Tuesday, 30 August 2016

WW1 Operational Rules

Image result for the somme battle

This Saturday is our first attempt at trying a WW1 operational game.  Russ has completed the trenches and barbed wire as well as providing the British and German troops and I promised to put some thought into the actual rules, so here goes;

As there are only three of us we will use half the operational map, 1C, 1D, 2C, 2D & 3B.  We will use exactly the same terrain as the WW2 games - Russ can you make sure you bring your photos to enable a fast set up on Saturday.

In future games when we use the full set of tables I will change the river line to a marsh with a ridge line for WW1 battles.

As it's the 100th anniversary of the Somme the British will be attacking.  This will be the first time that the British will have been fully deployed and Russ has been busy getting them ready for the "Big Push".  A full corp of Pals battalions ready to knock the Hun for Six!

The Germans will deploy a full division in defence - although there may be more reinforcements if the British prolong their preliminary bombardment.

I propose Russ takes charge of the British and Mark takes charge of the Germans.  Russ, you are more familiar with your troops.  I will umpire or step in if Mark is baby sitting cats or surprised by a sudden wedding!

We will use the rules as outlined from Page 56; please familiarise yourselves with this before Thursday when we will conduct the preliminary bombardment.

Instead of six areas we will bombard by table, but there will be limitations in range;
100mm< = 1x table adjacent.
101mm - 149mm = 2x tables
150mm> = 3x tables.

British artillery attached to brigades will partake in the preliminary bombardment.

Each turn the Germans can move reinforcements from one table to another.  Each turn the British will bombard every target type chosen on a particular table.

Mark, you will need to allocate troops secretly.  Trenches, barbed wire and other defences will be indicated prior to the preliminary bombardment.

Both of you will need to plan any preplanned bombardments for when the game begins on Saturday.  Again give it some thought for Thursday.

On page 59 there is an example of play that is basically a blue print for Saturday - please read it.  I was going to set the game in July 1916 so we won't be using the late war additional artillery.

Russ, you will need to attack in waves as outlined in 15.2.6.  Your troops will be attacking from the table edge so you can set them up off table.  I will let you choose to use a brigade in line followed next turn by another or split a brigade into first line and support line.  This may effect your command and control.

Command zones for Divisional commanders are anywhere upon the table on which they are situated.  Dug in divisional commanders can command units on adjacent tables - obviously important for the Germans but does allow the British to dig in and expand their area of occupation (this would require engineering!).  Corp commanders can control subordinates on adjacent tables or x2 tables if dug in.


Should have added these rules in the original post;

Objective points are 1 for 1st line tables, 2 for 2nd line and 3 for third line.  Russ will place an objective marker on the first line of tables, both Russ and Mark will place one each on the 2nd line and Mark will place two and Russ one on the third line.

1-4 points = defeat.
5-6 points = tactical win
8-9 points = strategic breakthrough.

Mark gets to put a continuous line of barbed wire across the first line tables.  He then gets a further 4 feet that he can place anywhere.

There will be a continuous trench line across all five tables.  Mark can add extra if Russ has any leftover!  German artillery may be on table and dug in or in bunkers.

I hope that gives enough to think on.  Please familiarise yourselves with these concepts, the rules and the troops you are commanding so we can hit the ground running on Thursday.  I will go through all of this at my house on Thursday - Jon and Phil if you are free please come along.


  1. Thanks for posting this Ian. It gives me something to work to for Thursday / Saturday.

    I think we all know that there is a lot more planning to be done on the WW1 games and this needs to be done carefully so as to ensure each side stands the best chance of success.

    Mark will use a 3 regiment triangular division from the 1916 list. My troops all match this OOB from the rule book and I have all divisional and regimental attachments available.

    The challenge will be doing the preliminary bombardment on Thursday. I think that Mark you will need to draw out all the tables and allocate where all your trenches and wire are placed so we can remove these after the bombardment has taken place. I have just under 13 ft of trenches plus 2 x 2 MG Bunkers and 2 artillery forts to use. I have 18 ft of barbed wire. Please bear this in mind when you build your defences. Each table is 4ft wide.

    I would like to use my tanks but I doubt I will get away with that!

  2. Sorry Russ, tanks were not used until September 1916. Once we have the test game sorted we can always do a 1917 battle of Cambrai operational game. As long as Mark indicates on which table his fortifications are being placed then thats all we need for the prelim bombardment. I also need to add objective rules for the above - please look out for the amendment!

  3. No worries Ian. Just a note I only have enough trenches to cover 3 tables so we will have to use the older trenches I made and make do for two of the tables if that is okay?

    Plenty of wire though!

  4. That's fine Russ. Hopefully Mark will be inspired to buy a couple of tables worth of trench!

  5. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!
    no please stop your killing me !!!