Monday, 18 November 2013

At the Games Club/Group/Gathering/Whatever

 A few Saturdays back, we all got a "hankerin'" for some early World War II gaming. Out came the early War Germans, British, and French. Andy and I sat out as referees (more or less) while Bear, Stu, and Derek ran the Germans, opposed by Martin, Kevin, and Rob with the Allied forces. Early World War II stuff is interesting. There's less technology and what is there is not what you'd expect. When the big gun on the board is a 47mm anti-tank gun, the game goes differently.
Behind the large paper-mache house, the French forces gather.

Derek's German force advances. They did quite well for themselves, but Derek seems to be addicted to the column-advance, marching-band style movement. It really doesn't matter too much in this game, where-as in the F&I War/ACW/1812 version, it really does matter what formation you are in.

The French Panhard Armoured Car... which later proved to be a mechanised hero!

Rob and Kevin's British and French advance to the hedges and the walls. The boggy area in the foreground always seems to attract troops. We refer to it as the "rubber vomit."
Once again, mortar and rifle grenade-launched smoke was heavily used. We re-read the rules and discovered we had been using smoke incorrectly. We decided on a "house rule" where mortars can throw smoke and rifle grenades may as well. but with limited ammo and lessened effect.

Stu's mighty Pz 38t commanded the centre of the table until...
Wait for it!
The Panhard knocked it out! Zut alors!

Bear's Wehrmacht troops take a house at the far left of the German lines.

Derek's troops lay down heavy fire from the safety of the woods.
The British end of the Allied line tries to use cover to their best advantage. Unfortunately the Allied left was rather barren of cover and Derek's fire took a high toll.
A French tank-like object gets belligerent. I can't remember its designation, but I remember its armoured with crepe paper and carries a pea-shooter. At least it's not pedal powered!

Smoke and Dr. Pepper... must be a wargame. The blue chips on the house in the foreground show that it has been his and damaged by mortar bombs.
The game ended with the Allies withdrawing and the German forces holding the field. The whole game led us to reconsider the way we use smoke. In the rules, only artillery and AFV main guns may fire smoke, but in reality, mortars (and French rifle grenades) fired smoke often. So we decided to continue to let mortars fire smoke but lessen the effect for small mortars like the 5cm or the British 2". Appropriately armed rifle grenadiers may as well, with limited smoke charges and lessened effect. It seems a good compromise. Andy said he'd seen some games where the entire board is smoke covered and that players fired smoke right at the beginning of the game and continued all through the game. In DH, mortars without spotters who can see the target are highly ineffective, EXCEPT when firing smoke. So this is what we'll do.

Now it's in writing, guys. It must be true!


  1. The restrictions on smoke in the original rules seems a bit odd. Maybe it aims for a more playable game, although I would have thought smoke would be a boon for the war gamer. If you could hide/advance behind smoke, that would at least stop the 'panzerbush' syndrome.

    But I recall reading that the primary function of the 2" mortar in the british army was to lay smoke - HE being pretty much a secondary projectile. Is that wrong? If it is correct, why should a rule set ignore that?


    1. I have to agree with your grace on this issue. We're trying to find a balance between covering the table with smoke (and its stand-in, cotton glued to poker chips) and not using it at all. We know it was used and to forbid it doesn't seem right... especially for the 2". So we'll struggle to get a decent compromise. We noticed that DH does allow smoke grenades to be thrown.