October Piquet FOB WW2 Game

October 27, 2010

Last Saturday, Mark and I were able to play a bigger game of Piquet Field of Battle WW2. We had tried a regiment per side before, but this is the first time we were able to play with a complete German panzer division against a reinforced British armoured brigade. I played the Germans and Mark played the British. The scenario was based on the early battles of the 1942 Gazala campaign.

I have included the scenario and unit cards we used below. Bascially we play with some significant changes. First, we play 1 turn = 2 hours rather than the rules as written 1 turn = 8 hours. We also include engineer and antiaircraft companies. Finally, we determine our combat and defense dice differently with a unique die for each company modified by a die roll determined change of Down 1 to Up 2 to the basic dice. We also use unique ranges for all companies rather than the generic 10/20″. I think the 10/20″ would work for vehicles, especially later war, but 20″ (2000 yards) is well beyond the ranges for many weapons, such as machineguns and small arms. Even though some infantry companies included 60-81mm mortars, they were so few in number that I determined their firepower insignificant at this scale.

Here is scenario and the data cards we used:

Gazala Scenario 1.2

Gazala Cards 1.2

This picture shows the basic set up with the British on the hill (the brown part):

Here I am wondering what the hell I will do with my panzer division:

The game started with a German advance, well sort of, I rolled a 1 for my leadership die on a couple of my Move cards and my division sat around for awhile. Once I got moving Mark skillfully used his armored car battalions to attack my flanks, destroying an entire antitank battalion and capturing my division headquarters!

The Germans advance (that is the antitank battalion in trucks that got wiped out):

British armored car battalion hits the poorly protected German rear (the German artillery regiment is in the rear of the photo):

The rest of the German division advances:

Finally, I deal with one of the British armored car battalions with my recon battalion:

The German tank regiment leads the attack:

And they are met by three battalions of Grants and Stuarts:

The German infantry slowly advanced, protecting the division flanks with their integral antitank guns:

Finally, the British took enough casualties to take a morale check, but the Morale card would not turn up! In the end, the first card played in turn 3 was the British morale card and they failed and retreated away. The Germans were supposed to break the British by the end of turn 2, so it was a marginal British victory.

All in all, it was a very fun game to play and the results seemed historical to me. Infantry is good at holding terrain but not so good at attacking, especially against tank companies. Artillery was effective against static targets, but hard to get to land on moving targets. Tank combat was more lethal, but Mark skillfully used the benefit for being up hill to reduce my ability to inflict casualties on his forces. The use of cm instead of inches worked fine as well, we had plenty of movement in the game.

The game clearly has excellent campaign potentials. I just need to work out a few campaign ideas and then we can try either a North African campaign (Gazala or Crusader) or the southern half of the Battle of the Bulge (which will require more rebasing of my later war figures). To my surprise, I found it fairly easy to run a 40+ unit division and Mark had no problems at all running a 25+ unit reinforced brigade. Like the other Piquet Field of Battle products, this is clearly a great set of rules and a major improvement from the older Piquet system.

Photos and game room/table provided by Mark, figures and scenario provided by me.

Piquet FOB WW2 QRS

October 27, 2010

Click on the below link for what I am using as my QRS for Piquet Field of Battle WW2. It includes my modified charts for engineering and some other changes.


Piquet FOB WW2 Basing

October 27, 2010

I’ve spent the last couple of months making bases and rebasing my 1/285th scale (6mm) figures for Piquet Field of Battle WW2. I’ve got about 2/3rd of my figures for North Africa rebased and about 1/10th of my Western Front 1944 figures rebased. I went with cm scale in that 1cm on the table equals 1″ in the game rules. That allows really be battles to be played on smaller tables.

For vehicles and guns I use 1 1/4″ square bases. Infantry bases (including engineers, machinegun companies, and motorcycle troops) are based on 1 1/4″ wide x 3/4″ deep bases. The command units are based on a variety of base sizes. Sub-Commanders (battalion headquarters) are based on 1″ square stands. MCG Commanders (brigade and regiment headquarters) are based on 1 1/2″ square bases. Finally, Commanders (division headquarters) are based on 2″ square bases. In our game last Saturday, this basing worked really well and I am happy with it. Once warweb sends me my order I can keep rebasing my figures.

An example of an infantry company base:

An example of a tank company base:


An example of an artillery battalion base (I use battalions for all but the British who have their artillery on battery size bases due to their batteries being 8-12 guns rather than 4-6):

Here is an entire British artillery regiment in action:

An example of a battalion Sub-Commander/Headquarters:

Two examples of Regiment/Brigade MCG Commanders/Headquarters:

German battalion, regiment and division commanders/headquarters:

The figures are mostly GHQ with a few from Heroics and Ros.

Thanks to Mark for taking these pictures. I could not even figure out how to turn on my wife’s camera! The light green tint in some of the photos comes from shadows rather than paint.

Piquet FOB WWII Basing

May 2, 2010

I have finally had some time to think about what I want to do with Piquet Field of Battle WWII. In the end, I’ve decided to play it at the scale written (1 stand = 1 company) and with my 6mm figures (mostly GHQ and Heroics and Ros). The first project will be a campaign of the German attack to take Tobruk and beyond in mid-1942 (the Gazala Campaign). As I have been researching the Orders of Battle for that campaign for about 15 years (yes 15 years – a bit anal about this to be sure), I have all that I need in terms of who had what and the like. Also Gazala is a bit more manageable in terms of size of campaign area; much more manageable than the 1940-41 Italian invasion of Egypt and British counterattack (Operation Compass), which maybe the next campaign. Gazala is also about the right size for what I want to try, not as big as El Alamein and not as small as the 1941 German initial advance.

