British Paras vs Germans 1944
Last night saw Nige’s Brit paras victorious in what was a fun play test of my ideas for simulating para drops in IABSM.
The basic idea rests on the assumption that the paras have landed and formed into their Platoons. Some of these Platoons may have been widely scattered and/or taken casualties in landing and may therefore be incomplete.
The Company HQ is diced for first as the para player is taking the role of Company CO. Using the table below he dices for each tactical element of the Platoon he is accompanying. This is then deployed on table as a blind or hidden depending upon the scenario.
Other Platoons, which arrive, act as blinds until they are spotted. Only then does the enemy AND the Para Company CO find out what they are really by dicing to see what casualties/problems are incurred.
The game we played last night was based on the same table as the French game with Max. The scenario briefing told Nige that his Company were trying to rendezvous on table and generally hassle any defenders. He should expect the enemy to be to the east though obviously marching to the sound of the guns syndrome would probably occur.
His force consisted ON PAPER three Platoons each of three eight-man sections, a PIAT, 2” mortar and Bren team. The Company HQ had a single eight-man squad and a PIAT. The total force had seven Big Men. I allocated D6+2 fakes to him.
Initially he had his Company HQ, which could be deployed on any table edge. Other Platoons would arrive on a table edge, which was diced for randomly. Platoons could arrive on the turn of a ‘Reinforcements Arrive’ card, one Platoon per turn. The reinforcements cards were numbered 1-3 and he decided prior to play which cards meant which Platoons. ‘Reinforcements Arrive’ cards were placed in the game pack on D4, D6, D10 turns respectively.
Any number of Nigel’s total of fake blinds could be used in conjunction with the arrival of his Platoon. In retrospect I should have doubled the amount of fakes for him, as by the time his final Platoon had turned up he had no fakes left!
I allocated 1-4 to table edges. Nige allocated 5 or 6 to table edges to increase the probability of where his forces could arrive. I then rolled a D6 and he placed the numbered blind on the table edge. I obviously didn’t know if it was a fake or real and he didn’t know its real composition only its paper strength.
British paras are superb troops. Apart from unit and Big Men cards we added National Characteristic cards for Rally, Assault, Heroic Leader, Mortar bonus Fire, Dynamic Commander and Rapid Deployment.
My troops were a really confused and poor lot. I had a SdKfz 7 with a 20mm quad placed at the crossroads with Luftwaffe crew.
In the open woods adjacent to La Prieure were my Luftwaffe HQ Platoon field troops; an eight man squad, MG42 and Panzerschrecke and accompanying Commander Big Man. Their transport SdKfz 10 and Horsch were parked up there too.
Arriving on the east table edge at the road was a Platoon of three eight-man squads of Luftwaffe field troops with a Big Man.
I had an Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon available from turn 4 arriving on the east table edge, at the road.
Two SdKfz 234/1 Armoured cars would arrive on a randomly diced road in from turn 8. The game was set to end on the turning of an ‘End of Game’ card, which was added to the pack on turn 10. If it had not been drawn then the game would finish at ‘Tea Break’ or ‘ End of Game’ turn 12.
National Characteristic cards included Rally, Dynamic Commander, Heroic Leader and MG Bonus Fire. I decided that my sorry troops could also be Hesitant had potential Poor Fire Discipline and that their poorly maintained vehicles were susceptible to Breakdown and Run Out of Fuel. Clearly all was not well with the Luftwaffe. They had clearly been panicking as a result of the constant reports of paratroops everywhere and had been sent to confirm the reports, so were very jumpy and unsure of what was going on.
Nige deployed three blinds initially; one in Le Mesnil Frementle, one mid-way on the northern table edge and one on the southern table edge on the road.
He spotted my fake and Company HQ and I placed my quad on table as automatically spotted at ‘Tea Break’.
Next turn I raced my lorried Platoon, westwards, along the road. Whilst my Company HQ spotted that the troops on the northern and southern table edges were fakes. My quad was circling the crossroads in an attempt to discover where there were fakes.
More of Nige’s blinds arrived in Le Mesnil Frementle, and on the road on the western table edge.
It was going a bit pear shaped! I spotted the blind in the west to be an Infantry Platoon. Nige diced for it and found that there were Two Big Men, two eight-man squads and a six-man squad. The PIAT was either damaged or had no rounds, and had to roll a 6 to men/receive ammo. There was also a Bren team and a 2” mortar. These fired at my MG and Panzerschrecke in the woods.
I fired upon one squad with my quad but Nige threw a lot of ones and twos for effect and suffered only two dead.
The next turn more blinds arrived. One revealed itself near the woods to the south of La Prieure.
I threw poorly for movement with my Company HQ squad and exited the wood near La Prieure to the east.
The Brit blind to the south turned out to be a Platoon of two Big Men, two eight man-squads, a Bren team and a 2” mortarman moved swiftly. My Coy HQ and Big Man were massacred by close range fire, all being killed rapidly.
My Panzergrenadiers arrived in halftracks on the eastern road and moved quickly to outflank La Prieure which had been occupied by a para section. Apart from long range fire from their vehicle mounted MG42s the halftracks drew a ‘Hesitant Troops’ card three times during the game and effectively refused to dismount and move!
I dismounted my lorried infantry along the hill slope but these too were largely inactive as their card never seemed to come up much.
Another blind appeared next move, in the woods on the extreme north-east table edge. Clearly the Brits were trying to cut off my line of retreat.
My quad AA was forced to retreat as a para section attempted to knock it out with grenades.
My MG42 after much firing was finally put out of action as was my Panzerschrecke by small arms fire from the paras to the west.
The paras had not escaped unscathed though. Two Big men were killed in the vicinity of La Prieure, one as he led another assault on the quad AA.
Dust was spotted on the northern road as my Armoured cars arrived. Rapid small arms fire erupted from the woods in the east as Nige’s last Platoon of three seven-men sections poured it on my lorried Platoon who had dived for cover in the hedges.
The game ended abruptly with my troops cards not arriving enabling me to counter-attack and the ‘End of Game’ card being drawn on turn 11.
An excellent game which correctly captured the confused nature of the sitation. The British paras with their superior training and leadership were more than a match for my unwilling second-rate German troops.