Saturday, 7 April 2018

Houffalize Highway - FoB WWII

More Field of Battle with the WWII version this weekend.
The scenario is taken directly from the old GDW Command Decision 'Bastogne' scenario/campaign book from 1987.

As mentioned previously, Field of Battle WWII is somewhere between tactical and operational level, so CD and 'Great Battles of WWII' scenarios work well. Units are 'companies' so stop worrying about where you're going to place that MG and mortar, and think about multiple battalions attacks and artillery en masse. As with normal FoB, it's card driven but key features include:

  • Nature of close in combat forces you to use combined arms.
  • Elite units (US Paras) are very hard to shift in cover (and can ruin your day if they hit armour without its infantry support).
  • Use artillery wisely.
  • Don't get surrounded in towns (unless your opponent doesn't exploit it sufficiently and blow hell out of you with his supports). 

A very close game, though some nuances of the rules need re-reading. Card draws had a morning, afternoon, night and following morning turn before battle was complete - all in about 4 hours of play.

This level also allows big battles - for example, we could do the First Airborne move into Arnhem in an attempt to capture the bridge, complete with bridge and German units coming onto the board on various move cards, to be modelled - that's with the equivalent of two WWII divisions on an 8'x5' table; not many rulesets allow that, without complete abstraction.

 The 101st Airborne hold a close perimeter around Bastogne on 20th December 1944. The remnants of Team Desobry are in Noville, but pressure is mounting. 2nd Panzer must clear the road junction and move west, while 78th Panzer Grenadier take Foy and move toward Bastogne to the south.

 Elements of 2nd Panzer Division moving to blocking positions at the road junction.

Panther company moving toward Noville...

...while 3rd Panzer Regt tries to move to take the town.

 Sountheast of Noville, and an ambush with what armour and guns the Americans can muster from the remnants of Team Desobry.

 Cobry is taken early, and German position threatens to cut off Noville from the Paratroopers.

German artillery pounds the woods and Noville.

Further west, German armour is held successfully by the Paras and supports.

...while at Noville, Panther vs Sherman is only going to go one way.

Para reinforcements from Longchamps to the west (on the 3rd move card)

3rd Panzer sits for too long idling around Noville, afraid to engage Anti Tank. Everywhere else, the Germans were making gains and wearing down US morale, but they stalled here.

 While other units moved to engage the elite Paras, who took to the cover of the woods.

 Germans move west, and close to Close Assault range...what they need now is a Close Assault card...
...and there we go...

The Paras in the woods prove to be very hard to shift - the Germans making the mistake of leaving their infantry support behind. US artillery begins to make a real difference (in the nick of time).

 Paras prove very hard to shift again.

 Eventually, as German morale begins to reduce significantly due to losses in the woods, 3rd Panzer starts to move.

The US are suffering, but they have dented German morale such that it will only take the next morale card for them to start rolling for withdrawl.

 1st roll is vs a D8...and they don't beat it.

A tense game - and proof again that it works with 20mm scales too, and provides a decent approximation of larger level battles. Great stuff.


  1. Nice looking game, lovely terrain and figures...and explosion effects are superb!

    1. Thanks Phil.
      The explosion effect is a battery operated 'Tea Light' placed behind the black smoke (hamster bedding). It worked really well at the right angle.

  2. Entertaining and instructive post - excellent. Erm - did you know there are some real fires on your battlefield?

    1. Thanks sir - that Tea Light gives amazing effects.

  3. Great report with amazing pictures - I also heartily approve of the explosion affects!

    1. Thanks Jack. It's the magic of cinema (well, without the cinema...or the magic).

  4. Looks like an action packed game and the battle mat looks awesome with the ruins and explosions added.

    1. Cheers mate. I even turned the heat off in the room - but it stopped being funny after ten minutes.

  5. That looked excellent. Love the tea light fire effect

    1. Thanks. I'll organise another and get you down next time. Works well in 20mm I think.

  6. Replies
    1. Really tense. It's a good set of rules - but push too far and your force pushes back. Some great mechanics.