Fields of Fire: World War II, Normandy

Mission 1: Trevieres Offensive

This is a log of my first play of Fields of Fire. No doubt I made some rules mistakes, in which case please let me know, but overall it seemed to play a I would have expected. It took a while to get the hang of the rules, but after turn 4 or so it started moving along nicely. The photos of the mapboard turned out not so well, but hopefully show enough to be of interest. Clicking on the image in the log will load up the full-size image. [EDIT: After posting this log, the game designer, Ben Hull, and some others, fixed a couple of errors I had made. I have amended the session report to indicate the errors, but I was glad to see the errors were not game-changing.]

The next mission in the log is the Mission 2: Cerisy Offensive


Turn 1

The CO HQ was activated, and on its impulse activated 1st and 2nd platoon HQs, saving its other four actions. On the Platoon/Staff impulse, the 1st platoon sent squad 1/1 into the woods directly ahead (and saved two actions), and 2nd platoon similarly send its first squad into the woods (also saving two actions). In the initiative segment, the 3rd platoon saved two actions and the XO and SGT both saved one. With two general initiative actions, the advanced squads both sought cover, but only the 1/1 squad found it.

The woods in column 2 was randomly chosen to investigate contacts, and found #8 -- a Heavy Machine Gun nest. The German (S-L) squad was placed to the right in the open fields, in a trench (as is the default in this scenario), and the machine gun itself appeared directly in front, in a foxhole in the farm. Although they had a choice of targets, both German units established a crossfire on the card that initiated the contact. The unit in the woods was happy to have found cover! The other potential contact failed to materialize. The US squads engaged the highest VOF target -- the S-L unit in the open fields, establishing a crossfire on him.

The US 1/1 squad was suffering automatic fire (-1), crossfire (-1) and was exposed (-2). Fortunately it was also in cover (+1) in woods (+2) and so had a total NCM of -1. The incoming fire only managed to pin the unit. In return the German squad was only taking small arms fire, and although in the open, was in trenches (+2) so the crossfire resulted in a relatively safe +1 modifier. Unluckily, it suffered a hit, and one step was hurt and converted to a litter unit.

Turn 2

No special HQ events occurred.

Since the contact level was now raised, command draws were now normal -- since all the HQs were green, that effectively meant one less command available. The CO HQ took three actions and a saved actions to activate 1st and 2nd platoon HQs and then order the entire 2nd platoon to move forward into the currently safe woods ahead of it. The 1st platoon HQ attempted to have the 1/weapons (LMG) unit infiltrate into the woods ahead of it and was successful. It saved one of its two remaining actions, losing the other. The 2nd platoon had only a single action, and ordered the 2/Weapons LMG to cease fire (to conserve ammo, as the other card was already sending in automatic fire.

The Germans had no HQ events. The litter team was pinned, but under cover, and took no action. The German squad, trading fire with a better placed US unit, decided to attempt to concentrate fire and was successful. The German HMG also attempted to concentrate without success.

The Germans in the open were now suffering incoming automatic fire, but being pinned, they were still at an NCM of +1. They suffered another hit, breaking the last two steps into a fire unit and a casualty -- ouch. In the woods, the 1/1 squad was now pinned by concentrated crossfire from automatic weapons , but with cover in the woods was at a +1 and was completely missed. The LMG that had just infiltrated in was at +0 (-1 automatic fire, -1 crossfire in woods +2) and was pinned.

Turn 3

The HQ event allowed an ammo resupply -- four more MG ammo units were dropped off with the second platoon HQ. The CO HQ only had one command, so it spent it to activate the 2nd platoon HQ and used a save command to activate the 1st platoon HQ. The 1st platoon, on the other hand, received 4 commands and, seeing that the conflict was going well in the central section, advanced the 2/1 squad into the orchard in column 1. It lost its other actions. 2nd PLT HQ only received one command, and elected to shift fire for its command to the heavy machine gun in an attempt to disrupt it. It spent a saved action to send the 2/2 squad into the woods to the right. 3 PLT HQ did nothing, and the 1st SGT saved an action; the CO XO received no actions, but spent its two saved actions to move itself and the 60mm mortars one card left off-map (belatedly realizing that it would be better to fire from the orchard then wait till it got through the woods. With 2 general initiative commands, 2 PLT HQ ordered its entire squad to concentrate fire on the HMG. With four units, the result was successful.

