Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fast and Furious - WWII Action

Scheduling being what it is, I found myself at Ron's place yesterday afternoon for my 2nd TT Teaser using 1/72nd toys and Memoir '44, Winter War (and my 3rd wargame in 4 days). The scenario was Dominant Hill and I drew the Yanks, Yeah! (I got attached to the Americans when painting up the Valiant figures, not sure why, I liked the British & German figures well enough but these just sort of took me in.)

To fit the board to the scenario we had to play the long way which required some very minor adjustments to zone lines and identifying lines of retreat but that was soon sorted as were some rules making allowance for the big Hexon hills and the scenario terrain directions. We ended up agreeing that all of the slopes and 1st level hill hexes were hills and blocked LOS if not adjacent. The steep slopes were identified as steep, thus counting as 2 hexes when (moving which gave me much grief later). The flat plateau hexes were rules 2nd level and able to see or shoot over lower level hills. We used the new majority victory condition rules which meant that if one side had more units on the objective than the enemy at the START of their turn, then they got a Victory marker but had to surrender it if they failed to maintain control. The hill was an objective for both sides as was the farthest town for each side. (that is no bonus for holding the near town except to deny it to the enemy).  

As far as I can remember we each had 5 tank platoons (that's what I'm calling each unit anyway), 3 1/2 track plattons, a mobile artillery battery, and 6 infantry platoons with each company having a bazooka, MG and mortar split amongst the infantry platoons. We decided to let the 1/2 tracks carry an infantry unit each with 1 order been enough to move the loaded 1/2 track but if they unloaded, an order was needed for each of the 2 units.

I began with a combined arms force moving to secure the near village. Then, for reasons I can no longer remember, I pushed 2 tank platoons forward, unsupported, to seize the objective. Ron responded with a blindingly fast armoured counter attack which seemed to come out of nowhere and left 2 burning Shermans  and his Tiger sitting on the hill.

Its hard to see but the near hexes are 3 levels higher than the ground far away. 

At this point the game stood at 3-0 for Ron and I expected him to bring up his infantry to support his tanks and hold the hill but he chose to launch an all out armoured attack before I could reorganize. Minutes later my remaining tank platoons had been driven back and my lead infantry elements shot up. It had been a close run thing and I came close to losing right then and there with time for a 2nd game. But, while there had been losses, all of my platoons were still fighting and Ron no longer controlled the hill.
Tiger, Tiger burning bright

My artillery and bazooka teams were at hand to support my tanks, and I began to make use of the Resupply rule to bring my damaged infantry up to scratch. (I just wish I'd though to resupply some of my tanks!) It was time to counter attack

C'mon you Dog faces, do you want to live forever?

When the dust cleared, both sides's armour had been effectively destroyed. Victory stood 6:5 for Ron with the hill open and 8 VP needed to win. My infantry began to climb the steep slopes of the hill with orders to entrench as soon as they could grab 2 or 3 hexes of hilltop. Ron's troops however, were moving up the road  
and were there ahead of me. My artillery stopped him from consolidating  but every time I got a platoon on top fierce rocket, mortar and MG fire would drive them back down. As my losses mounted, I made one final push.


As my troops closed in for an assault they were surprised by an ambush and wiped out. Where the hell had the airforce been anyway? Time to pull back and regroup.

I hate to admit it about a commercial product, but this had been one damned exciting, ding-dong game with a good feel to it despite (or more likely because of) the simplicity and game structure. 4 hours flew by in the twinkling of an eye and there are stories to remember. The game reminds me a bit of those TV shows where they have veterans telling their stories while they show an animated clip showing what happened. Anyway, time now to catch up on house and garden chores and paint some figures.


  1. Sounds like a good game. We have found that Command & Colours (basically the same mechanics but for Ancients & Napoleonics) always gives a fast and entertaining game.

    1. Ron just picked up a copy of C&CA but after reading the rules with lengthy lists of ifs ands and buts for all the various minor troop variations, we put it aside for the upcoming winter. I'm sure it'll be easier to remember once playing esp if you stick with a given army for a while.

  2. Memoir '44 is great fun. We played it for the first time in a while last weekend and it was good. I'm surprised the game took four hours. It would be a very rare M'44 game that lasted over an hour for us.

    1. I suspect that the length of the game was due largely to size of the table, (nearly twice the official size before turning it sideways like we did) and that we were playing a TT teaser where all troops start off table. If we hadn't been using the new deck where many cards allow you to move a couple of units in addition to the ones that are ordered, I'm not sure it would have been as workable.

  3. Hi Ross, I love Memoir '44 for all the reasons you so eloquently outline. It has been an inspiration when formulating my own rules, a model of concision and elegance.

  4. Ross Mac,

    I have only just managed to read this blog entry after getting back from my cruise ... and it has given me food for thought.

    My own WW2 rules are in a state of disarray ... and I had not realised that MEMOIR '44 had been revised in later editons of the rules to incoproate some of the things that were missing in the first version (e.g. AT Guns, Halftracks, SP Artillery, Infantry Support Weapons). I think that I need to look at the expanded version of MEMOIR '44; it might just provide me with the answerrs I am looking for.

    All the best,


    1. Bob, You are probably aware of this but all of the rules are available in pdf format at the company's website. The support weapons get bolted on to infantry units. Since Ron's troops are based 2 figures on a wide but narrow base, we simply used to per unit, 2 infantry stands or 1 infantry and 1 support weapon. There were no infantry transport function for the 1/2 tracks so we added one.