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Made in us
Storm Trooper with Maglight


[Writeup by Mark, Pictures by Russel]

Resiste et Mords – Belgian Chasseurs Ardennais vs Panzergrenadiers
February 9, 2009

Our first Disposable Heroes game without Russians, and with Germans on the attack. I have been planning this scenario since mid-December, when I ordered Crusader miniatures French….86 figures that I finally finished this weekend (with the finishing touches taking a 12-hour marathon while watching the entirety of season two of The Tudors).

The scenario was based on the fight at Bodange, 10 May 1940 when the First Panzer Division was pushing through the Ardennes. A company of Belgian Chasseurs Ardennais under Captain Bricart held the Germans back for ten hours.

Matt, Jack and Erik were the Germans. They had six squads (4 of regular infantry, two of panzer grenadiers (5 in halftracks, one in a truck) plus 2 headquarters elements and a Panzer III. They had to enter the map on three roads – and had to plan which forces were coming on which roads before they say the defenders deployment.

They thought they would be facing French. The terrain was the messiest we have yet put out (heh, it’s the Ardennes). Lots and lots of woods, a few wooded hills, and with a stream running across the table, with the roads crossing it at four points, and a ruined stone farm on the far (northern) end of the Belgian side of the stream.

The German mission was to get at least half of their vehicles off the board at the western exit – a point where the three roads met into one. To do so would be automatic victory, regardless of losses. The Belgians would win an automatic victory by destroying more than half of the German vehicles; failing either the victor would be on points. (Awarding full points for an entire squad wiped out, awarding half points for a squad reduced to half or fewer; and awarding half points for immobilized vehicles)

I was initially going to moderate, but a couple of the guys did not show up and there was a surprise pick up game of 40k, which drew off players, so I joined Ed as the Belgians. Ed had the north (Belgian left) with a platoon with hq, two squads, a heavy machine gun and an 81mm mortar. I had the same on the Belgian right, but with a 60mm. In reserve down at the exit point where the roads met was our single AT gun (a 47mm) protected by a four-man team of “Groupe Franc” and a half-squad of mounted Cavalry.

The Chasseurs are veterans, as good in morale as the Germans. I paid the extra points to upgrade one rifleman in each squad to become a second light machine gun (which gives not just more firepower but a morale adjustment to the targeted enemy for coming under concentrated fire). Also paid to upgrade the heavy machinegun in each platoon from a French Hotchkiss to an American Browning. As the single AT gun was the ONLY weapon on the table that could do any damage to the German tank or halftracks (mortars and machineguns can not hurt them in these rules) I paid 20 points per squad to equip them with satchel charges – which you use in close assault.

The Belgians had ten wide slips of paper. We had to write down what unit(s) were on those slips. They were 8” wide by 3” deep (from a strange notepad I had). Then place the papers on the table. Any units written on them had to be placed on or behind the space occupied by the paper. We left two of the papers blank as dummies. We also kept our troops physically hidden from sight, so the Germans did not even know what we had.

The Germans had to move up and spot our troops before they could fire on them (you can move, spot and fire all in the same turn tho). Once spotted, our troops would stay revealed, and if we shot, we would be revealed.

The opening move was a tough one for the Germans. Erik rolled down the center road and over the bridge with his lead halftrack. At the far end of the table, directly opposite and in a straight line down the road was a slip of paper. I flipped it to reveal the AT gun. Ed rolled to fire – hit the halftrack (50-50 shot), hit the main body (a percentage roll), penetrated it and then got the best possible roll he could get – a 1 in 10 chance of a complete brew up – one that engulfs ALL passengers and crew without a chance to get out and live.

An entire squad, 10 men, plus the halftrack with its crew of two and machine gun, gone in a flash.

All across the board Germans began dismounting from half tracks, realizing that every piece of paper might hide an AT gun (they did not know we had only one). Germans became very respectful of the Belgians from this point forward.

Erik was going to duel with the AT gun with the tank, but Matt convinced him that such a duel would be a losing proposition – and as the AT gun was set in a gun emplacement with a very limited field of fire down the roads, they could work around it. Matt moved his two squads to cross the river and advance on the ruined farm; Jack swept on the other flank, trying to cross the river to scout out what was on the hills on the far side….and to try and determine if the piece of paper we had left on his side of the river really was a dummy …or if we were being coy….(it was a dummy)

Jack was the first to run into Belgian infantry. The light mortar and a pair of light machine guns slowed his initial advance to a crawl, and forced a squad to recoil. As he got his own LMG in place and started working up with his halftracks, however, it soon became apparent that there was nothing there that could threaten his armor….and he got into a firefight to whittle down the Belgians on the southern end.

Matt pushed hard against the farmhouse, with support from his two halftracks and Erik’s tank. They knocked out the 81mm mortar and forced the machinegun to run. We finally got to see a real assault when Matt hit the farm with one squad, which enabled him to bring a second in for support. Ed had one section under attack and supported it with the rest of the squad…and lost the initiative by one pip on the die – which meant the Germans struck first…and Matt rolled very well, killing five of eight Belgians in one swoop. Ed fought back, killing two Nazis before his unit was wiped out.

Erik brought some troops forward but got caught in one of the few open spots when I revealed a squad on a central hill that had a nice if limited field of fire right onto that spot. That sent Erik back into the trees.

As 930 approached Jack and Matt decided they would try to make the big push down the roads, as they had seen nothing other than the one AT gun that could hurt their armor. Matt roared down the road on his side, past the now-German held farm. Ed had a second squad and his platoon command there, behind a hedgerow – he jumped out to assault the halftrack…his men carrying satchel charges. They immobilized the halftrack, blocking the road. Germans fired on Ed’s guys, knocking a few down, but Ed’s men held their ground.

Jack was not as fortunate. He roared past the hill where a Belgian platoon had been shredded in the long firefight, and from the woods half a squad of Belgians jumped out with satchel charges, immobilizing the halftrack, then the command squad came out from the other side, and with its satchel charges rolled a very lucky result blowing up the vehicle and killing most of the squad that was being carried by it.

There the game ended. Neither side had fulfilled the automatic victory. Belgians had lost 491 of their 1200 points (one squad and two mortars wiped out, two squads reduced to half, a command element and an HMG section reduced to half). German losses included two halftracks destroyed and one immobilized, one squad wiped out, several reduced to half or less…..Germans lost point wise, but not by a lot.)

The Germans got most of their troops engaged; half a squad of Belgians, the cavalry and the Group Franc remained hidden at game end, and the AT gun had fired only once.

It was a good game and a different one; a real challenge for the Germans, not knowing what they were facing, and in that it did a good job of replicating what a recon element leading a column might encounter. Germans had the problem of how to both use their armor to advance while at the same time protecting it so they could shepherd it off the table for an auto win.

The Belgians were every bit the match for the German infantry, but with only one AT gun it would come down to close assaults with satchel charges to take on the halftracks to win the game. The guns on the German armor also partially negate the cover bonus, which we discovered in the rules as we played.

We finally got to fight close assaults against infantry and vehicles, and saw riflegrenades (Belgian) in action for the first time as well. We all agreed that each time we play this game, we like it more and more….

PS: Resiste et Mords is the motto of the Chasseurs Ardennais, whose monument is located at Bodange, on the site of the battlefield, and is dedicated to Commandant Bricart, who gave his life there that day in May, 1940.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2009/02/11 06:30:33

...one amongst untold billions.
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