Squarebashing – Cambrai 1917

On 3rd June Martin (Peter Pig) held a day in which a group of players refought the 1917 Battle of Cambrai (specifically the 27th Nov)

The Battle of Cambrai was a British offensive and German counter-offensive battle in the First World War. Cambrai, in the Nord d├ępartement(Nord-Pas-de-Calais), was an important supply point for the German Siegfriedstellung and capture of the town and the nearby Bourlon Ridge would threaten the rear of the German line to the north. Major General Henry Tudor, Commander, Royal Artillery (CRA) of the 9th (Scottish) Division, suggested trying out new artillery-infantry techniques on his sector of the front. During preparations, J. F. C. Fuller, a staff officer with the Tank Corps, was in the process of looking for a place to use tanks as raiding parties. General Julian Byng, commander of the British Third Army, decided to combine both plans into the attack.

Despite British success on the first day, mechanical unreliability, German artillery and infantry defences exposed the frailties of the Mark IV tank. On the second day, only about half of the original number of tanks were available. Subsequent British progress was limited.

The venue for the event was the Nothe Fort , which deserves a mention

Built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour, Nothe Fort is one of the best preserved Forts of its kind. Located at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour the Fort is a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast. Constructed on three levels , which are easily accessed by means of a lift, the Fort is filled with displays, mammoth guns and cinema areas that chart the history of this large and magnificent Victorian structure which took 12 years to build.

So on beautiful June day we descended into the depth of the nuclear shelter to play our game.

The front was broken in 6 sections, each with a bespoke force and set terrain. The victory conditions were different to a normal SquareBashing game as the relatives sizes of the forces provides a target number. This target is what the allied has to beat to get what would count as a victory.


 

 

The forces were –

The tables were –

The teams were defined in advance , and the game would be played twice. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, with sides swapping so we get a accurate refection of the teams ability !

Here are some in games shots of the tables

Section A

 

Section B

Section C

Section D

Section E

Section F

For my part I fought on table E as Von Schussler , and with 4 units of reserves and a handful of machine guns was crushed by Stewart with the largest British force in the front. In The afternoon with the sides swapped I was on D as Douglas-Smith, and despite fierce assaults the Germans held on along the trench , with only a small breakthrough. I had two major loses contributing to the overall loss of my team

Games in Action

 

Martin explaining the nuances

more instructional advice

 

fierce fighting over the town in Le Pave.

lovely view for lunchtime!

Its no good Dene, 4 reservists won’t stop 6 tanks and 16 infantry

 

So, congratulations to –

Paul , Simon K, Dave , Dene Stewart and Miles as they won both of their respective games ! (British AM, German PM)

Results

But everyone was a winner for taking part in a super day , as a great venue. Lets hope to see more of these!

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