Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Messines Ridge

One of the games played over the last few days, the Battle of Messines 1917. This depicts the attack of the New Zealand Division against the actual village of Messines itself.

Swayne's Farm on the right of the German positions, this was held by a reinforced rifle company, and largely unaffected by the detonation of a huge mine in this area.

One of the few intact German pillboxes, this one guarded the communication trenches between the farm and the village

The forward slopes of the ridge on the right-centre of the German line

Part of the second wave of New Zealand troops leaving their start line

Germans in the ruins of the village, extreme German right of this position

Some of the defenders of Swayne's Farm. This was an important position as it guarded the very thinly held German right

New Zealand support units fire at the village from extreme range; Lewis Guns were less useful in this role

6" Newton Trench Mortar attempting to suppress the German pillbox to the left of the village

Third wave of New Zealand troops heading in the general direction of the farm area

German support position on the extreme left of their line, although elevated they were too far from the general fighting area to provide much support

Damaged German platoons in the forward village area, they suffered quite heavily to continual allied 4.5" howitzer fire that was pre-registered on their position

One of the few supporting tanks lumbering its way up the forward slopes towards the village proper

Extreme German left with tank and infantry held up by a pillbox

Pressure mounts on the farm defenders. They were holding out quite well until a tank arrived and started smashing things up; as it did historically.

More Kiwis directly in front of the village. The German casualties in the fore were the defenders of the frontline trenches that were obliterated by the mine explosion, only a couple of damaged platoons made it back into the village

German commander attempting to rally a section of the village defenders

And direct what was left of his meagre reserves into the forward battle area

This is from about turn six, most of the farm position has been cleared with just two German platoons stubbornly holding out

A single tank and two or three infantry companies on the very edge of the village

Same time and place, just showing more New Zealanders moving into the village where house to house fighting was going on

This German company (or what was left of it) held the front left hand corner of the village long after the rest of it had been over run
The tanks attracted a lot of small arms fire which allowed most of the infantry units to arrive in the village area largely intact

This tank broke down early on and had to suffice itself with a machine gun duel with the pillbox for the rest of the game

Kiwis damaged and a little shaken but firmly in control of this section of the village, they had no trouble beating off the token German counter attacks in this area

German LMG platoon attempts to stop the New Zealand infantry flanking this part of the village

Demoralised German units attempt to rally towards the rear of the village, crucially this was one of the few areas safe from support artillery fire

The Germans attempted counter attack to recapture Swayne's Farm is stopped dead by the damaged tank and its supporting infantry, this was the last of the small German reserve force available for such tasks

German command units linking the farm area with the village right are over run

Slightly damaged New Zealand troops begin to move into the village from the now vacant Swayne's Farm area

We played nine out of the ten turns allocated for this game, the Germans didn't really have enough undamaged anything to bother playing the last, and 3/4 of the village was in allied hands by this stage in any case. The house to house fighting still going on was not going to affect the outcome, so we called it at this stage. Good game.


  1. What a great AAR!!!And great, figures, terrain, and, and. . .
    I love it Al!!!!

  2. What a nice gameboard and what a brilliant game report. Thank you Al for sharing with us!

  3. Welcome boys, the only thing missing was Paul!

  4. Splendid effort, you and David must be happy with the results. Yep I am ashamed by my absence but have resolved to take a hard pill and get over it!

  5. Nice to see more Great War games - a much overlooked period!

  6. Great looking table and figures. I really like WWI AAR. Keep them coming.

  7. Sounds like it was a very enjoyable and exciting way to spend a few hours - thanks for the report.

  8. Another really enjoyable battle report with some great pics! I'm impressed with the realistic way the rules seem to play out for what is a rsther difficult period for wargames.


  9. Thanks Ian, about the only place the rules get tricky is when fighting actually in a trench where LOS is 2" Otherwise they suit the scale pretty well


  10. Al, this is brilliant stuff all round - love the figs and terrain in particular, mate. Tell me, what rule set did you use?
    Nice one,

  11. Again, thank you all. The rules we use for WW1 are a mixture of Command Decision Over The Top, with some CD3 and practical 'house rules'. They work well for large scale actions.