Skip to toolbar
Oriskany’s Final Days of the Great War – Australians + British tanks vs. Germans at Hamel

Oriskany’s Final Days of the Great War – Australians + British tanks vs. Germans at Hamel

Supported by (Turn Off)

Project Blog by oriskany

Recommendations: 235

About the Project

As some of you may know, the 100th Anniversary of the last days of the Great War are now upon us.

Digging around through some research, I found that the 36th Ulster Rifles were deeply involved in some of the very last battles (having been reformed after grievous losses in the 1916 Battles of Flanders and 1917 Passchendaele, the 1918 helping absorb the shock of the German "Georgette" Kaiserschlacht Offensive).

These include the Battle of Courtrai, during the follow-though of Second Army's push through the Fifth Battle of Ypres, and the first British and Belgian Army advances back into Belgium right before the Armistice.

So, to build on the work done earlier this year in the development of the "1918 Edition" of Barry Doyle's "Valor & Victory" squad-based infantry combat system, I decided to build up some units for the Royal Irish Rifles, Royal Irish Fusiliers, and Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, battalions of which made up the final OOB of the 36th Ulster Division during these closing days of World War I.

The project outlines some of the work done to create these units in Valor & Victory and get them on the game board, and you might recognize some of the officers leading these platoons into combat!

This Project is Active

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 06)

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
3 Comments

We come at last, folks to the end of this epic game of Valor & Victory – where we’ve tested not only our 1918 Australians, but also back-dating the V&V tank and AFV rules back into our 1918 edition, and trying out our new “Monash Doctrine” special rules specially for the Battle of Hamel and subsequent BEF offensives leading into the Hundred Days (August-November 1918).

So far we’ve seen Australian infantry advances through barbed wire and gaps in German minefields, hit-or-miss close artillery support from off-board batteries, hit-or-miss direct fire support from four Mark V “male” and four Mark V “female” tanks, and finally the first Australian assaults directly into the German primary trench.  Some of  those assaults were bloody failures, but others were successes, along with some tank overruns, finally cracking the German trench line.  Not all the tanks made it through, some hit by German infantry counter-assaults, others hung up on the trench until they were abandoned by their crews under persistent German mortar fire.

But by the end of Turn 4, the primary trench line was secured, and by Turn 6 a wild run-and-gun fire fight through the German communication trenches eventually secured the second German trench line and even took the first objective building in the town outskirts beyond.  But that left only two turns left for the Australians to take at least eight of the sixteen building  hexes in the town behind the German trench system.

By now with only two operational tanks left, the British actually did some great damage in the south, eliminating several German fire teams and LMG (MG 08 15) teams, enabling swift Australian assault and occupation of key building hexes.  Things in the north were a little more stalled . . .

But now we’re in the home stretch, with just one and a half turns to go, to see if the Australians can put one more big crack in the German positions in this town, and claw out a hard-won and bloody-knuckled victory here in our commemorative Battle of Hamel game.

Turn 7:

SO despite further successes for the British tanks and Australian infantry in the south, here in the center and north, things are still pretty stalled.  The buildings are a little further away, leading to more dead ground for any Australian assaults to have to cover.  Suppression fire is a problem since there are not British tanks up here with Hotchkiss MGs or 6-pounder guns.  And of course the Germans are shooting back, their MG 08 15s pinning down Australians in certain spots.

On the Australian turn, however, they do have one success.  Captain Evans, applying his -2 leadership bonus (lower left), is able to direct sufficient rifle and Lewis Gun fire into the last German “minenwerfer” mortar team to eliminate the unit and clear a hex for immediate occupation.  After he picks his way carefully forward during the “Advance and Assault” phase, however, some of his men are actually hit by German LMG fire and half a squad is pinned down.

As the Australians occupy that building hex, though, they now own a total of eight such hexes.

The game is officially tied at 8-8! 

Can the Australians take one more building hex in the last turn of the game?  Can the Germans hold on just one more turn?

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 06)

Turn 08 begins!

In the south, the two surviving British tanks try to again put down fire suppression on remaining German infantry units that could chop up Australian infantry making the final rushes.  But at last their luck deserts them, and a boxcars roll (2d6 – the worst roll in the game) indicates that a German sniper has made his appearance!

The German sniper not only occupies a building hex the Australians though they’d cleared by fire on the previous turn and would now occupy for free, but also pops off rounds at the nearest Australian unit.  Fortunately for the Australians, the German sniper roll is only a 2, and compared against the cover bonus of +2 (ruined buildings), no damage points are inflicted on the Australian squad.  Counterfire is then able to eliminate the sniper.

The Australians dodged a bullet there, literally.

The Australians then occupy the building and the British Mark V “female” tank puts enough MG fire into another building to eliminate the small German fire team.  Two  more building hexes are thus occupied during the Australian movement phase, nudging the score up to 10-6.  The Australians have, on the final round of the game, officially won.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 06)

In the north, a last assault is mounted against the large German-held building in the northeast.  First, Captain Evans, having detached some of his platoon to Lt. Ingram,  keeps the rest of his men with him in the German communications trench, putting a “fire and maneuver” base of fire down on the German building,m trying to pin the Germans down for Ingram’s assault.

Evans doesn’t roll well enough, though, even with his -2 leadership bonus.  Fortunately, the small four-man German LNG team doesn’t roll very well either, and Ingram has angled his dash in such a away that only one other German team ever gets a shot at him, which also doesn’t do enough damage (remember “valorous” units are allowed to flat-out ignore the first casualty point inflicted by any APFP check).

He and his men are just THAT hard-core, sprinting across the shell-shattered village square, kicking down the door, and bayoneting the first man in the German MG team and taking the rest of them prisoner.

With one German unit in the hex, and a +2 terrain bonus for ruined building, Ingram would normally be required to now pay three casualty points for the assault.  But again, valorous units can ignore the first one.  Rather than take casualties, Ingram opts to “pay” the two remaining required casualty points by pinning two of his half-squads.  Being elite units, valorous, plus with a -1 officer in the next, they get to roll a rally on 9 or less on 2d6, pretty easy roll.

End result, they both rally, leaving Ingram with his full force successfully (and bloodlessly) assaulted into that German hex.

These casualty management and morale / rally dynamics are actually crucial.   It was exactly this moment in the game that cost the Irish the game in our recent Assault on Courtrai game in mid-October.  The last assault of our 36th Ulster Division force was technically successful, but took too many casualties and then failed to rally pinned units, allowing the Germans to counter-assault on the last turn and actually win the game.

Not here.  With eight men in good order, four of them “valorous” with a Lewis Gun, plus a -1 officer, this hex is far too strong for the Germans to try a cagey last-minute counterassault to steal back a hex.  They try some close direct fire just for sport, but don’t score enough successes.

The game is finally over at the end of Turn 08, an Australian 11-5 victory.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 06)

The final battlefield.  Units lost have not been removed, but left as darkened counters on the counters where they were lost.

German losses:  38 killed, 112 wounded and prisoners.

