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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hold at all costs

Today I made it back to Ron's for another game of Memoir 44. I don't recall the last time I actually won one, but they've all been fun and close games so it doesn't really matter. Today the Canadians came out at last! The bulk of these are Valiant figures that I painted for him a few years ago. I think their last game may have been with BKC.
The Canadians are holding a bridgehead over an un-named river somewhere in Italy, with palm trees (well they were new and fit nicely on the hexes). A handful of reinforcements are near but the Germans are already on hand. Victory was based on who held the bridges at the end of the day.

One of the things we have been playing with is some simple way to differentiate between different tanks. We ended up by classifying tanks by weight and by gun as heavy, medium or light. Heavy tanks move 2 and take 4 hits, mediums 3 & 3, lights move 4 but only take 2 hits. Heavy guns get 4 dice out to 4 hexes, mediums 3 at 3 and lights 2 at 2. (So for example a standard Sherman is a medium tank with a medium gun but a Firefly would be a medium tank with a heavy gun and a Churchill would be a heavy tank with a medium gun. ) We also decided to allow the Canadian 6pdr to use the heavy antitank gun rule but with a reduced range of 3.

The Canadians were concealed and could not be fired on unless the firing unit was adjacent or if the Canadians revealed their positions by firing or moving.

I braced myself to be overwhelmed by a pincer attack before my reinforcements arrived but the cards were kind and the first of the small handful of reinforcements showed up before the first shot was fired. At last the first assault came in and my lead units were destroyed or driven back but not without giving as good as they got. As the fighting raged on my left, I kept a wary eye on a group of  German Tigers and mobile artillery apparently being held in reserve behind a tangled vineyard in the center.  As the German infantry on my left was slowly shot to pieces without taking any more ground, the Tigers finally rolled forward, around my right and into town.  I opened up with everything I had and soon there was a burning Churchill but two burning Tigers as well. One last push by the German infantry just increased the death toll. Final tally Germans 7/14 units lost (2 Tigers, 1 Stug, 1 mobile artillery and 3 infantry with several others carrying several hits.), Canadians  3 units lost, 1 Churchill, 1 M10 TD, 1 sp 105mm with 2 damaged infantry units.) (As an aside the artillery losses on both sides were due to an exchange of Barrages by off table heavy artillery.)


When I quizzed Ron about his tactics, it seems he ran out of useful cards at several points, especially for his armour, not surprising really considering how many good cards I had in my hand all day!  I felt a little bad because his combat dice were pretty cold as well, while mine were average verging on hot. Still, I've been on the other end of that in several games and there were some pretty tight moments for me during the game. The armoured assault by the Tigers being particularly dangerous.


  1. Hi Ross,

    The 'duff card/poor dice' combo is very frustrating when it happens but the other way round is always a rare pleasure! I liked the tank rules for varying abilities and will unashamedly 'borrow' this for my own use....;-)

    All the best,


    1. Of course how you use what you have is still paramount. I've been know to waste really good hands :)

  2. Ross Mac,

    A great battle report .. and the terrain looks very good.

    I like the tank differentiation rules ... and like David I will probably 'borrow' them for my own use.

    All the best,


    1. This is the 2nd game trying them out and so far they work quite well to make a T34-85 feel different from a Tiger and from a Sherman.

  3. Very nice looking table and battle. If/ when I get around to Memoir 44 I'll probably borrow the idea as well.

  4. To a certain extent, if you have lots of good cards you would expect your opponent to, well, not have them. One thought; two identical sets of cards, one each, that way neither side has any way of knowing what cards the other side doesn't have, if that makes sense.

    1. mhm, there are some 80 cards in the deck, we usually have 5 in each hand so the deck is big enough that since there are multiples, it is hard to sure what the enemy does have. There are some cards that cause the discards to be shuffled back in but since we use the deck as a game length limiter we don't use it.

      More importantly, which cards are useful is not always symmetrical, so it is possible for both sides to have good but different hands. I look upon card counting, if you will, as a form of recce.

      Even worse is starting off with good cards and making ambitious battle plans that assume that new cards will continue to support them or not being able to back up assaults with good or at least average die rolls in combat.