Monday, 22 August 2016

Somme day I'll find you - part 5 (the last)

 We left the action as the troops went 'Over the Top', confident of an artillery-wrought victory. Sadly as the Tommies approached the Jerry lines... became clear that they were still well defended.  This is because, as with the historical bombardment, many of our shells were duds.  The failure rate was 50% in most sectors, with some as high as 80%.
 Consequently gaps began appearing in the British battalions.  This is 1st Black Watch.

 1st Knuston Pals
  2nd Knuston Pals
    The German machine guns chattered incessantly 
 The Black Watch gets tantalisingly close to the mine crater
 By now the survivors of the Sheffield Pals have gone to ground in shell holes.
 Black Watch survivors go prone   
  And so, as in 1916 the attack stalled with appalling casualties.
The Black Watch suffered 70% casualties including Lt. Col J.G.Robertson and Sgt H.Gow
Among the 'Pals' battalions in my brigade the casualty rates were as follows:
Sheffield City Battalion - 60%, including the Colonel and most officers and NCOs
1st Knuston Pals - 65% including the Colonel and most officers and NCOs
2nd Knuston Pals - 40%
Makes you think, doesn't it?
 This chap and his ilk have much to answer for.


Pete. said...

Looks good but rather sombre, will the toy soldiers being refighting any other future anniversaries?



Don M said...

Depressingly accurate.........

Tim Gow said...

I'm currently looking into some other WW1 battles.

Tim Gow said...

Don M
Indeed - that's why it's best if going over the top is the end of the game rather than the beginning.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Interesting. It might be interesting to try some of the actions from 1914, at the time the war was still mobile. A kind of map campaign might be the go, to see whether and how long the thing bogs down into static warfare. Would that be feasible, do you reckon?

Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
It is the experience of my toy soldiers that you only need to be hit once in the open by MG fire to realise why deep trenches are a really good idea!
We've played quite a few of the 1914 engagements with 6 and 15mm toys using Richard Brooks's 'Op14' system.

Archduke Piccolo said...

A case of 'been there; done that' then.

I am reminded of an incident early on in an ACW campaign I was running, some 30 years ago. A brigade each of Confederate foot and horse were defending an important crossroads and railway station somewhere in East Tennessee, against attacks by a Union infantry Division supported by a couple of battalions of cavalry. The Confederate flung in one of his cavalry regiments against a Union regiment that calmly awaited the onslaught in line.

A single volley emptied so many saddles that the horse were very unlikely to 'pass' theresultant reaction test. Sure enough, they vanished over the skyline.

"Won't be doing that again," quoth the Confederate general, as he removed the remnants of the regiment well out of range of the Union rifles...

Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
I've always found campaigns rather tricky - they soon run out of steam and not everyone has the same time and resource to devote to the enterprise. We've had success with series of linked scenarios though.