Monday, 27 June 2016

Battle of Guise

In May over the Spring Bank Holiday which happened to coincided with the centenary commemorations in France and Germany of the Battle of Verdun. We got together at Central London Wargames Club  to play a Great War Spearhead game. The scenario was based around a French counter attack on the 29th August 1914 during the closing stages of the battle of Guise. At this stage of the battle the French attacked in an attempt to turn the German flank and cause a withdrawal in their centre.

Using the online trench map archives at the library in McMaster University I located the area on a contemporary War Department Map. Which meant we could approximate the terrain on the table top. The scenario involves the French assault on the German Flank in an effort to turn it and force them to break off their offensive. 

I was the French. My tactics left a bit to be desired. I forget field artillery had the ability to fire indirectly. To add to this I insisted on driving them through a wood which is never a good idea! 

As a result my infantry attacked with no support. And suffered horrendous casualties. 

We did manage a cavalry charge engagement as the two scouting elements found one and other in the centre. Again poor situational awareness was my undoing. My cavalry strayed too close to a German machine gun position which wasted no time pinning one of my cavalry stands resulting in  being out numbered for the charge. Still if was interesting to get into the position for a cavalry charge in the first instance although my cavalry were beaten and withdrew. 

On reflection if we fight the battle again I would be a bit more cautious and attempt to orchestrate the assault more closely with the artillery and shell enemy through out the advance. In an effort to get more pin markers  on the Germans which would give the French a better chance of breaking through their line. However the outcome was basically historical.  

Should we fight the battle again we will see if I've learn't anything.