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.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Bois De Caures Campaign (1)

Last week James and I kicked off our Bois Des Caures campaign using At the Sharp End.

Following dinner in the White Hart we retired to the games room and made a start.

The Campaign represents a small section of the initial German attacks on the Verdun Salient on 22nd February 1916.

The Germans start the first wave with a full platoon of veteran Stosstruppen comprising:

  • HQ: 1 Leutenant
  • 4 Sections: 1 Gefreiter, 8 Rifleman, 3 Bombers

At any point the German players can  choose to replace the Stosstruppen  with a force of regulars from the (87th Infantry Regt) organised as:

  • HQ: 1 Leutenant
  • 4 Sections: 1 Gefreiter, 9 Rifleman, 2 Bombers

The initial French defenders are much more rag-tag and represent the survivors of Lt Robin’s 9th Company

  • HQ: 1 Leiutenant
  • 4 Sections: 1 Caporal, 2D6 Infantry

However, all "Bad Things Happen" rolls are at -2 making the French very difficult to shift.

Supports available are:


  • All barrage options but gas
  • Adjutant
  • Flamethrowers (reduce to 2pts to compensate for greater vulnerability rule)
  • Snipers
  • Machine-guns
  • 77mm guns for the final game
  • Engineers to cut wire
  • Off table 7.85cm Minenwerfer
  • Off-table machine-guns


  • Barbed wire
  • Snipers
  • Machine-guns
  • Off table machine-guns

If the French win game 2 they must counter-attack, in which case they fight with the survivors of the previous action, using the campaign rules to determine casualties.

For the third step on the ladder the French shall use Captain Seguin’s 7th Company and for the final step on the ladder Lieutenant Simon’s 8th Company.  (Both organised as above)

NOTES (French)
NOTES (German)
Feb 21, 4:00pm: Frontline dugouts held by 9th Company (Lt Robin, 23) – [Osprey Map: B]
2: The Probe or 4: Delaying Action
Commander Lt Robin (23); Corporal ‘Gran’pere’ Stephane
Huge preliminary bombardment.  Squads of German MG teams ready to put captured French MGs back into service; Pioneers with oxyacetelene torches to cut French wire; first use of flamethrowers (increased morale effect? Extra d3 shock for every ‘kill’ caused by flamethrowers?)
Feb 21, 6:00pm: Strongpoint S7 (support line) (Lt Robin); [Osprey Map: E]
5: Flank Attack
Commander Lt Robin (23); Corporal ‘Gran’pere’ Stephane
S7 outflanked/ attacked in rear up communications trench
Feb 22, 12:00pm: Capt Seguin’s last stand; [Osprey Map: I? or wherever the French front line was by then]
3: Attack & Defend
Commander Capt Seguin; Sgt Leger, Corporal Pot
Huge preliminary bombardment. 
Feb 22, 2:00pm: Bunker R2 / Driant’s Command Post; [Osprey Map: K/L]
6: Attack on an Objective
Driant and around 80 Chasseurs (Lt Simon & Sgt Major Savart both present; also a Sgt Hacquin)
Two German 77mm guns brought up & firing over open sights into R2 (Capt Von Kienskowski); scenario rules for flank deployment?

So it was on to the first game, Leutenant Schmidt and his hardy Stossrtruppen would be attempting to penetrate the outlying French positions and capture the ground beyond them ('A Delaying Action' scenario).

So, now's the time for the report of the initial action.

Rolling for Force Morale, the Germans would start on a 10 while the French defenders would be on a 9. Taking the difference in force ratings into account the French would get +6 on Force Support and ended up with 12pts compared to the Germans 11pts.

I spent my (2D6+6) 9pts on:

  • Sniper (2)
  • Off-table machine-gun (3)
  • Pre-game barrage (1)
  • Feurwaltz (1)
  • Fire on the wire (1)
  • Adjutant (1)

James spent his (6+D6) 12pts on:

  • 7 Barbed wire sections (1ea)
  • Sniper (2)
  • Machine-gun (3)

As you can see James rolled much better than me on the support die, three on 2D6 I ask you!

Advancing on the enemy position Leutenant Schmidts' troops were dismayed to find that the barrage had had no effect at all upon the enemy wire, but the French troops were still keeping their heads down.

On the left the one section of Stosstruppen penetrated a small area of damaged woodland and forced the French to withdraw to some woodland behind their trench (moved jump-off point).

On the right the Stosstruppen were cutting through the wire when the first Frenchmen were spotted, the Gefreiter fell wounded and Leutenant Schmidt rushed to this vital point, rallying the troops the wire was cut and the outnumbered Frenchmen scattered in a flurry of hand grenades.

Having secured the position on the right Schmidt deployed another section in the centre but they struggled to cross the barbed wire in front of the unmanned trench before them.

Back on the left the section pressed on through the shattered woods, but Leiutenant Robbin had arranged a hasty defence line. A large section of Poilu supported by a Hotchkiss opened up on the Stosstruppen and the Gefreiter was down early on. Unable to move the Germans hit the deck and hoped that a breakthrough could be made further along the line.

Fortunately, on the right Schmidt seized the initiative and was able to push on from the first trench line into the second French line. This was strongly held by a large section of Frenchmen who also had a V-B launcher, but seeing the game was up they elected to withdraw.

About to be outflanked Lieutenant Robbin ordered his own troops to break for the positions in their rear, fifteen minutes into the first attack the French front line of defences had been captured.

The Germans had finished the game on Force Morale 10 and had taken eight casualties while the French finished on Force Morale 5 and had taken 6 casualties.

This means that the French start the next game with 26 men plus D6 returning stragglers and one more Poilu will return after the game, while the Germans start the next game with 41 men and two more will return afterwards.

Rolling for the opinion of the troops; Schmidt is at +3 while Robbin is at -1. Finally we worked out the senior officers opinion, Schmidt is at +1 while Robbin is at -2.

A great game, those Stosstruppen are a tough nut to crack.

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