Saturday, April 27, 2013


This weeks game at the SESWC was a 28mm Bolt Action game of a fictional French counterattack along the River Somme in May 1940.  Bart Zynda and Mr Ray Neal  commanded the Germans and Colin Jack and I commanded the French.  We fought the game over a 8ft by 6 ft table using the clubs terrain.  All the figures came from the collection of Campbell Hardie who wrote the scenario and acted as umpire..
SOMUA S35s on the bridge
 It proved to be a French victory with my cavalry tanks and supporting infantry pinning the German infantry and light armour around the vital bridge.  The reinforcing French infantry tanks under Colin crossed the ford on the far flank and supported by my artillery and AT gun overran the German armour holding the high ground.    The Luftwaffe and Armee de L’Air both made successful ground attacks and a random bombing raid near the end of the game disrupted the Germans.

BF109 shoots up my 75mm gun

There are more of my photos with descriptions on flickr at

Here are the OBs

3 inf. sections - 2 SMG, 1xLMG, 9xK98
3 SdKfz 251/1
MMG team
Light Mortar team
ATR team
PzKpfw 38(t)
PzKpfw III
PzKpfw IV
FAO - air support

Section of infantry as above
Panzerjager I
FAO - artillery

French infantry tanks roll past the burning panzers
3 Sections of inf. - 10 MAS36 and LMG
2 Somua S35
Med Mortar
25mm ATG
75mm Field Gun
FAO - air support 

2 x Renault R35
1 Char B1
6 Sections 8xMAS36 1xLMG

Bart has added an article with a fuller description of the game on his blog

Saturday, April 6, 2013


This report covers the second days play in this fictional action.  For this continuation we had 6 players each commanding one of the sectors of the action.

The first days play had seen almost no German casualties amongst the defenders in the strongly built mine buildings.  This all changed on the second day as the French got their machine guns within effective range and brought on reserves from the eastern flank march.  The German fire was very ineffective with their MG completely missing for 2 turns!   The French stormed the 2 mine buildings and wiped out the flank guard.   The Germans detonated the demolition charges on the eastern temporary bridge but that did not halt the advance.  At the end of the game a small German remnant was still holding the mineshaft but the position had fallen apart.
Eastern bridge explodes in front of the French
In the centre the Belgians continued the struggle along the main highway.  The Minerva armoured car was driven back from the bridge but rallied and returned.  The Belgian infantry were all but wiped out but this action and the heroics by their cavalry charging a ford allowed further French reinforcement to close on the river bank. 

Belgian cavalry reach the riverbank and ford

On the Western flank the British supported by their massed artillery silenced the German MGs covering the western bridge.  Their first dash over the bridge caught the German engineer by surprise and he went down clutching the unused matches for the explosives!  The successful bridge stormers were wiped out at the walls of the western foundry but the British were now streaming over the secured bridge.  An attempted German counterattack was broken by the British artillery fire.
Up and at them lads - the western bridge falls intact to the BEF
So at the end of the action the allies had been successful on both flanks but Bart-Sur-Aisnes itself was still securely held by the Germans.  Given this I declared the game at least a German minor victory.  The Germans were been outnumbered by the allies 2 to 1.
All the photos with descriptions are on flickr at
The Zeppelin manned by the ladies of the Fliegerschule proved the least effective unit on the day failing to score a single hit from its light machine gun!

The shape of things to come......
Good game – it was a rare outing for our WWI figures.  The vast bulk of the figures are by Renegade Miniatures except for the Belgians who are Great War Miniatures.  We really need to add artillery to the French and Belgian forces and we probably need more cavalry.  Is there any source of early WWI French artillery crew other than Foundry FPW figures?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


This blog covers the opposing plans and the first days play in this fictional action.

Opposing Plans

Their plan was to hold the river line and the Col St Bart and hopefully to counter-attack on their eastern flank.
On the east of their line around the Col St Bart mine the German defenders deployed 4 infantry units, their cavalry, a MG and a field gun.

Col St Bart mine
A further 3 infantry units, 2 MGs and a field gun were deployed on the west of their line covering the temporary bridge and the nearby foundry. The rest of their army they deployed in the buildings of Bart-Sur-Aisne covering the main bridge and the eastern temporary
bridge with its nearby fords.
Defenders of Bart-Sur-Aisnes
The allies deployed with the French on their eastern flank to attack the Col St Bart and the eastern temporary bridge.  As well as their frontal assault they put 3 or 4 units in a flank march against the Col St Bart. The Belgians were allocated the centre of the line with orders to take the main bridge at Bart-Sur-Aisnes.  The British with all the artillery in the allied force were on the western wing allocated the objective of the western temporary bridge.

