At CanGames 2001 we ran "Across the Meuse" WW2 skirmish game using The Face of Battle Rules.

Note: Across the Meuse is a scenario from Skirmish Campaigns. You can download the scenario at:

Skirmish Campaigns: Across the Meuse

The scenario is also in the France '40 scenario book published by Skirmish Campaigns. A TFoB conversion for the scenario can be found at:

Skirmish Campaigns to TFoB conversion chart


Sedan, France - May 1940

Comments: At first I thought this scenario might be a little too large for a convention. I alloted 5 hours to play and 6 players. I usually run 4 hour scenarios with 4 players. This allows me to watch everything and play a good, solid game. Although we were tight for time, and had 6 players, it played smoothly and the players and myself were very satisfied with the outcome. Four players were complete newcomers to TFoB, yet grasped the game very quickly. As with most convention scenarios, after the first turn, the players were playing the game without my assistance. If I was to play the scenario at a con again, I would make the decks smaller (~40 cards) instead of 65. 65 cards is a big deck for 6 players! I would have divided the forces a little differently, assigning all the German armour to one person, instead of splitting it. Finally, I revised the Skirmish Campaigns-to-TFoB conversion chart. You can download this chart on the TFoB site here.

French Player 1 - F1

HQ
FOO
Sniper (optional support)
2 MMG
1 25mm Anti-Tank Gun

French Player 2 - F2

Infantry
1 MMG
2 25mm Anti-Tank Gun

German Player 1 - G1

Pioneer Squad
PzKpw IIIe
T-38 (I didn't have another PzKpw II).

German Player 2 - G2

Pioneer Squad
PzKpw IIIe
PzKpw IIc

German Player 3 - G3

HQ
Infantry Squad
88mm Anti-Tank (optional support)

German Player 4 G4

Infantry Squad
MMG Squad

Pre-Game

The French secretly recorded their unit placements on the map. They had to split their MMG's and ATG's - one in each building. The French forces anticipated a concentrated attack, but could not be sure of where. The guessed the far north side along the table edge. They used their 2 pre-plotted OBA location markers on position {1} and the swamp. The German forces then placed their units. The two d4 Pioneer placement rolls resulted in a 1 and a 3. German Player 1 (G1) placed his forces on the {1} starting position between the river and the wire. G2 placed his Pioneer squad on {3}. G3 and G4's units were placed directly across the river from {1} to support the Pioneers and follow up on their assault. The two tanks (Pz Kpw IIIe and Pz Kpw IIc) from G2 supported the lone Pioneer squad at position {3}. The 88mm gun was placed by the house on the hill to provide fire into the bunkers and the wire emplacements. The French had guessed correctly - the main attack was along the north table edge. The French then placed their forces. The 3 MMG's went to bunkers 1, 4 and 5. The 25mm ATG went in bunkers 2, 3 and 6. The German player rolled a 3 on the Stuka attack and knocked out bunker 3 with an ATG gun.

Note: The setup took about an hour. Which is long, but I wanted to give the players time to determine their own attack and defence strategies. Normally I would pre-set the forces.


The initial setup. Germans on the left, French on the right.


French Infantry Squad and support units prepare for battle.


Calm before the storm. The Germans prepare to cross the Meuse.

Turn #1

The French drew fantastic cards at the beginning of the turn. They immediately opened MMG fire lanes from bunkers 4 and 5 into G2's Pioneers. The heavy fired quickly finished off most of that squad. G1's Pioneers also took MMG from bunker 1 fire but were very lucky and suffered only 1 or 2 casualties. G1 was also being fired at from the French Infantry squad between bunker 1 and 2. Even though the Germans were moving most of their force across the river, the French were determined to knock out the Pioneers. The Germans started to get good cards. With most of G2's Pioneers either INC, KIA, or suffering morale problems, G2's attack had ground to a halt. The G2 player fired the 37mm gun from the Panzer IIIe but did little damage against the bunker. G1 was having trouble deciding to blow the wire with the DC, blow the wire with grenades or cut the wire. After a few grenade attempts, G1 fatigued his men to the wire and started to cut. One 1" section was cleared by the end of the turn. G1 also opened fire with the twin coaxial MG's of the Panzer IIIe (in the middle of the table) at the MMG in bunker 1. He also opened fire with the bow MG on bunker 1. Bunker 1 also drew fire from the T-38. This good use of the tank's MG firepower provided great covering fire for his Pioneers. The 88 fired twice at bunker 2 but did no damage. Player G3 used his LMG section to provide covering fire for the remainder of the squad crossing the river. He set up a fire lane into the French Infantry between bunkers 1 and 3. At the end of the turn the 4 rafts had crossed to the east bank and the Germans could now disembark.

