X Corps – what should be different?

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Looking at the X Corps experience of the 1st July its very apparent that things were different to the VIII Corps. The main difference being that X Corps got into the German Lines and a whole different fight ensued.

Two things come out of this –

  • The effect of the week long bombardment can really be seen – the degradation of front line troops, the interrupted movement of German reserves and the difficulty of communication – its easy to claim the bombardment failed when looking at the VIII Corps in isolation.
  • The Divisions of X Corps chose to start as near as possible to the German Front line  – meaning when the whistles went they won the race to the Trenches – and got there before the German could man the machine guns – this is why they got into the lines unlike VIII Corps.

To reflect the differences these will be represented in the structure of the X Corps game as follows:

Consolidation – historically attacking troops were to break into the German Lines and consolidate on an objective, and allow the next line through to attack, and so on. In X Corps the British player will be allowed to consolidate on a Trench Card, which will allow the British to gain the terrain defence factor for that card as part of their defence. A strategy of bite and hold, leapfrogging attacks through secure areas comes into play.

Counter-attack – The Germans will have greater ability to counter-attack, and will be able to counter-attack after every British attack. This reflects German defensive doctrine of the time. Having the abilty to counter-attack does not mean you have to attack though!!

German Barrages – The Germans will have artillery barrages that can be used as defensive fire – to bracket Terrain Cards to deny them to the British, as well as barrages aimed directly at Terrain Cards designed to assist counter-attacks. X Corps will very much bring the Germans into the fight.

Counter Battery – The British will have the ability to counter German barrages by using their own barrage cards.

Victory conditions – The British have the same victory conditions, namely capture the Support line of 2 of the 3 axes of advance. However the Germans now have a victory condition – push the British out of their Front Lines. This could mean its a quick battle – the Germans counter-attack the first Britsh gain and they win. Win or lose was very stark then – it should be reflected in the game

Another change which was required – the use of No Mans Land. The Germans may place barrages on this area to attempt to deny the Front Lines to the British. This is to reduce support for the attacks and weaken any breakthrough for a counter-attack.

 

The tactics of X Corps will work on two levels – what the artillery is doing and the strength in hand of the infantry attacks/defences. If a player can get both of these working properly then he may do well….

 

The Somme Series is published by Vexillia Limited.  For more details, free samples and links to Wargame Vault visit the Vexillia web shop

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