The enemy HQ event was a counter-attack -- unknown potential contacts were placed on each card in the bottom row. This turn was about to get messy. The German HMG failed to concentrate fire, The fire team in the open trenches did nothing and the litter team did nothing, being pinned and under cover.

Six Potential contacts were occurring. The combination of an ambitious US advance and a counter-attack could prove very nasty. The orchard had two 'C' contacts, the woods beside it a 'B', and the net woods a 'C'. The final woods on the right had an 'A' and a 'C' [EDIT: This was an error. In fact the potentially most dangerous counter should be used. So the counters should have been: one 'C' in the orchard, and an 'A' in the final woods on the right.].The 'A' result was incoming mortars, with the spotter in the farm, in column 2, row 3, spotting through the open fields. The 'B' contact in the woods was incoming artillery, with the spotter in the farm just ahead of the unit. The mortar spotter was unspotted, but, because it appeared in the same square as a visible unit, the artillery spotter was spotted. The orchard was mined, and the mines hit the unit moving in, and had a HMG nest under foxholes in the woods directly ahead, which opened fire on unlucky unit. The squad itself engaged the machine gun nest in the farm. The counter-attack in the other two woods turned out to be nothing,

The mines blew up the 2/1 unit, causing a single casualty. Less lucky in the artillery-targeted square were the 1/1 PLT, broken up into a fire team, a paralyzed team and a casualty. In the same square the pinned LMG also became a casualty. The mortars also caused a single casualty in the woods in column 4. For the good guys, the HMG in the farm was pinned, and the spotter there was missed. In the open fields, the fire team is pinned. All in all, a pretty successful counter-attack by the Germans and a bad turn for the US.

Turn 4

No special events from HQ, and the CO HQ received three commands. It activated the 1st and 2nd PLT HQ and saved an action. The 1st platoon continued to receive many actions, and seeing that all incoming fire into the woods ahead was pinned, decided to infiltrate the platoon into that area. The HQ, the bazooka team and the Artillery FO succunsuccessfullyded. The 3/1 platoon with the rifle grenades was exposed. The paralyzed and fire teams hit by the incoming artillery were ordered to evacuate the casualties to the staging area. With a saved action, the bazooka fired on the trenches, but missed. The 2nd PLT HQ took three orders, ordering its bazooka to fire at the HMG nest, and exhorting them for an extra card, but to no avail. With its final action, it tried to have the LMG concentrate fire on the nest, but that also failed. The 3rd PLT HQ had no initiative actions, the XO used his action to rally the paralyzed team to a fire team. The SQT had no actions, and with three general initiative commands, the 2/WPNS bazooka again attempted to fire on the HMG nest, again failing; the 2/1 platoon in the mined orchard looked for cover unsuccessfully, and the 2/1 platoon attempted to concentrate fire, also unsuccessfully.

The enemy failed to concentrate fire with the HMG in the woods, and the pinned HMG in the farm took no action. The litter team did nothing, but the fire team fell back. The mortar failed to target, but the artillery called in a successful attack.

In the farm, the German HMG was hit and became a casualty. The spotter was hit and became a fire team. In the open fields, the litter team in the trenches remained pinned. The US 2/1 PLT in the orchard was missed, but in the woods, the 1st platoon took heavy fire from the artillery. The -4 was modified by the cards -1 burst and +2 cover to be -3. The bazooka was hit and disrupted into a fire team; the HQ was knocked into a litter team. The Artillery FO was pinned, and the exposed 3/1 squad reduced to a fire team, casualty and litter team. Very ugly.

Turn 5

With only two actions, the CO activated the 2nd and 3rd platoon HQs. The 2nd platoon received 5 actions, and decided to infiltrate the farm. The HQ was the only success. The 3/2 PLT was moved into the foxholes, the HQ found a strong building and then had both weapon groups join it in the cover, spending a saved action. The 3rd platoon took 4 actions; infiltrating into the woods (with reasonable success). It ordered one litter team to take casualties back and the other two litter teams to retreat (using a saved action). On initiative, the XO took two actions, rallying a fire team back into a 1/weapons, but not rallying a litter team. The SQT moved to the casualty staging post and rallied three litter teams (using 2 saved actions). On general initiative the 2/1 PLT shifted fire to the woods in front of it and then sought and found cover.

