21/03/2022 at 00:03 #170279
Had some fun today, and man has it been a long time coming! Pulling the scenario from my buddy Steve (SOUND OFFICERS CALL!: A Biazza Ridge Scenario for Battlegroup – Ready for Your Playtesting!), and with a fresh set of rules (more on that later), the boys and I headed upstairs and got a game in. First time in over a year for me, though I guess I still haven’t actually gotten a game in as I really just umpired for the boys, with the elder playing the Germans and the younger playing the Americans.
I changed Steve’s scenario in two ways: first, I played on a 6′ x 4′ table rather than a 4′ x 4′ table, and then I eliminated the medic from each side’s order of battle as 1) I don’t have any German medics and 2) the rules I’m using don’t have any mechanism for using medics.
So what did we do? It’s July 11, 1943, on the island of Sicily, where American paratroopers are facing off against tanks and troops of the Hermann Goering Panzergrenadier Division. The paratroopers have landed inland to screen the beaches as infantry come ashore, and they’re being put to the test at a place called Biazza Ridge as the Germans mount a counterattack, advancing towards Gela in order to push the Yanks back into the sea.
And yes, this is listed as “The Battle of Biazza Ridge I,” because we’re planning on there being a “The Battle of Biazza Ridge II.”
Overview, north is up, with the German baseline to the west (left) and US to the east (right). Biazza Ridge runs from south-southwest to north-northeast across the center of the table, with scattered fields, orchards, hedges, and olive trees scattered across landscape. There is a bombed-out church in the northwest (top left) and a stone farmhouse in the southeast (bottom right), which represents the only hard cover on the table.
The initial dispositions, with Yanks at bottom center right and bottom right and the Germans at center top left and left. The US paratroopers have their 1st Squad (a rifle team and an LMG team) in the field at center bottom right and their CO and engineers near the building at bottom right. The Germans have their 120mm mortar team behind the woods at top left and their three rifle squads at center left/center left top.
The opposing forces, with US on the right and Germans on the left. Both sides will start with a small proportion of their overall force on the table, the remainder coming in as reinforcements on subsequent turns. And while the US force looks a bit paltry, in the end a Naval Gunfire Control Party is coming onto the table in order to direct the fire of offshore battleships and cruisers.
A ground level view, where you can see the contours of the ridge, with rises to the south (top left) and north (top right), with the road running through a saddle between them.
The fight begins with the Germans pushing a squad up onto the crest (far left top), into a very nice position on the north spur of Biazza Ridge in the cover of some olive trees, with a commanding field of fire into the US side of the table (top right/far right).
The Yanks react by pushing their 1st Squad towards the south spur of Biazza Ridge, but they’re Army so they’re lagging and only the rifle team gets atop the ridge (top center right, from field at bottom left) while the LMG team is stuck in the trees below (left, with Germans visible at top right, on the other side of the ridge).
The US rifle team soon finds itself in trouble; isolated and pinned down, the German 3rd Squad sweeps uphill and close assaults them into oblivion!
General Jumpin’ Jim Gavin leads the US counterattack on the south spur!
To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
The game was a lot of fun, but I really screwed up the reinforcement piece of it, so we’re going to simplify things a bit and give it another shot ASAP. Hopefully you enjoyed the batrep, we certainly did, and we look forward giving it another go as soon as possible.
Jack21/03/2022 at 15:04 #170297Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Started furiously and ended with several booms. Can’t believe that Gav went down, but he did push his luck just a little bit. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the rules, very hard to predict.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."21/03/2022 at 16:45 #170304Tony SParticipant
Great write-up! I also like the photo “from the ground” as it were – shows off your hilly terrain very well.
I will have never guessed that you used those rules! We only played it once, for Napoleonics and weren’t terribly thrilled with them. Didn’t hate them, but didn’t really interest us. But now I’m curious to pull them out and maybe give them another try, perhaps in another era.
Seems like they could be fast and furious fun.21/03/2022 at 19:13 #170306
Darby – Thanks man, and it was a lot of fun, but yes, the little guy really pushed his luck. Having said that, by all accounts Gavin should have one. The rules use opposed card draws to determine the victor, and in this case the German defender could pull only one card while Gavin was pulling a whopping five! But the older boy (playing Germans) pulled a King, which can’t be beat (Aces are low and attacker has to beat, not just tie).
