It’s been a while since there was miniature gaming in the garage. Last June to be precise, when work wasn’t draining my valuable leisure and hobby time.
So today I welcomed Jonathan back to the (rather chilly) garage for a game of Battlegroup.
I first got the Battlegroup rules early last year, when I was looking for a use for my Flames of War Late German army. FoW had fallen out of favour with me, I found the rules very abstract and overly complex. Especially when i moved up to 3rd edition.
I also lost a lot….and i mean a lot. So I was in the market for a new rule set to make use of my collection.
Battlegroup has been building a very good reputation over the last few years, and I had picked up the small A5 rule book at a gaming show back in 2015 followed by the Overlord theatre book. I’ll do a fuller review of the rules at a later date, once I’ve become more familiar with the them through further games.
So after a 9 month break since our last game, Jonathan and I decided to give the rules another run through with a small 300 point battle. This is squad level and would be fought over a small village in France.
The German group have broken off from the main 21st Panzer Division and are attempting to defend the village from attack. A group of British Commandos supported by 3 Sherman tanks are determined to push through the nearby forest and force the Germans to retreat from the village.
The German group is made up of a Panzer Grenadier Platoon with a PaK40 AT gun in support and a senior officer group. And a platoon of 3 Panzer IV Gs.
The British included a numerically superior platoon of commandos with Bren gun support in each squad and a senior officer group. They were supported by 3 Shermans.
The German force began to the south of the village. The infantry quickly made for the cover of the buildings while the Panzers moved into position along one of the roads into the village and behind a sandbag barricade.
The British deployed outside the village with the commandos dug in behind sandbags and the Shermans moving from the farm to the northeast.
The British send the Shermans forward towards the village and take some long range pot shots at the Panzer sitting on the road. The Panzer is quickly destroyed.
The German PaK40 is dug in at the crossroads waiting on the Shermans arrival. Multiple shots all fail to hit their taraget as the Shermans pass the farmhouse and pile on to the village.
The Shermans use the buildings for cover so the PaK40 fires HE rounds at the dug in commandos for minimal casualties.
The next turn a Sherman hits the road, opens up with a single AP round and takes out the PaK40.
Some German infantry make it to the village buildings and head to windows to scope out the Commandos dug in to the north.
One squad is caught crossing the street in the next turn by one of the advancing Shermans. It opens up with its MGs and takes out the nearest squad. The MG squad behind make it into the building in the nick of time!
Meanwhile a second Sherman has flanked the Germans to the east and picks off a second Panzer that had been sitting behind a ruined building. This is looking like a walkover for the British.
Finally the German senior officers decide on some bold manoeuvres. They head into the village in their armoured SdfK251 half track towards a small group of commandos that have edged up into the nearby forest.
At the same time the Germans in the buildings spot the movement in the trees and open up from 1st and 2nd floor windows. Those damned Brits are just too well camouflaged and only take a single casualty.
Having spotted the German muzzle flashes at windows, the Commandos open up with Bren’s and rifles and rip through a squad leaving it with 1 survivor.
The remaining Panzer finally gets into a fighting position and flies at the flanking Sherman, a single shot blowing it apart!
The celebrations are short lived as the Sherman in the village responds with a well aimed shot at the Panzer, immobilising it and causing the crew to run away panicked. Let’s hope the Furher doesn’t hear about that act of cowardice!
With all the German armour taken out, and the infantry holed up in buildings, the commandos decide to make their advance into the village.
The next couple of turns was a demonstration of the commandos co-ordinated ability to take the German infantry apart. Squad 1 opens fire, successfully pinning the German Grenadiers, second commando squad storms the building, assaults with grenades flying, and completely wipes out pinned unit.
Rinse and repeat!
The remaining German force fled the village, having taken a resounding beating from the commandos.
A well orchestrated assault by Jonathan. Plenty of terrible dice rolls by myself, and poor use of the much better armed and armoured Panzer IVs.
An enjoyable re-introduction to Battlegroup. We have a few rules queries to check out and there’ll be some poring over books looking at different unit options for the next game.
Next time should see a much slicker game and possibly a few more points added.