Australian losses:  30 killed, 60 wounded

British losses:  four tanks, 5 crew killed, 11 wounded.

Allied total:  35 killed, 71 wounded, four tanks (+2 immobilized / crippled)

Out of 16 objective building hexes, 11 now held by Australians, 5 by Germans = an Australian win.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 06)

Thus ends our Battle of Hamel game.  I hope you liked it.  If you want to try Valor & Victory, the original WW2 game is completely free to download and play here:

http://www.valor-and-victory.com/

Thanks to everyone who supported or participated in the discussions of these Great War articles and associated content.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
No Comments

The Australians’ assault against German fortifications in front of the town of Hamel (the assault supported by British Mark V “male” and “female” tanks of the Royal Tank Corps) continues …

In previous entries, we saw where the Australian infantry made their initial advance, backed up by British tanks.  The “shock barrage” of Australian artillery hit just in front of the infantry, with mixed results (in two cases almost hitting British tanks).  British armor then also had mixed results with suppression fire, and finally the infantry went in with a series of bloody assaults that failed in one location but cracked the German trench in at least two others.  Two turns later, the German primary trench had fallen completely, although by now almost 80 Australians are combat ineffective (killed, wounded, scattered, panicked), two of the British tanks are burning, and a third is hopelessly immobilized.

Now begins the wild firefight in the German backfield, the “second no man’s land” between their primary and secondary trench lines. German mortars continue to try to rack up “free kills” on immobilized British armor, while the mortar pits themselves are under increasing volleys of direct Australian rifle and Lewis Gun fire and even close assault.

With both sides having lost so many squads already, with the Australians having spent their “Monash Artillery Barrage” and the Germans having lost their MG 08 pits, and with no minefields or barbed wire back here to restrict movement, the fighting is now much more open, fluid, and chaotic.

In the center, bloodied Australian survivors sprint in a crouch through German communication trenches, while British tanks and German MG 08 15s and 7.58 cm “minenwerfers” hurl shells over their heads.  In one case, an immobilized Mark V “male” tank is able to bring its portside 6-pounder to bear on a German MG 08 15 crew in the building to the northeast, keeping the pinned down so Ingrahm’s “valorous” platoon can continue taking apart the German north wing.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

Things start to break loose for the Australians when that crippled Mark V Male manages to sail a 6-pounder HE shell right through the window of that northeast building, rolling “snake eyes” on 2d6 (best roll in the game) and positively gut the German MG team holed up in there.  This means that Ingram’s platoon can enter the building for free without having to mount an  actual assault.  But rather than charge recklessly into the building (and thus invite opportunity or defensive fire from the Germans to the southeast), they run right up outside the building, then use the “Advance and Assault” phase to move their one free hex at the very end of the turn.

These kinds of tactics may sound “gamey,” but in fact this is where the game’s sequence is carefully designed in such a way to encourage real-life tactics.  Ingram’s team doesn’t just charge in.  They charge up to the building, hit their bellies, and then crawl into the building, carefully clearing and covering each corner before their mates rush up to the next fire point.

In systems like this … be gamey.  It’s fine.

You’re learning  tactics.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

The situation at the beginning of Turn 6.

British tanks have really been hung up badly on German counterassaults and throwing tracks trying to cross trench lines.  Four are burning, two are crippled … leaving just two (one “male” and one “female”) still operational on the south wing.

The German secondary trench line has fallen, and surviving German squads have now pulled back to the buildings along the western outskirts of the town.  In this way, they hope to stall and bleed the Australians as much as possible, running out the clock (the game ends on Turn Eight, remember).

The Australians, for their part, are going to have to slow down their assaults.  Losses have been too high, and assaults into buildings are always costly.  They have to retain enough manpower to “leapfrog” squads into the outskirts of the town, and occupy enough building hexes to win the game.

Remember, the game ends at the end of Turn 8. There are sixteen building hexes in play.  Both sides get one point for each building hex they control at the end of the game.  So far the Australians control one.  So the score is 1-15.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

The Australians begin the third phase of their Hamel assault in the south, and so far things are going  pretty well.  That Mark V male scores enough of a hit to smash that German LMG team completely out of that building, allowing Brown’s squad to rush through the building (thus “winning” it for the Australians) and then assaulting into the next building to the east.  Here things get nasty, he loses half a squad to German opportunity fire, then the other half of his squad in casualty points for the assault.  Basically, Lt. Brown now stands alone, but he occupies the first hex of the second building.

On Brown’s left (north), meanwhile, Lt. Dalziel likewise makes a charge against the second hex in the building.  The Mark V “female” tank to the northwest hasn’t rolled as well for covering fire, though, and again Australian losses are heavy.   Half a squad is pinned down with its Lewis Gun in the open yard between the buildings, but note these counters are “straight” – no longer cocked at an angle.  This is because they have rallied, making the 7 or less roll on their 2d6 (because they are Elite, usually this roll is 6 or less without an officer present).

Still, the Australians have taken three more building hexes.  The score is now 4-12.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

In the center and north, things haven’t really kicked off yet.  With no tanks available up here, the Australians have to rely on their own rifles and Lewis Guns for suppressive fire.  And so far, they’re not having much luck.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

After pausing for some German fire in Turn 6 that pinned down a few approaching Australian units, as well as some shuffling of what remains of German defenses, we’re now in Turn 7.

The Australians again hit it out of the park in the south, thanks in no small part to more really great rolls from the British tanks.  Seriously, these two crews must be eager for some payback for the tanks knocked across the battlefield behind them … or maybe the Australians are just jeering them mercilessly because so many of these new British Mark Vs have broken down.

In either case, the Hotchkiss machine guns of the Mark V “female” and the 6-pounder guns of the “male” are not only suppressing German units in the next couple of building hexes, they’re eliminating these German positions outright.  This allows Lts. Brown and Dalziel to simply run out, Webley revolvers in hand, and lead the occupation  of these buildings and bring the Australian score perilously close to actually winning this game.

Three more building hexes occupied down here, leaves the score now at 7-9.  and the next German held-building hex is actually empty, thanks to the cannon fire of that Mark V “male.”

But it turns out that hex isn’t really empty.  Fortune is a fickle mistress, and the Germans have snipers about …

Stay tuned !

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 05)

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

Tutoring 2
Skill 1
Idea 2
No Comments

The Australian infantry assault (supported by British Mark V tanks) against German entrenchments at the town of Hamel (4 July 1918) continues in our “1918 Edition” of Barry Doyle’s Valor & Victory system.

So far we’ve seen Australians mount their advance toward the German trenches, their artillery splash across the frontal German line and ranging through their backfield, and then the first Australian infantry assaults actually fail.  Then came a British Mark V “female” (armed entirely with Hotchkiss MGs) mounting a successful overrun attack against a section of the first German trench, putting the first real crack in the German defense.

Now, still in Turn 2, we continue the Allied movement phase with additional Australian platoons mounting close infantry assaults against sections of the German trenches further to the south.  Here we see a successful Australian assault, thanks in part to the suppression fire already put down by those British tanks and earlier Australian off-board artillery.

