Monday, 9 April 2012

Training the New Recruit in Through the Mud & the Blood (II)

On Sunday we continued training Alfredo, our new apprentice, in the dark arts of Through the Mud & the Blood, the platoon-sized WWI wargaming rules of the TooFatLardies factory. I choose the second training scenario of the companion booklet Stout Hearts, after the successful training game that we played 3 weeks ago.

This second scenario is a classical assault on a two-line trench position defended by the Germans (1 HMG and 2 rifle sections). The British player commands a full infantry platoon (rifle, Lewis gun, bombers and rifle grenadier sections respectively) with a moppers-up section following the main force; the objective is to secure the position, consolidating the flanks to avoid surprise German attacks, and to dislodge the HMG entrenched in a bunker.

Gaming Table

The game started with a 2-turn artillery barrage that unfortunately for the British did not cause much harm to the German defenders: a mere one causualty, a few shocks and one rifle section scared enough to look for cover in its dugouts. The British player decided to launch a concentrated attack in its left flank, to avoid the field of fire of the German HMG (we allow for a restricted 45º front fire arc in bunkers).

A feared German HMG in a bunker
The quick advance in blinds took the first British sections into automatic spotting range of the Germans blinds in just a couple of  snifters (turns), developing into an intense exchange of fire...

Scottish Rifle Section Advancing which the British (as ususal) suffered the most being caught in the open at short range by the German fusilade...

Huns section firing
... and the rifles section being totally wiped out by the fourth turn of game. However, the sacrifice was not in vain, as this heroic action allowed the rest of forces to reach the trench line in short time.

British captures first line trench section
The German commander decided then to pull back the rifle section to the second line and to deploy the HMG out of the bunker into the trench parapet, aiming to make an enfilade fire on the British. The British player was really lucky as the HMG was not activated for several turns in a row, allowing them to advance into charge with light casualties ... although not always at the desired speed...

A resoluted bomber section moves at charge... 2 inches!!
The British bombers section finally closed on the first German rifle unit with the expected result (unit disbanded) as it was under the command of the platoon leader himself (level IV Big Man adds several dice to the attack from its senior rank as well as from the "fervour"-initiative cards- put in the attack).

Victorious bomber section taking a second chance
Drunk with glory, they decided to repeat the feat (some guys there looking for medals) and charged again (despite 4 shocks accumulated in the first attack) into the remaining German rifle section (which coincidentally happened to be under the leadership of the German Lt -senior Big Man commander-).The British run out of luck soon, were defeated by a difference of three casualties, thus breaking and running like hares to take cover into the next shell crater.

Look at those British running now!!
 Then it was time for the British moppers-up to act...

I would not like to bump onto these guys after dark
...not failing to his reputation and well known killing instincts, resulting in the second German section being put out of action with 4 casualties and 10 shocks accumulated.

At this time, the balance of forces was of 1 HMG section for the Germans (a small 5-crewed but deadly unit) already in the parapet and about to make flanking fire at short range on the British: on the British side there were a section of rifle grenadiers, well far out from the trenches in the flat lands (and with the grenades allocation exahusted by then), the moppers section still recovering from the last combat (too many shocks accumulated) and the Lewis gun section in good order but with only half of its allotment of men.

Ha, ha!!  Tommies you're dead meat now!!
As the outcome was uncertain, we decided to play a couple of additional turns... first card coming out was the Lewis gun fired on the HMG...and  I could hardly believe their luck: it achieved 3 kills and 4 shocks... the HMG crew break and flew... leaving the gun behind.... and of the game decreed.

A British victory again in the very last moment, like in the previous game.

Lessons learned
As I said at the beginning, these training scenarios from Stout Hearts are very useful to grab the key game mechaniscs and also to learn the basic historical tactics, as each scenario has also a good analysis of how to undertake the action using contemporary tactics.

I think the British player made a good initial deployment in columns and was right to move fast into the trench line, covering the most exposed terrain until the trench line in short time, although at the cost of a full rifles section.

At the other side of the scale, the rifle grenadiers were deployed probably too late, the Lewis gun was also inefficiently used (although it gave the final victory to the British, albeit in the last and ONLY lucky shot made across the whole game), the bombers were put at an excessive risk and the platoon commader was overexposed.

