nothing has been decided as the score is 2:1 to the Germans. A bit like a World Cup score, still all to play for ;)

Next: The Crux of the Battle

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