This is where games like Valor & Victory (and ASL, Panzer Leader, etc.) really shine, by encouraging the use of real-life combined arms tactics without the player having to be some kind of military officer or student of history.  Just follow the turn sequence, and work out a plan that really gives you all the advantanges.  Some players think this feels “gamey” … but a good game simply builds the rules where where life tactics are what really works within the structure of the game without holding your hand and carefully explaining why you should do a, b, and c.

Case in point – how to assault a fortified position in Valor & Victory.  Your turn starts with the Command Phase, which is when off-board artillery (if you have any in the scenario) is used.  You can call it in on any hex to which you can draw a line of sight, so it’s a good idea to have spotters already in place the turn before.  The artillery can hit its target and either kill, or at least pin targets.  You can also call in smoke to reduce the “opportunity fire” that will be coming back at you when you make your advance.

Next comes the direct fire phase.  By and large, units that shoot cannot move that turn.  You  have to choose, and set up a combination of fire and maneuver elements (units that fire, and units that move, coordinating to make your assault).

So the direct fire here was from the tanks.  As we saw earlier, they just kind of whiffed their rolls on this part of the line.  The Australian player can now chose to set up additional fore from some of  his infantry platoons, but any platoon that fires will not be able to assault.

In short, the Australians decide to bite the bullet and assault with everything here.  Assaulting with too few units only means those assaults will be weaker and more prone to fail, and even if successful, will take longer and thus leave other units out here in the German MG fire that much longer.

Fortunately for the Australians, the Germans have been partially suppressed by the artillery fire.  These pinned units cannot throw opportunity fire back at the Australians as they make their assault.  Still, the unpinned German units do serious damage, and the Australians have to pay for the assault itself (even successful assaults against fortified positions are never cheap.

Here’s the good news – pinned enemy units are automatically eliminated in assaults, and do not count toward the calculation of Australian casualty costs.  So as always, pinning as much of the enemy as you can before mounting an assault is always a good idea.

In any event “Captain James Evans” leads the assault in, applying his -2 leadership bonus to the difficulty of the assault roll.  The roll succeeds, and the German trench line is cracked again.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

It’s now the German phase of Turn 2.  In one place, they decide to mount an infantry counter-assault against the first British tank.  Note that as they make their approach, they can stay in their trench, giving them a cover bonus against opportunity fire coming against them from the British tanks.  Hauptmann Setesch has two half squads and one full squad with him (counting himself, that’s four units total, so he can use four grenade counters from his available pool), all of which apply with his -2 leadership bonus against his assault roll.

With a combined -6 against his assault roll (-2 leaderships plus -4 for grenades), the 2d6 roll is successful and the tank is brewed up.  It has cost the Germans a half squad of troops, however (four men).  Perhaps more worryingly, “Kampfgruppe Setesch” is now out of his own trench and in the open.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

Turn 3 – things start to turn around for the Australians in the disastrous northern part of the battlefield.  Lt. Ingram’s platoon has rolled “snake eyes” on an APFP (antipersonnel firepower) attack, the very best roll possible in Valor & Victory (most rolls are 2d6, and low rolls are usually better).  So not only have their German targets been thoroughly shot up, but any unit that participated in that attack gets to make a “Valor” check.  If they succeed they become “valorous,” which gives them all kinds of bonuses for the remainder of the game.

Other news isn’t so good.  Although one British “male” Mark V tank has successfully traversed the German primary trench, two “females” have thrown tracks trying to cross the trench.  This is very bad news for the tanks.  Not only to they have to roll to see if their crews bail from the tank (thus counting them as destroyed units), but every time they are attacked at all, they have to re-make this “bail out” check.

The Germans seize on this opportunity in their turn, peppering the immobilized tanks with direct mortar fire.  The odds of a hit and penetration is puny, but it doesn’t matter.  These tanks are permanently immobilized and the crews can easily panic.  Sure enough, one crew fails its second roll when hit by the German mortar fire, and the tank is considered destroyed.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

At the extreme south of the line, more Australian assaults crack mole holes in the German trenches.  German opportunity fire here has been absolutely murderous, the Australians were really let down by their artillery here.  But fortunately, immediately in front of this stretch of trench are some craters the Australians can use for at least some kind of cover for their final assault.

 

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

In the center, with holes now cracked in the German trenches and British tanks starting to overrun the trenches themselves, the Australians begin to pry apart the German defenses from the inside.  Here we see Lt. Lowerson’s platoon and Captain Evans pivot south inside the German trench, counter-assaulting “Kampfgruppe Setesch” and supporting German units from the north.

This is probably the most violent single point on the battlefield right now, with two British tanks, one of them burning, and 64 men, four officers, and six machine guns, all within three hexes (about 90 meters – a medium-sized parking lot).

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

The overall situation at the beginning of Turn 4 – the Australians have cashed in about half the effective combat strength, including three tanks – but have also more or less secured the German primary trench line.  The Australians will now spend most of Turn 5 consolidating their position, and on Turn 6 launch a new assault on the secondary German trench line some 150-200 meters behind (each hex is about 30 meters across at its widest point), and then the outskirts of the town behind that.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 04)

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 2
No Comments

Okay, I was finally able to finish this game of Valor & Victory “1918 Edition” – depicting part of the Australian assault on Hamel (4 July 1918).

As discussed in Part One of our recent article series, this battle was especially important because it field-tested new combinations of diversion, close coordination between tanks and assault infantry, shorter and sharper “surprise” artillery barrages meant to suppress and stun rather than destroy, and more flexible utilization of support assets allowing better tactical exploitation of initial breakthroughs into operational depth.

In short, the Australians under General Sir John Monash decided to ditch long artillery barrages that really only served to warn the Germans of where the Allies intended to attack, rely instead of misdirection shock, and surprise, and keep the tanks and infantry much closer together in order to ptovide mutual support.

We’ve already gone over the scenario set up in previous posts on this project, as well as some of the special rules we’ll be using to attempt to recreate this “Monash Doctrine” – as well as retrofitting Valor & Victory AFV rules into new Mark V “male” and “female” tanks for use in 1918 Great War games.

So far we’ve seen the Australians make their initial assault across no man’s land toward the primary line of German trenches – making the best use of tanks as mobile cover, as well as craters.  They took a little extra time in avoiding minefields, and used the advance and assault phase of their turn to pick their way through German barbed wire.

Of course this gave the Germans additional time to hit them with MG fire, but so far this has been surprisingly light.  What hasn’t been light, however, is German mortar fire, which has been murderous.  But now the British tanks are close enough to start laying down suppressive fire, and the massive wave of off-board artillery is about to hit the German line just before the Australians reach the trench line.

So this image shows the Australians’ 10 light and 5 heavy artillery barrages, scheduled to hit in the Command Phase of their Turn 2.  They’re using 1918 “drift” rules, however, and so they’re not terribly accurate by World War II standards.  The final locations of the artillery barrages are shown, you can see where only a few of them have actually landed on their targets.

