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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

GREAT WAR: Through the Mud and Blood Bat Rep

By Mitch Reed and Sean "Throckmorton" Sarah

Ever since I finished painting all of the blisters not found in the box sets I have been itching to play a Great War game with all of the support options available.  I have also been looking forward in playing the “Though the mud and blood” mission having played the other two Great War missions. Sean has been also itching to play as the Germans in a game, and why not? They have some cool toys that the British do not possess.  We decided on going with a 1500 point game and both made out lists adding up to 1490 points, a big departure from our 2120 point smack down in our first game.

The Through the mud and blood mission is a bit different than other scenarios.  The attackers have to set aside some of their forces for a flank attack that comes on in reserve.  The defenders get the trench line and one of the back quarters of the table. 

Throck’s force; despite having his award winning A7V’s available (applause please), he did not take any tanks. Sean did take the Stoss platoon which makes him always attack, along with some HQ flamethrowers and a Granatenwerfer; in support he picked the excellent Minnenwerfers and IG guns.

German Infanteriekompanie
Infantry Company, Infantry
Compulsory Infanteriekompanie- CinC Pistol, 2iC Pistol (30 pts)
- 2x Flame-thrower (80 pts)
- Granatenwerfer mortar (60 pts)
- Replace CinC Pistol with CinC SMG (5 pts)
Compulsory Infanterie Platoon- Command Pistol, 8x Rifle, 2x MG (195 pts)
- Replace Rifle with Rifle Grenade (5 pts)
Compulsory Infanterie Platoon- Command Pistol, 8x Rifle, 2x MG (195 pts)
- Replace Rifle with Rifle Grenade (5 pts)
Minnenwerfer Platoon- 2x Command 7.6cm Minenwerfer mortar (340 pts)
Stoss Platoon- Command Pistol, 8x Pistol, 2x MG (305 pts)
Infantry Gun Platoon- 2x Command 7.62cm Krupp IG gun (270 pts)
1490 Points, 7 Platoons

My Force; the British do not have a lot of options as the Germans do and I ended up taking a tank.  If I had to do it over again I would have ditched the tank and taken more HMGs and Trench Mortars.

British Rifle Company
Infantry Company, Elite Division
Compulsory Rifle Company HQ - CinC Pistol, 2iC Pistol (30 pts)
Compulsory Rifle Platoon - Command Pistol, 4x Rifle, 2x Rifle Grenade, 2x MG (225 pts)
Compulsory Rifle Platoon - Command Pistol, 4x Rifle, 2x Rifle Grenade, 2x MG (225 pts)
Machine-gun Platoon - Command Pistol, 2x Vickers HMG (150 pts)
Trench Mortar Platoon - 2x Command 3" Stokes mortar (180 pts)
Heavy Tank Platoon - Command Mark IV Female (340 pts)
Artillery Detachment - 2x Command OQF 18 pdr gun (340 pts)
1490 Points, 8 Platoons

The mission dictates where the trenches go, and we used a bombed out town as the setting.  We added some knocked out tanks to provide additional visuals to the table.

Set-up: The mission has the defender with one platoon in the trenches and half of their remaining force on the table.  I put my HMGs, Guns, and Trench Mortars in gun pits so they can start on the table.  This took me down to three platoons when determining reserves, so one rifle platoon and my tank is off the board.

Sean had most of his force on the table with one infantry platoon coming in for the flank attack. Look how close the forces start near each other to begin the game.

Guns in pits, HMGs in nests covering both objectives.

Since Sean has a Stoss platoon he gets a spearhead move before turn one. Now he is even closer!

Brilliant move turn one; he sends his rifle team ahead for the assault and keeps his MG teams in support.

Oh, those two flame teams, cooking my guys in the trench. (ed: KING GEORGE IS KAPUT!! ~Throck)

They clear out that trench pretty quick and pin me down

Then he assaults

Back and forth we go in assault

I knew I was going to lose these guys, so I kept swinging back at him; I wanted to take advantage of the British Trench Fighter rule.

In the end I did kill a bunch of his guys but I lost my platoon.

And Throck consolidates to end turn one

Turn two; Throck pushes from his newly won trenches into the town. 

Turn 3; I get one platoon from reserves, and my riflemen come on

Throck pushes ahead into cover.

My infantry comes in to help defend the objectives.

Turn 4; hey look what a lucky roll gets me in from reserves.

Sean plays it smart and gets his infantry into cover.  We trade a few shots and I kill a few stands, but we both know that he has to get rid of my HMG nests and the Trench Guns in pits before he can assault.

Here comes the support in the shape of two Infantry guns.

Turn 5; by this time Sean's flank attack is on the table and it moves for the objectives.  I am trying to get my infantry into those shellholes for cover.

So as turn 5 ends, the IGs and the Minnenwerfers just knock out my HMGs and Trench Mortar pits in order. I am able to kill off the infantry guns and one rifle platoon.

By turn 6, I am down to one rifle platoon, one 18pdr, one Trench Mortar and a tank; yet still in the game with 2 of 3 platoons alive.

This last Trench Mortar is doomed, Sean's Stoss comes out of cover and the fact they are fearless they pass the tank terror test.

Now for the flank attack.

Its bloody!

Very bloody!

Yet I hold.

But fail the platoon morale check.

And then fail the Company morale check!

   Sean wins 4-3!

However the next turn he had another sole survivor check to take, if he lost that he would be checking for Company morale.

My Comments:  This was a great game, a real nail biter that came down to some gutsy moves in the last turn.  I also really like this mission, the flank attack adds some flavor to the choices of both sides.  If I had to do it all over again I would not have taken the tank.  I could have maxed out on HMGs and Trench Mortars and made the objectives even harder to capture. 

Without the great support options the British player is almost forced to take a tank just to get to a specific points total.  I may add another British rifle platoon to my collection.  With the built-in MG teams, grenade teams and the great trench fighter rule they are worth more (IMHO) than taking a single tank. 

I also now look at using mortars differently in the WWII game from seeing how they play in the Great War.  They are great for knocking out the nests and pits you will face when you attack.

Sean's Comments:  Stoss are awesome. And playing entirely with infantry made for a fun, different kind of game that was really rewarding. The game comes down to digging out the other guys infantry and, due to the paucity of assets available to do that from range coupled with those assets vulnerabilities as being primarily gun teams, you HAVE to take risks with your infantry. I love that. It was my job to get in, get dirty and assault, and that's just how I like to play.

The real catch is that veteran Brits hit on freaking two's in assault so you've got to either hit them overwhelmingly or whittle them down before you get in there. And even then, it's still a risk. Had either of my assaults gone differently in those final turns this could have easily been a 4-3 to Mitch.

Big kudos to Mitch for providing both armies as my lazy tuchus has only got a few Great War bits painted to date.

Honestly, the more I play Great War the more I like it.

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