Sunday, 5 November 2017

Retreat from Mons, 1914


A rare, grainy film shot of advancing German infantry, 1914
 
Colin, Denis, and Jospeh were kind enough to endure my 'Retreat from Mons, 1914' game (using 6mm Irregular Miniatures) held at our local Trumpeter's Gaming Society meet-up on Friday night (Nov 3rd).
 
Here's the advance blurb on the game:
 
It's August 24th 1914, and the BEF is in full retreat -- in spite of them giving the Boche a bloody nose along the Mons canal. British General A.E.W. Gleichen's 15th Brigade (with De Lisle's 2nd Cavalry Brigade, in support) is desperately holding the left of Smith-Dorrien's II Corps. Should they cave in, the entire BEF will be enveloped by von Armin's IV. Armee-Korps. Smith-Dorrien has tasked 15th Brigade to cover his retreat. "Kindly lay down your lives", says he. But I say, must they, really?
 
So, with Joseph running the BEF, Colin (as 8th Div. commander, General der Infanterie Ernst II. Herzog von Sachsen-Altenburg) and Denis (as 7th Div. commander General der Infanterie Julius von Gross Genant Schwarzhoff) doggedly threw their battalions forward.
 
In a nutshell: Joseph gambled on placing all of his forces on his right, which is exactly were both German divisions attacked. Had the Germans attacked the British left it would have been a walk-over, but instead the game resulted in a typical 1914 bloodbath. The Germans units were savaged, but still managed to hold on to their forward positions. They initially had trouble bringing their considerable artillery to bear, but eventually began ranging-in, and the BEF showed signs of cracking towards the end of the game. Never-the-less, Smith-Dorrien managed to escape.
 
Notable incidents included the death of von Schwarzhoff, who was killed by the first (misdirected) shot of the game -- much to the great glee of Joseph --and a successful cavalry charge by the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards against a mounted(!) bicycle unit of German Jaegers (not sporting, that). 
 
My thanks to all who played.
 
Colin's 8th Division, advancing on concealed British positions (flags)
 

Denis moves up his 7th Division
 

 
Units of the BEF's XXVIII Bde. RFA, lie in wait.
 
4.Th├╝ringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 72, backed-up by Mansfelder Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 75.
 

Anhaltisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 93 and Dragoner-Regiment Nr.7 move up on the left
 

The Irish Dragoon Guards spy a unit of bicycle mounted Jaegers conducting a recon, and...
 

"Ha! Ha! Got ya, then!" They charge to glory, and to Joseph's immense delight.
 
It's not all one-sided: The 1st East Surreys are being annihilated by German artillery, machinegun, and rifle fire at 'The Mine of Death'. The white cross is a spotting round marker for much German hate. The 1st Bedfordshires, out-of-frame on their right, and have been shot-up and are falling back. L Battery RHA, has been destroyed.

 
 

Another rare shot of advancing German Infantry (what do you do when you've got a lousy picture? Photo-shop it, of course!).
 
The rules we used were a variant of Osprey's The Men Who Would Be Kings, cheekily called The Men Who Would Be Fodder. The original required little modification; the biggest change being the inclusion of a spotting chart and rules for Indirect Fire.
 
The game itself was based on an article appearing in Wargames Illustrated #322, which featured a game by Worcester Wargames Club. Cheers!
 
 


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