Principles of WWII September 2022 Play Tests

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Game 11 Play Test 7th September

For this game we moved to 1944 on the Western Front. The Germans had Two battalions of Infantry and an under strength (2 Coys) PzIV armoured battalion, supported by a company of PzVI Tigers and 2 A/T gun batteries, three infantry guns and a battery of Stugs. The British had two infantry battalions of infantry and one armoured battalion. The Germans' line of communication was in the centre of their deployment area, the British line of communication was on their far right. In the set-up both sides deployed their infantry battalions on their left, planning to take the objective on their side of the table and using their ‘Dummy’ blinds to cover their right to slow down any enemy flanking movements.

The Germans had the initiative and moved first, pushing their recon units forward and spotting the two British infantry battalions each sitting on one of the objectives. The German off table artillery then hit the British infantry sitting on the hill in the middle of their deployment area (The Brit’s 1st Morale roll was a ‘20’ causing a company of infantry on the hill to retire shaken). The Germans then went on to move their blinds forward to take the objectives on their side of the table. Their armour blind moved onto the table and occupied the hill in the centre of the deployment area covering their line of communication. The British first bound failed to get any aircraft or artillery support but their recon units moved forward and managed to spot one of the ‘Dummy' blinds on the Germans far left. In the British movement phase their ‘Dummy’ blind on the right covering their line of communication moved into and ‘hid’ in the wood in front of them. Their infantry in the centre’s movement was limited by the German artillery bombardment. The infantry battalion on their far left moved forward leaving one company to occupy the village objective, their movement being restricted by the presence of a German recon unit. The British armour accompanied by the C-in-C moved up the road between the two infantry battalions heading towards the junction in the centre of the table.

In the next turn the German artillery bombardment of the British central infantry battalion continued and their air support arrived and hit the British armour advancing to the centre of the table. In the movement phase they manoeuvred their blinds to ensure they held all their objectives. In the British turn their central infantry continued to move slowly forward under the artillery bombardment. The second infantry battalion on their left shot and destroyed the German recon unit in front of them, allowing them to use strategic movement to move forward to occupy their second objective.

In the following moves both players realised that their opponents lines of communication were exposed and only protected by ‘Dummy’ blinds. The German C-in-C with the armoured battalion changed his orders, detached the Tiger company and used strategic movement to move the Tigers on a Blind round to his far left in an attempt to flank the British positions and to take their line of supply. The British C-in-C detached a company of Shermans and sent them to support the infantry battalion in the centre while the rest of the battalion tried to negotiate the dense woods in the centre of the table. Two companies were forced to form up to move down the road while the other was delayed having to move round the impassable wood on their left and then cross the steep hill behind the wood. The British C-in-C them moved over and changed the orders of the second Infantry battalion. Leaving a company behind to hold their second objective, they moved the remaining two companies and support company forward towards the German line of communication sending the recon unit forward to clear the German Dummy blind hiding behind the hill, allowing their infantry to move rapidly forward.

The German C-in-C failed to take any infantry or recon units with his Tiger Company and their movement was slowed when they came within the British ‘Dummy’ blinds' 6” area of ‘influence’ They were unable to reveal the British blind so they could not use strategic movement and because they were an armoured unit with no friendly infantry, they could only move at speed two (Tigers are slow so this restricted their movement to 2” per move).

The German C-in-C, realising his position and seeing the threat to his own line of communication, changed his orders again and moved the Tigers back to confront the British armour now occupying his line of communication. The British armour had moved forward to occupy the German line of communication under the cover of smoke from the two infantry support companies and off table artillery hitting the German armour deployed on the hill in the centre of the deployment area. Despite taking heavy losses from the PzIV’s on the hill and from anti-tank guns and Tigers, the British managed to hold onto the German line of communications until the end of the game.

When everything was counted up after the game both sides had taken 15% casualties and had taken their stated objectives (40pts each) so were both on 125pts, but the Germans had lost their communications, so the final score was Brits 125pts and Germans 100pts.

So the game ran through smoothly and all the various elements now seem to have fallen into place.

Game 12 Play Test 11th September

After some points value adjustments we are refighting an Eastern Front game.

The Germans have a battalion of 4 companies of Panzers (PzIII/IV) and a battalion of Panzer Grenadiers (1 armoured and 2 motorised) supported by two batteries of Stugs, and 3 light recon units, with a total of 144 strength points. On the Russian side there were an armoured brigade of1 medium tank battalion (3 Coys T34s), 1 light tank battalion (2 Coys T70s) plus one motorised infantry Battalion (2coy’s) plus an infantry battalion (3coys), two 120mm mortars and a company of T34s and two light recon, with a total of 240 strength points.

