Rolling with the punches - France, August 1914

Background

This is the first of two introductory (and fictional) scenarios pitching a small B.E.F. force against a German advanced guard. The aim of this scenario is to provide players with a simple introduction to the Great War Spearhead rules, using small forces.

The scenario aims to recreate the type of situation that might have existed for the B.E.F. as it was forced to withdraw to preserve its flanks alongside the French 5th Army on its right.

It involves a typical defence of a river crossing, inspired perhaps by the Albert Canal, with its steep banks rendering it impossible to cross except at critical bridges.

A small B.E.F. detachment must hold the bridge for 6 moves to allow remaining elements of the B.E.F. to secure a defensive position further south. The situation map is presented below. The river is only crossable at the bridge.

Designer's notes

The action presented here is entirely fictional, and has been designed to allow new players to play a small game with only a few rules parameters to worry about. However the game has some nuances that warrant replay: take care!!

Objectives

B.E.F.: Hold the bridge for 6 turns. The B.E.F. forces start the game with 'Defend' orders, but have not had time to dig entrenchments.

German: Capture the bridge and destroy the British advanced guard. No flank marches are allowed. The bridge may be counted as 'captured' if at the end of the 6th move there is at least one unsuppressed German stand on the south side of the bridge.

Entry points

The B.E.F. can set up no further north that the dotted line.

The German advance guard enters the table from anywhere along the north side of the table.

Terrain

The grid squares on the map are 12" squares.

British OOB

German OOB

Rules learning points for this scenario

  1. Brigaded artillery stands must stay within 1" of each other, and use a separate FOO stand. The FOO is NOT governed by the target priority rules.
  2. The FOO must remain within 16" of the guns in 1914.
  3. The FOO must roll using the artillery response chart, the die roll determined from the 'regimental support' column.
  4. On-table artillery stands may always choose to fire at spotted individual enemy stands.
  5. With defend orders the B.E.F. brigade HQ stand must remain stationary until its orders are changed.
  6. The B.E.F. fighting battalions (but not the MMG stands) have the benefit of the 'mad minute'.
  7. Troops firing at targets moving in the open gain an additional +1 fire modifier.

Suggested scenario variations

Try the scenario with either the B.E.F. without the advantage of the 'mad minute' (perhaps as the Germans advance towards Ypres facing British reserve troops or Territorial units), or use Russians or Austrians instead of British.

Set the river line further back from the northern edge of the map to give the German forces more room to deploy.