I also have most of the miniatures I will need. A few need to be painted, but I am pretty much have all the raw figures. I have opted to go with the centimeter basing, that is the frontage of most combat companies will be 1 1/4″ or roughly 3cm. That way 1 cm = 100 yards or 7″ =  1 mile. I am basing the armored, artillery, and truck units on a 1 1/4″ 1 1/4″ base with one vehicle or 1 gun and about 4 crew. For infantry, machineguns, and motorcycles I am using a 1 1/4″ x 3/4″ base with 4 infantry or 2 machinegun teams or 2-4 motorcycles. I am keeping my headquarters units different sizes than the combat units to avoid any confusion. The battalion headquarters will be on 1″ x 1″ stands with 1 vehicle and 1-2 figures or 2-3 figures (if entirely foot mobile like airborne battalions). Regiment and brigade headquarters will be on 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ bases with 2 vehicles and 2-4 figures. Finally, division headquarters will be on 2″ x 2″ bases with 3 vehicles and 3-5 figures. The vehicles on battalion headquarters tend to be jeeps, cars, scout cars (like a Daimler Scout Car) or PzKw Befs. For higher headquarters, the vehicles used tend to also include a radio truck or halftrack and other assorted vehicles. I also use markers for battalions with the heavy weapons bonus and these are either mortars or infantry guns on a 3/4″ x 3/4″ base or a heavy weapons vehicle, like a mortar carrier, on a 1″ x 3/4″ base. 

Back to World War Two

March 22, 2010

I have been at an impasse with my attempt to use Piquet Field of Glory World War Two for my games. Basically it was an issue of scale, not scale of figures, but scale of unit represented in the game. The World War Two version of Piquet is designed for each player to run part or all of a full division. That is a very effective scale for reproducing much larger military operations like campaign games that replicate a full North African campaign or the Battle of the Bulge. The downside of that scale is it doesn’t work well for smaller campaigns, like the many I had done a great deal of research on in my Command Decision days. I still have nearly complete campaigns (still unplayed) for the western part of Crete 1941, Operation Battleaxe 1941, and a hypothetical Axis invasion of Malta in 1941 or 1942.

Another factor was I like the scale where 1 stand = 1 platoon. I think this is what attracted me to rules like Command Decision or Spearhead. I never loved either of those games, but I did like the scale (which is why I played them off and one for several years). I think that comes from my interest level as a player. My friend Ian Croxall once stated that for every period he had a vision of what that period meant to him, and he wanted his games pitched at that level. For Ian, World War Two was at the squad level, but his marvelous War of Spanish Succession games were designed for each unit to be an infantry battalion as he identified with each battalion. I found his concept very revolutionary to me in terms of getting what I want out of a game. After all, the games are for fun aren’t they, so they need to be designed at the level that you have fun playing. For modern periods, that meant a battalion to a brigade per side for me. I think that comes from my own military experience, which included some time as an infantry battalion plans officer (the guy who has to do the dirty work of making battalion-level combat planning). I never worked at the division level so that level of gaming seemed a bit obscure to me. That helped me realize that I wanted to see battalions and brigades rather than divisions in action. I also found that my days as a platoon leader made me interested in a squad level version of Piquet Field of Battalion World War Two as well, but that was a secondary interest.

That means my initial efforts will be oriented to producing a variant for Piquet Field of Battle World War Two with each stand representing a platoon rather than the regular company per stand scale. I have done the basic revisions, but need to produce orders of battle and data charts (yes I like those and I know that they are the bane of many wargamers) to try out the system. However, I do want to be able to still play these rules with each stand equals a company and maybe even each stand equal a squad. That means I need a flexible basing system that is not tied to only one scale. At first I was a bit perplexed at how to do that until I reread the “Basing and Unit Representation” part of the Piquet Field of Battle World War Two rules. I noted that it stated “Multiple stands can also be used to make up each unit, as long as the total frontage is roughly approximate to the values given below.” That gave me the idea that I can use multiple stand units for the one stand = one company game and one stand = one platoon or squad for the lower level games or even one stand = one company for really big multi-division games with the original rules scale. That was the flexibility I needed to continue with this project (maybe I overthink all of this a bit too much!).

After thinking about what base size to use, I have settled on all units having a 1″ frontage with my 1/285th or 6mm scale figures. The depth of the stands will be figure dependent, but basically 1″ for most vehicles and guns, 1.5″ for really large vehicles and guns, and .75″ deep for infantry units. I can put two stands together and play the regular game scale with a 2/3rds size ruler; basically 1″ will then equal 150 yards and all measurements will have 2/3rs of an inch equal to 1 inch in the regular game. That works for me as I don’t have a massive game table and the 2/3rds scale will allow me to have a big battle field with only a moderate size table. The older I get, the less excited I get about trying to play on a 6′ x 9′ table. I think I like playing a game sitting down rather than standing for hours. I can also just use 1 stand for the company level game and use centimeters for measuring. I can also use this basing for a platoon level game in which 1″ equals 100 yards/metersSo that’s where this project is now. I’ve got to rebase figures to 1″ wide stands and work out some charts and miscellaneous rules, but once I do get it working I will post the revisions here. That may take some time as work and life keep interrupting my wargaming