Monday, 11 April 2016

Great War Demo Game at Daffcon

Wargames Table chum Dave took along his Great War demo game (for Zero Hour) to Daffcon recently. Now, I wasn't available to attend but I was pleased to be able to help out with a few bits of terrain, etc. Dave sent me these photos which I was keen to share.
The game all set up and ready to 'bully off'
As mentioned before the Zero Hour rules are currently being re-worked to provide a more streamlined reading experience. The actual game mechanisms have been in place for some time and work very well. But as any rules writer will tell you, trying to turn ideas in to written rules can be quite challenging.

This battle was themed around part of the British attack at Cambrai in November/December 1917, hence the Mark IV tanks and bare trees. More specifically the bridge crossing the St Quentin Canal at Masnieres.
The British advance
The Forces
  • British
    • 1 infantry battalion (3 companies of 2 platoons) supported by a tank company (2 male + 1 female, Goliath, Apollo, Gordon)
    • One squadron of 2 troops Indian Cavalry
    • 1 HMG and 1 Medium Mortar.
  • German
    • 2 companies of regulars in the trench + 2 HMGs, 1 mortar + 2 x 77mm  guns.
    • In reserve, 2 companies of 2 platoons Storm troopers (each platoon with flamethrowers).

  • British
    • Tanks and cavalry: take the bridge.
    • Infantry: destroy 75% of German formations.
  • German
    • Regulars: destroy 75% British.
    • Stormtroopers: clear the British from the German deployment zone (the trenches).

The Germans had a thinly held trench line with more troops available in reserve - as per their famous Eingreifentaktik strategy.
Through the wire
Some notes from Dave about how the game played...

Turns 1-2
British deploy 1 tank + 1 company in left flank (Goliath), centre (Gordon) and right flank (Apollo) Cavalry in reserve.  Left and centre advance through woods to take trench, right flank head along road towards the distant bridge.  By end of 2nd turn, right flank company wiped out, and tank limping with one damage marker.  Centre and left flank had advanced ok though, and part of the wire breached (by a German dropped shot). Various attrition on Germans along the trench line.

Turns 3-4
Germans have about 1 squad left in trenches, British centre and left have been chopped a bit, down to one squad (although it has picked up stragglers, so a fair size now).  Successfully charge and take trench, but lose the left flank tank (Goliath) in the process.  Gordon in the centre progressed to the wire, breaking some down, before suffering a breakdown.  On the right Apollo also ditched form artillery fire - just short of the wire.  With a wall of intact wire, the cavalry had no choice but to abandon right flank, and head for the break created by Gordon.  By the time they got there, they were down to a handful of troopers, who decided to abandon their objective (the bridge) and dismounted to shelter in the trench.

Turns 5-6
With the British in the trench, the Germans were allowed to unleash their reserves - the Stormtroopers.  Two platoons were deployed to take out the British in the trench, one platoon held in reserve and the 4th platoon sent to reinforce the only surviving German regulars guarding the bridge.  The entrenched British managed to take out one platoon of storm troopers, but the 2nd platoon advanced under cover of a small copse and made their charge, with flammen werfen flaming everyone!  In the centre Gordon stood protectively over the Indians, until it succumbed to a combination of mortar and artillery fire.  The Indians supported by my HMG from the woods, managed to trim down the advancing Storm Troopers, but the final platoon of German regulars left their post at the bridge, and managed to sweep into the trench.   The Indians failed their stand-to order, missing their chance to strike first, so the combat was simultaneous and with the Germans outnumbering them 2:1, the outcome was inevitable.

Dave gets all 'arty'.
A panoramic view

The forward elements of the British attack reach the trench line.
The trench is ours!

Cavalry and tanks move up to exploit the 'breakthrough'. The black skull marker on the road denotes an artillery aiming point, so they'd best giddy-up!!
Here come the cavalry!

Mounted troops are great for dashing about the battlefield but tend to baulk when it comes to crossing wire, so the rules allow for mounted troops to dismount when needed.
But then they dismount

The German counter-attack begins as Stormtroopers start to reclaim the trench.
They think it's all over ...

They may have reached the trench but these British troops are lacking support and reinforcements so become easy targets for the fresh German reserves.
... it is now!
  • Advancing with tanks, the British were able to take the Germans trenches.
  • Over time the tanks were picked off by artillery and support weapons.
  • The battered British were then driven out by a strong German counter attack.
  • Everyone back to square one.

By all accounts it was a cracking game and generated plenty on interest from show-goers.


Rodger said...

Certainly looked great Matt!

Matt said...

Thanks Rodger! The good thing is that it will get better with each outing as we add stuff :-)

Ray Rousell said...

Looks an excellent game!

Phil said...

What an awesome table...very impressive!

Maldrac said...

I must have missed it, but what game system did you guys use for this?
Looks amazing!