The German HMG nest in the woods failed to concentrate fire. The fire team in the US-occupied farm failed to find cover, and the pinned litter team in the trenches continued to take no action. The fire team in the orchard in row 2 failed to concentrate fire [EDIT: This was an error. I had assumed that if nothing on the LAT actions fitted, it would take an appropriate action from the tables for regular units. In fact, it simply does nothing.], and the mortar spotter called in its last mission on the woods again. Since the contact level was already heavily engaged the potential contact 'A' in the farmhouse got only three cards and turned out to be nothing.

The German HMG in the foxholes in the woods was hit (at a +3 NCM!) and became a casualty, and only managed to pin its opponent (at -1). The woods at row 1 column 2 was still taking fire from the pinned fire team in the farm, but unlucky fire killed the exposed 3rd PLT HQ and paralyzed a step of the exposed 3/1 squad. Incoming mortar fire turned the 2/2nd PLT into a casualty and litter. In the open fields the litter unit remained pinned. Because of incoming fire from the orchard, all the units in the farm were subject to automatic fire in the combat results segment. The German artillery spotter was missed. On the US side, the 1/2 PLT was hit and one step paralyzed. In the strong building both weapons units were hit and became paralyzed and a casualty. In the foxhole the 3/2 PLT was hit and took two casualties. All their good cover appeared useless.

Turn 6

The CO HQ received three actions and activated the 2PLT HQ, the XO and the SGT. The 2 PLT HQ received three actions, rallied and sent the 1/2 PLT to infiltrate the open fields (unsuccessfully). It saved an action. The CO XO got 3 actions and failed to rally the three fire teams with one action. It moved to the adjacent square and ordered the HMG to move right. The 1st SGT received 5 actions and ordered the bazooka team into the woods in column 3. He attempted to infiltrate into the woods directly ahead, but failed, and then ordered the paralyzed unit to retreat with the casualty [EDIT: This was an error. A paralyzed unit may not evacuate a casualty]. He supplemented the 3/1 PLT with a fire team, then sent that team into the woods at row 2, column 1. He ordered the artillery FO and the 1/3 PLT into the woods to the right, and the 2/3 PLT into the open fields and then ordered all the units in the square to cease fire, using 3 saved actions in addition to his 5 received. In general initiative the 1/2 PLT went into the trenches.

The German fire team in the farm in row 3, column 2 took no action. The one beside it failed to concentrate fire. The artillery spotter team rallied, and improved its fire into the woods in front of it. No contact appeared in the woods at the left of row 1, but in the open fields, a patrol (#14) appeared in the grove directly ahead.

In the woods at the back, the bazooka was pinned, the 3/3 PLT was hit, breaking down to a fire time, casualty and litter, and the SGT was pinned. In the foxholes in the farm, the fire team remained pinned, and the HG in the strong building was missed. Returning fire, the German fire unit (originally the artillery spotter) was finally hit and became a litter unit. The fire team (originally mortar spotter) in the main objective square was pinned.

Turn 7

Despite the sense of urgency, the CO HQ could only manage 2 actions. It activated CO XO and the 1st SGT and used a saved point to order the HMG into the woods in column 3. The XO used his three actions to move left and order the 60mm into the mined orchard and then reconstituted 3 fire teams into the 1/1 PLT. The SGT took 4 actions, moving himself, the bazooka and fire teams forward and left. He then ordered the 3/1 PLT to send a rifle grenade into the farm ahead and to the right, successfully! The 2 PLT HQ got no actions on initiative, but spent a saved action to switch fire to the orchard with the 2 enemy units in it. No general initiative was available.

2 enemy casualties and a litter teams were captured (in addition to one of each that had been captured in the woods earlier). The enemy received no HQ events. The pinned fire team in the farm did nothing. Both German units in the orchard concentrated fire on the HQ.

The 60mm hit by mines lost a step to a fire team. In the central farm the fire team remained pinned and the 2 PLT HQ became paralyzed -- the last PLT HQ to go.The fire team in the farm, hit by grenades, was paralyzed and the orchard was entirely missed by pinned fire only.

