Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to my reader!
Kevin came up for a few days, and aside from perhaps excessive eating, drinking and general merrymaking we played a few games – most of which I forgot to photo!!
In the photo the last of the Romans are surrounded. We wondered if, when the bows shoot they cry ‘loose’, what do they cry when the slingers shoot? Toss off, lads?
We then amused ourselves with a few games of ‘Guns of August’ – the Mons scenario where I developed ‘the German steamroller’ tactic which Kevin couldn’t find a way or beating back!
We also played ‘Monks with Beer’ (a game that would work with more players) and a few games of ‘This hard and Calcined Earth’ (see side bar).
Anyway to ‘Krieg Ohne Hass’. We are both determined to master these rules.
The start point – same forces as before – German 21st Pz versus British 22nd Armoured Brigade + 7th Support group. Both sides had aircraft to call on. I played the 21st Pz and Kevin the plucky Commonwealth.
The Photo shows the start deployment. In order to get a random terrain layout my wife was given the terrain and asked to lay it out – she came up with the above – challenging to say the least, and reminded us of Prokarovka, Russia.
Our first decision was to start with an automatic tactical stance – we mainly chose ‘Hasty attack’. This was based on the fact that tactical stances can only be voluntarily changed at the start of each turn. This was to prove a poor decision – if you look at the phasing – motorised with ‘Move’ stance (I’m not going to use the rules word ‘orders’ as it comes with baggage for wargamers) moves 1Phase in a turn more often the motorised with ‘Hasty attack’ orders. Therefore if you are advancing, and have organised into battlegroups which include motorised units you have effectively hamstrung yourself!.
So to move on to Battlegroups – I arranged the German 104th Rgt into battlegroups of 1 tank with 2 motorised, as you can see from the above photo, they were arranged in a line in each square. More on that later!!
The terrain split the forces and my deployment put the 5th Pz Rgt to the right and the 104th Inf Rgt to the left – obviously these had cross organised to form battlegroups, leaving one battlegroup of just tanks. The Artillery, attached to the 104th Rgt was deployed to the middle. I had an idea to lure the British tanks onto my anti tanks, so I formed a battlegroup of them plus my engineer Btn (which as Kevin went down the left was a waste of good units)
We had a discussion about the shape that battlegroups should take. As you can see I have changed them from a line to a wedge, fronted by the tank. Remember in a square you can have 6 units, and on each face 3 units. A battlegroup can be 3 units (a minimum of 2) in base to base contact.
We reckon that the above would be a good all round battlegroup – the tank for direct fire, the motorised infantry to close assault with the tank and the anti-tank to strengthen defence. Why the wedge?
These are the British. By doctrine they cannot form battlegroup with Recon units. In the game this means they form two (plus the HQ) separate units. Kevin arranged them in a line of separate units facing the front side.
If they meet my German battlegroup the priority for direct fire is:
a on any facing unit or group
b on the nearest flank of a unit or group
c on the nearest rear of a unit or group
and if the target is ineligible it actually consumes the shot
So, with Kevins line deployment the British can only shoot at my tank (therefore it is in effect protecting my softer units). However, the German tank can shoot at any of the British units as they are lined up, this means the player (me) may choose his target (this was good to target weaker units to Kevins disgust). If I had kept the Germans in a line the British, under the priority rules could have shot up my softer motorised troops and ignored the tank.
Back to the game – Kevin skilfully got most power to the left. I tried to form a stop line by changing my stance for my Recon units and my tank battlegroup to ‘Hasty Defence’ but this simply resulted in me giving up my movability (you cannot move in a defence stance).Kevin took advantage of this and finally took on the Pz Rgt battlegroup with most of the 22nd Brigade – he whittled it away with front and flank direct fire and did for it with close assaults. The rules give a direct fire modifier for rear fire but not flank – as a house rule we put a smaller modifier in.
Artillery, as noted in my previous post may only fire indirectly in support of close assaults (offensively or defensively). Artillery is called on a sliding scale over the 4 phases of a turn, which makes it fairly rare!! The sliding scale is based on the prioritizing schedule of artillery and the potential at any one time for it to have multiple calls. This works fine for higher artillery, but we decided that artillery attached to combat groups should be automatically available if required, unless it has already fired directly, as the combat group commander will be deciding the priority. If the larger division requires the artillery then it rolls according to the call up scale in the rules.
In the game Kevin pushed my Pz Rgt back on the left to a point it was demoralised – it became below its total strength points. In the centre Kevin had dismounted his infantry and was going to begin the slow advance (1 move in 4 phases) along the hill. Interestingly he had battlegrouped just infantry together, although he had an I Tank, he was getting confident by then!! On the right he was using 2 Specialist Recon units to keep my 3 (yes 3!) tank/infantry battlegroups occupied and therefore not helping the general German war effort.
Aircraft were called up. Aircraft can only be called up once per turn, in the direct fire action of the 4th Phase, but then stay for the next turn. Although on the points list they are listed as Ground Assault, you can place the aircraft anywhere on the battleground, and then roll by how many squares surrounding the target are occupied to see if they hit the right target. Aircraft hit simply on a 6. Our view was that as the aircraft are not aiding close assault like Artillery, they are acting in an interdiction role. When compared to artillery (only being allowed to indirect fire to close assaults) this seems inconsistent.
So that was the game. It lasted 4 turns, 16 phases. It would probably had been quicker if we hadn’t been so stupid with the first tactical stances. We had a lot of fun with it and will be playing again with a few house rules.