Vive La France

It is August 1914, and a French counterattack develops momentum against a lone German division.

This game was created using the Great War Spearhead Scenario Generation System. It was fought between Nick and Robin Sutton in Christchurch, New Zealand in August 2008.

The game was set in August 1914, and the system set a weakened French Corps the task of attacking a German division. The French corps had two understength infantry divisions to which Army command had allocated a regiment of Corp 150mm howitzers.

The German infantry division was, on the other hand, on its own. The German commander had only the assets available to his division with which to hold the French counter-attack. Things didn't look good.

The armies were all composed of Irregular 6mm figures and guns. The French army had been painted by rules author Shawn Taylor, while the Germans were painted by Robin Sutton.

The table at the start of the game, seen from the French right wing. The French plan was to push direcftly against the Germans on their left, and sweep around this right flank. The French commander had anticipated that the German defences were weaker against his right - he was right. The German commander had refused his own left, focussing on defence of the river crossing and the town and village areas on his own left.

The game objectives can be seen marked with green counters: the three contour hill on the right foreground, the bridge, and town sector in the middle gorund, and the village and town sectors both seen in the far ground.

A quiet French village nestles in the French countryside, it's residents already under the heel of the dreaded invader, little knowing that their stone houses would soon see their glorious Poilus return, driving the dreaded 'boche' from their homes. The buildings are a mix of Hovels, and home made cottages.
Another small French town, situated in the centre of the battlefield; this time both buildings are of Hovels manufacure. The green counter marks this town sector as a Game objective.

The game began with the German defenders pushing forward to capture the village sector that was vital to the defence of their right. They also moved onto the two contour hill to the right of the village setcor. It seemed important to hold this high ground in order to dominate the approaches to the village, but it was devoid of cover, and fact overlooked by the German commander, an error that was to cost him dearly.

The German 1st Regiment seen here advancing on the German right. The race was on to take the high ground, and the copse covering the high ground. The two German companies tasked with taking the copse won the race. The French advance can be seen on the right.

The French commander realised that his advancing infantry would need some pretty serious artillery support if they were to force the defenders from the hill and copse to their front. A hurried call to corps resulted in a rain of 150mm shells landing amongst the German defenders. The results were devastating, and within two turns there were no defenders left on the hill capable of offering any resistance at all.

The remains of the German forces occupying the high ground on their right, after some treatment from the French Corps 150mm howitzers. This was just one turn of fire. After the second turn there was no-one left alive on the hill.

There were still two German infantry companies holding out in the copse to the front of the high ground, and the French commander sent to companies in to winkle these defenders out with the bayonet.

The French forces can be seen here at the moment of contact (the view is from behind the German defenders): they had charged forward in the finest example of 'a l'outrance'. Unfortunately the defenders in the copse were not as shaken as the French commander had believed. Few of the valiant Frenchmen survived to rejoin their battalion.

However the mounting casualties finally took their toll on the German 1st Regiment, and the survivors fled to their rear, falling back upon their second line firmly ensconed in the town sector and woods behind their original position.

Meanwhile the third regiment of the French left flank division was heading across to help in the left flank attack. However their movement brought them fairly across the front of the German left flank regiemnt.

The German third regiment is seen here well entrenched to hold the German left flank, vital to the German plan to hold the bridge over the river. They were dug in, with some light wire to protect them, and had a regiment of 77s on-table in support. The FOO controlling this regiment spotted the French infantry regiment crossing their front and quickly brought down some devastating fire. The infantry themselves were also able to contact the divisional 105mm regiment, and added this fire to the onslaught.
The French regiment can be seen here attempting to cross the front of the German left wing, taking casualties as it went.

The main French onslaught was yet to come, as the Corps' second division swept around on the French right, attempting to take its right wing objective (the heights dominating the German left), and to eventually take the bridge. However German defensive artillery fire now shifted to the most advanced French Regiment, causing increasing casualties.

The French right wing division seen here sweeping around, bearing down like a freight train on the lone German regiment defending their left. Would they hold, or would they be swept away in this glorious French onslaught? They crouched in their shallow trenches and waited.

Finally the effect of the sustained German artillery fire was seen as the French infantry regiment crossing the German front broke and fled. Heading straight for the gap was the German reserve regiment, committed earlier as the German commander anticipated this gap.

The gap opens up as one of the French regiments breaks. To make matters worse for the French commander, the adjacent regiment (to the left in the photo) was almost at breaking point as well.. this was a large gap, so tempting.
Almost the last straw, as the French left began to weaken as it pushed forward against the German right. In game terms this regiment too was one stand away from its first morale check. Infantry companies of this regiment are seen here suppressed by German fire, with fewer stands than had been there just a turn before.

However time was on the French side, as the four hour playing time for the scenario came to an end. The French totalled 8 victory points (2 objectives and two contested, and one broken German regiment) to 5 victory points for the Germans (one objective, two contested and one broken French regiment). If only another couple of turns could have been fought, then who knows what would have become of the gap that had appeared in the French dispositions. Of course this report was written by the German commander, but you'd never know!!