Having said that, the scenario was fun and the Germans showed to be a tough nut to crack, but both players really enjoyed the game and it was a perfect end for this short Easter break (extending in Madrid from Thrusday to Sunday).


  1. Muy bueno el AAR, con un terreno genial; muchas gracias por compartirlo. En cuanto al Reglamento, parece muy bueno e interesante, lo que nosotros (Club Comandante) estamos buscando. ¿Serviría para jugar batallitas en Gallipoli y Palestina?

    Un saludo.

    1. Juan, M&B es skirmish total (escala 1 figura = 1 hombre) aunque si buceas en el blog verás que los hemos utilizado en ese teatro también (y en Africa!).
      Para esos teatros, no obstante, hay otro reglamento (If the Lord Spares Us) específicamente dedicado a Oriente Medio y a nivel división.

    2. Hola Juan
      Completando lo que comenta Anibal Invictus, alias Benito, la base del reglamento "If the Lord Spare Us" es el batallón.
      Hace cosa de un año hicimos alguna prueba y es facil montar partidas a nivel divisionario con número limitado de figuras.
      Muy apropiado para el teatro de operaciones de Oriente Medio.
      Hay excelentes escenarios en diferentes "especiales" de los Lardies.
      Tienes un índice de éstos en su foro de Yahoo.
      Cordiales saludos


    3. Muchas gracias a los dos por vuestra pronta y completa respuesta. Ya tengo el "If the Lord...", que está muy bien, pero a nosotros nos gusta jugar escaramuzas; con muchas figuras, pero escaramuzas. Después de hacer mi pregunta estuve "huroneando" en el blog y descubrí el escenario de Palestina, así que, acto seguido, pedí a TFL el reglamento, para empezar a leerlo. Lo que llevo leido hasta ahora me gusta, y es fácil de adaptar a Palestina.
      De nuevo, muchas gracias por vuestra ayuda.

    4. Juan, contacta conmigo por correo ( para lo que necesites de aclaración de cuestiones. Aquí las claves son (1) montar un mazo de cartas que se adapte a las características nacionales de cada ejército y (2) ser conscientes de que esto funciona bien con partidas de no más de 50 figuras por lado (o traducido en número de mandos, unos 8-10 máximo por bando)

    5. Hasta 50 figuras es perfecto. Muchas gracias por el ofrecimiento; en cuanto empiece a tener dudas, me podré a preguntar.
      Pues hala, otro tema que vuelve a tomar impulso...

  2. Excellent report and photos. I am still yet to have the chance to check out these rules but they do sound pretty good.

    1. Don't hesitate and give them a try. Richard Clarke has done an outstanding job to create a skirmish set of rules after diving in depth in contemporary documents and training manuals.

  3. Excellent AAR (as always) well done sir ;-)

    1. Thanks Richard, I owe you the article on the Stalingrad campaign, no fear; I'm still waiting the respective commanders after actions reports

  4. My Fav WW1 the model of the Iron Beast is great great pictures too

  5. Hola Benito, una consulta:
    ¿Crees que este reglamento se podría usar para la Guerra de Cuba?

    Un saludo.

    1. Me cuesta verlo para ese periodo. A ver si sacan el de la Guerra de los Boer. Alternativamente, échale un vistazo a The Sword & the Flame

    2. Bueno, me refiero a la guerra contra los yanquis. Como se emplearon tricheras, alambradas y rifles de repetición Mauser, pues veo ciertas analogías.

    3. Lo veía más en plan guerra colonial, pero no conozco el detalle la verdad. ¿Y algún reglamento que cubra la guerra ruso-japonesa? Es contemporánea y me suena que habia mucho de almabradas, trincheras, etc (lo que he visto en un comic de Corto Maltés, la verdad)

    4. Je, je... es que a eso iba. La guerra Ruso-Japonesa es como los inicios de la 1ª GM. Primero pensé en el If The Lord Spares Us para grandes batallas, y lugo en el Mud and Blood para escaramuzas, por el mismo motivo: rifles de repetición, ametralladoras, artillería de fuego indirecto.

    5. Pues adelante entonces con M&B, tendrás que imaginar cartas nacionales adecuadas a las tácticas que se empezaran (y que desconozco). Lo que imagino es que de haber algún parecido será con el primer periodo de la IGM (hasta 1916).