Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Battle of Charleroi - Contemptible Little Armies AAR

This past weekend was the SJGA's monthly meeting, and the featured game was Contemptible Little Armies being run by John. 

The scenario was based on the Battle of Charleroi. After a supposedly "devastating" artillery barrage, the French were to advance in force against a depleted German defensive position. While outnumbered, the Germans were in good cover and started in concealment. The French would have to advance across the open ground before being able to assault the Germans and take hold of the buildings.  

Most of the French force consisted of regular infantry, with a couple units of marines to prop up the assault. Also included in the attackers were a unit of cavalry, an heavy machine gun, and a 75mm field gun.

For the first few turns, the French moved unopposed towards the town.

It wasn't until the French had entered into small arms range that the Germans revealed themselves, firing into the closest opposing infantry squad and causing casualties.

Still, the solid wave of red-pantsed Frenchmen continued onwards.

The rest of the German defenders revealed themselves as the French approached the road. A defending HMG opened fire and another German squad moved forward to the edge of the woods they occupied.

However, the press of Frenchmen was enough to put the Germans on the back foot. The HMG was assaulted and defeated, and the German squad in the woods tried to retreat to a building, only to be left out in the open.

The French continued the assault into the ruined town. The squad of Germans on the right tried to fall back into the building to their rear, but the random roll for movement left them just short of reaching cover. This left they vulnerable to an assault from the French marines. The squad on the right was forced to assault the building that had been taken by the French, and were rebuffed.

However, since the French had finally occupied a building, German reinforcements began to show up. The first units to arrive were two squads of infantry and a small squad of cavalry that assaulted a dawdling French infantry squad.

With most of the German defenders out of the way, the French began to occupy the defenses with the anticipation of having to hold on to the territory they had taken.

The next set of German reinforcements to arrive were two more infantry squads and an HMG, to the unfortunate surprise of the French infantrymen that were holding the walled garden on the edge of town.

With the enemy reinforcements approaching, the French began to move their mauled units back towards their support units, which had been left vulnerable during the attack.

The French commander watched on as his men prepared to defend the town from the encircling German units. 

Unfortunately the game had to end at that point as we had run out of time! But the French would likely have been able to hold the town long enough to ensure a strategic victory had we continued. 

While we got some very important rules wrong (like not needing to roll to activate units, and the choice of either moving or shooting) the group enjoyed the game. John's considering a rematch with the actual rules in use, and I may get a copy of the rules for myself if I can find them at a convention. I've never been a big fan of WW1 rules, but I do find the early part of the war where engagements were more about fire and maneuver to make for great games. 


  1. In your batrep, you mentioned a roll for movement? Is movement randomized in this game or was it due to terrain?

    1. Movement is randomized in general. Infantry moving in close order moves 3d6, while infantry moving in open order move 2d6. You subtract 1d6 for moving through cover (woods, ruins), and being in close order gives a bonus for anyone shooting at the infantry.