Thursday, 11 August 2011

Buying the Farm

With my better half staying at her mothers overnight while our bathroom is rebuilt (I miss plumbing!), managed to get a WWII game in tonight, to try out using Fast and Dirty for the period. The plan is to play some linked games as a mini campaign from the point of view of a single platoon. Taking my cue from computer games like CoD and the excellent (but under appreciated) Brothers in Arms, I thought I'd start with something simple, then make the games more difficult over time, with the Axis opposition governed by the solo play rules that are available through the FAD site.

FAD includes a rather neat scenario generator, which I used. You start by choosing a stance (Offensive, Neutral or Defensive) and attitude (Aggressive, Cautious or Passive). For the first game, the US would be on Offensive and Aggressive, and rolled up an Assault mission; with the Germans Defensive and Passive and getting a Hold mission.

"Lootenant, get yourself over here! Some Frenchies say they've seen Krauts setting up in a farmhouse up the road. Hustle your platoon over there and kick 'em out. Rest of the battalion'll be coming up behind you so don't take your time about it!"

US forces:
HQ - 4 models, M1, regular
1st Squad - 1 thompson, 6 M1s, 1 BAR
2nd Squad - 1 thompson, 6 M1s, 1 BAR
3rd Squad - 1 thompson, 5 M1s, 1 BAR

German Forces:
MG42, 2 crew, regular
1st squad , 1 MP40, 3 k98
2nd squad, 4 k98

To represent the bolt action k98s, I decided these would use the lower of 2 D6s instead of the higher to represent the lower rate of fire over the M1s.

The US will be entering from the left, aiming to seize the farmhouse. The Germans need to last 3 consecutive turns with no enemy nearer than 15" to the farm.

The US deployed 2nd squad on the road, and used a recon point to push the squad up another 6". 1st squad hugged the north side of the hedgerow with the HQ and third squad in the field to the south of the road.

The Germans deployed the machine gun in the upper window of the farmhouse to cover the junction, with the two rifle squads providing security.

As the US second squad pushed up the road, the MG42 revealed itself and opened up, wounding two of the squad members. Dragging their wounded with them, second squad took cover on the other side of the hedge to treat the wounded, one of whom was only lightly wounded and able to carry on. While 1st squad continued along the hedgerow, 3rd squad took cover in another hedge to form a base of fire and returned fire on the farmhouse, dropping the Machine Gun loader outright! The gunner continued on, killing a member of 3rd squad in return.

1st squad move up the left flank

3rd squad appeared to be charmed, another high die roll seeing them finish of the MG gunner in turn 3, while squads 1 and 2 moved to flank the farm to the north and the HQ squad to the south. The German squad with the MP40 consolidated into the farmhouse, trading shots with 3rd squad behind the hedgerow, but to little effect. 3rd squad had no such problems, immediately killing one of the new arrivals. 1st squad made a dash across the secondary road to get around the north side of the farm, but a low move roll left part of the squad hanging and one of the squad was wounded by the German rifle squad and had to be dragged behind the a wall by his squad mates, who were now in position to open up on the Germans in the farmyard with good effect.

The 2nd German Squad, led by their NCO, set up in the farmhouse

The US HQ moves up on the right flank to put fire on the farmhouse

2nd squad prepares for the assault on the farmyard

1st squad flanks the farmyard to support 2nd squad assault

While 3rd squad and the US HQ kept the Germans in the farmhouse under fire and suppressed, 2nd squad assaulted the remaining German in the farmyard. Not only did he survive, despite being outnumbered 6 to 1, and losing the assault and falling back, killing one of the US soldiers in the process; he also survived a second assault from 2nd squad, falling back again! With US soldiers in the yard, the remaining soldier in the farmhouse also broke and ran.
The GIs go in!

A clear US victory, who were left in control of the farmhouse having lost 2 of the platoon with 2 more wounded. Sorting out the post-battle bits and pieces, the platoon received replacements for the killed and wounded and 2 campaign points. One was used to raise first squad from conscript to regular (having acquitted themselves well in their first action), the other to give third squad the 'trigger happy' trait (+1 fire effect) in recognition of their stirling work as a base of fire (these guys are going to need to carry more ammo)!

Objective completed!

In all, a good game. The solo play rules are simple to use and effective, and the main rules don't distract from the tactics. Speaking of which, proper fire and movement tactics work well in FAD. After a hairy start when the MG42 first opened up at close range. The US 3rd squad did an excellent job of providing a firebase, reducing the effectiveness of the forces in the farmhouse and allowing the remaining squads to outflank the defences. If they hadn't been so successful (rolling three 6's in a row for fire effect), the MG would have been a major headache.

I do wonder if the tweak for the K98s underpowered the Germans a little (although they certainly did rely heavily on their MGs, as happened here); I'll have to think about that a bit.