On Sunday we played our last game for the year, an early WWI game.
The setup had a battalion each of British, French and Belgian, supported by some cavalry and artillery, fighting a holding action against German advance guard of four battalions, a machine gun company and artillery, cavalry and jager support in the Belgian countryside. The terrain had a mix of features, including farms, a couple of villages, woods, a railway line and a canal (complete with a canal bridge).
The allied forces deployed first across the width of the table, amongst farm buildings, towns, woods and along the ridges. Only those troops visible were placed on the table and at the game's commencement than amounted to the artillery plus a squadron of French dragoons and a company of zouaves that were pressed forward across the canal to observe any German advance from that direction.
The Germans chose to strike the allied right. Two battalions, supported by four HMGs would swing wide and then pivot to the right on a farm building and sweep along the allied position. When the two lead battalions began to pivot a third battalion, supported by the jagers and three HMGs would advance on their right. On the extreme right of the line a weakened battalion, supported by a squadron of uhlans and an HMG would hold the railway line and anchor the left. The artillery would be placed beside a ruined village from where it could support all the commands.
The Germans stepped off on the left, advancing cautiously as the British guns opened on them while the right hand battalion and the uhlans occupied a position between a wood and the railway line.
It was on the German left that the action developed when the first of the British were encountered. A British HMG held a position on the edge of a wood and began to do damage. Bravely a German company stormed forward and managed to drive the machine gunners away from their weapon, but when the Germans pressed forward after them through the wood the MG team held them back with accurate rifle fire.
The Germans soon found stiffer resistance around the farm on the British right where another HMG and a company of British infantry held back the German advance for a few turns before being compelled to fall back into the farm buildings.
Here the fighting bogged down for the rest of the day with the smaller British force successfully holding back two German battalions.
On the German right the allies quickly determined that there was no threat to their left and moved to reinforce their right.
The French battalion moved directly against the Germans along the railway line and after some long range shooting the Germans began to get the upper hand. Two French companies fell back, covered by the Belgian armoured car that sacrificed itself gloriously, but left a machine gun team exposed to front and rear.
The German uhlans saw this and charged the MG team from the flank. To try to save the MG team the French dragoons counter charged, but the German troopers got the better in the combat and routed them. The Uhlans then broke through on the French Zouaves, routing them too. But there the German uhlans ran out of luck. Trapped in the middle of the French force they were cut to pieces.
Meanwhile the German centre got moving. The jagers advanced on the British guns and managed to do some damage before being wiped out. The jager HMG managed to stay in action and finally drove the British guns off. Meanwhile the German centre battalion entered the large wood to their right and found it occupied by two squadrons of dismounted British cavalry. A sharp fight erupted, from which the British withdrew, but only when the Belgian infantry entered the fray. The Germans pulled back out of the wood and reformed.
About this time the British were finally evicted from the farm. The Allies still had about half their force in reasonable condition and decided to fall back to a new position near the town. Many of the German units were badly knocked about and needed some time to reform.
Here the game was brought to an end. And with the game's end came an end to our gaming year.