With the start of a New Year and with the family soon to depart back to Uni and to work, my mind turned to organising a simple solo campaign to be played at my leisure. As with these things there were plenty of options available, but in the end I chose a sort of 'Operation Market Garden' as it was quite some time since my WWII toys had graced the table.
I chose to use one of the Warplan 5/5 maps as the basis for the terrain generation and movement, as most of the work had been already been done on this front. Also it had the added advantage that each square could equate to a 4'x4' board, which has become my default board size for games these days. Movement on the map would be quite simple, with all units moving one map square per campaign Turn, except for Recce which could move two. The whole campaign would be very much narrative driven, but have an overall objective.
I wanted to try and add in some more detail than my previous SCW campaign, just to see how easy it was to do and how much it brought to the table. In this respect I decided to use the weather board from Charles Wesencraft's superb Practical Wargaming book to bring a bit of unpredictability to say availability of air support, how far units could see etc.
As I would be playing the British, I wanted some simple way to generate an enemy, but without me knowing what and were they were. To this end I went down the counters route, with units written on them but deployed upside down and only revealed when spotted by the British. Amongst these would be some blanks too, to add another level of uncertainty. Some units would be deployed at the start of the game whilst others would arrive on random board edges by a standard D6 die roll.
One thing that has never really worked for me has been the Recce rules in BKC stable. Quite by chance one evening I picked up a copy of Battle Group Panzer Grenadier by DCR Brown. This I had bought some years ago after a chat with Jon, one of a group of friends/gamers that meet up now and then, very cheaply off ebay. Not having given it more than a cursory glance I was not only was struck by how similar the current 'O' Group rules seem (well they are by the same author afterall) but how many good ideas they contain within their pages. So after a few read throughs I decided to try the rules for Recce, Ambush/Concealment and random Air Support, again another issue that I had wanted to tackle. They look to be good but the truth will out I'm sure once the campaign gets under way.
So with the broad mechanics sorted, the narrative was the next on the list, which was quite easy to do, given the campaign is inspired by 'Market Garden. A British Battlegroup is advancing forward towards an objective of securing a bridge over a river to allow the advance to continue forward. Having broken through the light German defensive crust, the Germans are rushing units to the area to support those already deployed.
3 x Recce units
1 x Infantry Battalion - A, B, C & D Coy's, each with attached Sherman Sqdns
1 x AVRE troop
1 x 25 pdr Battery
1 x Air Support - Typhoon
1 x Fallschirmjager Battalion -1st, 2nd, 3rd & Heavy Weapons Kompanies, plus Assault Engineers
1 x Heer Kompanie in half-tracks
2 x Volksturm Kompanies
1 x Panzer Schule with Pz III & early Pz IV
1 x Pz IV kompanie
1 x Stug III Battery
1 x Schwere Kompanie (Tiger I & Elefant)
1 x 105mm Battery
1 x Nebelwerfer Battery
The main objective is to secure the bridge crossing in square 8 and then the BUA in square 3.
Insert map image. British units will arrive via squares 22, 23 & 24. German units will start in squares 12 & 19, with possibly one other square to be decided upon.
Well with everything pretty much set up, it remains for me to kick things off in earnest. Real life has prevented the start that I had hoped for a few weeks ago, but I'm hoping to make the first map moves this weekend. Nothing is set in stone so there may be tweaks along the way but I hope nothing too drastic! I'm really looking forward to playing this and hope to post some update soon.
So until then stay safe and keep healthy.