The Russians place a blind for their on-foot battalion deployed in the centre of the table, holding the one objective placed in their deployment area. They choose to keep their C-in-C’s blind off table to bring on in turn one. The Germans only get to deploy their recon units on table as both of their formations are mobile. In turn one the Germans move their recon units forward and locate the Russian infantry and call down their off-table artillery and aircraft to blast them. After this they bring on four blinds spread across the table.

In the Russian recon phase they spot the German armoured battalion in the centre of the table but fail to get any artillery or air support. In the movement phase the Russians bring on their mobile units. One blind moves up their right flank and another moves behind the hill on their left to support their recon unit that is holding the objective. In the centre their medium tank battalion moves onto the table to face the German armoured units. The mounted infantry move up the road on their right to cover their line of communication.

In the next turn the German off-table artillery targets the Russian motorised infantry still in their trucks causing heavy casualties and forcing them to deploy. The German armour engages the Russian armour at long range while moving forward to occupy the two central objectives. Over the next few moves the Russian medium tank battalion engages the German armour in a loosening firelight only surviving because the support companies use smoke to help give the tanks cover. Meanwhile, the Russian light tank battalion moves forward after being delayed by German recon units.

Meanwhile, the Germans move their Panzer Grenadiers on their right to take the objective held by the Russian recon and blind but their motorised units are hit heavily by off table artillery and 120mm mortars, wiping one company out and reducing the second down to 2 strength points and only hanging on with a morale roll of ‘1’. However, the Russian recon unit is forced to fall back when the blind supporting it proved to be a dummy. Having forced the Russian medium tank battalion to fall back, the German armour is able to re-deploy facing the light tank battalion threatening their flank.

At the end of the game both sides had suffers 20% casualties (48 Russian / 28 German) but the Germans had taken all three of their objectives giving them +40 points. The Russians held 30 points of objectives but had lost a 20 point objective so only had a net +10 points. So at the end of the Game the Germans won 120pts to 90.

Game 13 Play Test 20th September

In tonight’s game the Germans had an under strength (3 coys) armoured battalion, a Panzer Grenadier battalion and an infantry battalion with two medium A/T batteries. The German commander used his flexible tactical doctrine to break down his Grenadiers and armoured battalions into two mixed commands so their armour would be supported by infantry. The Germans allocated their objectives:10 points to the objective on the hill by their line of communication and deployed their infantry and A/T guns to hold this. Their armoured units were allocated the job to move onto table and advance through the centre to take the objective on the centre line (10pts) and the objective on the hill in the centre of the Russian deployment area.

The Russians had two infantry battalions with three batteries of 120mm mortars. Their armour consisted of two under strength battalions of T34s (two Coys each) plus one of T70s. They deployed one infantry battalion on the hill with the objective in their deployment area and the second infantry battalion was deployed to move over the hill on their left with the objective (10pts) and to move forward to the objective they had placed on the far side of the table (40pts). They allocated one T34 battalion to come onto the table on their far left with orders to sweep round to attack the German line of communication. The other T34 battalion and the T70 battalion were given orders to attack the objective on the hill next to the German line of communication.

The Germans began the game with their infantry going to ground on their hill and line of communication, their recon units moving forward and spotting the Russian infantry battalion deployed in the centre. The two mobile formations and the C-in-C moved onto the table but were bottlenecked between the hill and the impassable woods. Their off-table artillery began pounding the Russian infantry in the centre.

The Russians began the game with their off-table artillery hitting the hill on the German line of communication, forcing an infantry company to retire (morale roll of ‘20’). Their second infantry battalion moved onto their first objective and deployed their 120mm mortars, while the T34 battalion moved round the open flank. This Russian advance was delayed by a couple of moves of poor initiative rolls and the German recon units preventing their strategic movement. In the centre the infantry remained in position while the two armoured battalions moved round them.

The Russian T70s moved to the centre of the table facing one of the German armoured coys who rolled two ‘20’s’ for morale and get to retire shaken twice. The remainder of the German armoured units then took several turns destroying the Russian light armoured battalion instead of advancing on their objective. Meanwhile, the second T34 battalion moved forward to the hill being held by the German infantry battalion who were now under fire from the Russian 120mm Mortars.

On their right, the Russians finally got some initiative and pushed back the German recon units. The infantry moved and took their second objective while their armour moved towards the German line of communication. The Russian T34s in the centre overran the German infantry positions to dispute the objective on the hill. In the centre, the German armour finally destroyed the T70s and resumed their movement to their objective in the Russian deployment area but, at this point the game ended.

At the end, the Russians had suffered 20% losses and taken all 50 points of objectives, giving them 130pts. The Germans had suffered 25% casualties but had not taken their 40 point objective and their 10 point objective was disputed by the Russian armour, so their final score was 30 points, so a major victory to the Russians.

Had the game moved on the Germans would have taken their objective, overrunning the remains of the Russian infantry battalion on the hill and may have been able to threaten the undefended Russian line of communication. However, they would have lost their own line of communication and their 10 point objective to the Russian armoured thrust.