In fact, two mortar barrages have almost hit British tanks!

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

Even those barrages that hit their targets haven’t always done the best damage, especially in the southern part of the line.  However, one barrage in the center has really hit home.  Note the darkened German units set off on an angle, these represent units eliminated by the artillery.

Units that are set at an angle but still “illuminated” are not eliminated, but pinned, and thus unable to use opportunity or defensive fire against Australian infantry sections as they continue their advance toward the German trench line.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

With off-board artillery resolved (and somewhat disappointing except that one really powerful smash in the German center), we move on to Australian / British direct fire phase.  In general, the rule in Valor & Victory is that you can move or fire, not both in a single turn.  So these British Royal Tank Corps Mark Vs along the southern part of the line all fire at German targets.

But they roll very badly, the Germans making the best of their +2 cover bonus afforded them by their trenches.  Only a few additional German units are pinned or eliminated.

After firing, all units then get to move one hex in the “Assault and Advance” phase, the tanks crawling forward just a little.

A quick word about these tanks … the “male” tanks are armed with two 6-pound guns in side-mounted sponsons, along with a handful of machine guns.  The “female” tanks have no cannon, but are armed instead with many more machine guns.

Historically, the general idea was to send these tanks into assaults mixed in pairs (hence the “male” and “female” metaphor).  The MG-armed female tanks would suppress enemy infantry and gun crews while the cannon-armed males would shell enemy bunkers, gun positions, strongpoints, and buildings.

This actually works out great in Valor & Victory – since, when tanks are close assaulted by enemy infantry, they can fight back only with MGs, cannons cannot be used against enemy infantry crawling right up on your tank’s hull.  This makes “males” very vulnerable to enemy close assault, unless they have females alongside to cover for them.  Females are also better at engaging targets in multiple directions, as these MGs are mounted all over the tank’s hull (none of these tanks have a turret).

Conversely, armed only with MGs, the females cannot engage enemy targets past a certain range (cannons in Valor & Victory have unlimited range at least on the relatively small battle areas depicted on the map boards), and only males can engage fortified or armored targets.

Male or female, though, at least so far these tanks aren’t doing very well at all.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

Further north, however, one MArk V male does much better, landing 6-pounder shells and Hotchkiss .303 machine gun ammo right into the German trench to devastating effect.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

With the artillery and tanks doing all they can, we’re finally onto Australian movement phase.  Eager to get out of no-man’s land, they have decided not to fire, instead retaining their movement phase for fast advance the rest of the way to the German trenches for a series of close assaults.

The first Australian assault however, actually fails.  Even against this gravely weakened German platoon position (an MG 08 and crew, a half squad that includes an MG 08 15 LMG, and an officer -Leutnant Ritter), the Australians take serious casualties to point-blank German opportunity fire, which weakens their assault to the point that very bad dice rolls actually causes the assault to fail.

Failed assaults in Valor & Victory is something you never want to see.  The casualty points you have to pay = the number of non-pinned enemy units in the target hex + terrain bonus (2 for trench) + the margin by which you failed the roll.  The Germans, however, must also sustain casualty points = the number of enemy units that just assaulted them, and this was the hex already badly blooded by that Mark V tank fire.

So by way of grim default, the Germans have basically run out of men in this hex anyway.  But because the Australian assault technically failed, those few survivors do not get to occupy the German hex, thus leaving the survivors pinned down in the open just in front of the German trench.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

Things go a little better for the Australians in the center, where one Mark V “female” tank that did not have a target earlier (and so did not fire, thus leaving her eligible to move) instead overruns the German trench.  Tank overruns are terribly nasty, although again they can’t use their cannons point-blank against enemy infantry in the same hex.

Good thing “females” don’t have cannons, those weapons mounts instead taken by more machine guns, which are doubled  in overrun attacks.

In short, this makes “female” tanks absolute monsters in overrun attacks, as these Germans learn to their dismay.  They do get the opportunity for a close assault on the tank as it comes in, and it almost succeeds (which would have blown up our first tank of the game).  But the British catch a break and the Germans just miss their roll.  The overrun goes in and wipes out this German position, finally putting the first real crack in the German trench line.

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 03)

Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 02)

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 3
No Comments

Finishing this game today come hell or high water.  If there was ever a day for it, the day is today.

 

I keep meaning to really cut loose on the Battle of Hamel game in Valor & Victory, pitting a company of General Sir John Monash’s Australian infantry + eight Mark Vs of the Royal Tank Corps up against an understrength “reserve kompanie” of Germans (4 July 1918).

Things keep coming up, but I have finished the first full turn.  This is gonna be a big one, folks.  We’ll see if the Australians and tankers can do as well here as they did historically!

North wing of the Australian assault.  Firegroups based on German MG fire (assisted by direction of German officers) actually don't do very much damage up here.  Australians are making the most of the craters where they can (+1 to APFP fire checks) and I'm counting tanks as a V&V North wing of the Australian assault. Firegroups based on German MG fire (assisted by direction of German officers) actually don't do very much damage up here. Australians are making the most of the craters where they can (+1 to APFP fire checks) and I'm counting tanks as a V&V "LOS Hindrance" if enemy fire has to pass THROUGH a hex occupied by a tank.
In the center, the Germans score more successes,  Their MG 08 and MG 08 15s do better, but what really scores are German 7.58cm In the center, the Germans score more successes, Their MG 08 and MG 08 15s do better, but what really scores are German 7.58cm "minenwerfer" mortars. Three strikes are called in, and two score amazingly well. A squad and a half are taken out right here (12 men rendered combat ineffective, say 6 casualties = 4 wounded, 2 killed outright). Note that Australian movement has taken place through no man's hand with +2 movement bonus for stacking with officers (where applicable), plus they are avoiding all minefields. They've advanced into barbed wire where possible, but used "Assualt Movement" phase to then advance THROUGH the wire. It just slows them down and gives the Germans potentially another fire phase.
Turn One is now complete.  No German casualties so far.  The Australians have lost three full squads (24 men = 12 actual casualties = 4 killed, 8 wounded).  But Australian artillery is about to hit (Monash Fire Special Rule) and of course the tanks (both Mark V Male and Females) are close to the German Trench line, and ready to cut loose.Turn One is now complete. No German casualties so far. The Australians have lost three full squads (24 men = 12 actual casualties = 4 killed, 8 wounded). But Australian artillery is about to hit (Monash Fire Special Rule) and of course the tanks (both Mark V Male and Females) are close to the German Trench line, and ready to cut loose.

