The game for me was secondary to getting the Caen Campaign pre game admin done. Everyone playing the campaign will be taking the role of a sergeant, and leading a single squad of soldiers. Each side also has a Captain (Hauptmann), and a Lieutnant (Oberleutnant) so 4 players have to wear 2 hats. I went for an Oberleutnant as opposed to a Leutenant for the German officers but should the Oberleutnant suffer a fatality he will be replaced with a slightly junior rank of Leutnant.
The Campaign Players are as follows (In no particular Sargent order):
- Captain P Wade.
- Lieutenant I Hannington.
- Sargent Downs
- Sargent Capps
- Sargent Smith
- Sargent Hannington
- Sargent Wade
- Sargent Wheeler
- Hauptmann T Vade
- Oberleutnant A Relf
- Unteroffizier Relf
I started with the Captain Ranks and got them to mark on the campaign map (a simple grid of named squares) where if they were lucky they could call in Pre-planned Artillery barrages or keep their artillery in a counter-battery role. They also had to mark on the map where they thought the platoon objectives should be. (As several of those concerned read this blog I can't go into too much detail. At Sargent level they just would not know certain things at company level).
The bulk of the work fell on the lieutenant ranks, particularly the German one. They had to assign any platoon level assets to squads. Platoon assets include things as diverse as Binoculars and medics. Each squad will be put into separate sealed envelopes so that no officer can give all the assets to the squad they will control and starve all the others. I don't think any of the players would, but this removes the temptation from them. I needed to know if I would need to paint anything special for the campaign and needed to be able to buy it should I need to. As it happens the painting yes the buying no.
The Lieutenants also had to place their squads on the map without knowing which squad they would actually get to command. Again this removes the temptation of trying to give themselves either an easy path to victory or a greater level of challenge.
I should say a couple of words about the Map. As mentioned above it is a simple grid with each square representing a VERY abstracted section of country. Each section has a one or two word title/description, for example "Cherry Orchard"or "L-Shape Field". The kind of objectives a squad could expect to receive.
There will be no Tanks! Yes I know a WW2 game with no Tanks that must surely be some form of heresy! The realty of the situation is that Tanks in WW2 were not that common. We tend to think they were much more common as wargamers than they really were. At Caen for example the Germans had about 50 tanks but 17,000 men. This figure does not take any account of other armoured vehicles such as half tracks or mobile artillery, but it does help to show that tanks are rare for the common soldier to encounter. There are several reasons we do think we should have tanks in WW2 games is the tendency of both still and cine photographers to capture them on film. Yes Tanks are cinematic and lend a feeling of awe. That said each platoon does have an anti-tank capability, a single Piat for the Canadians and a Panzerschrek and Panzerfausts for the Germans. These are held at platoon command and therefore most squads just won't get to see them let alone use them.
In conclusion: we are now ready to start and the first game will be a very complicated affair as it will be a rules learning experience with I hope 6 plays as well as me as a umpire all playing on one table. (maybe two).
That's a lot of waffle about where we are in the campaign at the moment. I hope you might have fond it of some interest. All the best and I should start showing the troops to be used on Friday. 90% of the Germans are done and about 1/2 the Canadians.
Till then all the best Clint.