Following a question of how big the unit of resolution for a close assault should be, the answer is “usually a battalion”. There are occasions when a regiment, brigade or even division may close assault, but these are rare: Brigadier Horror-Frackley, when asked during staff rides, how many of his troops he wished to commit to the assault, would answer
“All of them!”
Fortunately for us, the attack at WASHBOARD RIDGE is being conducted by Brigadier O.H. Tidbury (in command 30 October 1940–27 April 1941), who understands the value of reserves.
This 2012 example uses the old NQM method of giving an infantry base a strength of (S3) and has been superceded by taking NQM back to its roots and grouping three (S1) bases into a stand of (S3). See the more recent 2014 Battle of Bir Bar ‘el for the current way of conducting combat :
- 14th Infantry Brigade Comd (s3), Signals Vehicle (s3), Rifle stand (s1) (Defence Platoon), FOO (s1), Limber (s3), 25pdr (s3)
The Brigadier has ordered his anti tank rifles to be left behind as he is facing a reduced (regular) infantry battalion (2nd) from 115th Infantry Regiment:
- 1 Comd (s1), 3 Rifle (s3), 1 81mm Mortars (s3), 1 MG42 (s3)
The plan is for a silent attack on a frontage of two battalions (all regular). The picture shows ammo markers in three different ways. The Beds and Harts (2BH) nearest the camera have three group markers (one is taken off each move if the battalion fires). The York and Lancaster Regiment (2YL) have individual ammo markers, and the Black Watch (2BW) in reserve have a single marker with three green pips on it to remove each move that the battalion fires. The marker to the right has a grid with numbers on it to stick pins into if you don’t like heaps of counters on the table. Move 1 The battalion commander of the grenadiers elects to split his fire onto each of the attacking British battalions; (if a player declared otherwise, I would want to know if the leading companies in defence were cool enough to ignore the enemy bearing down on their position. I would probably allow the supports to concentrate fire but not the lead companies) Because this is a brigade attack, the reserve battalion could lend the supporting fire of its MMG and mortar if it was ordered to. In this case it is not felt necessary, and on the first move, the 2YL wins its firefight, so can close assault in the next move. The Beds and Harts do not fare as well, so their attack goes to ground and grinds to a halt until reinforcements arrive to unstick them (this does not mean that they cannot continue to shoot in the hope that they will win the firefight in the next move, BUT THEY CANNOT CLOSE ASSAULT WITHOUT BEING REINFORCED). Close Assault in the North, move 2 2YL win their close assault causing two pips of damage and receiving none. The two forward grenadier companies that received red pins are forced to vacate their position, being replaced by the two forward companies of 2YL. Note the black heavy die rolled against the Brits to account for the effect of an uncleared minefield in front of the defensive position. In traditional fashion, the heavy die rolled a two! Firefight in the South, move 2 2BH initiate another round of fire with the two grenadier companies south of the ridge. This time they win the firefight and are reinforced by a Black Watch company, so that they can close assault next move. Close Assault in the North, move 3 2YL win their close assault causing two more pips of damage and receiving one. The two forward grenadier companies that received red pins are forced to vacate again, being replaced by the two forward companies of 2YL. Note that they can only carry one ammo marker out of the position with them as they each only have one strength point left. Close Assault in the South, move 3 2BH win their Close Assault narrowly, causing one pip of damage, and noting with relief that the minefield die was an equally miserable one! (Although it looks as if the black die is matched aganst the die below, it is not. It is acting as one heavy die of fire at contact). The grenadier company with 3 red pins on it has no fighting strength left. If it gets another hit before it reorganises, it will be destroyed. At this point, 2nd/115th are forced to take a morale test, which they fail, withdrawing in good order to fight another day. Brigadier Tidbury is content that the position has been taken. He calls for his ‘A’ echelon to come forward and begins the task of reorganising and digging his brigade in before the inevitable counter attack. He will bring forward his transport with engineering stores, anti-tank guns and more ammunition. *Volltreffer (direct hit) – Often shouted on ski slopes when a novice skier has wiped out a snowboarder. **Achtung Schweinhund! Harry Pearson’s eponymous book is highly recommended.