First Days Play
On the approach of the allies the Germans took up their defensive positions and the bridge guards on the main and western bridges were committed to delaying defensive actions on the south bank of the Aisnes.  The French attacked Col St Bart frontally but suffered heavy casualties from the accurate German fire and three French units were destroyed for almost no German casualties amongst the defenders in the strongly built mine buildings.  At the end of the first days play 2 units of the French flank march force appeared to the east of the Col St Bart and engaged the German reserves beyond the hill.

French close up on abandoned bridge guard camp

The Belgians struck up the main highway led by their Minerva armoured car which led a charmed life against all the Germans could throw against it as it secured a position on the main bridge.  The follow up Belgian infantry units suffered heavy casualties but they did wipe out the bridge guard unit. 

Minerva under shellfire as it approaches the bridge

Minerva on bridge - watched by German engineer

On the Western flank the British made slow ground held up for a long time by the German bridge guard who took up a position in a stone farmhouse and sold their lives dearly.  The three British guns proved remarkably ineffective throughout the action.  However by the end of the days play the first British unit was within a move of the western temporary bridge.  A German engineer on the bridge watched their advance with interest.
German rigid airship supports the defence - yes its crewed by Frauliens
The German secret weapon makes its appearance....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I setup a big game for the Easter holiday.  Colin Jack and I decided to get out our joint early WWI collection.  I wrote up a fictional game set in September 1914 in France.  Given that we have far more allied troops than Germans it had to be a scenario with the allies as the attackers.  So I came up with a scenario following the Battle of the Marne.

The table is 12ft by 6ft.  The rules we used are Setting the East Ablaze which is based on Chris Peers Contemptible Little Armies.  The infantry units and most of the cavalry are 10 figures strong.  We started the game on Monday with 4 players but were well short of a conclusion by the End of the day so we are continuing the game on Thursday now with 6 players.  In this first post I have set out the scenario and provided some photos of the game terrain setup. 

View from the Col St Bart minehead

Player Briefings

Following the battle of the Marne the Germans retired northwards towards the River Aisne.  The combined allied armies followed hoping to catch and defeat the retiring Germans in an open engagement.  On the 14 September they attacked the Germans along the River Aisne – this is part of that large action.
The German troops arrived at the strategically important crossing at Bart-Sur-Aisnes on the 12th and secured their positions along the river.  As well as the main bridge across the river at the town they have installed temporary bridges over the fords to the east and west of the town. 

The town and its small foundries are north of the river.  The main domestic buildings in the town have been burnt by German Uhlans angry at the quality of the local saucisson.   The country south of the river is largely agricultural.  The bend of the river and its crossings to the south east of the town are dominated by the high ground around the Col St Bart coal mine. 
The Germans are in a defensive line along the north of the river with bridge guards on the south bank and a strong force and artillery around the Col St Bart.

Uhlans burn the town - another outrage!
German Objective

The objective of the game is for the Germans to prevent the allies crossing the river, taking the town and its road network.  If this cannot be achieved then the allied advance must be delayed long enough for stronger defences to be prepared along the high ground to the north.
German OB
12 x Infantry              3/3 Stubborn
2 x Jaeger                 2/3 Stubborn
1 x Cavalry                3/3      
7 x MMGs                  3/3
3 x Field guns            3/3

German deployment
3 infantry units are encamped south of the river acting as bridge guards.  These can be supplement by MGs if required.
At least 3 infantry units with MGs and artillery must be deployed on the Col St Bart.

The rest of the force is deployed north of the river.  Units can be in reserve to the north of the table.
The town streets have been barricaded.  Engineer officers are positioned at each of the bridges supervising the demolition charges.

German bridge guard at Bart-Sur-Aisnes - rest are sleeping

Allied Objective
The objective of the game is for the allies to cross the river, take the town and its road network and drive of the covering German forces.

Allied OB
French Forces
12 x Infantry              3/3  Ferocious
5 x Fusilier Marins     4/3  Ferocious          
5 x Chasseurs           2/3
1 x Cavalry                3/3
7 x MMGs                  3/3

9 x Infantry                2/3
1 x Cavalry                3/3
3 x MMGs                  3/3
3 x Field guns            3/3

4 x Infantry                3/4
1 x Cavalry                3/3
1x MMG                     3/3
Minerva AC                3/3

Allied deployment
Due to political issues the British and French forces cannot be intermingled.  There has to be a clear demarcation line between them.  The plucky little Belgians will support either of their allies.  Allies can deploy up to 8” onto the south edge of the table.  Units can be kept of table in reserve to the south.  Allied troops can flank march on the east side of the table arriving late.

View showing importance of position of the Col St Bart mine

Next - the day 1 action.....................