Tuesday 1 May 2012

Back to the Trenches: Forlon Hope

In addition to sorting and editing the hundreds of photos from our recent trip to the UK, I have invested some time this long weekend in Madrid to umpire a WWI game with Through the Mud and the Blood, the period platoon level rules of the TooFatLardies factory. 

The scenario was simple: in early 1918 following a successful local attack on a German trench, the remaining elements of a British platoon have reinforced the former Hun defenses and now await the inevitable counterattack. Unfortunately for them, the German interdiction artillery fire is blocking the arrival of reinforcements. Therefore, their only hope is to make enough casualties to the Germans to make the attack stall and allow some time for the British to send new units.

 The Germans in this scenario have overwhelming superiority in numbers: 6 full 9-man sections of mixed rifle and bombers, including two captured Lewis guns and a light flamethrower team of highly motivated (veteran/good morale/aggresive) stormtroopers vs three much depleted British infantry sections with one LMG and one fully crewed HMG (also Veteran level /reasonable morale).

British deployment
The Germans will have a second wave availble (five rifle sections) but of lower quality (regular/reasonable morale). I allowed the British to have 1 dummy blind and to put two advanced sentries in a forward sap to improve the chances of early spotting the German units.

The Germans decided to concentrate the attack on its left flank and to move quickly forward in order to get of the HMG line of fire as soon as possible (note: we allow only 45º fire arc in bunkers, therefore the closer to the HMG location, the narrower the field of fire).

German Stormtroopers on the run
As expected, already in the very early moves the Germans were easily spotted by the British sentries and blinds, being in the open and moving rapidly. The British LMG and the HMG poured lead on the exposed Germans from long range and casualties and shocks accumulated at a rapid pace in the spearheading units.

Eat lead, you bloody Huns!!
 Despite the casualties, the Germans could put four sections under the cover of some artillery craters just in front of the defensive wire. 

Take cover, take cover!
The wire appeared to be mostly destroyed after  being under artillery fire for four consecutive turns...

Achtung wire!!
  ... and the aggresive German troops charged without delay into the British positions who put a desperate resistance and rejected two assaults with heavy casualties on the enemy...
No pasarán!!
  until the Germans unleashed hell with the light flamethrower team...


Oh my God!!!
 ...followed by another assault by the remaining German unit, putting to flee two of the British defending units.

Here they come again
It was then when the British player saw another mass of field-grey tunics emerging in the horizon as the German reinforcements started to pour across the edge of the table.

C'mon boys, run to help your comrades!!
However, the first German troops wave were in pretty bad shape with four units routed beyond recovery, one dispersed (destroyed) and the remaining (in the British trench) made up of just one Big Man and the LMG crew.  On the British side, the HMG remained intact and had been relocated to the roof of the bunker (to get a better field of fire), the LMG section was also in realitively good shape, while the 2 rifle companies had left the table by then.

A view of the battlefield from the British HMG gunner sight
Aftwer some discussion, we decided to stop the game and declare a draw (personally I thought it was a British minor victory). The reason: the British managed to stop succesfully the first German wave but it was unlikely to repeat the feat with the second. However, to cross the no man's land in the sight of the British HMG and LMG was probably to cost a heavy toll of blood to the Germans. 

As the Britsh victory condition was to inflict  two more time casualties to the Germans than received (at this point in the game there were over 30 German KIAs vs 15 of the British), and the Germans had to fully control the trench, it was decided to declare the draw.

Another tense and excellent game with Through the Blood and the Mud.


  1. Great looking game Benito, it does look and sound like a British victory.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It is disputable, the British were at half the initial strength and the Germans approaching were 5 fresh sections. Suffering, but surley they would have arrived to the trench

  2. A nice nail bitter of a scenario. Love games that are that uncertain down to the end.

  3. Un escenario muy interesante. A ver si encuentro tiempo y preparo yo también algún escenario de estos para "impulsar" la Gran Guerra en nuestro Club.

    Un saludo.

  4. A good read Benito and nicely done!

  5. Looked a good game, it's great when you get nice figures and terrain all together. I expect all had lots of fun