Category Archives: WW1

Squarebashing at WMMS

game set up – before the doors open

This year at WMMS BAD wargamers put on a Squarebashing Demo, abstracting the 1st Day of the Somme. Peter the orgainsers notes were –

The massive casualties sustained on July 1st 1916 are seared into the public consciousness and for many define the futility of and incompetent conduct of the war. The truth is a little different. For Britain this war was effectively its first full scale engagement in the modern era. Despite earlier successes British armies had never been the main forces in European warfare. The French experienced similar losses in the opening encounters of the conflict at the battle Charleroi and by the opening of the Somme had suffered over 1 million battlefield casualties. Britain had launched offensives at Neuve Chapelle and Loos in 1915 but neither had the scale or weight of expectation that the offensive the Somme department bore
The British Empire had spent the previous two years building up its forces from the scale of the “contemptible” levels of the BEF to the point where large sections of the front were taken up by the newly raised four armies. The Bavarian forces making up the Second army in positon on the Somme
front found their daily ration of harassing fire switched largely to shrapnel as the British moved into place.

The first day saw 13 British divisions and 11 divisions assault after prolonged artillery preparation and met with mixed results . The battlefield divides nicely into a western British zone and a southern allied assault. The western offensive met with no real success and a massive butchers bill accounting for most of the 57,000 allied casualties of the day The southern front however resulted in a real defeat of the German forces by the British Fourth Army and the French Sixth Army and a significant penetration of the German defensive positions it was here that most allied effort would be directed in the future.The battle-campaign ground on in attritional warfare until November or February depending on who you listen to.

Why the difference in results on the first day? Many reasons are put forward but the themes we will try to represent are

1. The British forces were short of heavy artillery capable of smashing the dugouts in which German infantry and machine guns were held. The French had far more on the southern front.
2. British artillery shells had poor fuses resulting in forty percent duds. In the end we adopted a French design.
3. The southern front had more British Territorial troops and large numbers of French troops with far more experience of large scale engagements.
4. We will also try to represent other themes such as Allied air superiority, Allied mining efforts and successful bombardments of barbed wire entanglements.

Thanks all thoughts and prejudices are entirely the fault of the management in this case me , Peter Gregory

Southern Front  – post depletions 

Northern Front – post depletions 


Northern front, despite the punishing onslaught of rolling barrages and destruction of the sections of trench and damaging of on table MGs and artillery the German lines hold – reversing history !

The Southern front offers little defender resistance – reversing this outcome also!

Squarebashing is a set of rules for recreating warfare in the early part of the twentieth century where the battle field was dominated by rifle and machine gun fire before the development of mobile armoured formations allowed for deep penetrations of the enemy front and disruption of army level formations. Dominated by fixed positions and artillery fire it is often seen as a dull period for gaming.

Squarebashing brings some dynamism to divisional level engagements where the tantalising prospect of a breakthrough is snatched away by the arrival of reserves or a defensive barrage. Much of the action is abstracted to a degree but the feel is right and most aspects of the era are well represented.

The system is designed for pick -up games on club nights where matched forces can be brought and varied terrain deployed. The pre -battle system of asset allocation brings narrative, historical flavour and variety to each game. Games can be fought to a conclusion on a club night in a satisfying manner and so all is well and a growing number of armies have been painted up and deployed at our club. The only problem I have is that I want all the armies in the army list book. Each army comes with its own assets and potential historical events which makes them even more attractive to an addict like myself.

Of course, one is not constrained to play the game in this way. The game mechanics can be used as the basis for games with different objectives or specific historical refights. This provides the opportunity to do some research, act on the evidence or your prejudices and shape a game to your liking.

The games we are presenting are designed to be manageable: playable , enjoyable( to a point) and entirely reflective of the prejudices of the scenario designer Peter Gregory. I am fairly sure we will disappoint or annoy some people but since after 46 years as a wargamer I cannot find two players who agree on much this will not surprise us at Burton District Wargames Club

Squarebashing Fort Vaux

James Morris popped over to Burton on with his new game of Squarebashing. It was a upscaled versions of his lovely Fort Vaux game that made the rounds last year.

This was a playtest his new scenario that pitted an overwhelming German assault. The game ran all very smoothly I thought. As a German player it might have looked rosy, but you are attacking uphill all across the line into a fort, trenches or at best hasty defenses.

The defending trenches were garrisoned be a mix of reservists and regulars. All the terrain was treated as ‘shattered’ and required dice to exit. That resulted in the Germans taking ‘movement’ as their higher command order – very rarely seen in the modern game! That has the rest that the French asset order meant that they could be far more frugal with their barrage assets and while the Germans had more assets the French used them to better effect

We had 2 main assaults , one into the Fort, which was garrisoned by very paltry collection of defenders – who turned out to be very tenacious ( I think it was them always getting 2 dice minimum – and the Germans always taking -4 dice away ! uphill forts !!).

The second was on the end of the line against conscripts who had attracted the attention of the German artillery – however , Oberleutnant Boyles displayed exemplary dice to see the best of the Germans repulsed by the French conscripts

Great game – giving a very close result.

Squarebashing Day 2017

Squarebashing 2017 is to be held on 24th June

 Battlefieldhobbies in Daventry.


It will be a team event (entries permitting). The armies are divided into 2 Pools. In each team – one player plays allies, the other central powers.

The lists and statuses are

There will be 2 games, Team against Team (Allies vs Central Powers). For each game the sum of each team score will be added to the team total. The army points are 620pts (standard game)

To encourage using under valued armies the sum total of army rating will be deducted from final score.

The terrain will be pre set , other than that, its RAW. You have the option to use the ‘Rays Stick’ method for countdown to battle. There will be no trench, canal or fort games. All painted figures please, we want it to look nice!

Any questions can be raised to me at or via the RFCM forum

Tickets can be purchased using here

Can you please purchase tickets promptly , just so the venue has an idea on the lunch requirements. At the moment we are trying to get into the ‘big’ room which has meant that the cost has gone up a couple of quid (B/H need to put on another member of staff). But we need a dozen players to make that viable.

Tickets: £12.50 including lunch

Date: Saturday 24th June 2017

Battlefield Hobbies
17 Brunel Close
NN11 8BR

Event Schedule
09.00-09.25 – Players arrive, welcome.
09:30-12.30 – Games One.
12.30-13:30 – Buffet lunch supplied.
13.30-16.30 – Game Two

You can get a t-shirt to celebrate the event

Squarebashing Day at Battlefield Hobbies

So the first Squarebashing Day is now complete. Bob was taken poorly and had to drop out, which meant I dropped out to help out the new players (which was always my plan). Given only 6 players we knocked the team event on the head and just lined up some suitable games.

While we’re not keeping score, as a bit of fun the allies won 4 games to 2, so a victory to the allies.

Dene won his 2 games with the widest margin, so overall victory to Dene and his French army!

Some photos of the action


Battlefield Hobbies looked after us really well. The buffet was nice, and the tea and coffee bottomless. I highly recommend the venue, and we hope to run another SB in the 1st half of 2017