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"Hell on Wheels, Operation Torch Fight #2" Topic

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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2023 8:26 p.m. PST


0930 Local Time
8 November 1942
Near Port Lyautey, French Morocco

"@#$%," exclaimed Major Reisman, frustrated with the slow pace of operations being carried out by his combined arms task force. They'd landed nearly five hours ago; sure, confusion about what posture the French defenders would adopt caused apprehension, dismal weather caused delays and units to become intermixed, and then there was the natural hesitation and fear of the unknown caused by green troops seeing their first combat, but the Major was severely nonplussed, nonetheless. On the Task Force's left, Dog Company had run into very stiff resistance, but dogged determination by its commander (Captain May, who was awarded a Bronze Star w/V for his combat leadership in the battle) led to the Yanks carrying the day, while on the right, Easy Company had the good fortune to land opposite a French unit that was only too happy to cast aside its weapons and surrender (despite the threats of retribution from their Commandant).

But that was exactly the point: following Dog Company's victory, Major Reisman had ordered Easy Company to rush forward and seize the back end (east) of the town of Mehdi, thus bottling up the French garrison there. But that was over two hours ago, and here was Captain Kirkland, Easy's commander, still standing on the landing beach! "What the hell are you doing, Captain! And why aren't you behind Mehdi by now!!!???" "Sir! We're still attempting to untangle the units and…" "Look here, Kirkland! If you want to keep those Captain's bars you will drop whatever nonsense you're up to, grab the nearest men with guns you can find, and go, secure the @#$%ing east end of that @#$%ing town! Do you understand me?" "Yessir!" And off Captain Kirkland went…


The table, north is up. The town of Mehdi stretches across the top of the table, with Hill 27 at bottom left, Hill 32 at bottom right, and sheer bluffs present at top right.

The Americans are bunched into the southwestern (bottom left) corner. The French garrison of two rifle platoons, their CO, and the ATG are in the town, right up against the northwestern table edge (top left), with the MG and Mortar holding Hill 32 in the southeast (bottom right) and the Laffly armored car sitting astride the hardball road in the northeast (top right, between the bluffs).

The concept here is this: the French garrison in the town is caught completely off guard, expecting a head-on attack from Easy Company (which is just off camera to the west-northwest, or top left), with heavy weapons support in the southeast (bottom right) and a (very small) armored reserve in the northeast (top right). But the threat is not coming from ahead of them, it's coming from their left flank, and they are caught with their pants down!

But all is not great for the Americans: Major Reisman's intent was for Captain Kirkland's force to drive east and then north to seal off the back (east) end of Mehdi, pocketing the garrison, but the good Major didn't allow Captain Kirkland to properly organize his forces, so he's got a mixture of troops from different companies and, more importantly, his infantry platoons are understrength and lacking transport. So Captain Kirkland intends on pushing his mechanized forces east and north to encircle Mehdi, but his infantry are going to have to take a more direct route, lest they arrive well after the battle is over…


The American attack jumps off and immediately runs into trouble.


"Sacre bleu!" The French commander, over the initial shock of Amis appearing on his undefended left flank, makes a tactical decision: this is no longer an attack-defense battle, it is a fighting withdrawal! The French commander's goal is now to get as many of his men safely to the rear (off table to the east).


French armor pops out of its ambush positions and makes its presence felt…


With their infantry leaving town, the French anti-tank gunners spike their gun and haul ass down the street, looking to escape the encirclement. Will they make it?


Or can the Yankee armor (bottom left) slam the door shut?


A desperate and bloody melee (look at all those casualties!) breaks out as the advancing US infantry closes with the French rear-guard position…

But you're gonna have to check the blog to see how it turned out ;)

Next fight coming soon!


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2023 5:55 a.m. PST

What a great looking game! Do you have a review of 5Core Company Command?

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2023 8:36 p.m. PST

Thanks man, I appreciate it!

I don't have a review of them, but I've played a few hundred games with them and I'm happy to talk about them or answer any questions.


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2023 5:32 a.m. PST

Jack, I'm feeling a little apprehensive here now……what didn't the Captain understand from Reisman's orders (for the next sweeping attack)?

Almost hate to look at the next AAR a comin'.

Dave ;)

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2023 8:23 a.m. PST

As you should be! ;)

The next one is actually my favorite, a real slobberknocker.


Bismarck12 Jan 2023 9:33 a.m. PST

What a hard close fought battle. The see saw back and forth
kept us readers on the edge of our seats!

Eye candy wise, not sure what I liked best, the terrain,
vehicles or figures. Your terrain is always over the top.

Jack, your scenarios are great and you write the best
AARs I have ever read. The personalization and role play
of the characters give such a great flavor.