Tony – Thanks a bunch! Yeah, I really love this mat, and putting towels under it to show elevation/depressions, I just worry that it doesn’t show up that well on camera.
“I will have never guessed that you used those rules!”
That’s funny, why’s that? I’m always on the lookout for quick, simple rules with interesting activation mechanics, particularly when I’m playing with the youngsters.
And I thought the rules worked pretty well, but for the timing of reinforcements (which, to be fair, is a problem for a lot of rule sets, I think).
Jack21/03/2022 at 21:38 #170309Tony SParticipant
That’s funny, why’s that?
Because I mentally had put those rules on the “28mm individually mounted skirmish” shelf. And I forgotten they went up to the modern era, so when I saw 15mm WW2 stands, with armour and artillery, it never ever occurred to me.
Obviously I’ve got to reread those rules!21/03/2022 at 23:28 #170311
Gotcha, and that’s certainly what they were made for, but I just replaced figures with stands and pretty much kept everything else the same (so a rifle stand got 1 card, an LMG stand got 2 cards, an MG stand got 3 cards, etc…).
I did change the anti-tank fire though; instead of using his points value, I just rated weapons and armor on a spectrum: Softskin/MG (1 card), Light Armor/AT (2), medium armor/AT (3), heavy armor/AT (4), and super heavy armor/AT (5). I rated the 75mm pack howitzers as light AT and the bazookas as medium (but only gave them a 10″ range), rated the Pz III as light armor and light gun, rated the Tiger as heavy armor and heavy gun, with weapons getting +1 card and armor getting -1 card if they shooter got on the flank/rear. To me it streamlines things by keeping the firing mechanism the same as anti-personnel fire (a hit puts the vehicle down and you check for casualties as normal at the end of the turn).
I think it worked pretty well for the boys and can’t wait to give it another go.
Jack22/03/2022 at 01:00 #170313Shaun TraversParticipant
After the couple of games of OHSW I did last year I had the same thought as you and wanted the armour rules to work the same as infantry. I put something together similar to yours for armour but have not got around to playing it again. My son is keenish to give them a go again, but times have not aligned. Maybe I need to play a solo game, except I have other rules planned for that 🙂22/03/2022 at 01:40 #170314Rod RobertsonParticipant
So Jack’s back at it again. Finally! Great terrain, lovely minis, a superb and thrilling write-up and two happy boys gaming with their dad. 4/4, sir! BZ! Well done!
Its good to have Jack back, and just in time.
Your prolific painting has also been amazing. So another nod of the cap to the mini-man.
Cheers, be well and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.22/03/2022 at 02:10 #170315
Shaun – I was expecting a lot more praise from you, after all the trash you’ve been talking 😉 The rules are cool, but I’m with you, if I’m playing by myself I’m using something else.
Rod – Glad to see you’re still kicking! Yup, good fun for all, and my stuff looks a lot better now that the carpet goes under the mat 😉
Jack22/03/2022 at 02:18 #170316Shaun TraversParticipant
Hey Jack – I haven’t read the battle report yet. You can look forward to seeing the trash talk in the comments when I do 🙂 Without looking at the evidence I do not know if you really have played a game, hence no point bagging you out here!22/03/2022 at 02:41 #170318
Oh my goodness…
How dare you impugn my integrity? I’d have mind to fly down there and knock your block off, IF you weren’t the model for the dad on Bluey 😉
Jack22/03/2022 at 14:00 #170332Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Where’d ya get the mat? I have a similar one from War Sigil (3 mats from him, actually…) and I rally really like it!
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."22/03/2022 at 14:18 #170334
It’s also from War Sigil. I’ve got a beach, a desert, a snow, and a Martian landscape (which I intend on using for bombed-out cities, though it is a bit too orange) from them.
Jack23/03/2022 at 22:55 #170412
Here I am, the internet at home is spotty. DUDE your back. I’m getting ready to start my Guadalcanal campaign game this July, more on that later. Good to see ya, and damn it never send troops unsupported!!!24/03/2022 at 00:32 #170414
Hi John, and yep, good to finally get a game in again, and the boys had a great time. Guadalcanal, eh? Sounds fantastic, I need to get back to my own Pacific campaign as well.
Jack24/03/2022 at 02:17 #170417
Yeap, 80th anniversary coming up and I want to do air land and sea.24/03/2022 at 20:01 #170446
After a second slower read thru, Mortars never leave home with out them and yes German 120mm mortars are deadly.
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