Saturday, September 04, 2021

Trench Hammer Game

After more than four years from the painting of the first figures in the Warzone box set I bought, we finally played a full game with them. To be more specific and precise, we played two games of Trench Hammer, once with Adrian playing the role of the attacker, and once with me playing the attacker, against the defenders played by FG.

I gave the defenders two regular squads, a HMG, and the choice of a specialist squad. For the attacker, I gave them two regular squads, two LMG squads, one specialist squad, and one support option.

Adrian chose an Assault squad and a Mortar for his options. He pushed his squads forward in a headlong rush towards FGs' defensive positions. Unfortunately, he rolled poorly on his activation rolls and his movement, the result of which was his squads were all destroyed before any of them could make it to assault range.

We then reset and I chose to field the Walker (armoured car stats) and a Grenade-launcher squad. I rolled much better on activation, and was able to present FGs' defenders with more targets than they could shoot. The walker also drew a lot of fire, and was able to assault one position and cause the defenders to flee, after which they were gunned down. The walker then advanced on the HMG position, but by then I had lost most of the infantry squads, which made it impossible to secure a victory.

I really enjoyed the game. Rolling for number of activations and distance when running gave the game a randomness that kept the players on the edge. I found myself using the "Move Out!" order almost every turn to try to cross the killing ground to make it into assault sooner.

I feel the game managed to recreate the deadliness of crossing open ground against rapid-firing weapons, and assaulting an enemy in a prepared position, and how specialist troops can help even the odds. I do feel that the openness of our set-up did not sufficiently play up the issues with firing arcs, and this was more so after I watched this video:

The game is of course not historically accurate, but it did get me thinking about the use of wire obstacles. In most games, obstacles exist to slow the enemy down, but their other role of channeling them into killing areas is not well-represented as the rules are not restrictive on firing arcs, or do not give a bonus for pre-ranging or pre-registering fire.

I thought about a few options, and I think I will try the following system:

Wire obstacle sections are 6" in length. When placed less than 6" apart, the line between two sections is considered a killing ground.

A unit may cross a wire section by moving up to it and ending its activation there. It may not Redeploy (run) across a wire section. During its next activation, the unit is placed on the other side of the section, and end its activation. This means that crossing a wire obstacle will expose a unit to enemy firing for at least two turns, and more if the player rolls poorly on activation.

A unit may cross a killing ground as per normal, including using the Redeploy order. However, a unit that does so will suffer a -1 to hit penalty (in addition to the -1 penalty for moving in open) until its next activation.

I have ordered some wire obstacle sections off eBay, and will give these rules a try when I can get them painted.

Until then, here is a posed shot of some of the figures and terrain pieces I have in my collection.

1 comment:

SteveHolmes11 said...

It's an excellent point regarding wire.
Block the easy avenues of approach, then register your firepower to cover the gaps.

Some larger scale rules for WW1 and WW2 allow a prepared defender to pre-register certain points for artillery strikes.
Lower level games tend to neglect this, yet we know that the infantry heavy weapons did register range and direction to target points.
This went as far as ranging shorts, range cards and wiring parties charged with placing range boards if time and enemy passivity permitted.

These days we have lasers.