Battle is set - Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 01)

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 2
3 Comments
Battle is set - Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 01)

German forces:
x20 squads (roughly three companies, an understrength battalion).
+ x8 minefields, x6 barbed wire, x3 7.58cm minenwerfer mortars,
x4 MG 08 MGs, x12 MG 08 15
166 officers and men. 12 grenades

Australian forces:
x18 squads (two companies)
+ x9 Lewis Guns, zero Vickers Guns or mortars, x5 heavy barrages, x10 light barrages
(special 1918 Edition “Preparatory Artillery Barrage” rules – except the hit on the beginning of Turn 2)
151 officers and men. 12 grenades

British forces:
x4 Mark V “Male” tanks, x4 Mark V “Female” tanks
64 officers and men

VICTORY CONDITIONS – Game last ten turns. At the end of Turn 10, one pint for each building hex controlled / last occupied by each side.

Battle is set - Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 01)

Closeup of part of the Australian assault force, backed up by Mark V “male” and “female” tanks of British Royal Tank Corps.

Battle is set - Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 01)

Part of the German forward defenses.  Note the two general bands of trench systems (primary and reserve).

German backfield, where 16 building hexes are ready to either be defended or occupied.  One point per building hex controlled by either side at the ned of Turn 10.  The Australians have tons of firepower, tanks, artillery, superior troops, etc.  But the Germans have plenty of space to trade for time … and they have defense.  For the Germans this is defense, absorb, and delay.  For the Australians this is assault, break through, and move FAST.

Battle is set - Australians vs. Germans at Hamel, 1918 (Part 01)

Building four-board map for upcoming tank breakthrough game

Tutoring 2
Skill 5
Idea 6
No Comments
Building four-board map for upcoming tank breakthrough game

I’ve finished building a quick four-panel (four standard Valor & Victory map sections) “trench assault zone” for an upcoming game we’re running to support the 1918 Armistice Centennial Article Series.

In very quick summary these four panels are (from left to right)

  1. No Man’s Land assault zone
  2. Primary German trench line
  3. Secondary German trench line
  4. Town that the Germans are defending

The attackers, obviously, are going to be assaulting from east to west.  This will be a rather large game for Valor & Victory, and will feature my new Australian infantry and British tanks.  In this way, I hope to approximate some of the actions seen at the Battle of Hamel (4 July 1918) and Amiens (8 August, 1918), where Australians of Monash’s Australian Corps (Rawlinson’s Fourth Army, BEF), spearheaded by British tanks, used new close coordination tactics of artillery, assault infantry, and tanks to crack brittle German defenses held by troops depleted and exhausted by the recent “Kaiserschlacht” spring offensives of March-June.

This will be the first time I’ve used AFVs in Valor & Victory in quite a while, and definitely the first time I’ve used them in a World War II setting.

British Armor in 1918 Great War

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 7
2 Comments

In continuing expansion of our Valor & Victory: 1918 Edition, we’re adopting the armor rules for this WW2 system back into 1918 values for use in our ongoing 1918 Centennial Commemorative Valor & Victory games.

Here we see a very quick sample of some of the tank units drawn up in the Valor & Victory system.  This isn’t from an actual game or battle, just showing off the new counters created on lunch hour today.  😀

 

British Armor in 1918 Great War

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
2 Comments

All right – let’s wrap this up.

The firefight between “Johnston’s Company” 12th Royal Irish Rifles / 36th Ulster Division and “Bothi’s Kompanie” / 12th Bavarian Division in the streets of Courtrai, Belgium … concludes.

In the wake of McCabe’s bloody, but valorous and successful, assault against the German mortar pit and the east wing of the Courtrai municipal building (i.e., the “Courthouse”) – the Germans now pivot to attack from within the Courthouse. Fighting is now within the same building, no longer street to street and house to house, but room to room. Unfortunately, McCabe just took too many losses in his assault to really hold his position against a German assault of this size.

That said, the first German attack (going after just four men, a half-section previously pinned by German opportunity fire during McCabe’s assault) rolls disastrously … double sixes, the worst possible roll. The assault technically fails costing (a) number of Irish units in the target hex + (b) terrain bonus + (c) margin by which the roll was failed = total casualty points. The Irish half squad, although victorious, has to lose casualty points = the number of German units that just attacked it. Short answer … the two sides wipe each other out.

Meanwhile, 30 meters to the south in the shattered remains of that German mortar pit, Lt. McCabe (DSO) now faces assault against 13 German troops, including an officer, an 8 man squad, and a 4 man half squad, that 4-man team carrying an MG 08 15 LMG. Even with his “Valor” bonuses, McCabe is doomed to a glorious last stand. He counts as 2 units (Valor), +2 for the sandbags = he costs the Germans four casualty points, but is likewise removed from play. He goes down, but seriously takes out (kills, wounds, or panics) eight Germans before going down.

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Flynn’s platoon, meanwhile, hooks north, back into those east rooms of the Courthouse, and then assaults the Germans who just overran McCabe. The assault basely succeeds, but does succeed, and Setesch’s platoon is likewise eliminated, although costing yet more Irish casualties in the process. The Irish have lost the bulk of two platoons in this firefight, but for now, they have a foothold in the Courtrai municipal building (objective if the game). They have an understrength platoon in the courthouse.

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

The Germans don’t miss this development. The platoon and a half facing Lyons to the northwest immediately pulls out, double-timing it back through their buildings, racing to the western offices of the Courthouse. They thus give up that whole wing of the battlefield, but have no choice if they want to continue to contest Irish possession of the Courthouse that decides the game. The smokescreen that Lyons was calling in to cover his upcoming assault is now actually an obstacle for his own MG fire (Vickers section in that stack), taking a shot at the retreating Germans of Ritter’s platoon as they cross the courtyard roundabout street back into the Courthouse. Rolling a 10, though, the shot would have done no damage anyway.

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Turn 6 – last turn of the game. If the Irish are going to win this, they have to clear that courthouse, NOW. Flynn’s platoon is badly shot up, so it’s up to Lyons to carry this one in. First he directs more MG fire down the street into the courthouse, managing to pin a German half-squad with an MG 08 15 LMG (better that than the fire team manning the MG 08 HMG). Okay, now the smoke screen drops in from the mortars, landing right in front of the remaining German gunners to provide Lyon’s assault with the best possible cover. In goes the assault, Lyons taking every man with him except the Vickers crew (he’s chosen NOT to set up a “fire lane” with this MG fire, obviously, he’d be running through his own MG fire).

The assault is a nasty one. Despite the smoke screen, the German point-blank MG 08 fire inflicts enough casualty points that Lyons is forced to drop a half-section of rifles. Weakened, the assault goes in, except now he no longer outguns the German force he’s assaulting. At 1-1 odds, Lyons needs a 6 or less on 2d6 … actually pretty poor odds (41.7%, actually).

But he actually makes it, with a five!

Holy hell, the Irish have RE-breached the courthouse, although again, costing Lyons four casualty points (one non-pinned unit, one officer, +2 for building).

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Here, however, is where Lyons’ luck desert him. He had to pay four casualty points. He only had two half-squads left, each with three casualty points. So he dropped one half squad (thus paying 3), then had to pay one more. He could either “overpay” by dropping the second half squad, “Pin” himself, or pin the other half squad. He chooses the latter. This way, he can apply his -1 leadership bonus to the difficulty of rallying that half squad (officers give bonus to rallying men, not vice-versa).

