WWI Action in France

Recently WR was sent some photos of a WWI scenario by WR’s good friends David and Matthew, based out of Long Beach CA. WR has always enjoyed the 28mm WWI action on David’s tabletop so when David and Matthew set up another scenario this past weekend, WR was bummed he couldn’t drive south and toss dice. Superb tabletop scene with their 28mm WWI terrain, American and German miniature collections are having at it. Hopefully David will provide some colorful written commentary about the scenario and forces involved. Till then, the photos themselves speak of the tabletop action. Photos by David.

Update 01/07/17: Additional photos received from David and posted below. Look for the update photo break for the additional photo files. David’s email comment attached to photos copied below…

…. I should make Mathew’s BC write the after action report… the problem is his colonel is still holed up in the church and coordinating the efforts to take the town. Matthew just cleared the German HMG covering the crossroads. It’s the building with the smoking livery doors. The German crew took a point-blank shot from the French 75 mounted on the Schneider. But being good Germans, one young Soldat crawled back to his post, crewed the weapon and continued to keep the MG08 firing before selling his life dearly for the Fatherland. He continued fighting despite taking fragment wounds from American rifle grenades attacks and multiple .308 rounds before eventually bleeding out. The Kaiser, however, will be awarding him the Iron Cross for pinning down two American platoons for his gallantry displayed. A credit to the fighting spirit of the Imperial Army.

Miniatures: Germans are Renegade and Great War figures. Americans are a mix of Brigade and Great War.



Continue reading

Belleau Woods 1918 – Hill 142

Time for something a bit different from the normal rabbit horse and musket era gaming habits. Last weekend David K. invited several gamers to his Long Beach residence for a little “over the top and through wheat fields to the Hun’s woody hill we go” scenario gaming. David arranged a scenario called the Franco-American assault on Hill 142, near the famous U.S. Marines Belleau Woods battle several days later. The rules of play were the OOP Warhammer “The Great War” and “Over the Top” supplement plus David’s painted 28mm WWI miniature collection.


A brief overview of the historical action from quick source Wikipedia… and YouTube link LionHeart FilmWorks production:  Belleau Woods 1918 LionHeart FilmWorks.

Attack on Hill 142
At 03:45 on 6 June, the Allies launched an attack on the German forces, who were preparing their own advance. The French 167th Division attacked to the left of the American Marine line, while the Marines attacked Hill 142 directly to prevent flanking fire against the French. As part of the second phase, the U.S. 2nd Division were to capture the ridge overlooking Torcy and Belleau Wood, as well as occupying Belleau Wood. However, the Marines failed to scout the woods and, as a consequence, they missed a regiment of German infantry dug in, with a network of machine gun nests and artillery.

At dawn, the Marine 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, commanded by Major Julius Turrill, was to attack Hill 142, but only two companies were in position. The Marines advanced in waves with bayonets fixed across an open wheat field that was swept with German machine gun and light artillery (mortar) fire, and many Marines were cut down. Captain Crowther commanding the 67th Company was killed almost immediately. Captain Hamilton and the 49th Company fought from tree to tree, fighting the entrenched Germans and overrunning their primary hill objective. At this point, Hamilton had lost all five junior officers, while the 67th had only one commissioned officer alive. Hamilton reorganized the two companies, establishing strong points and a defensive line against the German counter-attack.

In the German counter-attack, then-Gunnery Sergeant Ernest A. Janson, who was serving under the name Charles Hoffman, repelled an advance of 12 German soldiers, killing two with his bayonet before the others fled; for this action he became the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in World War I. Also cited for advancing through enemy fire during the counter-attack was then-Marine Gunner Henry Hulbert.

The rest of the battalion now arrived and went into action. Turrill’s flanks lay unprotected and the Marines were rapidly exhausting their ammunition. By the afternoon, however, the Marines had captured Hill 142, at a cost of nine officers and most of the 325 men of the 1st/5th Marine battalion.

Hill 142 upper left marked and Belleau Woods June 1918.

Hill 142 upper left marked and Belleau Woods June 1918.

