Wednesday 19 January 2022

ATTACK ON LA DUPINERIE, Play-test skirmish game with 'Frontline'

US attacking in platoon-sized action, ‘All Out Assault’ intensity, ‘Secure the Assembly Area’ scenario.

Blue (German) 1. Minefield. 2. Squad + MG team. 3. Squad + MG team. 4. Sniper + MG team. 5. Platoon HQ and runner. 6. StuG III G. Red (US) 1. 1st squad. 2. 2nd squad. 3. 3 squad, FOO and sniper. 4. 3rd squad BAR team and Sherman.

An early of trial for a WW2 skirmish game, working title ‘Front Line’ set at platoon level (with support). Play-testing of the first draft is on-going, but their is a lot to do, as I want it to be really good and offer a very gritty and ‘tough’ game play… high verisimilitude. Anyway, many ideas to try out, some heavily borrowed from work on Nam’68.

This game was a ‘Battle’ scenario in ‘All Out Assault’ intensity (i.e the highest, so heavy fighting, lots of support for both sides), with the US attacking to clear the Germans out from La Dupinerie. Their platoon was a new one, all new recruits, the advantage here being in numbers (so, at full strength with all their gear). The defending Germans were not a full platoon, but more experienced and dug-in under the hedges and with a mixed minefield blocking the road.

Before starting, the US used their preliminary bombardment of 105s on the buildings, but to little good effect, then began to move on to the tabletop along and either side of the lane. 1st squad would hook left through the trees and hedges to try to outflank the position, whilst 3rd squad engaged with suppressing fire up the road, aided by the Sherman, sniper and then the off-table mortars. 2nd squad was the reserve, ready to replace 1st or 3rd squad's job if they got badly hit.

The Germans held their positions and waited, until an MG-34 from the US right opened fire, resulting in return HE fire from the Sherman tank that pinned the MG crew in their foxhole under the hedges, but not before 2 GIs had dropped, hit by the fire. Another was then hit by the German sniper in the building as they moved up the lane. 3 men quickly down.

The US platoon had all deployed and 1st squad was making its way cautious forwards, unmolested. 3rd squad was pinned down and then hit by German artillery as it slammed down into the cornfield and lane, resulting in a few more casualties and more pinning, including the mortar FOO who had scurried forwards from his Jeep (left back in the lane) and was now hiding in the ditch. The US quickly needed their support fire against those hedgerows and buildings. A second MG-34 had opened fire and lane was now a very unhealthy place to be, cross-fire!. The US stretcher bearer team came forward to try and aid, but was also sent cowering into the hedgerow by MG and sniper fire. It was hot on the right.

Now out of supporting IDF, the German platoon HQ dispatched a runner. These can carry a message to company HQ to ask for more fire, it takes an extra D6 turns once the runner leaves the table edge to reach the HQ. He rolls a 6, so a long way to run to ask for more mortar fire. Meanwhile, the Sherman tank had unpinned (from the arty stonk) and was hosing down the hedge ahead with MG fire. On the German table edge, their first reserves arrived, a StuG. It rumbled up to the hedgerow and took aim at the Sherman, which in return failed to spot it… oh-no! (advantages of StuG's low profile!). The Sherman crew were obviously too focussed on blasting the hedges. The StuG fired and and scored solid hit on the Sherman turret. Before the Sherman could react, the StuG had reloaded and fired again, with a second shell hit on the hull this time. We rolled and both shells defeated the armour, so 2 penetrating hits. The first wrecked the Sherman’s main gun and wounded the gunner. The second was catastrophic, ammo detonation. 3 crew managed to bail-out as the fireball ripped through the tank, but the driver the radio-op were trapped inside, and killed.

Meanwhile, overhead a P-47 raced in and strafed the hedges and crossroads with its many machine guns. This resulted in pinning a German squad, but not the StuG.

Despite the air support, the fiery loss of the Sherman was enough for the US attack today. The platoon pulled back, the lane to La Dupinerie was just too hot. The platoon had lost 9 men (not including 2 tank crew), almost all from 3rd squad. The Germans had lost, err… nobody… not 1 casualty. Hmmm??