It’s the smart play. It just doesn’t work out. Normally the rally difficulty is six or less on 2d6. +1 for “E” Elite Irish Regiment. +1 for Lyon’s readership. They now need an 8 or less on 2d6 (72.22%). Except they roll a 9.

Now Neumann’s survivors can counter-assault on German Turn 6. The pinned units are automatically eliminated for free. Lyons alone fights to fend off the assault, and he’s outnumbered 9-1 (full squad + officer including MG 08 15). Lyons goes down, although costing the Germans four troops in the process.

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Thus we have the final outcome of the game. The Germans have one officer and four men in the northwest corner office of the Courthouse (including an MG 08 15). Thus, technically they win the game as the Irish were unable to clear the building in the allotted time.

However, it’s pretty clear that the Irish would win this battle on Turn 7. Lt. Flynn has nine men and a Lewis Gun in the east offices of the Courthouse. There’s another four men and a Lewis Gun across the street to the northwest, plus the four men on that Vickers MG and four more commanding the 76mm Stokes Mortar section. Thus with 21 men to the Germans’ 5, Flynn would be able to clear this building “in overtime.”

But that’s asymmetrical wargaming. The weaker side (usually defense) just has to hold on for a certain amount of time, inflict a certain amount of damage, etc. In this case, timetables for Irish artillery may have been thrown off because they can’t get an observer up in the upper floors of that Courthouse on time. Other battalions might have to cancel their attacks now because of lack or artillery and failing daylight … or worse … might be ordered to go in without artillery support. Thanks to the delay of taking that Courthouse, other withdrawing German units might have made it across the Leie (Lys) River or the Bossuit Canal. Who knows?

Anyway, this concludes this battle report. Hope some of you liked it.

Battle Report Part 04 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Battle Report Part 03 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
2 Comments

Battle Report Part 03 – 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

The firefight between “Johnston’s Company” 12th Royal Irish Rifles / 36th Ulster Division and “Bothi’s Kompanie” / 12th Bavarian Division in the streets of Courtrai, Belgium … continues.

When we left off, the Germans were doing very well in the west, where a powerful counterassault had actually eliminated McAuley’s platoon, and Lyons’ platoon on the far west was pinned down in the open having failed an assault against the German wing. Somehow Lyons and his survivors weren’t killed in the next phase of German fire, and now he’s managed to call in a smoke mission from the company mortar section, MG fire from one of the Vickers sections, covering a withdraw back to safety in the ruins of bombed-out building. German opportunity fire has missed, somehow Lyons has survived with enough of his platoon to … in the turn or two … put it together with the company reserve to form a new platoon that will hold together the Irish right wing.

Meanwhile, things are going badly for the Irish on the left. Flynn’s platoon has failed to suppress the German mortar crew behind the objective building, and when Captain Johnston tries to rush through said building and assault that mortar pit, he and his platoon are actually shot up so badly they are removed from play. Captain Johnston is probably badly wounded, he and most of his men on the way back to an aid station, or worse. No “bad moves” were made here, just poor nice (note the rolls, remember low rolls are better in this game).

Battle Report Part 03 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

The German Turn 03 is modest, conservative, tactical, and cautious.  They’re on defense, after all.  They win just by surviving in that big municipal building at the south center of the board. They get some lucky rolls and take out the Vickers section that was trying to come up to support McCabe and Flynn, but other than that they’re just trying to keep the Irish at bay, make them pay for any advances, and run out the clock.  So far they’re doing very well, although Lyons continues to consolidate a new Irish right wing to the northwest.

Battle Report Part 03 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

While Flynn’s platoon again tries to put down fire suppression on the mortar pit behind the German-held courthouse, McCabe’s platoon tries to rush through the same rooms Johnston tried a while ago, assaulting the same German mortar pit. Again, it’s a bloodbath, but this time the attack does succeed. Furthermore, the assault rolls snake eyes (best roll in the game), which means everyone who participated in that immediate assault gets to make a “Valor Check.” Success means that unit becomes “Valorous,” getting all kinds of bonuses.

Sure enough, he may be the last man in his platoon, but Lt. McCabe has just earned his DSO!

Battle Report Part 03 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Meanwhile, in order to apply his -1 leadership bonus to the bulk of his new “battlegroup” Lyons has to be with them.  Therefore, he must run backwards from his original platoon, across the street, and then back into the rear of the building in which the bulk of his new force is forming up.  The Germans have one very nice moment of opportunity fire against this move, and “Lyons’ run” is very risky.  But he makes it.  Barely.  Now Lyons can see more of the German force, and can also see the mortar section behind him.  This means he can call in indirect fire from the mortar using our 1918 Edition “radio-less” indirect fire rules.

Battle Report Part 03 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Closeup of the “Snake Eyes Assault.”

Battle Report Part 03 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Battle Report Part 02 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
No Comments

Okay, with the first big MG positions cracked on the German right wing, and with Lyons’ and McAuley’s platoons closed up with the Germans on the left wing, Captain W. Johnston “blows the whistle” and makes a general assault.

This … will get  messy.

Working our way from left to right, first we have Lyons’ platoon making a rush down the street toward Neumann’s platoon holed up in those ruins to the west.  The company mortar section drops in some smoke to help cover this, but Lyons will be taking plenty of opportunity fire from the front, plus Ritter’s platoon to the southeast, plus a back-up MG 08 nest.   I’m not sure how much cover that smoke is really going to give …

Meanwhile, McAuley’s platoon makes a shove straight at the MG o8 position facing him.  He has no smoke or cover, but that MG 08 is more or less alone, so he should be all right.

McCabe’s platoon is laying down fire from one wing of that eastern building to the next, trying to pin down Steiner’s platoon to help facilitate Johnston’s charge blitzing across the street, then through the ruins, and then finally straight into the teeth of Steiner’s position.

Flynn, meanwhile, will be flanking around the far Irish left, getting at the German mortars hopefully and unhinging their right wing.

Dice show the results of the German opportunity fire and McCabe’s attempt at covering fire.

Battle Report Part 02 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

German opportunity fire has been deadly.  Despite poor die rolls from Neumann and the MG 08 nest, Ritter has rolled very well against Lyons and mauled his platoon badly despite smoke cover.  The assault is now underpowered, and despite committing three grenades (after Lyons carefully applies casualty points to allow the maximum use of grenade counters), the assault FAILS!  The survivors of Lyon’s platoon are now pinned down in the street!

McAuley’s assault, as predicted, succeeds (it’s just hitting a MUCH weaker target) – but he must still take casualties for breaching a building holding one German unit (half-squad, MG crew).

McCabe’s support fire didn’t do very much (just a bad die roll against heavy defensive modifiers), and Johnston’s assault barely succeeds against Steiner’s platoon.  Steiner’s position is wiped out, but Johnston’s platoon has paid a steep price.  Johnston softens the butcher’s bill by taking additional pinned (his men are being more cautious and less reckless, thus more immobilized and but taking fewer actual losses) – he’s relying on his -2 leadership bonus and his mens’ “E” elite rating to rally before his pinned sections are counter-assaulted by Germans next turn.