So, how does David’s Hill 142 scenario play out? Well, bloody in the short eleven turns of play but followed the historical action. The U.S. Marine correspondent, W. R., crawling back from the new front lines, filed his photographic report below.

The warm morning of June 6th, a date known for another famous U.S. & Allies beach landing, saw the lines of U.S. Marines and French poilus advancing from their dirt road start line. Their plan was to mass on the left side of the scenario table and rush the wooded hill. Simple WWI tactical planning it seemed. but did place two German platoons, and their HMG team, out of position till they marched over from the German left flank later in the scenario. Germans pre-deployed their forces using a map drawn hidden placement system. WR also elected to have two platoons and their Company command group held in reserve. Several improvised positions were available for WR to place anywhere within the German lines. These positions gave +1 saving roll for defenders behind the protective cover.

The German player can decide if the platoon starts on the tabletop (hidden) or roll for arrival. Each turn, starting with turn two, roll d6. If a six rolled the entire reserve has arrived and can march in from tabletop edge anywhere along the German rear zone. If roll failed, next turn a 5 or 6 for arrival…. then 4, 5, or 6 progressive steps till roll made.


Opening scenario with the French in foreground, then the Marines along the dirt road start line. The hidden Huns lurk in the tall hill beyond.


Well hidden Huns… look for the improved linear position lengths on the hill. The Hun deployment was done from a drawn map till they opened fire or moved.

Continue reading

1914 WH Marne scenario

Several weekends ago WR and Daniel had an invited opportunity to play a Warhammer “The Great War” 1914 Marne scenario from David. Sort of fitting since the actual WWI started in earnest that same month 100 years ago. WR has never played WH “The Great War” (TGW) before but is experienced with the Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) and Clash of Empires (COE) game systems. So playing like an “ancients” player, the WWI German army I figured was in for a big shock but somehow seemed to work for the situation.

David and his son Sam have been collecting a small collection of 1914 era 28mm miniatures and been looking forward to a collection sized scenario game. David devised a meeting engagement action over some French ruined farms, a shallow river bridge and the BEF arriving to save the situation of the “plucky” French. WR cannot really go into or write about the TGW game rules or scenario as his inexperience with the game rules clearly showed during our scenario play. Overall the game was very interesting, close running and a true WWI bloodbath at conclusion.

German deployment and advance towards the French river outpost

German deployment and advance towards the French river outpost. Looks ancients like by WR’s starting setup.

German forces involved (WR and Sam as dice roller): The German roster basically was a weak battalion representation with attached Jaeger platoon and some support mortar and MG sections.

Battalion Commander Colonel with two soldiers and Battalion Major as his staff officer.

“A” and “B” Companies: Each company had one Captain with two soldier aides (flunkies) and three large full strength platoons. Each fielded platoon had 18 soldiers. Total of 57 soldiers per company.

Jaeger platoon Captain with four soldiers and one platoon of 18 jaegers.

Support sections had two MG sections (four crew each) and two light mortar sections (four crew each also). All told the Germans numbered 156 soldiers.

French forces involved (Daniel and David): A rostered detached Company with battalion staff encouraging the rear guard.

Battalion Commander Colonel with three soldiers.

“A” Company with Captain and three soldiers and three platoons. Each platoon had 11 soldiers. A MG section was attached. Total of 40 soldiers in the French company.

Arriving BEF forces (Daniel): Rostered weak English battalion with veteran Highlander platoon attached.

Battalion Commander Colonel with two soldiers.

“A” and “B” Companies: Each company had captain with two soldiers and three weak platoons. Each platoon had 9 soldiers. Total of 30 soldiers per company.

Highlander platoon of 9 soldiers. No support weapons. All told the Allies had 116 soldiers.

The soldier stats and equipment rating looked surprising like the Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) game. WR scanned the roster sheets and included them for viewing at summary below.

The French rearguard defending the river bridge.

Starting positions of the French rearguard defending river bridge. Another French platoon in farmhouse off picture. WR must neutralize that MG post early on. Red trousers alert!

Continue reading