Sunday, 9 May 2010

Moulin Bruges: an infantry playtest

After drawing up the Suppressing Fire rules for vollies of small arms fire and rewriting those for Morale, it was time for playtesting.

I decided to go for broke and have a purely infantry engagement, no armoured cars, even, let alone tanks. I am not sure how 'realistic' this scenario would be without the usual swarms of armour dominating the show but I just wanted to give the new rules a sound thrashing out. In the event, if the Germans had but a single Kfz 13 they would probably have thrashed their opponents.

Due to some ongoing DIY upheavals and unavailability of dining room tables, a short range infantry skirmish on a 12"x12" board was ideal. A board was installed with a small farmstead and windmill on a hill with a sprinkling of woods and low 'soft-cover-only' hedges bordering fields.

Basically there was one British & one Belgian platoon holding a farmstead on high ground. They had 2 Bren Carriers for flank duty and a Vickers HMG team and that was it for them. The Germans had 4 platoons plus 2 MG42, 1 80mm mortar and 1 75mm IG. Perhaps not a very realistic mix but after all I just wanted to see how infantry battles worked themselves out.

Due to the game's small size it was easy to put it on top of a cupboard out of reach from curious little hands so I could do a few moves & come back to it later or next day. There were a number of occaisions I felt like I could have ended the game when it looked a bit hopeless for one side or another but I couldn't help but carry on to see what would happen.

Final Positions

Several times the German left flank was forced to test morale but each time they held firm; by comparison their platoon in the top left of the final position view stalled with a very low score & couldn't be persuaded to leave the relative safety of that wood.
How these situations came about (which is a feature of the mechanics of my morale rules) is that if a unit has low morale (for example, wavering assault, or desperately outnumbered town defence, etc) and yet it still manages to keep its head, the unit's morale level is boosted, affecting future tests. Thus the assaulting Schutzen dipped as low as 39% but by 'keeping going' ended up around 70% and the hapless bunch in the wood had a series of wobbly moments ending up at 6% thus could not be reused without retesting without probably routing.
As for the group volley rules (resembling some more often used in Pike & Shot or Napoleonics games I used to see as a teenager) whereby you fire 12 rifle groups and 4 MGs at an opposing unit & the resultant casualties calculated in one dice roll, well, the highest number of such firing groups I had at any one time was five, so although I think the rules would work I just don't think they will be used that much.
Next, I suspect I will play a regular sized game with all branches of land armies letting rip...

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