Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Return to the Western Front

After quite a bit of "faffing" around with various gaming projects (mainly buying figures and thinking about painting *sigh*) I think I might have settled back in to a familiar era ... The Great War.

Chums Dave and Steve have had a few games recently so I was delighted to join in a larger game with them. The basic scenario was that having broken through the more lightly held front lines (this is set in 1917) the British now arrive at the main German lines. Consider it perhaps similar to days 2 or 3 of the Cambrai offensive.

Anyway, the Germans (Dave) are holding three key objectives; a fortified but ruined village, a pillbox and fortified hill with trench system. The British objectives were "simply" to take and hold as many of these objectives as possible.

In order to make up the points for a 1917 game I opted to use the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) list from "Over The Top" as I could take HMGs but leave them off table to gain artillery support support options. Steve used the conventional 1917 BEF list (including cavalry - which was held ready at Cambrai to exploit any breakthroughs).

Here's the deployment. I should point out that the cloth we used is actually quite brown rather than the reddish hue it appears in the photos... Steve's BEF on the left, my CEF on the right.

A closer shot of Steve's army.

A closer shot of mine, complete with 'A' company Mk IV male tank "Arthur".

Here are Dave's Germans in their trenches.

More Germans in the village.

The first few turns of the game consisted of the BEF/CEF bravely rushing across No Man's Land, making best use of the scant cover, relying on their support weapons and artillery, whilst the Germans fired everything they could. But Dave's artillery support was definitely having an off day, or perhaps they were deliberately landing shots in the most open and uninhabited parts of the battlefield?

Steve's chaps also dash towards the enemy, but some of his difficult terrain tests rather slowed his attack.

A view along the lines. Note how our preliminary bombardment has opened a few small gaps in the barbed wire.

Turn 4 or 5 and Arthur rolls up to the German trenches, pouring HMG shots into the startled Germans. But it's supporting infantry company were being punished by German rifles and HMGs, spending most of the early part of the game 'pinned'

Towards the centre, A company of the CEF close in on the pillbox, but that barbed wire could prove a formidable obstacle.

Steve continues his steady advance. His HMGs, along with rifle shots from the closer platoons, inflict significant casualties on the enemy despite being holed up in the village.

A view from the German held village.

A German officer dodges the hail of HMG bullets to draw his comrades attention to the clanking behemoth about to overrun their position. However, some well placed grenades dislodge a track and literally halt the Mk IV in it's tracks.

Then an assault platoon (with flamethrower!) move up to deal with the tank.

The BEF close on the wire but yet another round of dreadful difficult terrain tests brings them to a halt just in front of the German positions.

The CEF are across the wire and ready their grenades.

But as you can see in background of the picture below, their assault detonated the pillbox ammo store resulting in a spectacular explosion, and the destruction of most of the attacking troops. Bother! Also worth noting in the foreground are Steve's gallant cavalry negotiating the rubble and the wire to mount an attack against the German held buildings.

C-h-a-r-g-e! (dakka-dakka! .... kerboom! Aaaagh!)

Noble but ultimately doomed: the cavalry were greeted with grenades and LMGs. With predictable results!

With time pressing we decided to call a halt to the game soon after. The pillbox was destroyed and both the other German positions were held only by a few determined troops. The BEF and CEF had taken terrible casualties yet could still continue the attack, so we decided that a draw was the fairest result.

A splendid game full of good humour and high drama. Many thanks to Dave and Steve for great evening of Great War gaming.


Lurkus Spleen said...

Cracking write up and pictures there mate :).

And got to agree it was a awesome game,really keen to get some more Great War games in.


Nathan Watt said...

Great game. Shame you didn't get to go the whole way due to time.

Rodger said...

Great looking game Matt.

Keith said...

Superb Stuff Matt

Matt said...

Glad you enjoyed the report chaps!

@Steve - I'm also very keen to get some more games in! I hope to start on my LW Germans very soon.