Monday 17 January 2022

The Left bank 1916 part 9 - the thin red lines

The German Jager battalion in reserve.  Note the telephone lines made from red wool.
German troops in position on Artillery Hill.  

 Day 2 - the German defence plan:

1/32 will dig in on Dog Hill - first priority for pioneers

2/94 will dig in on Artillery Hill (should be able to reuse some of the French defences) - second priority for pioneers

1/94 will dig in on Telegraph Hill - third priority for pioneers

 an MG will be attached to each of 1/32 and 2/94, positioned to allow a crossfire as per the map (so left flank of 2/94, right flank of 1/32)

 The Jagers and Stormtroops will move to reserve positions as marked - essentially on the reverse slope and offset to the left and right respectively. If they have time, dig in as much as possible.

 Final Protective Fire locations 'Anton' and 'Bruno' are marked.

Own positions are also pre registered in the event of a counterattack - Dog, Artillery, Telegraph.

Fire called by telephone ideally, or if needed by flare.

If the guns need to be on table, just back in the valley somewhere one gun behind each regiment, ideally where they can see the ridgeline if direct fire is required.

 The Telephone team will establish an exchange (red circle on map) behind Telegraph Hill and run a wire forward via Telegraph Hill to Artillery Hill. A second wire will run via JG/94, Stosstrupp and then to Dog Hill.  If there is time, run a third wire to any on table artillery positions but I doubt there will be.

 The Field Hospital can keep up the good work!

Dog Hill with it's new German garrison.
The Germans brought forward a field battery.

French PLAN B

Clear I/211 (Artillery Hill) position first, using all artillery, then take on I/215 (Dog Hill)

 Turn 1 - Aircraft bomb position formerly held by  I/211

 Turns 2 and 3 – both batteries fire on I/211’s position.

 Turn 4 –both  infantry battalions enter on southern edge due south of I/211’s position. Artillery continues firing on previous target.

 Turn 5 – infantry advance on their objective. Artillery continues to fire.

 Turn 6  and 7 - both battalions assault I/211’s former position.  Both batteries fire on I/215’s former position.

 Turn 8 and 9 – leaving one company to garrison the I/211 position, the rest of the infantry move to I/215’s position. Artillery keep firing

 Turn 10 –Artillery cease fire. Infantry assault  the I/215 position.

Next time we'll see what happened when the plans were executed.

Sunday 16 January 2022

The Left Bank 1916 part 8 - a storm of steel?

 Meanwhile back on the left bank of the Meuse.....

German infantry surges forward  - less through a storm of steel than a desultory hail of matchsticks. This is one of two battalions closing in on....
....Artillery Hill, where gunfire has at least removed some of the French wire.

Meanwhile at Dog Hill the assault goes in....
...and soon the ranks are thinned on both sides!
But the wily Boche have Stosstruppe Von Gow in reserve.
Artillery Hill (left) with Telegraph Hill in the background.  The slightly tatty German battalions prepare to hurl themselves against the French defences.  
In the bloody melee which ensued, the Germans prevailed - but only just!
Back at Dog Hill, the stormtroopers have joined the fight and it's all too much for the weakened defence.
The dog captured the French flag - giving the hill it's name.

At this point I told the French that one of their Colonels was to be court-martialled for losing the position, but he got away with it by virtue of being dead. (this actually happened)

A fresh regiment was rushed to the front from a rather better division and the French players were asked to plan an immediate counterattack.  (this too actually happened)

The Germans were asked to prepare a defensive plan.

Next time I will share with you the plans

Saturday 15 January 2022

Italeri Panzer crew


I need some tank crews for a couple of games I have in mind, so this venerable set was cracked open today.  Venerable?  Definitely!  Although the box is marked ‘1995’, I remember this set from the 1970s.

Despite it’s antiquity the mouldings are pretty crisp.  Not up to Tamiya standards but still very respectable.  I think that their 1970s equivalents was moulded in white plastic.  For a set still readily available for under  £10 there’s quite a lot in it. Six figures, two barrels, a wooden crate, four buckets(!) and three helmets. 

You don’t see box art like this on modern kits!  But in those far-off days before the widespread availability of reasonably price uniform books this would no doubt have been very useful. 

Thursday 6 January 2022

M-163 Vulcan (Israeli)


Another of my M-113 bodges now.  3D printed turret atop my usual insulation foam/card/balsa bodge. It looks the part though.

Tuesday 4 January 2022

The Left Bank 1916 part 7 - spend spend spend!

As part of their briefings, I asked the players to 'spend' 100 points on resources and provided a list of possible items (though they were free to ask for pretty much anything).  I stressed the need to achieve prestige as well as military victory.  By their own admission, the French spent on 'stuff that was fun' while the Germans took a more sober approach.  With the aid of some dice rolls and drawing of cards I resolved the effects.

Their shopping lists were as follows:

                                               French            German        result

Super Heavy artillery              20                     20               2 batteries each

Air superiority                         25                    20                2.5 / 2 fighter squadrons

Air Recce                                10                      20               1 /2 photo recce missions

Air bombing                           10                                          1 bombing raid

AA guns                                 10                                           1 AAG battery

Visit from a dignitary                                       10                 see below

Storm Troop detachment                                 10                 2 companies

Field Telephone Detachment                           10               telephone engineers

Field Hospital                                                  10                 more replacements

Pioneers                                25                                            improved defences

The Kaiser (right) photographed while visiting a section of the front only 100km away.  

Pioneers hard at work.  Sadly these chaps are German as I don't have any suitable French figures.

French super-heavy artillery.
The field telephone team the French didn't buy.😒

Monday 3 January 2022

The Left Bank 1916 part 6 - assault and battery

Having asked the French players to deploy their units, they came back with this:

I/215 and the like denotes and infantry battalion, A/67 a field artillery battery.  I then compared this with the German assault and artillery plan:
The hollow stars are field artillery, the filled ones are heavy guns.  Having compared the two plans I set up a table covering the 'main effort' attack sectors of the German IR94 and IR32.  This was a little under 5x6 feet with 1 ft representing very roughly 1km.  'Rules', before anyone asks, were sparse.  Infantry could move (1ft) or fire (6in close range, 1ft long) and artillery fire was resolved by the traditional matchstick firing cannon.  
For convenience I will refer to some of the positions by their later German codenames.
Most of the figures were Armies in Plastic.
1/211 on Artillery Hill with A/67 in support.
1/211 from the front.
1/215 on Dog Hill.

IR94 prepares to assault.... does IR32.
The opening German barrage caused a few casualties and also cut the telephone wires to the on-table French positions.
The Germans surge forward

The wily Boche players had 'paid' for the optional telephone team. (Pre-painted metal set by Fusilier)

Soon 1/IR32 was on Dog Hill...
...with the notorious Stosstruppe Von Gow in support!
IR94 has a battalion of Jagers in support (metal castings of unknown provenance)
2/IR94 approaching Artillery Hill...
...where the French gunners have suffered tragedy!  I made saving rolls for them all - only the dog (top left) survived!

And there we must pause - with the shells still falling and both French positions about to be assaulted.  Who will prevail?