Sunday, August 12, 2007

Modified CLA game: Round Two

For this evenings adventures I thought I would incorporate further rules modifications I was considering last night . In particular I wanted to try four stand units. Units will then take morale tests for each stand lost. With one failure they receive a token, the effects of a single morale failure token will be identical to having two in the regular rules (i.e. no moving towards the enemy, if contacted in close combat or failing a second morale check the unit will break and be removed from play.

I decided to tone down the MGs as well, reducing their range to 20” and have less dice to throw. At long range they may only throw one die, at Short range they may throw up to three if the second and third targets are within 2” of the first (similar to artillery…).

The Scenario

Last Hundred Days- the German Army is a general withdrawal. Scout-Cyclists advancing ahead of the Canadian Corps have found a Regiment of Germans preparing a hasty position in front of the town of Brassiere. Again the 11th and 12th Brigades of the 4th Division have been called upon to clear the way!

The assault was hastily planned and executed. There wasn’t time to bring up artillery to support the attack – no off-table artillery.

Forces

Canadians – 11th and 12th Canadian Infantry Brigades.
Each had:
Staff Officer
4 battalions (4 infantry companies/stands) Tactical 4 Morale 4
Trench Mortar Battery
Machine Gun company

For a total of:
2 Staff officers
32 Infantry Stands
2 Trench Mortars
2 Machine-guns

Germans – a single Regiment
3 battalions (4 infantry companies/stands each for a total of 12 stands)
1 Trench Mortar Battery
1 Machine-Gun Company.

Set Up

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

This is an aerial view of the table from the north – taken by one of the plucky chaps of the Royal flying Corps… To the west are the Two assaulting brigades of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division. At the east end of the table is the Ville de Brassiere. One German battalion was set up in the woods, across the river, to the northwest of the town. Another was set up in woods southwest of the town. The remaining German battalion was set up in some hastily dug entrenchments due west of town straddling the Arras-Brassiere road. The German MGs were set up right on the road. The German trench mortars were set up on the outskirts of town hidden behind some hedges.


Another view from the northeast, taken by the same pilot as he wheeled around.


A view from one of the upper story windows within the village.


A view from the Canadian lines showing the German battalion north of the village and river.


A view of the Germans in the trenches west of the town.

The Game

Turn One
The first wave moved forward, some faster than others. The Grenadier Guards of Montréal (87th battalion) took some casualties right off the start from the German trench mortar (one stand). This caused a morale failure abruptly halting their advance!

Turn Two


The dashing (acting) commander of the 4th Canadian Division: General Brown.

Moving forward again. No casualties. The 87th successfully rallied and would continue forward next turn.

Turn Three

Everybody was moving forward again. The second wave kicked off this turn – some of which were quickly on the heels of some of the slower moving units of the first wave.

The 38th (Ottawa) battalion suffered losses to the trench mortar but pressed on across the open field.


The Germans north of the river began firing on the Jocks from the 73rd (R.H.R.) as they emerged from the woods on the opposite side of the river.


Turn Four

The jocks from the R.H.R. stormed across the river and into the German-filled wood on the other side. They were bloodily repulsed – losing a stand to rifle fire on the way in, a second stand in the close combat, and failing one of their two morale checks. I took four picks of this attack and every last one of them was terribly out of focus!

The 38th suffered more casualties to the German trench mortar but pressed on with only half their original number.


The 102nd battalion (North B.C.) started taking fire from the Germans in the woods south of town.

Turn Five

The R.H.R. retired, regrouped and rallied in the woods across the river from the Germans.

The 38th took still more casualties from the trench mortar and finally failed morale. The remainder of the battalion – only a companies worth – went to ground.

The 102nd took some sever casualties as they rushed across the open ground towards the Germans in the woods opposite (2 stands!).


This was the scene at the end of the movement phase during turn five, before the 102nd and 38th took their casualties. The 102nd is the battalion in the open at the top center of the picture. The 38th are the two stands about dead center. Below them in the woods on the west side of the river are the R.H.R. The 72nd (Seaforth Highlanders) is just behind the R.H.R. ready to push on through the woods in support.

Turn Six

The 11th Canadian Machine-gun company decided to deploy – after spending five turns moving forward at a crawl!

The remaining two companies of the 102nd charged into the woods south of town intent on winkling out the Germans therein. For their efforts their battalion was all but wiped out – one stand lost on the way in, the last was taken out in close combat. German casualties were negligible.

The R.H.R. tried to make another attack across the river but most never made it to the other side. (last two stands lost on the way into close combat).

The Grenadier Guards lost a second stand to the trench mortar and failed a morale test and the 54th suffered casualties from small arms fire as they crossed the field in the footsteps (and over the bodies…) of the 102nd.

Turn Seven

The “Jolly” 75th (from Mississauga), passing through the Grenadier Guards (who were busy trying to rally themselves) were cut to pieces by the German machine-guns (2 stands!). The Winnipeg Grenadiers likewise suffered severe casualties as they passed through the remains of the 38th (who were also rallying this turn) losing to stands to small arms fire from the trenches in front of them.

The 72nd passing through the shattered remains of the R.H.R. in the woods, themselves started taking casualties from the Germans across the river.

Turn Eight


The remaining companies of the 87th and 75th attempted to press on through withering fire from the Germans in the trenches ahead and the MG off to their flank. Neither made it to the trenches. The 75th were done in and the 87th took more casualties. Only about a companies worth of them were still moving forward at the end of the turn.


