Friday, September 18, 2015

Bocage Battle Report

With all that bocage, Rhett and I decided to throw together a quick game to see how a full bocage table would play. I plan to use a lot of bocage for our club's halloween table, so experiencing it first hand was a must. Plus it just looks cool. I had to play on the board. I had to.

Our group plays games a bit differently than a lot of folks. We try to play narrative games, where the objectives make sense, and a story can be told. This forms the framework to make tactics fit into an overall strategy. Fighting a battle to the annihilation of both forces is fun sometimes, but we've found it makes for better games if the forces are no mutually suicidal. Somehow this game, which was designed to avoid slaughter failed to do so.

For this game we want to put two forces trying to reach different destinations in contact. Each of the road end points was numbered, and we randomly drew our entry point and our exit point. The idea was to represent how confusing the first few days of Normandy were. To make things more exciting, we would not reveal either deployment or exit. Obviously the person who entered first would be revealing their starting location, but it was a fun little dance to see who would ultimately bring on the first unit, and where it would come from.

I got very lucky in my deployment road and my exit road. My draw put my entrance leading into the town, and my exit jus tot the right of the town in the top photo. Basically I could amble over to the exit and preserve my forces.

Rhett drew the lower right corner of the first photo for his deployment road, and the middle road exit on the right. This meant that he had to drive into the town, and make a hard right to exit. He would have to drive by all of my forces.

I could have just run my forces off of the table, but that wouldn't have been fun for either of us. Instead I decided to take the town, in order to hinder his advance. I figured I could leisurely mosey on over to my exist later.

Germans aggressively take the town. I did not want to reveal that my exit was immediately to the left in this photo, so I tried to keep my forces towards the center.

In the far right corner in the fields, Rhett immediately moved troops towards the middle road section. I knew exactly where he was going now, and planned to trap his vehicles on the road, and fire at his troops from the safety of the roadside bocage.  (we swapped out the tank for a Sherman during the middle of the game. Rhett decided he would have preferred to have had one.)  :)

Germans move to take the town. The half track had an anti-tank weapon mounted on it, so it let the howitzer deploy, and prepared to block the road. The halftrack moved forward to the crossroads and took a shot at the Sherman. It missed. A bunch of confused Germans wondered what the Sherman would do.

Rather than shoot,  Rhett decided to just ram the halftrack. He succeeded, however we were then left with a quandary. I had effectively blocked the road, making it impossible for him to achieve his objective. We decided to let the sheer spend a turn pushing the half track out of the way.

The half track was pushed by the Sherman tank out of the way, clearing the road for US vehicles. The rest of game became a dance of tanks. The Sherman drove nose to nose with the Panther and proceeded to stay that way for three turns before the panther expired. A foolish charge by American infantry directly into the front of a howitzer ended exactly as you would expect for the infantry. In the end we decided that this would be a tie. The Germans could evacuate two units, and the Americans could only evacuate 1 unit. However one of the German units was sitting next to an angry Sherman. It would have ended badly for them. I accidentally deleted the tank dance photos, so we'll end this little report with an artsy black and white photo.


  1. oh my god...the terrain looks so flipping awesome John. It is stunning! STUNNING!

  2. Nice set-up and a good game :)

  3. Looking forward to Normandy games! That looks fantastic, guys. Sorry I missed it.

  4. This terrain is outstanding...and realistic!
    Phil, from France...