Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hero's Gambit 2006: Sunday Morning

Hero's Gambit 2006 Game Reports

Part V: Sunday Morning

Again with the staying up waaaaay toooo late. I was up until just past 2am Sunday morning, again, writing out unit cards for the Savage Worlds game... more on that later....

Stumbled into the Albert Community Center around quarter to nine once again and started setting up another Contemptible Little Armies game #2. This time it was August 1914. Originally I had planned a scenario based on the 8th Brigade's defense of the salient at Mons 23 August 1914. Friday morning with 72 figures left to paint I was still under the delusion that I could get it done in time if I painted all day and came home and painted a couple more hours each night. Around two in the afternoon I gave up on that idea. Instead I started to formulate a scenario that could be played out with figures I already had available. The scenario ended up being a simple German set piece attack across a river towards a strategically important Belgian city.

John Bertolini, John Burt, Gary and Trent showed up to play this one. John Bertolini, Gary and Trent played the Germans and John Burt played the defenders. I gave John Burt the option of defending with either a regiment of Belgians (three battalions), plus a battalion of the British Naval Brigade, supported by two batteries of Belgian Artillery, a Belgian MG detachment and a Royal Marine MG detachment OR two battalions of British Regulars, supported by a two British MG detachments and three Royal Artillery batteries. John went with the Belgian option.

I made John Bertolini overall commander of the German Division and in charge of the Divisional assets (two MG detachments, a field artillery battery, and a regiment of Uhlans). Gary and Trent each took a brigade of two regiments (a total of 6 battalions each. John also had four batteries off table firing two turns of preliminary bombardment which he had to plot out before the game started and figures were set up.

John Burt surprised The German high command by not setting up his forces where Herr Bertolini expected thus his preliminary bombardment was not quite so effective. Here's how things looked to start:

(remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Note: all of these figures were modeled and cast and painted by either John Bertolini or myself (with the exception of the guns which were mostly Houston Models -I think...?- and the British MG team which was made by Reveirsco). John made the Germans and Belgians, I made the British Naval Brigade figures. I painted the British, the Belgians, and about half of the German infantry, John painted the rest.

In the foreground is the strategically important Belgian city and the Belgian defenses beyond. One of John's surprises was to deploy a battalion of Belgian and the Battalion of British Sailors right up at the river on either side of the bridge. The other surprise was that the guns and MGs were set up out in the open where they had good fields of fire, rather than hidden in the cover of the woods. The woods close to the center of the picture on the Belgian side of the river and some woods just off to the right were flattened by the preparatory artillery barrage. The Belgian battalions deployed by them took a couple casualties but nothing severe, the Belgian MG by the woods escaped unscathed.

Trent's Forces made up the center and right of the German advance (center and left of the picture above). Gary's battalion hugged the west side of the table and the terrain places along there (the big mass of Feldgrau in the top right of the picture above).

Trent's forces surged forward and took a severe beating in the process. They eventually crossed the river. Two crossed by way of the bridge, the rest by crossing the river itself. They eventually pushed back and broke the Belgians defending the riverbanks. They later fought their way on to the Belgian second line of defense and pushed them back. Others exchanged fire with the British Sailors for a time, taking pressure off of Gary's ponderous advance up the left, before making their own way across the river to aid with the rest of their own brigades attack. The remnants of the Belgian second battalion and the German brigade then held their positions and exchanged small arms fire for the rest of the game. Of the 78 figures that made up the German Brigade Trent commanded only eight remained at the end of the game. The gallant Belgians sold themselves dearly indeed!

John's Support troops followed along behind Trent's advance up the center. The Field gun and MGs move very slowly and aren't the most useful things in the attack. The Cavalry followed up the infantry in the center to exploit any gains.
The cavalry followed some of the infantry across the bridge and charged down the belgian MG detachment up the center road but were mauled in the process and the survivors called it a day after. The MGs and Field guns eventually made it into positions on the river and hailed bullets and shells down on the Belgian second line of defense. One MG detachment even took out a Belgian field gun battery.

Gary's troops made a slow advance through the rough terrain up the western edge of the table. the took some fire from the Sailors, lost some men to the river and a large number to the Belgian artillery that were happily off of their original target. but they eventually made their way out of the woods, took out the RM MGs and the other Belgian Artillery battery and marched on a couple of (nearly) full strength battalions into the belgian town in close order columns. He probably lost about half of his original number in the process.

When the dust settled the Germans had taken both their objectives; the bridge AND the city. But it certainly cost them. John lost about half of his original four battalions strength, both MGs and both guns. The Germans lost close to three quarters of their infantry division (12 battalions of infantry plus the cavalry regiment).

We lunched at the Nutana Cafe. We had lunch there on the Sunday of the previous year's Hero's Gambit. I broke with "tradition" and didn't have the same thing I had last year.

We returned to find people sitting around my table eating their lunch, despite the dozens of empty tables around them. They apparently mistook my ground cloth as a table cloth?!


  1. I think of all the games I played, this may have been my favourite. It was difficult, and I lost, but it was a bucket o fun.

  2. Really? That's great! So I can count on you to show up for future CLA games that I run then?

    I must say for a guy who a) never played the game before and b) doesn't know lots about warfare in the Great War era you did put up a fantastic defence the city with the limited resources you had. Even though you ultimately lost it you dealt out a world of hurt to those Germans! If I recall Trent's entire command (half a division) was utterly wiped out, and a few of Gary's battalions recieved a harsh mauling! they lost something like six or eight battalions to your two..? BOO-YAAAAH!

  3. Well, if you run them in Calgary...

    I think the toughest part for me was controlling my general, if I would have sent him up to my sailors earlier I could have maybe shut down gary's forces on the right.

    This would have allowed me a chance to rally the men on the left when trent crossed the line