Friday, 8 March 2013

Wargaming the Battle of Bir Hacheim - Pt 2

The second evening of gaming saw reinforcements for 50th Northumbrian Division arrive in the form of the Revd Ian Lowell. This was his first visit to Shedquarters, so naturally he was thrown in at the deep end and given control of 150th Infantry Brigade. He has form for WWII, having built a 20mm French army, now residing in Tim Gow's collection, and the 20mm Laffleys in the 2nd rank of Ariete's attack in the 2nd picture below.

Ian Lowell. Photo copyright Graham Evans 2013
The time line for this stage of the battle was roughly : 

1. Ariete consolidated and swung northwest to attack 1FF. Several assaults were beaten off

Photo copyright Graham Evans 2013 

2. Trieste continued to batter 150Bde from the west and discovered a passage through the minefields.
3. 15Pz and 21Pz reorganised and continued driving north. They met and defeated  22nd Armoured Brigade (22Tk) in similar fashion to 4Tk.

The destruction of 22Tk. Photo copyright Graham Evans 2013
4. 15Pz drove west to attack 150Bde from the southeast.
5. 21Pz beat off several attacks from the reformed 4Tk supported by 7th Support Group (7Sp) assaulting from the south.
6. At the same time 1Tk  attacked from the east and 32Tk from the north. 21Pz was unable to exploit successes for lack of fuel. Through cunning die rolls, the British were more successful in coordinating their attacks than they had been historically.

British armour attacks the Cauldron. Photo copyright Graham Evans 2013

At this stage, Players were feeling the pressure of insufficient umpire feedback on the timeline and naturally wanting things to be under control, when historically they weren't. Trebian was reminding me how much he hates the random effects that table 12 throws out (he has done this consistently for the 25 years that we have been playing, so it doesn't really count!) In short, a slightly more hectic game than usual was under way.

By the time we wound down, battles were raging hotly in the Cauldron and the defended positions of 1FF and 150Bde.  Rommel was in the thick of it, trying to open a passage for supplies around 150Bde, and 21Pz were fighting for survival. Next week will see a conclusion.

 Close of play looking north to the coast. Photo copyright Graham Evans 2013

What the Umpire thought :

I must sort out the sequence of a combined tank/infantry attack on a defended box.
This should have been a six player game. More than a division is really too much for a single gamer.
Units are getting lost in plain sight on the table in a most satisfying manner.
This is a huge table and it's still stuffed with toys, with perhaps more to come!
The two defended positions needed the upgrade from medium to heavy to reflect their historical resilience, so that decision seems to be paying off.

What the Players said :

The sequence was a bit chaotic. Because the umpire had more narrative than usual in his head, players were less able than usual to get on with the game, so had to wait for the disjointed sequence to come around to their bit.

See Also :

Trebian's :
Yesthatphil's :


  1. Replies
    1. + 3 attempts to decipher the anti-robot code (bring back Wordpress!)

    2. I've knocked it off now to make things easier Phil. No-one has spammed this blog yet anyway :O)
      Regards, Chris