Mainly concerning my wargaming hobby, with a bit of reenactment thrown in as it happens.
Battle in Poland, 1st September 1939
This is the first battle of my over-ambitious plan to replay the whole of the Second World War. The basis of the “campaign” is the Axis & Allies game, with the 1939 set-up that I found some years ago on the web. I think it was published by Peter Sides. Campaign moves are determined by information from two books; “World War II Day by Day” and “The Chronicle of World War Two”. Whatever happens in the game, history will try to reassert itself.
So, in the first German game turn I have a battle in Poland. In square 6126 the German 2nd Tank Army is attacking the Polish 1st Infantry Army, with support from the 1st German Infantry Army. (In an earlier post I indicated that Axis & Allies units might become “armies”).
The strategic situation after the German move on 1st September.
The terrain was randomised using a deck of cards and a Memoir 44 game board. The resulting “map” was transferred to a wargame table using Kallistra hexagon tiles, some customised to provide the necessary terrain features.
The names of the three villages, Cerekwica, Mrowino and Napachanie were chosen simply because I found on Google Maps three settlements in the area with a similar geographical relationship. I think it’s better than using “Village A” or “Southeast Farm” or similar.
The battle would be won by the first side to achieve seven victory points. Possession of each of the three villages counted as 1VP and destruction of one entire enemy unit was worth 1VP.
Normally I try to work without tokens on the table, but sometimes it’s necessary. Each of my units has a small ID card that I can slip under the buildings to indicate their position if in occupation.
I changed the rule about retreating. Memoir 44 rules state that a retreating unit must move towards its baseline. With a flank attack in progress I ruled that it must retreat directly away from the major threat.
The purpose of the lorries in Memoir 44 is to “resupply” units that have suffered casualties. One base may be restored by removing one lorry. In the event there was no opportunity to do so.
Note to self. “Do something about all those identically broken fences.”
This marked the end of the battle. The Poles had eliminated five German units, including the ME109, or forced them to retreat from the battlefield, and recaptured two villages for the required seven victory points. The Germans had taken and held Napachanie in the southeast and eliminated two Polish units, a total of three points.
The game took fourteen turns for each player. At the end of turn 9 the victory point score was 4-4, and things were looking desperate for the Poles. Five turns later they won 7-3.
I think that Memoir 44 works best for set piece battles, or at least those with most of the forces on the field at the start. Because most of the command cards relate to right flank, left flank or centre the battle can become disjointed when trying to feed in troops at specific points. Each player in this game had four cards to select from at any one time, but the Poles got many of the “specials” like off-table artillery barrage. For almost half the game the Germans held three cards for a flank with one unit and one card for the flank with most of their forces.
As a first time exercise I think it worked well. I replayed part of the game later with Rapid Fire rules and it was clear that the firing was less devastating and the German superiority of numbers would overcome the Poles sooner or later.
And so I reach the end of the first day of the replay of the War. It’s only taken about a year to prepare and play. At this rate I will be 2,137 years old before I finish!