Some years ago a bought a book on Panzer Tactics by Stackpole Books, which had an image of a German defence in depth position, somewhere on the Eastern Front. Over the years I've always fancied trying something similar, either as a series of linked games on a 4' x 4' table or a one off, but on a 6' x 4' table, with the action slowly moving along the length of the table.
Lately I've been thinking of trying this out again, now that our dining table gives me near as damn it a 5' x 3' surface. Then Jon Bleasdale put up a post that convinced me to give this ago as I played the same campaign a few years ago, but set it in the ACW. So it was simply a case of formulating my ideas into a cohesive plan and getting things onto the table
Rather than setting it on the Eastern Front, I decided to set the action in Italy 1944, with a British force advancing up a valley, having to overcome various German positions along the way. This would give a nice challenge with a pretty narrow front and the defence in depth for the Axis that I was after. A mix of reading and some Google searches led to elements of the British 4th Infantry Division and 21st Tank Brigade for the Allies, with a German Kampfgruppe based around the 1st Fallschirmjager-Division opposing them. This fits in nicely with the historical Allied attempt to breakthrough the Trasimene Line, which the Germans used as a stop gap position before the Gothic Line.
Aside from Google, the following books were extremely useful in sorting out my initial ideas into something more concrete and both come highly recommended.
|A wealth of information is contained in this book, covering NWE, The Mediterranean and the Far East theatres.|
With the broad idea already formulated, I knocked up some sketches for table layout ideas and after playing about a bit with my terrain, came up with the following:
|An overview of the table, with the British arriving on the left hand side of the table.|
|The first German defensive position will be based around this small farmhouse, where the terrain narrows making it hard to AFVs to deploy anywhere but the road.|
|The second defensive position will be to the right of the bridge, which may have its approaches mined. There is a ford nearby which again may be mined.|
|The final defensive position is this town on a hill, which with its commanding view of the valley and stone buildings, will be a tough nut to crack.|
|The view up the valley from the British point of view.|
|The German view down the valley.|
As the game will be played solo and the family has kindly allowed me to leave it set up for as long as nescessary, which is quite a luxury, I have plenty of time to play this out at my leisure. More details on the OOB for both sides will follow, as well as any specific scenario conditions etc, but now I have to pop out for my second Covid jab, which I hope won't lay me low for a few days. So until next time stay safe!