The massive battlefield
The Battle of Hannut (not to be confused with the Battle of Gembloux Gap) was a Second World War battle fought during the Battle of Belgium which took place between 12 and 14 May 1940 at Hannut, Belgium. At the time, it was the largest tank battle of the war, only to be surpassed later by other engagements during the North African Campaign and on the German-Soviet front.
The primary purpose of the engagement at Hannut was to tie down strongest elements of the 1st French Army and remove it from Army Group A's main thrust through the Ardennes, as laid out in the German operational plan Fall Gelb, or "Case Yellow", by General Erich von Manstein. The German breakout of the Ardennes was scheduled for 15 May, five days after the German invasions of the Netherlands and Belgium. The delay was to entice the Allies into believing the main thrust would, like the Schlieffen Plan in World War I, come through Belgium and into France. When the Allied armies advanced into Belgium, they would be tied down by diversionary German offensive operations in eastern Belgium, at Hannut and Gembloux. With the Ardennes flank exposed, the German thrust to the English Channel would encircle and destroy the Allied forces.
The Germans reached the Hannut area just two days after the invasion of Belgium. The French and their Allies did win a series of delaying tactical engagements early in the battle, but failed to prevent the collapse of the Belgian front. The German battle plan succeeded in tying down substantial Allied forces that were removed from the path of the decisive blow through the Ardennes. However, the Germans failed to neutralise the French 1st Army completely, which once again scored tactical successes at the battle of Gembloux, during the 14—15 May. Although seriously damaged it was able retreat to Lille, where it delayed the Wehrmacht and assisted in the British Expeditionary Force' escape from Dunkirk. -WikiPedia
There have been talks for some time of the historical group I game with to start doing some early war in France using the Piquet-based Field of Battle rules. This was the first of hopefully many to come, and is the game we kicked BrianCon off with.
As usual, the tabletop is an incredibly detailed battlefield
The German tank columns line up at the river's edge
German air support came storming overhead
French infantry defend a hamlet by the river
The main town of Hannut itself
Brian's awesome French command stand, check out those wine bottles!
More French forces defending another riverside village
I absolutely love Field of Battle as a rules set. I was excited to jump into some WWII gaming, and I'm sure I'll be playing a bunch of Flames of War, but I'd like to get in just as much gaming with these rules as well. As you can see, you use decks of cards per side, each one tailored towards that particular army. The cards allow you to do actions on your turn, but only then, it's entirely possible that your army doesn't get a 'move' card for a few turns in a row. The same thing goes for reloading, off-table support, and the like. By using the random decks, the 'fog of war' is simulated nicely on the tabletop. Remember, each deck may be random, but they still favor the particular nature of whatever army you've got, or can be tailored to reflect a particular scenario. I'm not doing the system justice here, pasted below is the blurb from the Piquet Store.
Field of Battle: WW2 covers the World War 2 era from 1939 through 1945. Field of Battle: WW2 is a stand alone game - no additional supplements are necessary for play. Field of Battle: WW2 includes ratings and organizational charts for the British, French, German, Polish, Italian, Japanese, Soviet, and United States armies.
Field of Battle: WW2 is designed to give players the feel for commanding battalions, regiments, divisions, and more in a miniature WW2 environment. Games with a division per side can easily be resolved in 2 to 4 hours. Field of Battle: WW2 is designed using game processes used in the popular Field of Battle rules that gives all players an equal opportunity to act during the game.
Field of Battle: WW2 is not a game of skirmishes or low level actions, but rather one of battles of up to Division size or larger.
Field of Battle: WW2 uses companies as the combat element, and battalions as the maneuver element.
The only troops represented as units on the tabletop are maneuver and combat elements - infantry companies, armor companies, and anti-tank gun/artillery companies. There are no Heavy Weapon companies – no separate machine gun or mortar units. The effects of supporting machine gun and mortar companies are abstracted in the game mechanics and card system.