This is the last turn of the WW1 game I have been playing. Both sides have problems – The British in holding onto what they have gained, the Germans in chucking them back.
The British problem is the Left hand brigade (Lhb) -it failed to break through the German Front Line and therefore cannot support the Right hand brigade (Rhb) in holding the captured German Second Line. If it cannot break through, the Rhb will be forced to retire or be cut off.
The German problem is simply – do they have enough reserves to mount one final counter attack to remove the British?
The British open up with destructive ‘stonks’ on the German Reserve line and Second Line. The heavy batteries are diverted from supporting the Rhb to supporting the Lhb, however they are ineffective….This may not have been the best use of the Artillery (look at that wire still standing), lets hope the British dont regret this mistake.
The German counter ‘stonk’ is largely ineffective. As the evening draws on the shadows lengthen and the smoke and dust of the day decreases visibility, so although the Germans have brought up reserve batteries, the effect overall is lessened.
The British decide to sit and defend on the Rhb side. However, the Lhb launches a last assault. Sweeping through the German Communication Trench, becoming entangled in the still existing wire….
………….to be destroyed by the German Machine Guns holding the German Second Line. The British failure to remove the wire effectively comes home to roost.
The Germans counter attack and roll the Lhb back to the British Front Line, putting the gains of the Rhb at risk. The line will need to be straightened out and consolidated. The Germans have managed to hit where it hurts with there final asault
So, at the end of the day and the game, the British on the Lhb side are still at their start line, on the Rhb side they have had to give up their captured German Second Line and retire to the German Font Line, where they hold on. The Germans win, defending the British ‘Big Push’.
Casualties on either side were high, the Germans losing an equivalent of 14,000 men, the British division some 10,000. Very bloody.
Needless to say, using the rules the British Divisional Commander is sacked for incompetence, sparing questions being asked of the Corps Commander.
This was a good game, and I really thought the British were going to do it at one stage! I like these rules I feel they give a good feel for the sort of warfare found for a few years on the Western Front. Reading a history of the 1917 Messines assault whilst playing this game only strengthened this belief!!
Playing Leapfrog – Two Hours Wargames
Pillars of Fire – the Battle of Messines Ridge June 1917 by Ian Passingham