Well, I really like that the losses seem something closer to realistic, but the Germans, in good cover in defence were very tough, too tough maybe. That needs re-balancing, the defender needs to feel under pressure as well, and here they didn’t. They could just sit tight, blast away with MGs, the sniper and then the StuG and the US advance just stalled. To counter that, the US never got their mortars in the action and were unlucky to lose the Sherman so quickly, in a flurry of good dice rolling by the StuG (it needed 6s to hit and did it twice!). 

La Dupinerie was still very much in German hands… pullback, shell it, and try again tomorrow! 


US FORCES                points        MV    Notes
Recruit Infantry Platoon        161        19    see Quirks
Bazooka Team            10        3    3 men
Sniper                    5        0    1 man
(Stoic Recuits)

Platoon is: PHQ - 5 men, 3 Rifle squads - 6 men, 3 BAR squads - 5 men, 1 Bazooka team - 2 men, 1 Sniper - 1 man

Platoon Quirks
Flaw: Fatigued, -2 to MV
Advantage: Extra Supplies. All have ‘extra ammo’ for ammo tests. +5 points

Support (5 max)
Stretcher Bearer Team        8        3    2 men, Medic
57mm anti-tank gun+ tow        47        3    6 crew, in Reserve
M4 Sherman                52        4
Mortar FOO + Jeep            19        5    2 men

Off-Table Fire Support (4 max)
105mm Preliminary Bombardment    54        0    4 tubes
Interdiction Artillery Bombardment    20        0    3 dice
On-call 81mm mortar battery        38        0    2 tubes

419 points, 37 MV


Hardened Grenadier Platoon        177        29    see Quirks    
Platoon is: PHQ - 4 men, 2 rifle squads - 5 men with 1 Pzfaust, 3 MG-42 teams - 3 men.

Platoon Quirks
Flaw: Under Interdiction Fire, -1 off-table fire support choice
Advantage: Venerable Sergeant. His squad is Fervent +5 points

Support (5 max)
Sniper+Observer                13        4    2 men
Stretcher Bearer Team            8        3    2 men, Medic, in Reserve
StuG III G                    58        3    in Reserve

Off-Table Fire Support (3 max)
Pre-planned 105mm
artillery bombardment            72        0    4 tubes
Pre-planned 81mm
mortar bombardment            15        0    2 tubes
Artillery Interdiction Bombardment    20        0    3 dice

Small, high density, mixed minefield    20        0    10x10, 4+
Foxholes for 11 men            22        0    3+ cover

410 points, 39 MV

La Dupinerie battlefield, Germans this end, US far end.

German riflemen lurk in the hedges and wait the arrival of the US troops, after the brief 105 shelling had ended.

GI arrive in the field, leading the Sherman and quickly draw machine gun from the hedge ahead. Time for all hell to break loose.

German artillery impacts on the lane, and makes more of a mess of 3rd squad.

The FOO team runs for cover and gets a special counter, Good Cover, so his new ditch is obviously deep. Good position if he could get unpinned and get those mortars firing.

Two teams of 1st squad work their way left, but never got to attack the end of the German position. Too much carnage back on the lane.

German platoon HQ's runner is off, to request more mortar support... and he rolled a 6, so a long run.

StuG sneaks into a firing position as the German MG team is unpinned and opens fire again.

Sherman 'Indian 2-1' brews up... StuG got the drop on him... 

Jabos! A P-47 stafing run isn't enough to break the Germans. They still hold La Dupinerie.


  1. Looking very promising. I'm pleased to see some depth to the rules with quirks, hit locations, runners etc.

    1. We want lots of this, it ain't just going to be deploy and fight. More emphasis on other stuff, like medics, runners, ammo resupply, etc. Detail not in a larger scale game.

    2. Looking forward to it, with yourself and Piers at the helm no pointless faff either.

  2. Looking good, just my cup of tea.

  3. yep, 6x4 for a medium sized game.