The battle in the bocage

So we played another game of disposable heroes and I decided to bring the camera this time to snap some shots. This was out of one of the "skirmish campaigns" books dealing with Normandy. The scenario takes place shortly after the storming of the beaches. We had 4 players, so we splait the forces between two German players and two American players. The board was played on a 2x4 foot surface. I had just started making the bocage and it wasn't quite done yet (I'd still like to flock it), but it was ready enough.


1 Plt sgt smg.
1- Sgt SMG
1-Cpl SMG
3- SMG
5- riflemen

possible attachments.

1. lmg +assistant
2. rifle team - cpl SMG, 3 riflemen
3. sgt smg and rifleman plus rifle team of cpl smg, 3 rifleman.

US forces

1- LT smg
1 Platoon NCO smg
1- MMG
26 rifleman
3- sgts smg
3 -cpl rifle

possible attachments
1. Flamethrower, rifle
2. bazooka, rifleman
3. sniper, rifleman
4. 60mm mortar, 2 rifleman.

Objectives: The Americans had to exit 15 soldiers off one of the roads on the opposite side of the board. They would receive a decisive victory if they captured the farm house as well. The Germans had to prevent this from happening. The game had a turn limit of 7 turns to accomplish the objectives.

Before the game began we rolled for the random attachment that each side would receive. The Germans rolled an extra light machine gun team. The Americans rolled a flamethrower team. The Americans had to secretly decide where each of their units would enter the board (either the far long edge or the short edge closest to the house), then the Germans set out their defense. Any Americans moving within 6" of the short edge opposite the house(the edge on the bottom in the first pic below) was vulnerable to off-board light machine gun fire. The german's also had 2 submachine gunners and their platoon sgt which were reserves and would come on on a certain roll at the end of the turn.


Above is a shot of the battlefield. Below is a different angle. Lots of cover but some definite firing lanes.


Turn 1

Turn 1 saw the Americans come onto the board. They had decided to put the majority of their forces on their left flank to overwhelm the house and use it as a fire position to help advance their troops across the board. The Germans had positioned a Lt Machine gun in the 2 story house to cover that flank. They had lt machine guns in the center in the bocage and on the flank opposite the farmhouse with their lone rifle squad held in the center as a mobile reserve. The orange markers represented foxholes as the German's had dug in. The Germans also rolled the required number to bring their submachine gunners on in turn 2 whcih they decided to bring on near the stone wall to help with that flank.


Turn 2
The Americans extreme firepower advantage on the left flank is beginning to show. The Germans trying to hold the house take several casualties from the 4 rifle sections, the medium machine gun and the flamethrower unit. Flamethrowers ingnore terrain in DH so they are great against buildings. I had 5 d10s to roll casualties on needing 6's or less and only rolled 1 kill. Then the German's moved their submachine gun team behind the stone wall in the top of the picture and rolled equally poorly while firing on a rifle team that had left itself exposed to their flank fire; so it all evened out.


Turn 3
The sole American squad that was moving up the right side got ambushed by the German lt machine gun team that was guarding that flank and so, after taking several casualties, quickly jumped to the other side of the bocage. The Americans were doing better on the left. They cleared the house and proceeded to move over the bocage to make their ultimate advance on the house. The German reserve rifle team also makes a dash for the back of the house this turn to try and stem the flood of soldiers coming at them from that direction.


Turn 4
Turn 4 sees more bad luck for the german defenders and was probably the last turning point in the battle. The submachine team is obliterated in a hail of gunfire. The German team that was hiding behind the house dashed in to secure it only to be decimated by the US flamethrower unit that fires from the far left side of the bocage. In DH, if you fail a morale test from flamethrower fire you immediately retreat and you can see the sole survivor has run behind the stone wall on the top. In addition the Americans on the right flank get some really good dice rolls and take out the lt machine gun that was holding that side. The Germans now have the lone flamethrower survivor (pinned as shown by the puff of smoke marker), and a lt machine gun team in the top middle of the bocage(hard to see in the photo), while the Americans have rushed two sections up to seize the house.


Turn 5
With three turns left it's looking like it's going to be a decisive victory for the Americans. The squad that was advancing up the middle of the board inflicts a pin on the lt machine team hiding in the hedgerow, and then inflicts a second pin(both sections of the squad fired on the unit). In DH if you are pinned once and in cover(like a hedgerow) you do not have to retreat. However the second section also inflicting a pin caused the lt machine gun team(which was now one individual) to retreat. However, even with about 5 units firing on it, the lone German corporal survives behind his stone wall in the top left; I'm sure they were wishing we'd rolled that poorly all game. Not only did he survive but as an american section was charging the field towards his position, he rolled for snap fire (opportunity fire). While he didn't kill anyone, in DH any time you are fired on it forces a morale test. The Americans rolled a d10 and because their platoon leader was within command range, they needed anything but a 10 to pass the morale test. Of course, we rolled a 10, so they retreated back to the cover of the house with a pinned marker.


Turn 6
With 2 turns left and such awful dice rolls for the Americans on Turn 5, the German's would not conceed. However, the brave German corporal could only hold so long and so he died from .30 cal fire, and the remaining Americans on that flank pushed toward the board edge. In the center of the board, the lone German lt machine gunner, in pure Rambo style, jumped out of the machine gun run in the bocage and singlehandedly pinned the American Sgts rifle section. Seeing this, his corporal, heading up the other section of the squad, rushed forward and fired on the machine gunner. However, because they moved more than 3", the machine gunner was able to snap fire on them, and with another bad roll, this section was also pinned. While his comrades had failed to hold the roads, he singlehandedly stopped the squad on the right. As a side note, this is in large part due to the fact that the Americans had moved out into the open as they were feeling over confident, and also because big machine guns impose big morale modifiers in DH. I included a final shot of Kurt Von Rambo fighting off the American squad below.



Turn 7

At this point the Germans conceded defeat as they could not stop the Americans from getting 15 soldiers off the left board side. It was a decisive victory for the Americans as they had crossed the roads and captured the house.

Final Thoughts

All in all, it was another great game. It was a very tough task for the Germans to defend that much frontage with the limited number of troops they had. The scenario we were playing had each side roll for one additional unit and I think both sides got the best option available. The flamethrower was great against targets in the house as it ignores terrain and normally a building is -4 cover to hit. And the Germans got an extra machine gun which could basically cover an entire flank for them. A few rolls here or there or if they had guessed where we were coming on may very well have tipped the battle the other way. We all had fun, and that's the whole point.

1 comment:

Beccas said...

Great report. DH is the best game out there.