Last year (maybe two years ago?) I played a few games of a campaign I was calling "The Last Fifty Yards," using Ivan Sorensen's rules, "Five Men in Normandy." I was having a pretty a good time, but I wasn't all that happy with two things: 1) I love 10mm for company and battalion sized actions, but not as much for skirmish; and 2) I kinda pitched it too high. That is, I wanted to play a series of skirmish games, but following a whole rifle company. A bit too ambitious it would seem. So, despite the fact I seem to have a hundred different projects going simultaneously, I wanted to get this thing restarted. On the one hand, I'm playing "Rock and a Hard Place," i.e., Sgt Rock, which is intentionally very comic-bookish, so for the other hand I wanted something also in WII, but a bit more true to life. So now I'm looking at following a single, generic rifle section of the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division through some travails around Caen in July 1944. I'm not even really looking to try to match this up with real events, just a series of squad/section-sized actions in Normandy. For campaign purposes (mostly tracking wounded), I'm going to call today July 15, 1944.
If you care to look, the post before this outlines a Canadian rifle section of ten characters (complete with some background info on each, and a German rifle squad of ten characters. The idea is that, while some of the individual characters may have some combat experience, it came with different units, and they were transferred into their current units, which are seeing action for the first time here in Normandy. I'm playing the Canadians and the boy is playing the Germans; we're using 5MIN pretty much straight out of the box, and we're playing on a 3' x 3' table. I wanted to start the campaign off on equal footing, so this first fight is the dreaded meeting engagement between two exactly equal forces, somewhere in Normandy.
The Germans, top row from left: L/Cpl Krumrie, L/Cpl Brucke, Pvt Busse, Pvt Voote, and Pvt Braun. Bottom row is: Cpl Wyche, L/Cpl Fulcher, Pvt Wilhelm, Pvt Keile, and Pvt Tomsen.
The Canadians, top row from left: L/Cpl Reed, L/Cpl Bennet, Pvt Talley, Pvt Thomas, and Pvt Levy.
Bottom row is: Cpl Kelly, L/Cpl Kelso, Pvt, Odames, Pvt McKellar, and Pvt Lofton.
When I took the picture I screwed up; Cpl Kelly will be leading the Rifle Group, while L/Cpl Reed will lead the Bren Group.
Let's get the show started!
The Germans have spotted the Canadians and moved into hasty ambush positions...
The stage is set, we just need someone to pull the trigger.
Sorry, the one photo where the flash came on...
Uhm, I'm not sure, but I think the boy is kicking my ass again...
Seems machine gunners don't have much in the way of life expectancy here...
Good Lord! Technically a draw, but he was putting a hurtin' on me again. I liked the idea of playing more spread out on a bigger table, but it made it really difficult to get to grips with the enemy or to support your own troops suffering negative morale effects. And I was surprised how bloody it was even with us throwing 1K 1S most of the time (for all the bolt-action rifles at battle range). Maneuver was really rough in sheer movement distance on the large table, and with so many possibilities for reaction fire it was treated quite roughly. I'm not saying that's not realistic, just saying it was rough. Casualties as follows (strangely enough, no KIAs):
Corporal Kelly (Section Leader) - Took a round in the shoulder, won't be available until 25 Jul 1944.
Lance Corporal Kelso (Bren Gunner) - The war is over for him. Hit several times by the enemy machine gun, he lost a leg and his headed home.
Private Odames (Assistant Gunner) - Hit in the chest, a very serious wound that will see him recuperating for the duration of the campaign in Normandy.
Private Talley (Rifleman) - He was shot in the hand, on light duty until 24 Jul 1944.
L/Cpl Reed (Assistant Section Leader) - Just a flesh wound, hit in the forearm. It was a simple through and through that didn't hit anything vital but bled a lot, he's already back in the line.
Private Wilhelm (Assistant Gunner) - Hit in the neck, he was severely injured and is on his way to Germany for treatment, out for the duration of the campaign.
Lance Corporal Fulcher (Machine Gunner) - Hit twice in the left leg, he'll be back, but it's going to be awhile, probably 7 Aug 1944.
Private Keile (Rifleman) - Shot in the neck, he will convalesce locally but will be out of the line until 2 Aug 1944.
Lance Corporal Brucke (Rifleman) - A ricochet hit him in the calf; on light duty for about a week, will return to the squad on 23 Jul 1944.
So there was the first fight; please tell me what you thought of the fight and the table. I'm thinking the next fight will be on a 2' x 2' table, with less troops (and probably unequal, too), though I'd love to hear what you guys thought of how it played out.
In any case, it probably won't happen this weekend (or, by the time I post this, probably didn't happen this past weekend). Doing my best to see the silver lining, our baseball season is officially over; having not done very well in the tournament, I should now have more time for wargaming. I did already play a pretty cool solo game of Royal Marines vs Taliban in Helmand Province, and I'd like to get some more of that in, it was a lot of fun, and maybe the boy and I can get something in soon. Stay tuned.