Note: Turn #1 one took over an hour. Again this is a long time, but there was a lot of combat and 4 new players.


Another look at the German river-side forces.


The destruction of the Pioneer Section at {3} by two MMG's.

Turn #2

The Germans were concerned: they had lost G1's Pioneers, they had cleared almost no wire and now their forces had landed at position {1}. A lot of the German MG fire lanes had to be ceased in order to accommodate the landings. One German soldier walked into a T-38 MG fire lane and was killed. To make matters worse, the French suceeded in contacting the OBA. A dice roll indicated the artillery will arrive next turn (#3) on position {1}. With some relief from the MMG at bunker 1, the Pioneers removed fatigue markers and cut two more 1" sections of wire. The 88 decided to fire at a wire section and cleared another 3" at {1}. The French ATG at bunker 6 fired at G2's Panzer IIIe and scored a hull hit. The round killed the driver and radioman. The French sniper began to pick off soldier's exiting their rafts at {1}. Having cleared enough wire, G1's Pionners began a slow assault on bunker 1. The ATG in bunker 2 fired on the T-38 and missed. The small arms from the landing soldiers and the Pioneers were reducing the French infantry squad between bunker 1 and 2. F2 opened fire with the MMG from bunker 5 on the Panzer IIc and set it on fire. French player 1 was running out of targets. The main German attack was out of his limited field of fire from bunker 6 and 4. The 88 fired and knocked out some of the ATG crew at bunker 2. The French player moved the MMG in bunker 4 to a side firing slit to attack the main force. The German attack had picked up some momentum with a loss of only 10 men. The French could not sustain the rate of casualties. Things were starting to look good for the Germans.

Note: This turn took less than an hour.


The French evacuate some wounded soldiers.


More wounded soldiers.

Turn #3

The MMG in bunker 4 started to burst fire at the soldiers leaving the rafts and in position {1}. The 88 fired at the MMG and the player roll an 03 and knock out the MMG. The French crew at bunker 1 were under heavy fire and could not inflict any casualties with the MMG. The Anti-Tank gun crew at bunker 2 were also INC or KIA from fire at the river. The ATG at bunker 6 decided to fire at the 88. It missed. This drew the attention of the 88 crew and they swung their gun around to face bunker 6. G1 had pouched a single pioneer to the edge of bunker 1. He was prone and vulnerable only to small arms fire from the remaining French infatnry forces. F1 started to send his men quickly towards the capitulating north flank. Some more soldiers of G3 and G4's infantry and HQ squads were killed by small arms fire. The landing forces were doing well despite the harrasing fire. The 88 opened fire on bunker 6 and killed some crew. The French sniper did his best to kill soldiers at the river. The French leaders on the HQ unit were busily sending troops to the flank. A soldier in bunker 1 dropped a grenade out the slit and rolled very, very bad. The greande caused a courage check on the soldier. The Pioneer also attempted to drop a grenade inside but failed. The artillery arrived but some rounds landed in the river. The Germans suffered a few casualtlies. The artillery also blew some wire.

Note: This turn took less than an hour. I made the Pioneer take a skill check to place the grenade inside the bunker since he was fatigued, shaken, under fire and the confined opening.


The Panzer IIIe is hit by the ATG in bunker 3. The driver and radio operator are killed.


French forces man the trenches.

Turn #4

The Germans pressed their attacks on bunkers 1 and 2. They kept fire on bunker 4 and 6. The French forces were under fire from numerous machineguns. The Pioneer at bunker one made his skill check and dropped the grenade inside the bumnker. The explosion killed all remaining occupants. The French infantry between bunkers 1 and 2 had been eliminated. The remaining Pioneers and the German Infantry and HQ squads pressed their attack towards bunker 1 and 2. The F1 player's forces had not arrived before the Germans entered the Trenches.

Note: We were close to the allotted time so I declared the game over.

A German victory!


Tanks in action.


Close-up of the German Pioneers at the wire.


T-38 and Panzer IIIe .


German 88mm anti-tank/flak gun and crew.