Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Solo Theatre of War Campaign: The Battle of Le Petite Bocageville

The Battle Commences
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

With the forces laid out on the table, I now went ahead and rolled randomly for unit quality. There's no reason I couldn't have done it before, although populating stats for fourteen American units and eighteen German units in up to ten different battlegroups is a bit much-- better to do it once they are needed. The paratroopers got a veteran bonus and rolled up very nicely, even discounting the temporary hindrance of being out of supply. The Germans had a mix a green, regular and experienced infantry, although in general, they rolled fairly poorly for quality.


The Shermans perched on their VPs in the rough hill facing serious opposition with two Pz IV companies and two PaK 40 companies. The Greyhounds didn't even make it that far, cowering out of sight. The Germans must have been convinced there were more Shermans coming, as they were content to keep these two companies out of the battle for a while. In retrospect, I clearly should have advanced the panzers into the paratroopers while I had the chance, and let the PaK 40s keep the Shermans tied up. The chances were slim enough, though, as the Americans advanced faster than the Germans could.


The grenadiers advanced into the fields quickly, hoping to stake out a good defensive position before the American criminals reach them! The Pz IVs also put a quick hurt on the 57mm guns who raced to the edge of the bocage in an apparently unnecessary attempt to keep the Pz IVs at bay.


The Germans right was pretty sparse. The paratroopers were sitting on 17 VPs on two hills, but the Germans didn't have much chance of penetrating that deeply across the open unless things went exceptionally in the bocage.


The paratroopers endured two rounds of attack from the German 150mm artillery, passing through unscathed and deciding the quickest way to stay that way was to get in the face of the German infantry and take the hurt to them! Which they did, quite effectively.


Mein Gott! The fast moving paratroopers are already into the bocage, where it will be harder for the German infantry to spot them with their artillery and the fighting will be largely face to face-- something to the Americans' advantage.


The Germans start to lose companies on their right flank to extremely accurate and effective long range fire from the Americans.


The ferocity of the paratrooper attack in the fields has forced some of the Germans back, and the relentless Americans maintain the pressure!


Late in the morning, the Germans seem to recover from their initial shock at the ferocity of the American attack, and begin to deal casualties of their own...


The Shermans are driven behind the hill, but the panzers still don't advance.


...but good ol' American gumption (and some d12 battalion commanders) keeps the paratroopers fighting, and the entire German left is almost neutralized.


The Panzers finally roll into the American rear, rolling over the shot up 57s. As the PaK 40s engage in a long range duel with the Shermans, the Greyhounds, perhaps having heard one too many "Where is that chickensh*t armor!?" comments over the paratroopers' radio frequencies, sprint into the mouth of the PaK 40s and deliver some serious damage to one of the batteries.


The paratroopers clear out the bocage company by company-- not just driving them out, but decimating them entirely. A German rear unit is caught in the open before they could reach the bocage, attack die 12 to defense die 3. 9 strength point loss and an outright kill on the first shot. Schei├če!!


The Greyhounds show the Shermans how it's done, rolling over one of the PaK 40 batteries, while the paratroopers have firm control of the bocage.


An American time on target barrage between the regiment's 75mm guns and the divisions 105mm battery destroys the first panzer company, then, overnight, start destroying infantry companies threatening the bocage. The Americans have taken their share of casualties, though-- despite keeping most of their companies in the fight, whereas the Germans are shedding units every turn, both forces are at 0 Army Morale Points. Either unit could break and run, it's just a matter of whether or not the Gremans can hold out long enough until the Americans decide they must withdraw.


The night seems to pass quickly, and the German officers are back in the job in the morning, getting their few remaining companies back into the fight while the Americans start to take more casulties.


The Americans are the first to have to take a Morale test-- and they pass! The Germans best hope for victory slips through their grasp...


The Americans withdraw to defensive positions and let their effective artillery continue to chew up the German infantry.


Now it's the German's turn...and they pass Morale, too!! Is it possible they will manage to hold out long enough?


Not in the American artillery has anything to say about it!! The last functional company of the Grenadier regiment is wiped out!


The panzers are determined to extract their pound of flesh for this terrible battle! They find paratroopers in the open, and descend upon them, guns blazing...


...but apparently the paratroopers had their bazookas ready! Once the panzers get in close, they take casualties and are driven back in confusion! The paratroopers fire a destroy the last armor company!


American artillery rains down on the remaining PaK 40 battery, and the Shermans finally descend the hill and mop up. In the end, it could have swung the German's way, but it didn't. The Americans have decisively defeated this Germany regiment and have won the first battle of the campaign.


  1. That was pretty awesome! I might have to check that rules system out.

  2. indierockclimber, there are actually three sets of rules I'm using:

    1. This battle was played with Piquet's Field of Battle WW2. Each stand represents a company, and it's a streamlined system, so a lot of detail isn't represented. On the other hand, it plays fast and has the Piquet flavor I love. I use 3"x4" metalized sabot bases that my mostly magnetized FoW stands can stick to. You could probably just use FoW stands and half the groundscale.

    2. The campaign system is Piquet's Theatre of War. As written, it assumes you have ruleset number 3 below (as it was written ten or so years before FoB:WW2). I already own that, too, so I just kind of jump back and forth as needed. The only big hack needed would be to redo the terrain layout system as your sequence decks are fairly different.

    3. Piquet's Point of Attack: Blitzkrieg. This is the original Piquet ruleset for WW2, with three different scales: 3 stands equal (IIRC) a squad, a company and a platoon? It's more detailed, being a linear descendant of the Piquet Master Rules. I have played several games of it and really like it, too. Basically, I'm a Piquet fanbody...

  3. Nice Andy,

    The paras are tough hombres.

    Did you have some way of deciding how the PzIV's were moving or were you just playing both sides. The write up made it sound as if there was some game mechanism at work that kept the German armor from being used effectively (or was that just crappy activation rolls)

  4. I was just playing both sides as normal. The Germans didn't get as many Movement cards at first, and I was more intimidated by the Shermans and 57mm guns than I probably should have been. ;-)

  5. That's one of the things that's cool about Piquet FOB. The way things come up in the sequence deck just naturally translates into a narative of the battle in your mind, especially since FOB is simple enough not to get bogged down in the mechanism of the game (which is soimething that can sometimes happen with regular Piquet in my limited experience).

    Keep the campaign reports coming