Thursday, 20 December 2012

Great War - Square Bashing - 1916 Western Front

Quick AAR unfortunately no pictures.  I had arranged to stay over at my best mate's house the other night unfortunately in my rush to leave i managed to leave my SB books at home.  Luckily we had access to an earlier SB playtest copy and playsheet so we could at least get a 90% solution in.

Pete chose Western Front Germans and I took British with both of us picking a 1916 options.

After taking the minimums I was faced with choosing an extra 107 points which ended up being an extra Regular Battalion, 2 MG Companies and 2 18 Pounders, Pete had a force with two Cavalry Regiments which I rubbed my hand in glee at, 4 77mm Batteries and the rest being split between MG and Regular Infantry.  I was sorely hoping to be the attacker.

Unfortunately that didn't happen.  Pete had elected for an offensive posture and soundly beat me in the pre-game set up.
My Artillery was low and ammo and could only fire 4 Square width barrages.  My Suppression Barrage was reduced to 4 Points.  He had an option to use his artillery against my armour (which luckily I hadn't taken for a change) and worse he ended up with a Stormtrooper unit to spearhead his attack and reducing my Point Barrage.  In addition he could move some of his MGs (remember this is a playtest list so isn't the same as the final print version)

I ended up being 21 points behind and was facing a 7D6 depletion roll once the units were all set up.

Terrain was duly set up and I had placed three objectives in Row 3 (9 Points) and one in Row 4 (4 Points) so that was fine.  I was hoping do keep him confined in the terrain and hope for some good end turn rolls.  That wasn't such a good idea facing Cavalry and his terrain roll moved my rough terrain that I was relying on to hold up his attack in front on the objectives.

The depletion rolls were horrid as well and I ended up with the three objectives in Row 3 being held with Profession Infantry and MGs and one Regular Battalion.  In terms of support I had 3 Field batteries the rest of the force were reinforcements.

Pete's first turn saw a suppression barrage on my defensive line which meant I couldn't fire out or over which left his force unscathed and on top of my positions.  In my turn despite an asset general I ended up with no support and unlikely to sortie out from the objectives into the open  I managed to get one reinforcement unit on (Reservist Infantry Grrrr).  An End Game roll of 1 set the tone that this really was going to be a bad day for the British.

I can't remember Pete's next asset roll but I managed to repulse two assualts he launched with no casualties.  The thrird assault however pushed me off of the centre objective. In my turn 2 I managed to land a small suppression barrage which effectively pinned his centre and right flank infantry.  A counter attack managed to recapture the lost objective and an end game roll of 6 meant that I was facing at least 3 more turns.

Next turn saw more assaults coming in which I shrugged off and thought that I might have a chance. The dice gods were not on my side and a point barrage intended to hit the attackers in the open dropped short on the Left hand objective causing casualties on the Professional Infantry which i could weather but both MGs took a loss meaning I had just lost 4D6 of Defensive firepower. 

With a barrage on my own position Pete rubbed his hands in glee for his own assets and promptly failed to add anything.  That said the damage was already done and his free roaming cavalry on the flank and rear coupled with losing 7D6 of defensive power (Damaged MGs and the 3 Barrage markers) meant that the assault was going one way in the favour of the Germans. I conceded at this point.

Lessons Identified -
  • Terrain can only do so much and it is better to sit in it than in the open! 
  • Asset Generals are fine but once you have rolled all your dice then they are gone.  Possibly better if defending to use a morale General.  Only really helpful if you have been shot up as has no effect in an assault. 
  • You can never have enough barrage markers (only applies to me as I supply both forces and therefore need all the markers for boths sides)

Thoroughly good evening and the nice postman has delivered Pendraken order 6544 which contains some more late war Western Front additions to the British and Germans (I am daunted by the A7V though!)

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