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"Saturday Afternoon On The Somme" Topic

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1,093 hits since 26 May 2012
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Kaptain Kobold Inactive Member26 May 2012 4:01 a.m. PST

A game of Pz8's two-page WW1 divisional rules, with armies scratchbuilt and completed in under a day:


Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2012 8:00 a.m. PST

Absolutely bonkers! Well done!

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian26 May 2012 8:22 a.m. PST

Great project, great report, my only issue is that I find the armies hard to tell apart on the field!

Kaptain Kobold Inactive Member26 May 2012 6:55 p.m. PST

"my only issue is that I find the armies hard to tell apart on the field!"

Actually, so did I :) On the painting table the British khaki and German grey looked quite distinctive, but under the poor light of my wargames table it wasn't so obvious and in photos it's impossible to tell who is who. I have added a coloured dot to each base now to aid identification – white for the Germans and red for the British.

monk2002uk28 May 2012 4:12 p.m. PST

Good work. The next step is to get a good feel for how terrain influenced major WW1 battles. The only battle on the Somme with significant numbers of tanks was the Battle of Courcelette-Flers. This took place in mid-September 1916. There were no pillboxes and the trench lines were heavily battered from the preparatory bombardment. The British attacked over a ridge and down a reverse slope. This slope was further marked off with smaller ridges and shallow valleys. These had a very important effect on the battle at the time.

Another difference was the presence of German field guns, several of which engaged the British tanks with direct fire.


Kaptain Kobold Inactive Member28 May 2012 11:07 p.m. PST

Thanks. I just used the standard 1916 lists for the game, and used 'Somme' because it gave a nice alliteration in the title. No attempt was made to actually recreate any actual action :)

At least one person has produced a few scenarios for the rules, with more specific terrain maps and varying levels of defences for both attacker and defender. I'm not sure how small valleys and ridges really work at the scale of the game, though, as there's no shooting at range; all attacks take place via assaults on adjacent squares.

German field guns can be assumed to be abstracted in, I guess, either as a function of the artillery points system or by assuming that some of the MG units represent them.

monk2002uk29 May 2012 9:21 a.m. PST

Of course, the whole idea was to get something on table and have an enjoyable time. I was just trying to add some thoughts for the future. You are quite right about the impact of squares and the emphasis on assault. This would make it difficult to take the defensive impact of changes of terrain into account, especially changes in elevation. Factoring in terrain is, however, one of the most interesting aspects of major WW1 battles though.

There is a possible exception. As mentioned earlier, the 1916 battle took place on a reverse slope from the British perspective. This means that British artillery barrages were potentially less effective. Conversely, the German artillery had good views of the British coming down the slope. Their problem, historically, was the impact of observed counter-battery fire.

A lot of artillery should be subsumed into the barrages. Throughout the war, however, there were whole units told off to provide direct fire. They were important for the elastic defence concept. Up to a 1/3 of German field guns, for example, would be used in this way on defence. They would be more like tank stands in the game, with the ability to move on table (if not under fire) but with greater fire power over longer distances.

Another minor thing to consider. When tanks were first used, there was no clear understanding about how they should be supported. Lanes were left in the artillery barrages. These lanes had a devastating effect on infantry when the tanks broke down. The German defenders were unsuppressed and took a heavy toll. An example was the heavy losses to the British Guards in trying to take the Quadrilateral (redoubt) near Delville Wood.


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