Thursday, 2 May 2013

Le Monchal, 1918

This was a game played at Sheffield Wargames Society in June 2011, covering the French counterattack at Le Monchal on 30th March 1918. Historically this was at the tail end of the Kaiserschlacht, but the road/rail lines running south from Montdider through the village also marked the boundary between two armies, and the French made every effort to push the Germans back again.

Tim Gow played the Germans and John Armatys the French. We used my 'Paths of Glory' WW1 rules and my assorted 20mm WW1 figures with contributions of aircraft and armoured cars from John and Tim. The figures are a mixture of Revell, Airfix, HaT and Emhar.

Le Monchal 30th March 1918

General Briefing

On 30th March with the main German offensive towards Amiens stalled, Hutier launched a series of attacks on a 25 mile front against Fayolles Army Group, trying to extend their bridgeheads over the River Avre. In the far southeast of the front, the 16th Silesian Division succeeded in capturing the village of Le Monchal on the boundary between 1st and 3rd French Armies. The French 162nd Division launched an immediate counterattack to retake it.

French Briefing
After a crushing bombardment this morning, our forward regiments were overrun after inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. The remains of the 488th still hold a scratch front, but the 487th was completely destroyed.. The enemy has succeeded in capturing the village of Le Monchal, it must be recovered at all costs.

The reserve regiment of the division, plus the Corps cavalry regiment operating dismounted, have been release for an immediate counterattack. The cavalry have so far proved to be highly effective and are supported by some armoured cars. Some artillery support is available, but many of our guns have been lost and there is little ammunition left.

Prevent any further German advances.
Recapture Le Monchal.
Drive the Germans back over the Avre.

488th Infantry Regiment (Regular), but gone to ground.
Regt HQ
1 x Regt mortar Co, 1 x MG Co
2 x Battalions with 2 x Infantry ea
Deploy along the ridge line south of the Avre.

16th Dragoon Regiment (Vet)
3 x Inf, 1 x MG, 1 x Armoured car

486th Infantry Regiment (Regular)
Regt HQ
1 x Regt Mortar Co
8 x Inf and 2 x MG Co divided between 3 Bns
Both regiments may enter from the south edge.

2 x 75mm Arty Regt, 5 shots ea, may in Div support or assigned to a regiment.
2 x 150mm arty missions as pre-planned fire.

German Briefing

The division suffered heavy losses attacking the enemy this morning, one regiment was rendered ineffective and another incapable of further advances. The reserve regiment finally succeeded in capturing Le Monchal, but the troops are still reorganising after taking the town. It is likely that the French will counter attack but the momentum of the advance must be maintained. Some artillery support is available but there is only limited ammunition left.

Retain control of the village.
Continue to advance southwards.
Retain control of the bridgehead over the river.


49th Silesian IR (Regular) gone to ground
2 Bns each with 1 x mortar, 1 x MG, 2 x Infantry

50th Silesian IR (Regular)
3 x Bn with 3 x Inf, 1 x mortar, 1 x MG ea.
1 x close support battery on the far side of the Avre.

2 x 77mm Artillery regiments, 4 shots ea. May be in general Div support or assigned to a regiment.

All start within 6” of the Avre as far as the crossing, then due east. 50th IR may have one battalion (only) in Le Monchal.

The river is fordable for infantry/cavalry but guns and vehicles must cross at the bridge. Slopes are not significant obstacles to movement.

Some not very wonderful photos (taken on my phone) of various events. The bases are very spread out as I was using an AK47 style collateral damage type rule to discourage bunching. At the standard ground scale (1" = 80 yards) jamming an entire battalion of four bases into an area 200x200 yards doesn't seem very wise, so encouraging them towards a more realistic dispersion of 500x500 yards seemed sensible. I could of course change the ground scale, but then the battlefields would become ridiculously small, and that would just be silly:)

French Regimental HQ and mortar company observe the Germans from the edge of a wood.

German infantry occupy Le Monchal, spread out to reduce the effect of artillery fire.

French 150mm artillery shells the bridge, inflicting losses and causing the remaining Germans to scatter.

French reserves march up in parallel columns.

Cavalry armoured car knocked ut by armour piercing bullets. Dismounted dragoons follow.

In the end the French counter attack ran out of steam but had blunted any further German advance.


  1. Nice looking pictures, and a great period!

  2. Thanks Phil, I am rather fond of my 20mm WW1 stuff, but the French don't often come out to play so it was good to get them in action on this occasion.