Copyright © 2020, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2020, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Bois De Caures Campaign (2)

On Sunday James, Tom and myself arrive at the Barrage show in Stafford to put on a 1916 Verdun game. We though that this would be a great opportunity to play another game in our ongoing Bois De Caures campaign following on from Leutnant Schmidt and his Stosstruppen pushed Leiutenant Robin and his Chasseurs back from the front line.

The second rung in our campaign ladder takes place two hours later, where having consolidated the front line positions and infiltrated on the flank Schmidt pushes on to Strongpoint S7.

We would be playing the Flank Attack scenario with the Germans pushing on with their attacks.From the last game the Strosstruppen would be starting with 41 men, four NCOs and Schmidt, so I organised into three full strength sections of eleven men plus an NCO and a smaller section of eight men and an NCO.

The Chasseurs were down to 26 men, two exceptional NCO's and two wounded NCOs and Robbin but were joined by four stragglers. James organised as three sections of ten men each with an NCO.

Rolling for Force Morale we would both be starting on an eleven! It was certainly going to be a slog.

Playing out the Patrol Phase, James elected to not place one of his Jump-off points as it was too vulnerable, One French jump-off would be on an elevated machine-gun position at the rear, one would be on a section of dug-out and the other between the S7 stronghold and a section of trenches beside it.

We both rolled rather well for Force Supports James had 11 points which he spent on an Adjutant, two Hotchkiss machine-guns and 24" of barbed wire entanglements he used to secure his left against my flank attack.

I purchased an off-table MG/08 and positioned that to cover the dug-out. I also purchased an Adjutant, a MG/08, Flame-thrower and GranateWerfer.

The French took the first phase and elected to place one Hochkiss on overwatch in the S7 strongpoint and another in the raised position to their rear covering the flank.

The Germans made a bold move to the front left of S7 they deployed one section of  Stosstruppen and an MG/08 while in the flanking position they deployed another unit of Stosstruppen.

Scoring a double phase the Strosstruppen pushed on, on the flank they were unable to penetrate the unexpected belt of wire, but to the fore pushed on towards the trenches flanking S7. The Chassuers countered by deploying a section towards the trench-line, but the MG/08 opened  up a telling fire on them but was itself badly shot up by the Hotchkiss in S7.

The Strosstruppen on the flank were kept under a steady fire from the Hotchkiss deployed to cover them, but kept their heads down while they unsuccessfully tried to penetrate the wire.

The Stosstruppen pushed on taking cover in the shell-holes before the trench system and eventually were able to avoid the arc of fire from the Hotchkiss in S7, the MG/07 took a terrible toll on the troops in the trenches though; eventually cajoling his Poilu forming a firing line in the trench system Caporal Stephane was gravely wounded and expired extolling his troops to hold the line for France.

Without a target, the S7 Hotchkiss turned its attention to the MG/08 and eventually silenced it, killing all the crew. However things were looking bad for the Chasseurs in the trench, Schmidt moved a Jump-off point to up behind his leading troops and launched himself into the fray. Preceded by a barrage of grenades the Stosstruppen went in with the bayonet and sharpened shovels. Soon the Chasseurs were cleared and the trench in German hands.

Despite the attentions of the Hotchkiss, the Stosstruppen on the right eventually cut the wire and were able to advance and take cover in some shell holes on the other side.

Consolidating his position on the trench line Schmidt summoned up another section of troops along with the deadly new weapon, a Flammenwerfer. Seeing the danger French troops poured out of S7 and formed a defensive line in its communication trench, the Hotchkiss was dragged from it's mountings and also deployed to face this new threat.

Schmidt seized the initiative (actually maintained the phase four times), under covering fire from the newly captured trenches the Stostruppen advanced on the Poilu. The Flammenwerfer roared silencing the Hotchkiss and stunning the Chasseurs, again, preceded by a barrage of grenades the Stosstruppen attacked the trench, killing or scattering the Poilu and capturing Lieutenant Robbin.

Even though it was a resounding German victory, both forces finished the game on Force Morale 8!

The Germans took 12 casualties, of which 6 were finished for the campaign and 3 will miss the next game. Schmidt will start the next game with 34 Stosstruppen and 4 NCO's. 3 Stosstruppen will rejoin after that battle.

The French lost 19 dead including poor Caporal Stephane killed in action defending the trenches and Lieutenant Robbin was captured. Worse still the S7 strongpoint has fallen and the Germans can pour more troops into the assault.

For the campaign, this is the end of Lieutenant Robbin and his demi-platoon of Chasseurs. For the next game Schmidt and his depleted forces will be taking on Capitain Seguin with more Chasseurs.

At the end of the game we rolled up for the effect. Leutnant Schmidt was awarded the Iron Cross First Class for his exemplary bravery and leadership in the taking of the S7 strongpoint.

As can be expected the Colonels opinion of Schmidt is raised and Schmidt is now at +3 allowing him +1 on the Force Support rolls. With the fairly heavy casualties in this fight Schmidts men know they are with a solid leader but are concerned, their opinion drops to +2 and Schmidt no longer gets the bonus rolling for Force Morale.

With the loss of S7 the French Colonel is despondent and his opinion drops to -4 the French are now at -1 on their  Force Support rolls, The capture of Robbin and the death of Stephane take their toll on French Morale and there men are now at -3 so they will be at -1 on Force Morale rolls in the next game.

Another great game though played out by James, Tom and myself. The figures and terrain are all from the collection of James and myself.

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