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I had thought that my friends would all be busy over the holiday weekend so hadn't tried to schedule a game, but Patrick was available Saturday night and wanted to blow the dust off his early war French.

We decided to try the random scenario generator from I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! v.3. It worked quite well. We rolled up some terrain (I rolled 3 and Patrick rolled 5, so I placed 3 large terrain pieces; a hill, a town, and a large hedged in field, and Patrick alternately placed 5 small pieces, a couple of woods and a few scattered buildings, I suggested we throw in a stream as one of his choices) and then randomly rolled up scenario 6 "Counter Attack". Patrick rolled to be the defender and chose the table edges. This scenario has the defender with three platoons (he picked 2 rifle and one antitank gun platoon) in the center of the table. His reinforcements (3 more platoons including 2 armour) arrive after the 5th turn of a special card.

Meanwhile I got to come on with 5 platoons including 1 armoured choice. I opted for my zug of 5 x Pz38(t)s going for quantity over quality. Although maybe I should have taken the zug of 3x PzIVs with their 75mm guns instead. I also took two infantry platoons supported by a 75mm gun section and a platoon of Pak36 antitank guns. I was going to take a MG platoon then noticed that my Company HQ for 1940 already included 4 x MMG teams.

The hardest part of the setup was sorting through the cards to build the game deck, and that will be aided by being better organized. When clearing up this time I sorted the cards by type and into Axis and Allied piles to help find the cards I want more quickly next time.

We got started about 9, were rolling dice by 10 and stopped at 1 AM. We could have played longer but it was late. Patrick's reinforcements were starting to get engaged and could have severely mauled one of my infantry platoons. But I had the town and he wasn't going to get me out of it.

Early moves. French around town, Germans coming on from top of picture

Early moves. French around town, Germans coming on from top of picture

I sent one platoon and the infantry guns up the other side of the river, to try and secure the bridges and distract the French. Patrick revealed a full platoon with two 25mm AT guns in the field. My75mm IGs laid a spectacularly devastating initial salvo knocking out one AT gun, but then failed to hit anything else for the rest of the game.

My first platoon and the infantry guns across the river engage the French in the field

Meanwhile the rest of my force moves on the town

Meanwhile I got my 2nd platoon with the company HQ MG34s in support up close to the town. They started firefighting with the defenders of the houses. After pinning the French with superior weight of fire I charged in with two sections, bundling the French out of the first house.

2nd platoon storms the first house

2nd platoon storms the first house

I then repeated the manoeuvre on the second house. The Company HQ MGs then moved up and drove the defenders of the third house and the church out with weight of fire.

Panzers flank the town, the French At gun got one shot off then died under a hail of counter fire

First platoon crosses the second bridge

My second platoon then carried on the assault into the church yard and drove out what was left of the French. Clearing the town cost them about 15 casualties. You can see them in the picture below around the church.

French armour score a kill

French armour score a kill

That's about where we stopped. My panzer Zug was engaging the Char B's coming up the road, getting a mobility kill on one. Patrick's other armour platoon of S35s was veering off to take on my bridgehead where I was trying to set up the 75mm IGs. The blind card you can see behind the panzers is my platoon of Pak36s trying to move up to deploy beside the 38(t)s. The penetration on the 37mm guns isn't much but sometimes sheer weight of fire results in a kill. And I'd have the Char B's outgunned 7:3.

French armour engages

French armour engages

Or not. Whenever I rolled a really good penetration Patrick would roll equally well for his armour saves. Oh well.

Panzers in a gunfight

Panzers in a gunfight

Where are the damned Stukas when you need them?

But we both thought the random scenario generator worked quite easily and resulted in a fairly balanced and challenging game. The force selection also helped reduce the overgrown OrBats that result from the wanting-to-use-everything syndrome.

German 2nd Zug secures town

French situation at game's end- notice all the shock on the remnant's of the French 1st Platoon

James Mantos