Turn 8

Yeah! 5 CO HQ actions. The XO and the SGT were activated and the 1/1 PLT ordered forward. The XO was ordered into the column 3 woods, the XO moved forwards itself and saved an action. The XO had three actions; ordering the .50 cal HMG forward, the 1/3 PLT into the farm to the right of crow 2 and then calling in artillery on the orchard grove, unsuccessfully. The SGT only received 2 commands, ordering the 3/1 PLT to advance to Objective 2, and the bazooka to fire into objective 1, sucsessfully! Four general initiative commands were issued. The open fields shifted fire ahead into the orchard, a successful attempt was made to call in artillery on the orchard, the 1/1 PLT was moved forward (failing to infiltrate, and the CO XO was infiltrated into the attack point.

In the orchard in row 3, the German fire team concentrated fire on the exposed squad in the farm, while the patrol squad found cover. No contact was found in the farm at the top left, but in the farm on the right of row 2, we found an 88mm in a trench in the village just ahead.

Checking US casualties, the 1/3 squad took a casualty from the 88s; in the central farm, the fire team remained pinned in the foxholes and the 1/1 squad was reduced to a fire team, casualty and litter by the concentrated fire. In the main objective, the grenade and crossfire only managed to keep the paralyzed team pinned, and the artillery fire beside it completely missed the German squad and only pinned the fire team.

Turn 9

The CO HQ received 2 commands but added its saved command to move into the field infiltrating the 2/3 PLT into the main objective as well as activating the 1st SGT. He took 5 commands and ordered the bazooka into the farm, followed it, ordered a failed rifle grenade attack, orderer a paralyzed team to bring a casualty back. did the same for the company XO. With one general action a casualty and litter were evacuated.

The paralyzed German unit in the main objective was captured. No other German forces succeeded at anything but the main objective proved to be mined, with a HMG nest in a hedgerow front and right.

The German 88s kept the squad in front pinned. The German automatic squad in the orchard suffered a bad hit and was reduced to two fire teams and a casualty. The other unit was kept pinned. At the assault point the weapons team became a casualty and the SGT was pinned.

Turn 10

With command of all objectives, and having taken heavy losses, this turn saw little action. The units taking enemy fire were not further damaged, and some injured forces were evacuated.

Mission results

The mission was successful. All objectives were secured (12 points), 4 'A' markers were cleared (8 points) and 6 other markers (4 points). Four enemies were captured (4 points) [EDIT: This was an error. Litter units captured count for 2 points. It would balance the fact that I managed to evacuate more casualties than I should have been able to, because of my erroneous use of paralyzed units] and four casualties extracted (4) for a total of 32 points.

Debriefing

Although successful, a large number of casualties were taken. A lot can be ascribed to the unlucky counter-attack causing artillery fire to fall in a location previously thought to be safe, but other lessons learned were:

 


 

Rule Questions Answered

  1. Can paralyzed teams carry casualties? I saw no rules against it and used them to evacuate casualties regularly, but am not convinced this is OK. [No they cannot]
  2. Can a card get multiple potential contacts -- when a unit moves onto a potential contact, and then an enemy HQ event (counter-attack) causes another to be placed there, do you use both, ignore the second, or just use the most dangerous? I elected to go with both for the mission above? [The most dangerous contact is used when the '?' is revealed]
  3. Looking at the LAT activity check, there is nothing listed for a fire team that is not pinned and not on a US-occupied card (I treated as a non-LAT unit and checked under enemy defensive activity). [Actually it simply does nothing, by design.]
  4. I assume enemy spotters will attempt to call in fire whenever eligible, and then become fire teams automatically when no fire missions are available to them. There do not appear to be rules to cover this. [Once they have no more fire missions available, they are removed on the next enemy action segment]
  5. When grenades or mortar/artillery hit a card that also has VoF, I assumed that the grenade/artillery was resolved (as it is more dangerous) and not the VoF. The rules are not clear about this though, as they seem to indicate that grenade/mortar/artillery are not in the same category as VoF. [Yes, they are in the same category and the most dangerous is used, same as for every other type of attack.]
  6. I assume CO staff can command all units under the CO chain of command, although this is does not appear to be explicit in the rules. [Yes the can, and actually, yes, it is explicit in the rules.]
  7. For my next mission, many of my platoons are partial. Can you field platoons without leaders? 2-step units? 1-step units (presumably as fire teams)? Any rules here would be appreciated ... [All the above are legal, although some may not be advisable.]

The next mission in the log is the Mission 2: Cerisy Offensive