Monday, 26 February 2018

Simulating War: Fire and Movement - Closing Time - Extended AmmoVariant (Part 4)

It is the German player phase but "with a twist", as he can perform no actions. All the German platoons were "spent" from effective British fire so there is no movement, no firing, the dreaded mortar is silent, as even though there still is potentially 'one left in the tube' [if the German rolls a six calling fire in] the German Commander needs a "fresh" platoon to call it in (see below, this will be quick):

The end of the German phase of Turn 9 the British Battalion Commander has seven infantry platoons active (three removed from play by enemy fire and two from ammunition expenditure), plus a Vickers HMG and mortar barrage to call in - nine actions all told. With only two possible moves left it is a priority for the British units breaking through on the German left flank to reach the baseline, capture the hexes and claim British VPs. The remaining four platoons plus HMG/mortar supports have to focus on suppressing (or killing) the last three German platoons as the German will be able to claim a VP for every remaining platoon at the end of the game - potentially three more VPs, so the game is by no means over (see below):     

The British player succeeds in his objectives. Two German baseline hexes are now under his control and three casualties are accrued via a successful close assault on the right hand flank German platoon, so not yet removed but close to it! (see below, Germans 3 (with a possible 6 if the last three German platoons survive ): 5 (with a possible 7 up for grabs [an additional German baseline hex plus a German platoon KIA])):

Again nothing for the German player to do on Turn 11 except wait to recover his "spent" units (see below, another quick time):

The last active turn for the British Battalion Commander (as the Germans player gets one last defensive phase on Turn 12). It looks bleak for the Germans as two British platoons are stacked up against the German right flank bastion. The last German baseline hex is also within easy exploitation so it looks like it is heading towards a British win (see below):

The British player elects to mortar the central German platoon, fire the Vickers HMG against the "last redoubt" along with a rifle fire from the nearest German baseline unit and close assault the right hand German flank bastion with two platoons. The extra firepower from the British rifle platoon is put in as insurance just in case of "jamming" problems with the Vickers, which as it turned out was well it (any ammunition platoon withdrawals could be made from British infantry in non-German baseline hexes). If the German player made a British unit "spent" on the German baseline hex, then it would no longer count towards a VP. The close assaults are successful and another German platoon is removed and the Germans (see below, German 3 (soon to be 5):7 British VPs):

All done now by the British player, Turn 12 and the German player can just remove the "spent" status (see below, German 5:7 British VPs):

The end of game situation, a British breakthrough, deemed a 'marginal' tactical win (5:7) although on the board it looked far better. As only light-to-medium casualties were struck on the British battalion it still has some fighting potential, depending what it will run into. The Germans however suffering over 50% withdraws shattered for consolidation with its Regiment base and possible sister battalion or into reserve. The Germans did however delay the British for several hours so the German higher command would have enough warning to react,perhaps with a local counterattack, with maybe even a tank or two! (see below, the final state of play):

As mentioned earlier one of the hardest things to do is keep track of all the details as they happen. For a long time I have meant to put together an "easy to fill in" log sheet of "all possible actions and states" that can happen in the game. Akin to my software background training, a state table for all the variables was used (which turned out to be harder than you think) and allowing a possible replay/re-cock of positions. A computer system would have a database or at least text diagnostic dump to analyse (see below, bottom of the sheet is my 'back of the cigarette packet' thoughts on the bidding system for artillery - increasing the barrage should cost you a VP for every level of +1 to kill from the base value of 2) :

The audit function is slightly easier for the German platoons as they tend to be static (and I also didn't not the "killed" and by whom statistics which could be interesting). Never the less the motto should be "leave yourself plenty of scribble room for unexpected things you didn't think would be important but were" (see below, the German side - note they still had "one mortar barrage in the barrel" that they didn't manage to use):

Well this was a turn up for the books, a "British Win" (my first)! The lucky streak of wins also continues for the "oldest" newbie in town, first leading the Spartans over Argos, then travelling forwards in time to the blood soaked battlefields of WWII France with the British Army fighting the weary legions of the Reich! It was good to get a FireMove game played where I thought the rules were played correctly (bar one mistake which I don'r think adversely affected the outcome). More worryingly it that it is "hard" to win as the attacker and that is something I would like to explore with alternate rules sets across the same scenario. Yes the Portable Wargame beckons, but more so Command Decision, Spearhead, Great Canadian Battles of WWII, Battlefront and even Advanced or Basic Squad Leader. A comparison of weapon effects at distance between the rules would be interesting. Watch this space.

Another interesting exercise would be running through the scenario using the British Army (modern) "Seven Question Estimate" to see if slightly better planning could assist the attacker in a more formalised approach to the battle (see below, the British Army's Seven Questions):
  1. What is the adversary doing and why and/or what situation do I face and why, and what effect do they have on me? 
  2. What have I been told to do and why? 
  3. What effects do I need to have on the adversary or situation and what direction must I give to develop the plan? 
  4. Where and how can I best accomplish each action or effect? 
  5. What resources are needed to accomplish each action or effect?
  6. When and where do the actions take place in relation to each other?
  7. What control measures to I need to impose?


Prufrock said...

A good read, thanks!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Glad you liked it
I thought it possibly was a little too heavy on the text
But this game is slightly bugging me
It should be winnable for the attacker (it just was)
But it is hard

The "attacker's plan" has got to work
It seems too easy for a static defender to retain the initiative
The German mortar seems almost guaranteed to suppress the Vickers HMG for at least half the game!