Sunday, June 7, 2015

Action at Authie: D+1

I fell short of my total painting timeline for D-Day, but had enough vehicles and certainly enough infantry to re fight some of the 12th SS assault against the Canadians at Authie on June 7, 1944.

The actual battle was more of an ambush but given my small table size, I played this battle as a meeting engagement, with the Germans coming on the board straight into the Canadian flank.  I used the Rapid Fire rules for this fight, although I think I am going to formally retire them.

During the actual battle, Kampfgruppe Meyer (commanded by Standartenfuhrer Kurt Meyer) hit the Canadians along their line of march leaving the larger town of Buron.  The Canadian objective was Carpiquet Airfield and in the vanguard were the Sherbrooke Fusiliers and the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.

This battle featured the assault on the vanguard in and around Authie by elements of SS Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, and SS Panzer Regiment 12.

9 Kompanie, SS Pz. Rgt 12 spot the Canadian Shermans!  Targets Los!

The Canadians are somewhat spread out when the ambush begins.  The majority of the infantry battalion are in vicinity of Buron, moving out towards Authie (HQs Company, B and D Company).  C Company is mounted in the carrier platoon with the vanguard, and A Company is moving from Grouchy towards Authie.

Aerial recon shows the B and D Company followed by the Battalion HQs element.

The road from Authie to Buron.

A Rapid Fire 8 figure company of Panzergrenadiers.

Support Company with the SP Gun, Mortar platoon and MG Platoon

 The initial German volley shreds A Squadron of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, knocking out 2 Sherman platoons, and "heavily damaging" a third.  The squadron fails its morale check and leaves the battle, heading back towards Buron while the infantry move up to seize Authie.  It's going to be a brutal foot slogging fight!

Infantry advance past a knocked out Sherman tank on the road to Authie

 During the Canadian turn, the Tank Destroyers (M10s) swing into action and earn some payback for their fallen brothers!  They heavily damage a Panzer IV platoon, and destroy a halftrack forcing its occupants to dismount with 2 casualties as a result.  The 6 lb'er dismounts and sets up from the support company but since they moved, cannot fire this turn.  They will guard the flank of the Canadian advance and hopefully discourage those Grenadiers from getting too close.

My North Nova Scotia Highlanders from the support company.  Yes those are blue patches!

Troops in the carrier platoon sit and wait along the highway.

The TD's earning some payback for their fallen comrades!

A Company, North Nova Scotia Highlanders is entering the orchards at Authie from their march from Grouchy

The "Hitlerjugend" Panzer Grenadiers flood through Authie awaiting the attack.

"Heavily Damaged" Panzer IV.

Knocked out halftrack!

A panzer IV platoon swings into action  Note the 12th SS emblem painted on the back!

Sharp fight breaks out along a small rise of ground along the highway.
 The Germans begin a small armored advance against the "shoulder" of the breakthrough where A Squadron melted away, hoping they can block further reinforcements from showing up.  Behind A Squadron, are B and C Squadrons worth of tanks looking for payback!


I've been wanting to game this action for a long time.  I still had about 3 more tanks to finish, but I was also going to introduce the dreaded Panther tanks into the battle (even though they didn't participate in this battle).

The Germans had to have some kind of advantage, considering this highly motivated unit held up the advance in the British sector for quite some time.  The ambush in real life pushed the Canadians back into Buron and slightly beyond and resulted in a slight setback from reaching their D-Day objective.

The Canadians have a full Battalion's worth of infantry on the table, but they are spread out coming from different directions, so the scenario worked well on my modest 6 x 4 foot table.

As far as the plan, since this was only part I of the battle, there aren't many things to criticize regarding the plan.

That said, let's talk about Rapid Fire rules, which are fiercely guarded by those who love and play them.  I've tried to like them, I really have.  I love the production quality, the examples of play in the rules, and especially the Orders of Battle, which are displayed as top-down "cartoon" style drawings.

I don't care much for the sequence of play which has many small phases which can be ignored as applicable (heroic action phase, smoke phase, etc). The problem is there are many subtle, important rules associated with some of these phases that you need to know about.  It seems to me that I would have had a more satisfying go of it playing with someone who knows the RF rules better.

The game seemed to progress very slowly and all these pictures are really only the beginning of turn #3.  The last game of Rapid Fire I played was very similar.  A modern game where a Soviet mechanized Battalion and a tank battalion assault dug in Germans.

That game, while delivering satisfying results, was slow to develop.  I think you also need a large (very large) table to utilize RF to its fullest potential.  (as an example, all of the armor units on my table start within automatic observation range).

Please let me reiterate, I do like Rapid Fire.  It has unique mechanisms that you won't find in other games, and it delivers satisfying results, it's just not the game for me.  I would have liked to play this with Battlegroup: Overlord, but I didn't have the time to set up the battle (points, calculating breakpoints, etc).

Next I will play this battle, or a similar one, with Blitzkrieg Commander, Charles Grant's BATTLE, GHQ's rules, and finally Battlegroup: Overlord.  There is also small unit actions using Disposable Heroes which I think will be alot of fun.  (That small, sharp tank battle along the Authie-Buron road would be a game in itself using any of the above rules sets).  Or the infantry engagement in the Authie Orchard that was starting to develop.


  1. I use Bolt Action rules when I play. I have all the kit to do a good game

    1. IH, Bolt Action always delivers a good game! I have never been disappointed.

  2. The table really looks the part, once again. I love your fields.

    1. Thanks, Porky. I'm ok with it. I still have alot of work to do in regards to terrain. Many, many buildings to paint.
      The wheat fields are an Ikea mat I chopped up, and the "corn" or whatever that is, is a "grass mat" I ordered on Amazon. If you like those small squares, you can get them for free at a "Home Depot" or similar D.I.Y. store as samples in the flooring/carpeting section.

  3. You raise some fair points about RF. At this level of game all the anomalies of the RF system come into play which are, basically, ironed out at Brigade level and above. The two options that I can think of (never having played Bolt Action) are to either go for Blitzkrieg Commander at this level or take RF one level up. That is that Battalion becomes Company and you re-jig the assets accordingly ie hive off your support units, mortars/MG's/AT etc into support company and have 30 odd man rifle companies and a proper Battalion HQ. More complicated to explain that to do. Morale becomes less of a teaser and the ebb and flow of success or failure is at company level (smoke/heroic action) rather that a super brittle Battalion/Tank company etc.

    1. Thanks, SRD. I am trying it again with BKC, which has been enjoyable but completely flip-flopped results, with the Germans taking a serious pounding so far. That has been a total anomaly of the dice though.
      I like your thoughts on RF. I would like to try that sometime (30 man companies)

  4. You are again far too modest Steve - a great looking game and a great way to pay homage to brave soldier of both sides this week on the Anniversary of D-Day

    1. Thanks, Paul! I had been wanting to play this battle on D-Day or D+1 for quite some time. I'm a big fan of the Canadian units in WWII. I'm going to post my results using BKC and possibly BGO soon. Stay tuned!

    2. BGO is yet another excellent addition to the series - well worth adding to your library.

  5. Tried RF a couple of times and really didn't like them at all. I found that armour ruled the roost far too much for my liking.

    1. Steve,
      I tried liking them - I really did. Darren used the word "stale" for them and I think that's a good word to describe. The sequence of play was what turned me off.