Sunday, 25 October 2015

Rapid Fire

Good evening all Trojan here.
Earlier this morning I introduced Tinglyed to the joys of Rapid fire. It was only a small scale engagement with the newly finished 23rd Hussars and the Germans still being a work in progress.

While Flames of War is a great set of rules for WW2 I find that it tends to be far too in depth for the 15mm scale. The quick reference guide is confusing and complex. Don't get me wrong, while its nice to have vehicle crews digging out bogged in tanks and different squads weapons having different effects, all the special rules and complex procedures takes away from why we enjoy playing wargames - the fun and tactics it takes to beat and opponent.

I gave Ed the quick reference sheet for Rapid Fire and within 5 minutes was happy enough to deploy his forces. He chose the Germans for this engagement, a fictional skirmish between the 10th(SS) Panzer Division and the British 11th Armoured Division around hill 112 during the opening days of Operation Epsom.

11th Armoured Division deploys

I decided to deploy the British with a squadron of Shermans on the right, one in the centre and one on the left. The infantry (8th rifles) deployed mainly on my right with a company and the HQ going to strike out and capture the church on the hill to dominate the centre.
A Squadron 23rd hussars waiting for H hour

One of the main reasons we like Rapid Fire is how simple it is but still has the feel of WW2 gaming. The core rules cover basic moving, shooting, morale and everything you would expect but the advanced rules let you add aircraft, beach landing, snipers, glider assaults and you can get as in depth as you want.

The "fog of war" is one of the great touches about this. Just because you can see the whole battlefield your troops, especially in a buttoned down AFV cant. The are automatic ranges for spotting enemy (6" for infantry and 12" for armour) but other than that you have to try to spot them. Once a unit has been discovered it can be seen by everyone, but at the early stages this gives a nice feel of units probing forwards, trying to test where the enemy actually are.

At this stage we were still blindly probing forwards. Us generals floating above the battle could clearly see where the enemy was, but our troops on the ground still has no idea where each other was.

The battle began in earnest with the Germans spotting my armour pushing up the right flank. The opening salvo saw one of my Cromwells burst into flames! Rapid fire uses a simple firing system. Guns range from class  1-5 and armour A-E. Using a simple chart you find out the score needed for a hit and any modifiers for moving, cover etc. If a hit is scored you then roll for damage causing either light, heavy or you destroy the tank. Damage caries over so two lights = heavy and 2 heavys = destroyed. Shermans having an armour class of C tend to get destroyed very easily from the German Class 2  guns!

The right started to get deadly, with only my Firefly being able to punch through the Germans armour.
Neither side managed to get the advantage, the German line held firm while I had to get in close for my Shermans small 75mm main guns to start taking effect. The British managed to hold the church deploying mortars and MMGs but took heavy casualties in doing so.

The Germans superior armaments started to take effect and although being outnumbered they started to get the upper hand.

The Germans pushed my left flank hard while I was forced to reinforce my floundering right flank.

My ARV tried valiantly to repair a damaged Sherman and get it back in the fight.

Finally the weight of German fire proved too much. An entire company of infantry had been wiped out holding the church and all but one of my tanks were on fire! B Squadrons remaining Firefly decided he had had enough and withdrew from the field. With the infantry at risk of being surrounded and with only a PIAT to hold off the German armour I decided to withdraw and regroup.

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable game and all done and dusted in just over an hour. While being a simple rule set it still gave a good feel for the tactics and weapons of the day. My 75mm Shermans were all but useless unless point blank against a German tank, but my advantage in numbers made for a balanced and challenging game. Just a shame they decided to go up in flames every time a Panzer so much as looked at them!



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