This game features a much smaller cast of characters than the last 2 battles as Battlegroup is a very tactical-oriented game so you maneuver fire-teams and half-sections around as opposed to squads or platoons. My modest table can usually only support a "platoon" sized Battlegroup game in 15mm. When it comes to bigger battles, I will have to use microarmor.
This battle was a "defense line" battle from page 174 of the Battlegroup Kursk rules. The Canadians are tasked with maintaining a tenuous hold on this small Norman village. (ostensibly Authie, but the real-life scenario is more of an "attack counter-attack" meeting engagement).
The units include a reinforced SS Infantry Platoon on foot bringing along a medium mortar section, and an HMG section. The CO is on the battlefield (Panzer-Meyer himself again...) as well as the command section with a panzerfaust. For armored support, ze Germans have brought along 2 Panzer IVH and their recce section is comprised of 2 x 222 armored cars - because you all know how much I love wheeled recce....
The SS units cost roughly 400 points with a break-point of 26.
The Canadian units have a platoon of infantry however only were able to start the battle with 2 infantry squads, and an AT gun w/carrier on the table. Oh the CO and the FO are also present. The Canadians have a 2 gun 25lb'r section on standby with priority 2. The main Canadian force has 3 Sherman tanks, and another infantry squad coming to reinforce them.
The Canadian units cost roughly 400 points with a break-point of 26.
|Squad starts the battle pinned due to the Defense Line rules following a German preparatory bombardment.|
|North Nova Scotia Highlanders in fighting positions.|
|German 222 recce arrives. Normally I hate wheeled recce but this is Normandy afterall - not Kursk.|
|The recce identifies the Canadians and opens fire in an attempt to draw out more firing from them. The NNSH troops know better than to give their positions away!|
|Turn 3 the German main body show up. And infantry platoon and tank platoon arrive on the battlefield. The Panzer IV swings into action to contest the toll-house.|
|German infantry advance|
|Canadians in the toll house. Rallied and pinned again...not looking good for these chaps.|
|German advance is shaping up! 1 SS Squad advancing through the wheatfield on the left|
|The colored markers are objectives. Here the toll-house sits vacant. Meanwhile you can make out the HQs section and FO in the tree-line next to the thatch-roofed house, and dug in along the apple orchard.|
|Command Group and mortars saunter up.|
|I used blue beads to tell who has received orders.|
The next order goes to the 6 lb'r and it hits and kills the Mk IV to its front. First tank kill of the day.
|Mk IV burns almost at the objective. Note the 2 x 222 cars speeding towards the hill out of the picture. They were trying to get to the next objective and cut the road.|
|The vaunted 6 lb'r. Note the command group and FO in the treeline. The Germans got so close next turn the Command Group would have to use their own order to fire at an HMG section trying to set up at the road junction!|
|German attack is shaping up but they still don't have what qualifies as a "breakthrough" just yet.|
|Canadian infantry fire on the Germans crossing the road to their left.|
|end of turn 5.|
This is a tough one which I'm really glad I started playing. Everyone who knows me or reads this blog with any regularity, knows that I really like the Battlegroup series of rules. To date, I have also mostly played meeting engagement battles, so this battle was a welcome change that brings new challenges of resource management and tactical decision making.
I love that some defenders can start the battle pinned. that's a nice touch. Also, the trickling reinforcements are also nice and add a level of tension to the game that other games may not add.
In this battle, the Canadians got to choose which table edge the Germans started from. I though I picked the edge that afforded the Germans the least amount of cover, but in actuality it's a bad spot. The Germans are really close to the forward edge of the battle area when everything kicks off so the Canadians have a tough fight on their hands. The Germans are also "veteran" ranked as opposed to regular. That makes it a little tougher on the Canadians as well.
The best part about the Battlegroup series is that you can use all your toys, and everything makes some kind of an impact. So yes, even my crappy 222 scout cars have their lethal 20mm autocannon that tore up the guys in the toll house on turns 1 through 3.
My only beef with BG is that there is much preparatory work to be done before you play. I spent a day building up forces, calculating breakpoints and researching how the scenario was going to go. It's not a game where you can just break out all your stuff, throw it on the table and go at it.
That being said, the results and enjoyment from playing the game are well worth the effort.
THOUGHTS (actually ramblings) on Part III of the "Action at Authie" Series:
Well so far I've played this battle with the Rapid Fire rules, as well as Blitzkrieg Commander. I still need to complete this game, then play the scenario with Charles Grant's BATTLE, and the GHQ rules and that should bring this little experiment to a conclusion. I have to admit that so far, my favorite rules have been the Battlegroup rules hands-down. Lots of excitement and variety which is important when you're looking for a go-to rules set. Battlegroup has really gone way past the other rules sets in this competition this far.