EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Almost Holding the Pass

On Friday I made the trek to Halifax for a little socializing and a game. Ron had set up the Hold the Pass scenario ftom CS Grant's Programmed Scenarios set in Tunisia in 1943. We rolled for sides and I found myself defending with Yanks.

An ambush by infantry with mortars and a bazooka supported by artillery fire gave me an early lead. (That's me in the picture so thanks to Ron for the pics.)
The rules are slightly modified Memoir44. Apart from minor things like using the rolling terrain Ron lays out to determine sight lines the major differences are:

a) Command: Instead of zones we have HQ stands, two labelled left & right with a 3 hex command radius and an overall or Center commander with a 4 hex radius. After various experiments we have laid no other restrictions on them. They are treated as infantry needing an order or on the move card to move but having no combat dice.

b) Ranges. We found the original ranges did not let us take advantage of the rolling terrain so we doubled all ranges except close assault. Initially we also doubled movement for consistency but found that made the game too jerky so have left it alone and it plays well.

c) Tanks. Without wanting to get carried away we wanted a little more differentiation between say a Stuart and a Panther so after much experimentation we have simply defined tanks  as heavy (move 2,4 hits, range 4), medium (move 3, 3 hits, range 3) and light (move 4, 3 hits, range 2). Exceptions may have a lighter or heavier gun than usual such as a Churchill as Heavy Tank but range 3). This simplified version doesn't appear to address armour penetration, etc but in practice it works and the pay off of speed vs power with even the weakest having enough power to be useful makes each  type a reasonable unit useful for different purposes without getting into game balance issues.

An on rush of German armour soon reversed that.

d) Infantry without bazooka equivalent can only damage tanks by close assault although they can cause retreats (flags).

e) Artillery must have line of sight or have a spotter. The spotter can be any unit including a commander who is ordered, does not shoot and can see the target. The artillery must also be ordered.

I had to call on Airpower to balance things a bit but a Counter Attack by a Stuka left me in the hole again.

For this game I had 4 infantry, 1 mechanized infantry (elite, can move 2 and battle), 1 Priest SP artillery, 1 Sherman, 1 Stuart. My troops started in concealment. Ron had 2 panzer Grenadier, 2 stug, 2 Pzr4, 1 Tiger and 2 SP artillery. Ron's troops started off table and needed 'on the move cards' to enter.

 The break point for both was 5.

With all tanks destroyed on both sides and honours even st 4 a piece, Ron's Tank Destroyers were helpless against infantry in woods but without bazookas they were also safe from them. It became an ineffective artillery duel with the cards running out and then Ron pulled the Barrage card.....

In short, it was a nail biter of a game that went pretty much through the deck and down to the wire to a 5:4 victory for Ron. Exciting enough that we didn't notice that we played more than an hour past my usual departure time. 


  1. Ross Mac,

    The changes to the tank rules are very similar to my own (great minds obviously thinking alike!) and the command stands are a very interesting introduction. I like the 'no bazooka' rule for infantry, and may well copy it myself as it fills a gap in my own rules.

    All the best,


  2. Sometimes simple just works better even when complicated seems easier and better ( until you try it!). Still a struggle sometimes.

  3. Hello Ross,

    I have continued to follow your most excellent blog through recent good and sad times, even though I rarely leave comments.

    This game looks very good, and your memoir 44 'tweaks' are something I will try myself. Lack of command is a gap in the rules and I have been trying to think how best to introduce commanders, even if as you do, one for each section? Your tank rules make sense, so again I will introduce these ideas, and infantry hitting on tanks with rifles/machine guns has bothered me too! All in all Ross some very interesting ideas for memoir, would you happen to have a full list of your adaptions please?

    I find memoir very stimulating and thought provoking for what at first appears to be a very simple set of rules. With play you come to realise just how challenging a game can be to play and win, with lots of strategic decisions to be made. The command hand causes the usual C&C frustration and requires planning and forward thinking to work most effectively, all in all a very fun game.

    Keep up the good work,


    1. Thanks Lee, good to hear from you. I am constantly impressed with what a good game Memoir produces and at how it manages to 'feel' right even when the details aren't quite right.

      I'm sorry to say that I don't have a copy of the amendmentd, or the rules for that matter. Ron is the keeper. He has a quick reference that includes them. When he updates if with the simplified Armour etc I'll see if I can get a copy. I don't think there is much more than what I mentioned, we have tried lots but usually scrap them so this is what has stuck.

  4. Thanks Ross - I have noted the changes and will try them next game.

  5. Cool Blog mate, link added

  6. Nice report, this table is simply splendid!

    1. Yes Ron has a good collection of Hexon and a very good eye for putting together a great table.