Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Kampfgruppe Normandy - Action at Pont Deux

For me, the childhood nostalgia accociated with 20mm World War Two soldiers is a heady brew.  Names like Airfix, Matchbox, Fujimi, ESCI, Hasegawa and Nitto conjure up vivid memories of my youth, making hamfisted attempts at assmbling plastic models and fighting endless battles accross the bedroom floor.  To this day there is perhaps no pleasure in my gaming hobby, quite like that of a table of plastic soldiers and tanks squaring up for a classic engagement.

Hence my joy at Kampfgruppe Normandy (KGN) reigniting interest in the 20mm scale at my local clubs.  Time to blow the dust off my Americans and return to the battles of Northern France.  Just setting up the battlefield and taking photo's of the troops made my inner 8 year old's heart sing in pleasure!

I set up the battlefield before Mark arrived, and discovered that the Headingley Club didn't have any roads!  I'll have to sort that out.  Otherwise the effect was pleasingly retro.  My force of an American Armoured platoon with support from a squadron of Sherman's and some other equipment was to  to make an attack across the river in the face of initially light German resistance.

I immediately found my force was short on command, and so progress was slow; one section of infantry decamped into thick woodland where a 57mm gun had deployed overnight, whilst another tried to set up a fire position by the bridge.  Shermans' lumbered forward to put suppressive fire on the opposite bank.

However, I carelessly exposed one of my tanks to a flanking shot from the only German tank on the field at the time.  Mark's Stug easily punched through the weak side armour of my 'Ronson'.  On my next turn another Sherman moved to a hull down position on a slight rise and started to trade shots.  But it's ineffectual 75mm rounds had no luck at the range against the slabs of German plate.

Meanwhile my infantry were getting bogged down by enemy artillery and machine gun fire.  I began to respond with fire missions from 4.2 inch Mortars and the arrival of an M16 AA Half Track in the anti-infantry role; but German reserves were arriving too.

A Tiger tank and two more Stugs!  Of course as far as the Americans were concerned it was all Tigers and the reports down the radio were claiming that we'd encountered a Waffen SS Regiment!  A solitary M10 took a brave shot at the tiger and then ran off to try and deal with the Stug on my left.  Dice were not on my side for much of the game; as this roll in particular showed; I only needed threes to hit:

The M10 destroyed a stug, and Divisional artillery requests successfully brought down 105mm fire on the Tiger, stalling it's advance.  But similarly my own infantry were pinned down in the woods, and the best they could achieve was to pepper the open woodland ahead of them with everything they had.

And besides, by now German light troops, and SDKFz 222 and infantry were dashing into my rear lines and soon all my tanks and guns were destroyed.  The Americans began an unsurprising, ignominious withdrawal in the face of indestructible armour.  Infantry losses were light, but with the hulks of five burning vehicles it was a bruising for our green infantry.

As to the rules; I loved them!  I think the balance in these attack and defence games needs some consideration (I think the attacker needs 50% more points if the defender is hunkered in at the start), but otherwise it all worked quite well.  I also feel it needs some bigger tables to play over to get a sense of range, but it still played pleasingly on a standard 6 x 4.

I'm really looking forward to more games, and it may even tempt me in to a little German force yet again.  No! must resist!!!


  1. Thanks for the report. I was wondering how these rules work.

  2. Great report. I have these rules and they are moving closer to the top of the pile to play, mostly due to AARs like yours!

  3. Nice report. The dice photo looks very familiar, like most of my rolls.

  4. You may wanna join the rest of the KGN crowd here...


    Warwick is there toO!