Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Somme - High Wood and Zero Hour

Last Sunday Orange Dave, Steve, Rob and myself gathered for another game of Zero Hour. To give the game a bit of a theme we chose part of the battle of High Wood during the Somme campaign in 1916.

As Steve has mentioned on his blog, we’re aiming to take an enhanced version of this game to some shows next year to bring Zero Hour to the public attention. We have some grand plans for scenery etc, so please keep an eye on the blog(s) for more High Wood antics.

The basic idea is that the Germans have a secondary trench line running through a wood and it's up to the British to dislodge them. For our re-fight we had two British battalions (Rob with mostly cavalry and me with infantry and a Mk I for support) against Steve's Germans. Dave kindly umpired and provided tactical advice and guidance.

Deployment - we all held part of our forces in reserve - although in Rob's case that was actually most of his army. The cavalry were clearly intent on clearing the local wine cellars before getting to grips with the Germans.

Quite a few Germans were holding that trench line!

And there were more off table in reserve!

The British start the party with an artillery barrage. Steve has a number of very funky little explosion counters with flickering lights in them.

Rob's infantry company (on the left) head for the wood, supported by a (borrowed) tank posing this time as a Mk I.

The tank proved to be fairly unreliable, very appropriate for 1916, but did eventually manage to make some contribution the attack. Two companies of my chaps dash across open ground to reach the cover of the craters.

Here they close in on the wire (which earlier barrages had not managed to clear).

Huzzah! The cavalry have finally finished off the last case of claret ;o) and mounted up.

In that last picture you can just make out (on the right) a WoW German aircraft - they'd called in aerial support so the pilot was busily flying along the British line of advance dropping bombs and strafing. Some desultory ground fire scored minor damage on the plane but the pilot continued his dastardly business!

Some of my chaps head for a gap in the wire, determined to get to grips with the Germans.

With his trusty Webley and a walking stick this Lieutenant encourages his men over the final few yards.

Grenades, bayonets and some reasonable dice rolling later and the trench is in British hands.

Now let's get some more men in to widen the breach.

With the infantry having done most of the hard work ;o) the cavalry move up to occupy the woods. Some (on the left) gallantly head for the gaps in the wire.

The view from the German lines.

With time marching on we called a halt there. Rob's cavalry had achieved their objective of capturing the wood. The British infantry were poised to exploit their breakthrough. But there was plenty of fight left in the German forces.

This battle had it all!
  • Dogged infantry
  • Lumbering tanks
  • Dashing cavalry
  • Dastardly aerial support
  • Thunderous off table artillery
  • Heroic storming of the trench lines
It's worth pointing out that we are now most definitely at the stage of minor tweaks here and there in the rules. The game flows well and the command system means you have to prioritize and plan your attacks.

So a minor victory to the British; the infantry did all the heavy lifting whilst the cavalry got all the glory - ah well! My thanks to everyone for a super evening of gaming.


George Anderson said...

Splendid stuff, inspiring as usual.

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Rodger said...

Great report and photos Matt!

Stefan (aka. Monty) said...

Interesting report.

Tim Eagling said...

Nice toys Matt:0)

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