Having painted up some late war German cavalry specially, I thought it was time to continue with our WW1 mini campaign using One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas. The first two battles have been covered in an earlier blog post
As we'd already done 1914 and 1915, it was on to 1916 which meant breaking out my 20mm late war figures. The scenario was 'Static Defence', the Germans had to defend two key objectives but keep two units within 12" of them at all times, whereas the British had to take just one of them. The battlefield was bisected by a large forest, which rather got in everyones way. Jerry and Graeme took the Germans, whilst John and Tom took the British.
The battlefield from the west. The Germans have to defend the hill (which they chose to cover in artillery) and the town (which contained an infantry regiment). The rest of the Germans were located somewhat centrally.
The shiny new German cavalry. I had wanted ot pick up a Strelets set but got these Tumbling Dice metal ones instead. As the forces are randomly generated, I was pleased the Germans actually rolled up some cavalry. In this case they have dug themselves and their horses in.
'Gun hill' was covered in dug in German artillery, and was a prime target for the opening bombardment, which inflicted a number of casualties.
The British rolled up quite a balanced force, four infantry brigades, a field artillery brigade and a cavalry brigade which in 1916 they are able to convert into a battalion of Mark 1 tanks. Unsurprisingly they took the tanks
The British went left flanking with their entire force, and fairly quickly the massed German artillery destroyed the leading brigade, and tanks rapidly pulled ahead while the infantry struggled though the mud and artillery fire.
The German artillery began to suffer some more losses and switched some of their fire to engage the tanks.
The tanks closed in on the hill, and German cavalry decided on a death of glory charge and rather ineffectually enaged the tank.
The following infantry had meanwhile lost another brigade as the Germans in the forest woke up, but by now counter battery fire had destroyed one of the German artillery battalions.
Sadly the photographic record ends at that point, but the last German artillery battalion was destroyed and the cavalry driven off, allowing the very depleted tank battalion to rumble onto the hill and claim victory. This game was actually very close and I was deeply dubious that the British would survive the charge up artillery valley, but they gambled and got away with it.
So, on to 1917. As the Germans lost the last battle, they were defending again. This scenario was 'Melee', a confused fight over large hill feature, with both sides forces rolling up in dribs and drabs. The Germans started with two units on the hill facing south, and on the first turn three British units come on up the road after the opening bombardment.
The Germans rolled up an infantry heavy force, and put an artillery battalion and a regiment of 'heavy infantry' (chaps tooled up with extra machineguns and mortars) on the ridge facin gfsouth as per the scenario setup instructions. Half the British meanwhile came on up the road.
They tried to advance through the wood to avoid the German artillery, but the wicked Germans pushed their own infantry into the woods, and an unpleasant scrap ensued.
The British had clearly forgotten about the German reinforcements who duly rolled up on their flank. The fighting then became 'confused'.
The Germans in the wood were overcome as the rest of the British infantry marched on.
As before the British tried to hide from the German guns.
And ended up jammed in this almost square formation in and around the woods while they dealt with the German reinforcements. Good the Germans didn't have any MLRS...
While this was going on, yet more German reinforcements turned up behind the hill.
The British outflanked the hill, and after destroying the Germans on the crest, moved their artillery up
The last German infantry were overcome, but the hilltop was left occupied by a very ragged infantry unit, so the British pushed up their guns onto the hill.
On the very last turn the German guns destroyed the British infantry on the hill, but survived the British return fire. As exclusive control of the hill was required for victory, we gave this one to the Germans, which means they will be attacking in 1918. Very historical!