Job well done Marine! You had to have had a blast playing
this one out. Looking forward to more.

Semper Fidelis,


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2023 5:43 p.m. PST


Thanks a bunch, Old Man, I'm glad you liked the fight and the setup. The personalization of the characters is a lot of fun, and it's cool, 'cause it makes sense with the doggies. Can't do that with Gyrenes as there ain't no cowards, just steady whoopin' ass! ;) I do miss playing as the Germans, though, where a couple cowards were summarily executed! ;)

Yes, they've been a ton of fun, and wait 'til you see the next one!

Semper Fidelis,

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2023 1:39 p.m. PST

Another humdinger! Your figures look great as does the table. How are you determining the scenarios and forces?


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2023 6:29 p.m. PST

Thanks Joe!

Regarding forces, typically for the Americans I just sort of pick what a want, generally a smattering of different troop types, though sometimes I also use die rolls to decide what's available. For the enemy, occasionally I'll just pick what I want them to have, sometimes I use the force structure rolls (charts) from 5Core Company Command, and sometimes I use the blinds from Platoon Forward, but I set them up and resolve all of them before play starts, rather than approaching and rolling for them as they get spotted.

I do this because 1) it's faster for me, and 2) (and more importantly) I'm playing on 4' x 4' table where everything is in range, typically very little pre-battle maneuver, we're jumping straight into the action, which surprises some folks because they see stuff in the batrep that was done just for narrative but was not actually part of the game. I will still conduct spotting rolls for units that are hidden, to see if they can be targeted, but yeah, I'm cheating from the standpoint that I do know they're actually there, but I do my best to act like I don't know ;)

A great example is the landing craft piece from the first battle; the landing craft getting shot at and some getting hit was all narrative, didn't affect the game at all. I already knew what forces the Americans would use in the game and the actual game didn't start until the troops had disembarked from the landing craft.


This is what you saw…


But this is where dice rolling actually started.

I do want to play games on a 6' x 4' table with smaller forces (thinking of FFL in Indochina), with more pre-battle maneuver/"exploration" of the battlefield, where I use the PF blinds system as intended, but this has proven a great solution for me the way I'm currently playing.


Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2023 8:42 a.m. PST

Jack, interesting stuff. I am curious to learn how others who "are about the story" do it. As people have stated your narratives are brilliant.
I actually use a 3x4 or 4x4 table myself. How fast do your infantry move on a turn? My infantry normally move 2 hexes [8 inches],[240 yards]. You might have more room to maneuver than you think.
The landing craft were very evocative!


PS Just had 2 patrols meet in Indochina yesterday. Used a very old system for C+C that worked great solitaire. A new hero has emerged; Lt LaRoche. : )

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2023 10:16 a.m. PST

Hey Joe!

Infantry move between 4 and 8 inches per turn, so you're right about the room to maneuver, but what hangs me up in my games is the perceived ground scale. I'd like to try to keep it as close to 1:1 as possible which, in 15mm, means everything on the table is practically at point-blank range, even on a 6' x 4' table (if I've got it right, .3" equals one meter in 15mm, or 12" equals 40m, meaning a 6' x 4' table is only 240m x 160m).

Hell, I suppose in my head I'm going about (actually, more than) double that, where 12" is about 100m, to give me a 400m by 400m engagement area. Even Army guys can hit targets at that range! ;)

And very interesting to me about your ground scale of 12" equals 360 yards. I think I could do that if I were playing higher echelon games (like one stand=one platoon, like you're Battalion-level games), but it doesn't work for me in my company-level (and smaller) games. It looks great in your batreps, I've never looked at your pics and thought "that looks too close," it just bothers me in mine.

Can't wait to see your French actions and the exploits of Mssr LaRoche. And what was the old C2 system?


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2023 12:41 p.m. PST

Yeah, I screwed that all up… .3" = 2 yards, 1" = 6 yards, 12" = 72 yards, so a 6' x 4' table is 432 yards x 288 yards…


Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 6:49 a.m. PST

Wow that is at least 1:1 scale if not smaller. That is what I skirmish in. You are right that doesn't give you much maneuver room! That is why I doubled it [ I actually redid the math and it works out to 1 inch equals 25yards but it is fluid. 1 inch equals 20 yards up close and then lengthens farther out.] For my larger games. That said you seem to be having a blast so no reason to change what you are doing.


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 7:32 p.m. PST


Interesting. Are you saying you use the 'telescoping scale'? I've always been intrigued by that concept, as well as the 'variable-length bounds.'

Yeah, no reason to change, but it does make things a bit… claustrophobic ;) And hurry up, I'm waiting on Lt LaRoche! ;)


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