Power Armor

Power Armor
Khurasan power armor infantry with conversions

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bocage fight---A Sergeant's War AAR

I just released my WWII rules, A Sergeant's War, in PDF form for sale here.  Here is an in-depth AAR of one of the scenarios featured in the main rules, "Row by Row," which features a heavily reinforced platoon of American infantry trying to break through a German defensive position in the bocage.  Here are pictures and a blow-by-blow account, including a description of game mechanics.

The American forces involved (6mm scale) were 4 US infantry squads, a .30 cal LMG team, a platoon command element, and 3 Shermans.  Their German opponents were two understrength infantry squads, an extra LMG team, a command element, and a PaK 40 ATG, all dug-in.

The board was 36"x36---but with 6mm forces, I play at half scale, so the space was only 18"x18". The Germans attack from the north with the objective of taking a road at the south side of the board.

The table

Main German deployment, in foxholes/emplacements

Initial US deployment

US moving on the right flank

US moving up on the left

The US moved forward on turn 1, establishing positions along the bocage.  The Germans waited, holding their fire.  The US sent troops forward into the fields, in the face of German fire, and the game really started.

A US section moves forward.  The German LMG team uses Defensive Fire to open up; the Americans are close enough that they can use their full firepower.

A belt-fed LMG team has a Firepower of 3, so they roll 3 attacks.  The Germans and Americans are equal quality (both Quality 4), so need 3+ to hit.  This roll gets 2 hits.

The American player first takes a casualty test; he rolls the two hits.  Any rolls of 1-2 result in a casualty.  This roll yields no casualties.

Next, the Americans take a morale test.  They roll one test per hit, and an extra test for being in the open. Their morale is 4 so they need 4+ to pass. They pass  1 but fail 2 tests.

Failing 2 tests results in 2 Pinned markers---they are fully pinned down and combat ineffective.
With a German unit spotted (because they fired), another American unit surged forward, attempting to close into "firefight range" (how A Sergeant's War handles assaults/close range fire).  The squad of 6 men, with a Squad Leader, moves forward into a hurricane of German defensive fire.
The squad moves up.  The red marker is there to remind me a firefight is intended; firefights happen after movement.

The other German units around the field use defensive fire to support the other LMG team.  Again, they need 3+ to hit; this roll yields 2 hits.

The Americans take 2 casualty tests---they roll 2's, which means 2 casualties, ouch!

Now for a bunch of morale tests!  They Americans take 2 tests for the 2 hits; 2 tests for the 2 casualties; and an extra test for being in the open, 7 total, needing 4+ to pass.  They fail 3.

Now, the American section has a squad leader nearby.  He can try to "lead from the front".  Each failed morale test can be rerolled---a 3+ means it's a success, a 2 remains a failure, and a 1 is a failure AND the leader is hit by enemy fire in the process and is removed.  In this roll, the squad leader doesn't do too hot---he only recovers one of the failed checks and he's taken down in the process.

The result: 2 casualties, the leader out of action, and the unit has 2 pinned markers (for failing 2 morale checks).  German defensive fire is holding the line.
Now, the Americans try to open up on newly revealed German positions.

The Americans must "acquire" the German targets, because they are well hidden and were only revealed by their own defensive fire.  The Americans must pass quality checks (4+) to spot.  Only one succeeds, so American supporting fire is weak this turn and has no effect.

Meanwhile, the PaK 40 opens up but misses its first attack.

More German fire inflicts casualties and throws one American squad back.

The Americans acquire the German positions and lay down sheets of fire.  However, the German foxholes are good cover and only a couple casualties are inflicted.

The Americans move forward again, but one squad is pinned down.

Another squad makes it into position and starts a firefight with the German LMG team.

The Americans roll 7 attacks in the firefight--one per figure, plus an extra for the attached leader.  The Germans roll 4--LMG teams have 4 attacks in firefights.  The Americans need 4+ to hit (Germans are in cover); the Germans need 3+.  Both sides take casualty tests as normal.

In this fight, one American is hit but the LMG team is knocked out.  The Americans take the position.

Overview of the game

The Sherman's fire at the German LMG team has been masked by the nearby, pinned down US infantry...

...so the Sherman tries to cross the bocage into the field, but is bogged down in the attempt.

More US troops move forward to launch attacks...

But get badly shot up for their troubles and are thrown back

However, on the American left flank, things are going well: a squad has gotten through the German defenses and threatens the AT gun.

Before the Americans take out the AT gun, though, it opens fire on one of the Shermans.  The PaK 40 and the Sherman are equal troop quality (4), so their base to-hit is a 3+.  The Sherman is behind bocage, which counts as cover, so there is a -1 penalty to hit.  The PaK 40 rolls a 4, modified to a 3, so scores a hit.

The Americans roll a damage test.  The AT gun's armor penetration is 4; the Sherman's front armor is 3.  4-3=1, so the Americans subtract one from their damage roll.  They roll a 3, modified to a 2, which is a damaged result.  The Sherman is out of action unless the crew can rally and get the vehicle running again.

A German counter attack tries to throw back the flanking Americans, but is wiped out in the process.

The American platoon leader waits, stuck in the open, for an opportunity to fall back.  When they try to, German defensive fire strikes and kills the platoon leader.

The bogged Sherman finally gets moving, but the Germans launch panzerfausts and knock it out.  

After the Americans successfully overrun the AT gun, the German command section counter-attacks and defeats them in turn...

...but another American attack destroys the command section and finally seizes the position.

With one flank crushed, the Germans withdraw and the Americans, badly shot up, win the day.

The damaged Sherman was abandoned after 2 failed attempts to rally.
The game took me under an hour to play (about 15 minutes to set up) and resulted in 18 German casualties vs 21 US casualties, 1 destroyed tank, and 1 abandoned tank.  The Germans suffered high casualties, but were up against ferocious US firepower.  Two American assaults were defeated before the Americans finally broke through.  At one point in the game, the Americans came very close to their "breaking point," a game mechanic which adds morale penalties if a force has suffered too much damage.

Please ask away if you have any questions about the game. Thanks for reading!


  1. I finished reading the rules last night, and seeing this demo helps clarify the few things I had not yet grasped. I will be setting up a solo game tomorrow night and giving it a go. It looks like I have found the rules I've been looking for.

  2. Steven---Great! Gimme a shout about how it goes. Ask away if you have any questions.

  3. I got to try it out tonight. It took just a few minutes to get the turn flow down, then I was running from the QRS until something new came up. The game is quite properly named, as it quickly becomes a case of leaders getting troops to close, rallying them , or dying in the attempt. My paras drove most of the Germans out of town, and were trying to clear the last house before the halftrack could chew up their flank, when the platoon leader died trying to rally after an unsuccessful firefight. The remaiming Americans fell back, not having the firepower to take out the track with its supporting squad.
    Great fun! i will try an all armor game in the desert tomorrow night.

  4. Steve---awesome! Great to hear you had a good time.