A teaching/refresher game for the club, which saw me umpiring Dan and Gary, with a slightly understrength German company, defending against the oncoming Yanks, helmed by Carl and Andy.

The Germans' deployment didn't match the American plan, although, in Gary and Dan's defence, I'm still not entirely sure the Americans had one as such :D The initial pre-game Allied barrage did precious little damage, but the Germans had to do some hasty redeployment/moving of sections on blinds to cope with the Amis' axis of advance (down the length of a 6'x4' table towards a small village and church nestling beneath a low ridge).

The Initial Table

Germans on the American left coming under fire

The opening firefight on the American left (top left of the first picture) was a good demonstration of why densely packed units get hammered - the +2 on the fire table and decent dice led to a German platoon being pinned, and the lead section of the two lots of Americans, correctly, took the opportunity to hop the hedge they'd been taking cover behind, cross the road and assault the wood the Germans were hiding in. They needed to move about 8 inches each on 2 dice (losing one for the hedge)... Whoops. Section movement rolls of 6, 4, and 3 left them hanging around in the open looking foolish... Looking even more foolish when Gary remembered he had a FOO for a section of off-table 80mms.

In went the call to the battery... and an equally frantic order from the platoon CO for that section to take what cover it could.

A steady right flank advance by the Americans, sensibly well spread out. 

Meanwhile, on the other flank, the third American section started advancing around the edges of the marsh, eventually adopting a two up one back approach with two sections lining the hedge and a third advancing tactically across the field. The troop of Shermans headed down the road, meanwhile.

Cue the two German PAK40s, one in the village and one dug in on the ridge amid the pine trees (with the FOO). The lead Sherman was actually a pretty decent target in the open. And they even hit. They just couldn't damage it for toffee.

A PAK40, dug in amid the pine trees, and the FOO

And about that time the German FOO made contact, and in drifted a ranging shot: bang on target. Followed by a hefty barrage of 80mm mortar shells, which unsurprisingly pinned the section caught in the open.


The American support weapons (a section of 60mm mortars and two 30 cals) had by now got themselves settled in the lone intact house at the American end of proceedings, and they and the Shermans took on the PAK 40s and pinned them. For an encore, the company CO hared across to the pinned GIs, and unpinned them (with the aid of the platoon commander). There was protracted debate amongst the German officer corps whether to abandon the wood or take it to the Amis: Dan's policy of caution was, I felt, correct, but the dice made a mockery of it, as rolling 3 dice for the first section to head back out through the woods he rolled a 5. On a section with 6 shock, at -1 per dice, who clearly decided that they liked the scrapes and scratches they were hiding in in preference to leaving them. At which point Gary sort of got his way and the second section stuck around and fired.

Fire from the second platoon of Americans on the left tipped the first German section into excess shock, and then the Americans piled in. This time, the dice Gods gave them enough move, and though it was a close-run thing, the fact that it was two sections to one told in the end, and Andy's dice rolling both won the combat and did enough shock to cause the remaining section to lose its bottle.

There we had to call it: I'm still of the opinion we don't play IABSM enough to get games finished in an evening, as it's a game that the minutiae of don't stick in the memory... not helped by a QRS that I might just have to improve on, and a rulebook that's begging for an index. So we'll just have to play it more often, and who knows, I may train my lot out of lining the hedges and blazing away at each other!

Having SAID that? Still the best set of WW2 company level rules out there.

Mike Whitaker