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One of the things I try to do at wargaming conventions is play games that in period that I don’t regularly get to play. Large conventions like HMGS Cold Wars really give you the chance to experience lots of periods and rules sets. Not to mention people will often have really nice figures to look at as well. I also admit to an interest in the Eastern and Italian Front of World War 1, which no one plays much.
This year I played in the Battle of Tagliamento 1917 with Kurt Schlegel & the Hawks as GM. This was a 10mm game using Take Action! rules. The battle takes place along the Tagliamento River in Italy as the Italians are falling back after the German and Austrian Hungarian forces have broken through on the Isonzo Front.
I actually wanted to play the Austrians but with everyone wanting to be an Austrian player I opted for playing the Italians. I commanded the right flank that included part of the front trench line and a town. The other two players controlled the rest of the front trench line and the second trench line.
The Austrian/German right flank on the other side of the board from me made the rolls and really made good progress. They also paid for this with the most casualties. The German unit was the first unit wiped out.
Every so often you have a game with a unit that defies the odds. It makes the impossible morale rolls and stands against much better units. This game would have that, the unit behind the trench would be forced back once but I would send it back to the trench. I would loose the unit and trench next to it and the town and be surrounded but still survive. The unit would go down to the bad morale for having all the other stands destroyed. Still I would make the morale roll. I would make 14 saving rolls in a row with it and it would survive the game in the same trench. Like the Roman Legions of old it stood.
It looked bad at the point in the game in the above image. The center of the first trench line had been busted through and the town next to it had also fallen. I had to remove my artillery observer from the town. The Italian right flank was still standing in the first trench line but waves of Austrians were coming towards them.
At the point in the above picture I was really worried about the Italians. I had not been able to move my reserves up to the first trench line for a counter attack. The Austrians had taken the town and were pushing through in multiple spots on the front. Still not without a price the grey pipe cleaners are hits and a stand can only take three hits. The Austrians had taken a beating and gone down a unit morale level.
At this point the center of the first trench line had collapsed. So he went for the victory point objective of the town on the end of the second trench line. As one of the Austrian players said it sounded like a good idea at the time. He got out in the open between fire from my reserves that I had in a corn field and had turned towards him my light artillery and the second trench line fire he was blown away. The open is a dangerous place to be in these rules no saving throws. Machine gun fire even if does not damage suppresses you and you can’t move.
The Italians had held the left flank, destroying the German unit and forcing a morale failure on an Austrian unit. The center was broken through but stopped before the second trench line as Austrian loses caused a morale failure. The first trench was broken through on the right flank but the Austrians were down a morale level because of casualties and one more hit from having to take a unit morale roll.
When I started I felt the Italians would not be able to hold. The Central Powers medium and heavy guns were really deadly. I usually am not the biggest fan of rules sets with saving throws but I know it is what saved me. I may not have rolled well in shooting but I won most melee and made saving throws for the trenches. I have no experience really with rules for this period but I liked these ones. The rules were easy to understand and flowed I thought.
While helping clean up the game I could see what could have changed things. The Central Powers spread out against the Italians. If they just chose a place to hit them like the Italian right flank and concentrated all their forces on point they would bust through and right into the corner of the second trench line and the objective. They defused their numerical advantage by spreading the troops all over. It was a fun game, and good to play something new.