The 54th (Kootenays) made it to the woods only to be cut to pieces by the stubborn (not in the game sense…) German defenders (2 stands lost!).


On the 12th Brigades front the 38th and 78th managed to make some forward movement with negligible casualties.


The Seaforths made a dash across the river and into close combat with the Germans opposite. Both side lost one stand and failed morale. These were the first German losses of the game. The German battalion would be effed if the Seaforths could rally and come back as the only German staff officer on the table (the C-in-C) was in the town on the other side of the river… (both Canadian brigades had a staff officer moving up with them – that was generally ablr to get to any unit that failed morale the next turn and rally them…).

Turn Nine

The Seaforths retired into the river where they rallied and watched the Germans retire further into the woods.

The remaining stand of the 87th couldn’t get into the trenches (rolled 3” for movement, needed 5….) but by some miracle remained at the end of the turn unscathed by the hail of small arms and machine-gun fire hurled it’s way.

The 54th weren’t so lucky. The remaining companies worth of troops were cut down as they retired from the close combat in the woods.

The Winnipeg Grenadiers made it into the trenches on the German right. The Canucks simply had the WORST luck in close combats throughout this entire game. Almost every close combat they initiated had two stands meet up with one German; the German would beat the first stand every time and against the second they would tie (even though the second stand would get a +2?!). This round was no different. The remaining company of the 78th actually passed it’s morale test and remained locked in combat into the next turn.

Turn Ten

The Germans brought a second stand into the combat with the 78th and finished them off.

The 87th pressed on into the trenches on the German left, survived the fire on the way in and fought the German defenders, neither losing enough to break off.

The 72nd moved back out of the river and pushed into the woods.

Turn Eleven

The Seaforths continued through the woods.

A second German stand was brought in to finish off the Grenadier Guards. Those brave lads from MontrĂ©al refused to die! The first stand they fought they tied, the second they actually destroyed(!) - rolling a 6 versus the German’s 1 (+2 don’t help you there!). The Germans then failed their morale test!

Turn Twelve

Here’s where it started to look like it might all come apart for the Germans and the remaining ten stands might be taken down by three Canadian stands…

First off the Germans in contact with the 87th retired 6”. The 87th pursued but only rolled 5. Had they made it to the Germans, they would have broke and ran! Indtead the Germans were able to rally this turn, as their C-in-C was right there in the town with them.

The Germans north of the river retired out of the woods and the Seaforths followed them.

Then, after ten turns of continuous firing, the Canadian trench mortars (I bet you completely probably forgot they even HAD any!) finally ranged in on some targets. The 12th Trench mortar battery blew the German trench mortar battery to hell. The 11th Trench Mortar Battery caused some casualties among the Germans in the woods south of town – causing them to fail a morale test! I think I was so excited about finally hitting something I completely forgot to check for collateral damage!

The German MGs, however, took out one of Canadian MG companies, after dueling with them for the last three turns.

Turn Thirteen

The Germans north of the river decided they couldn’t run forever and decided to stand and fire at the oncoming Seaforths, gambling that they might be able to take out both as they charged into combat. They caused considerable casualties (1stand) but that wasn’t enough the Highlanders charged home and the Germans broke and ran!

The Germans on the edge of the town turned and fired on their pursuers and that was the end of the Grenadier Guards effort in this attack…

The Germans in the wood south of town retired to the far side of the wood lest they take any more casualties from the trench mortar or MGs.

I decided to call it a day at this point.


The situation at the end of the game; one stand of Seaforth Highlanders north of the river. Both of the two German battalions south of the river still had three of their four original stands. One battalion had a morale failure token – but it could have easily made it’s way to the town and rallied in the presence of the C-in-C before the Seaforths got there.

Conclusions

The game certainly went quickly. I started at 8:15 and wrapped things up at 9:45. All the while I had been taking pictures and notes… My overall feeling was that perhaps things were just a bit TOO simplified and fast. Just a bit though.

I think the four stand units worked out okay. No Canadians units broke due to morale- this was due to a fair amount of luck in the morale tests and the fact that they had Staff Officers close at hand to rally units that had received morale failures. The Germans lost a large part of a battalion because they were unable to rally (lacking a staff officer nearby).

Of the 31 Canadian infantry stands and single MG stands that were taken out five were due to mortar fire, four to the machine-guns, ELEVEN to small arms, and seven were in close combat. The downgrading of the MG had a lot to do with that. I’m not sure if it was a case of the MG being too reduced in it’s effectiveness or the small arms being too good… It was nice to see artillery finally taking a toll. The Canadians mortars proved to be nearly worthless, however.

It occurred to me that trench mortars can’t actually kill troops in trenches at long range. Given that they must remain in a static position throughout a game I’m not sure how they would ever be useful in an attack other than to cut wire or maybe get lucky and blow up a bunker. I only managed to take two things out in the entire game with them because these Germans were in a Hastily prepared position and not all of them were in trenches.

Perhaps I need to drop the range of the rifles too at this scale…? Though most of those casualties to small arms fire were as stands moved into close combat, so a change in effective range wouldn’t have changed much.

What to do next?

I’d almost like to try the same scenario with some rules like Blitzkrieg/Cold War Commander (“Great War Commander”!). The ability to fire on and suppress troops before charging into close combat might have been handy…

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