WWII: Normandy, Battle in the Bocage!

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Paul K
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WWII: Normandy, Battle in the Bocage!

Postby Paul K » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:18 am

We have been play-testing and developing a hex based adaptation of the WWII Battlegroup rule system using Dave Mack’s excellent Bocage terrain and his 15mm miniatures. Below is a battle report of one of our British v German encounters.
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Preparing the layout

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Layout complete with two hamlets

In this scenario the German players (Mick, Steve and myself), had possession of half of the table which included one of the two small hamlets which were located towards the centre on the table. The objective of the game for both sides was to have control both of these hamlets by the close of play.
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German riflemen on the lookout for the Brits

At the opening of play the Germans had 4 patrols, each containing 4 riflemen in position watching for enemy activity. Once contact with the British was made this would trigger the release of 3 more sections each containing an MG42 machine gun. The British (Dave and Mark) had a platoon of paras and were supported by a 3 inch mortar section.
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British advance

Opening moves saw a quick British advance and suppressive fire onto the hedge lined road separating the two hamlets. This resulted in one of German rifle sections located in the road being pinned, but also triggered the German reserves onto the table. One British section soon advanced to occupy the undefended hamlet on the left, while the German rifle section in the right-hand hamlet opened fire on the advancing British which were taking shelter behind a bocage hedge and small area of woodland. In this bocage terrain ‘spotting’ your opponents was the biggest challenge and so both sides were able to advance quickly towards each other because of the excellent cover of the hedgerows.
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British 3" mortars fail to stop German sections moving up

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Fighting across the brocage hedges between the two hamlets

From the vantage point of a hill the Brits started to radio for fire support from the 3 inch mortar and a British section located in the upper story of the hamlet was able to spot the German sections coming up in support. Thankfully for the Germans, the British attempts at spotting were poor and when the 3 inch mortars did target the German sections the bombs fell into unoccupied hexes. This lucky break proved vital to the German defence as it bought just enough time for the Mg42s and rifle sections to position and fire upon the hamlet occupied by the British.
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Germans advance under cover of the brocage

The German rifle section located in the other hamlet resisted all attempts to spot them and gave effective fire at the two British sections trying to capture the road between the two hamlets. Although the German riflemen occupying this road were soon eliminated, by this time another rifle section had already taken up position behind the bocage hedge lining the road, and this was supported by another MG42 which was waiting in ambush for any Brits attempting to cross or occupy the road between the hamlets.
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The British sections were beginning to take notable casualties and the Germans advanced to take up a firing position with the aim of assaulting and taking the right-hand hamlet. Again, the British mortars proved ineffective and the Germans won the firefight for the hamlet, inflicting heavy casualties and forcing the defenders to retreat. This hamlet would soon be occupied by the German rifle section giving them the victory.
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The final German attack on the second hamlet

Game analysis
The rule system seemed to play well, and in this scenario the ability of one side to spot the other became the deciding factor. On balance the German spotting was better and as a result the shooting more effective. At the same time the performance of the British mortar section was poor unlike in the previous game, and without sufficient or effective artillery support the Brits did not have sufficient manpower to take and hold their objectives.

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