Battle Report Part 02 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Irish rallies don’t go quite as well as hoped.  Although Johnston’s sections rally, Lyons’ do not (Lyons himself does, however).  It doesn’t look good on the Irish right wing …

Battle Report Part 02 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

The German Turn 02 sees some wild reverses of fortune.   Starting from left to right …

Lyon’s men should be meat on the table – they are pinned down in a street, the smoke cover dissipating (note the +1 instead of +2) point blank German platoon in front, and MG 08 on their flank.  But they somehow survive!

McAuley, who was doing so well last turn, is not so lucky.  Ritter’s platoon counterattacks (after McAuley fluffs defensive fire) and McAuley’s whole platoon is wiped out!  He does take a nasty slash out of Ritter’s platoon, though.

The German Kompanie KP, meanwhile, holed up in the large, central objective building to the south, starts pouring fire down into McCabe’s position.  But Bothi’s platoon rolls boxcars – summoning another British sniper attack!  This time the sniper also rolls a six (best roll), inflicting automatic 6 casualty points – any terrain bonus (-2 for ruined buildings) = 4 casualty points … Bothi’s section is wiped out!  Technically by its own attack roll!

The rest of the fire is pretty ineffective.  Even after house-ruling all these buildings as -2 “ruined buildings” instead of the -3 “normal” buildings, these city battles just aren’t going to be decided by exchanging fire.  This is going to be about pinning, assault, trench knives and shovels (because both sides are now out of grenades).

Battle Report Part 02 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

A quick close up on Lyon’s miraculous survival, McAuley’s last stand, and Bothi’s hapless encounter with an Irish sniper …

Battle Report Part 02 - 36th Ulster Division at Courtrai (October 19 1918)

Battle Report Begins! Battle of Courtrai - October 19, 1918

Tutoring 3
Skill 4
Idea 4
2 Comments

Germans set up first, anywhere in the south six rows of the map.  The Irish set up second, allowed to set up anywhere in the top four rows of the map as long as they are not in direct LOS of any German unit.  Once they Irish set up, any Irish leader is allowed to call in a fire mission (special 1918 Edition “Preparatory Artillery Barrage” rules) with the four light mortar barrages included in their OOB.

*These OBA fire missions can only come in on Turn 1.  Since Irish units cannot set up with LOS on German units, none of  these will be “on target” per normal OBA rules.  Therefore, the must drift to have any chance at any effect.  On a d6:  1 = lands on designated hex.  On a 2-5 drift one hes.  On a 6 drift 2 hexes.

Also, they can set up a normal rules fire mission with their own integral 76mm Stokes section (1918 Edition “radio-less:” indirect fire rules – the spotter has to have LOS on the target, and the mortar battery has to have LOS on the spotter for visual signals for fire adjustment).

Irish use their Stokes mortar to set down smoke shells to cover the advance of McCabe’s & Flynn’s platoon.

Battle Report Begins!  Battle of Courtrai - October 19, 1918

Irish mortar fire is a complete wash.  Only one barrage hits anything, and rolls a 2d6 10 +3 for building = 13, a very bad roll (low rolls are better in this game), so no effect at all.  Smoke screen goes down and the assault goes in.

Battle Report Begins!  Battle of Courtrai - October 19, 1918

McCabe’s assault goe sin through the smoke screen.  Unfortunately, the line of sight was such that the smoke rounds couldn’t be put quite far enough down the street to cover his final deadly 30 yards, and he takes opportunity fire from three angles.  First, the MG 08 nest immediately in front (the one he’s assaulting) misses.  Chalk it up to to panic fire.

Next, the flanking MG 08 nest rolls box cars, the worst possible roll.  This results in a random Irish sniper appearing somewhere in the ruins, anywhere within line of sight of the unit that rolled the doubles sixes.  The sniper is placed in a spot where he can make the immediate allowed attack on the MG 08 next (but he misses), but also pin down Steiner’s platoon somewhat should he try to move in the wing of the building behind the MG 08 nests.

Haputmann Setesch’s fire, from the southwest, ironically, scores well enough to do some damage.  Lt. McCabe must take two casualty points, he can either pin down two units (both his sections) or take half a section of casualties and press home his assault.  Not wanting to be pinned down in front of a German MG pit in an open street and in a a three-way crossfire , he takes the casualties and carries the assault in.

Battle Report Begins!  Battle of Courtrai - October 19, 1918

McCabe’s platoon and Flynn’s platoons make the assault.  They can use up to three grenades counters (Irish have 12 in all), but the Germans (with only one unit in each target hex – the MG 08 crew / half squad) can only use one.  So both Irish assaults use two grenades (giving them a surplus of +1), in addition to the +1  from  each platoon’s leadership bonus (the -1 for the leaders).

Both assaults are successful but bloody, each Irish platoon must pay one casualty point for the one German unit in its target hex (half squad MG 08 crew) and three points for the building terrain bonus = four total.  Both sides decide to pay -3 casualty points by knocking down a full squad to half (6 casualty points for a full squad down to 3), then pinning that half squad for the fourth required casualty point.

It’s a risky move, with Steiner’s platoon in that same building ready to immediately counter-assault.  But these Irish have an “E” elite rating, plus both platoons have a -1 leader (Flynn and McCabe).  So their odds of rallying before the German counterassault hits them are good.  In this game, it’s all about the quality of your men and your leaders.

Battle Report Begins!  Battle of Courtrai - October 19, 1918

Johnston moves company command section up behind McCabe and Flynn.  On the other flank, Lyons and McAuley move up, using buildings for cover.  Mortar section edges out into street so Johnston can see them and pass signals, but noyt take took much fire now that McCabe and Flynn have taken out two forward MG positions.  German MGs can see Lyons and McAuley, will fire during their turn, McAuley and Lyons were careful to stey in and behind buildings.    Vickers sections  and reserve sections try to move up as well, but with out officers, and slowed by heavy weapons, they don’t get far.

Germans, meanwhile, move up reserve squad, and put McAuley;s platoon under fire from four directions.  Setesch’s platoon uses Assault Move to low-crawl back into the town hall building.  Not moving on the right wing for now, they can ignore the British sniper.  Werner puts mortar fire on McAuley’s platoon as well.  McAuley takes some casualty point, but with elite troops in a fortified position, and with no Germans immediately ready to assault, he takes the pins, and so takes no actual killed or wounded.

Hauptmann Bothi, however, with a half squad armed with MG 08 15s, however, scores more damage on  McCabe’s platoon.  But again, Irish are able to take the pin and not sustain any more killed or wounded.

ROUND ONE complete.

Battle Report Begins!  Battle of Courtrai - October 19, 1918

Building New Map and Setting up Battle for Royal Irish Rifles

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 6
No Comments

For best results, select the image, then expand by viewing in new tab.  😀

Game is now set up, now hopefully I’ll be able to play and include battle report tomorrow.

