Friday, June 12, 2009

15mm Rapid Fire

Nobody could say that my gaming experiences aren't varied, at least for me. In the last few weeks, I've played 1/285 modern, 28mm Napoleonic, and painted 54mm AWI, 28mm Napoleonics and Carlist Wars. On Wednesday past, I was invited to a 15mm WWII Rapid Fire game in the bustling burg of Cambridge (the imitation in Ontario, not the original). I've played a few games of Rapid Fire over the years and always enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I've never played them often enough to get a good feel for them. This will become apparent in my description of Wednesday's game.

Overview of the table.

My friend Vidal provided all the terrain and figures for the game ( and the venue and wine) and the scenario was lifted out of the Wargames Illustrated 259, Saint Clair sue L'Elle. In a nutshell, a small German infantry force is holding a town and river crossing that, for some inexplicable reason, the Americans want to occupy. This scenario had some interesting elements, not least of which was that there were no armoured all! The Germans had two infantry companies, a battalion HQ element, one medium machine gun and a Pak40 with limited HE rounds (5 to be precise). The Americans fielded a three-company infantry battalion with various support elements such as mortars and off-board artillery assets (although these last never were utilized). Although outnumbered significantly, the Germans have the advantage of very close terrain. I opted to take the German force, which in retrospect may have been only the first of my many mistakes! I had several options for deployment in the face of the Americans crossing the river (seen at the top of the photo above). I was able to deploy anywhere up to the river (right in the face of the American deployment on the other side of the river). I saw that the close terrain could allow me to defend in depth and perform a continuous fire and retire movement with my infantry, hopefully wearing down the attackers and drawing them back onto the fire of the Pak40. A completely sensible option, no? Given the disparity in numbers and the terrain? Absolutely! And that's probably why the wiring in my brain immediately discounted that option. Instead, I decided that I'd deploy my entire force (less the command element) on the two forward hills and pound the Americans as they crossed the river and began to deploy on my side of it. Maybe he wouldn't be expecting it! Well, it seemed not to matter.

The Americans have crossed the river and are starting to pour fire into the German infantry on the hill opposite.

My MMG did surprise him but with only minimal effect. One infantry company fired at some phantoms in the brush along the river (he moved a dummy marker and I used opportunity fire to waste my fire on nothing...arghhh!) and the Pak40 caused only small amounts of damage as well. So much for my surprising barrage of fire. My next move (and the prudent one) was to retire and regroup and continue the defence. Unfortunately, I waited too long and my infantry was caught by he converged fire of the entire American infantry battalion. When I finally got my stuff moving back, there was precious little to move. The majority of my force was eliminated or rendered powerless in the first three turns. The Americans only had to walk up to the town, defended only by my battalion command (no need to elaborate on the outcome of that).

The game was a quick one (mainly due to my faulty deployment and subsequent sloth in retiring) but enjoyable nonetheless. I'd like to play with these rules more to get a better handle on them. In fact, I've bought enough 15mm figures to field a Soviet Mechanized Infantry Brigade. But unless I want to play in a Flames of War tournament with them unpainted, it may be a while before I get them on the table. Maybe Vidal could host a few more Rapid Fire games to give me some incentive (wink)!

My venerable American opponent, Shane, before the action begins. He looks as though he knows what's about to happen!

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