Overall double-sized map in Valor & Victory, set up for an assault of a company of 12th Royal Irish Rivals, 108th Brigade, 36th Ulster Division - against hastily-prepared positions of 12th Bavarian Division, X Reserve Corps, Fourth Army in Courtrai, Belgium, 19 October 1918.  Basically, the Irish have to assault south and take that large municipal building building at the bottom of themap that is forming the keystone of this German battalion's defense.Overall double-sized map in Valor & Victory, set up for an assault of a company of 12th Royal Irish Rivals, 108th Brigade, 36th Ulster Division - against hastily-prepared positions of 12th Bavarian Division, X Reserve Corps, Fourth Army in Courtrai, Belgium, 19 October 1918. Basically, the Irish have to assault south and take that large municipal building building at the bottom of themap that is forming the keystone of this German battalion's defense.
Four platoons of 12th Royal Irish RIfles, backed up by Vickers MG sections and 76mm Stokes mortars.Four platoons of 12th Royal Irish RIfles, backed up by Vickers MG sections and 76mm Stokes mortars.
An understrength company of 12th Bavarian Division, X Corps, on defense.  They have MG 08s, MG 08 15s (late war), minefields and barbed wire defenses to slow down assaults down the obvious approach routes. An understrength company of 12th Bavarian Division, X Corps, on defense. They have MG 08s, MG 08 15s (late war), minefields and barbed wire defenses to slow down assaults down the obvious approach routes.
Close up of the Irish center and left wing.Close up of the Irish center and left wing.
Close up of the German center and right wingClose up of the German center and right wing

Not to be outdone, also some Australians for WW1.

Tutoring 7
Skill 8
Idea 8
6 Comments

Not to be outdone, the Australians now also have a force in 1918 Edition of Valor & Victory.  Some people feel the Australians were a little left out of the Great War article series we did earlier this year, I don’t think they quite realized the limited scope of that series or that most of the 1918 battles for which the Australian Corps / Fourth Army / BEF are famous actually took place afterwards.

But now we are “afterwards” so I definitely wanted to include them.

I actually made these guys really badass, note the “E” elite rating and the 5-5-6 full section combat values.  This makes them actually a little better than even the US Marines I drew up for Belleau Wood.  Much as I love and have close personal ties to the US Marine Corps, especially at Belleau Wood, the Marines of that era were hampered a little by inexperience, American army weapons, and especially French support weapons.

The Australians had none of those problems, and were every bit as aggressive and innovative as the Marines.  They were just more experienced and had slightly better weapons (Lewis Guns instead of M1915 Chauchats, etc).

** the only difference would be I give my Marines a -1 difficulty on close assaults, that’s the Model 1897 Winchester .12 gauge shotguns and entrenching tools.  Always dread the Marine and his “lobotomizer” This makes my Marines just a shade better in close assault, even though the Australians are probably better overall.

For comparison, my German “stosstruppen” (shock troop) storm troopers have an even BETTER assault value (actual SMGs, two extra pistols per man, extra grenades, etc), but a poor casualty rating (combat losses were nigh-suicidal) and a short range (4 instead of 6).

Anyway, here are the Australians for now.  This would by the four infantry divisions in General Sir John Monash’s Australian Corps, Rawlinson’s Fourth Army, BEF, July-November 1918.

The -2 commander (remember, -2 is a bonus, not a penalty) is named for my Australian friend @jamesevans140.  The -1 lieutenants are named for Australians who won the Victoria Cross in 1918 specifically.  There were plenty to choose from, a total of 66 Australians won the Victoria Cross during the Great War.

Not to be outdone, also some Australians for WW1.

Part Three - Corrected to "Royal Irish Rifles" (Pre-1921 Regimental Name)

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
No Comments
Shoulder flash corrected to Shoulder flash corrected to "Royal Irish Rifles" (Pre-1921 Regimental Name)

Also, found some pretty detailed maps of the 36th Ulster Division’s final advances as part of the Battle of Courtrai, October-November 1918.

Original map is from The History of the 36th (Ulster) Division by Cyril Falls.

I added some graphics based on connections I was able to draw from the text.

Part Three - Corrected to

Part Two - Completing 36th Ulster Division for Valor & Victory

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8
8 Comments
Almost done with the base counter template.Almost done with the base counter template.
Also found some shoulder patches I will try to recreate and incorporate into the counters.Also found some shoulder patches I will try to recreate and incorporate into the counters.
Finished counter, at least for the full rifle section.Finished counter, at least for the full rifle section.
The complete The complete "army" - not bad for a night's work. I have a -2 rated captain (the -2 is a bonus, not a penalty) - a certain fellow we may know from Coleraine. :) He's assisted by a cadre of brave lieutenants. Also, note the full rifle section, half rifle section, Vickers MG, Lewis Gun, "Mills Bomb" grenade counter, and 3-inch Stokes Mortar.
A reinforced company of the 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 109th Brigade, 36th Ulster Division (II Corps, British Second Army, BEF) in the streets of Beveren, Belgium (east of Ypres) - final days of the Great War.A reinforced company of the 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 109th Brigade, 36th Ulster Division (II Corps, British Second Army, BEF) in the streets of Beveren, Belgium (east of Ypres) - final days of the Great War.

Part One - Starting the Rifle Section Counter Build

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 7
No Comments

Time to build these units in PS 14.  First some quick research just so I can include some “historically approximate” unit identification in the units, approximate so they don’t become too specialized and I can only use the counters in a small number of games and scenarios.

First, find the badge for the Royal Ulster Rifles.  Hard-core historians will note that most of these regiments were actually disbanded in February / March 1918, when 36th Ulster was reorganized after their terrible losses of Flanders / Passchendaele 1916-1917.  Some were sent back to reserve brigades in Britain.  Others were folded into the remaining battalions.First, find the badge for the Royal Ulster Rifles. Hard-core historians will note that most of these regiments were actually disbanded in February / March 1918, when 36th Ulster was reorganized after their terrible losses of Flanders / Passchendaele 1916-1917. Some were sent back to reserve brigades in Britain. Others were folded into the remaining battalions.
Complete the badge, using some simple Photoshop.Complete the badge, using some simple Photoshop.
Here's the existing Commonwealth template counter for a full rifle squad (here set up for Australians).  I'm not a fan of the front figure, I'm going to change it out.Here's the existing Commonwealth template counter for a full rifle squad (here set up for Australians). I'm not a fan of the front figure, I'm going to change it out.
Found a new figure that will work better for the front figure.Found a new figure that will work better for the front figure.
Start work on the new counter template.  Remove the first figure.  Put in some of the new markings and unit combat data.  Note I'm keeping these Ulstermen as Start work on the new counter template. Remove the first figure. Put in some of the new markings and unit combat data. Note I'm keeping these Ulstermen as "elite" because ... well ... just because. Meanwhile, preparing the new kneeling figure to import into the composite counter.

Supported by (Turn Off)