So it would appear a previous post of mine started something when I mentioned that my dad was in 2 Para and the Arnham scenario we played was on the regiments battle honours. Somehow it started Gavin and Jonathan on a journey to find out about their grandfathers during World War Two. I'm not sure how far Gavin is on his journey, however Jonathan made some amazing progress. Which brings us to this post.
The Queen's Westminters at Silvode, March 30, 1945 – Allies
We started the evening with myself playing the Allies and Jonathan taking on the part of the Axis forces. An initial analysis of the board, it was obvious that my forces were strong on both flanks against the Axis forces while the Axis forces were stronger in the centre. Moving up the flanks, trying to stay out of range of the artillery would have to be my strategy (cards and dice rolls allowing).
Luckily the cards and dice allowed me to execute this plan. Through out the battle Jonathan had the victory point advantage, doing better with his dice rolls. However it remained pretty close through out the game.
Jonathan's tactics did surprise me a little because he stayed out taking on my forces more than I would have. But as always sometimes in Memoir the cards don't go your way, and maybe this tactic was forced on him.
If my dice rolls had been better I think some of the latter exchanges between our forces would have resulted in a bit more comfortable winning margin. How bad where my rolls? Take this example below. I played the “Their Finest Hour” command card, I need to roll my units symbols or a Star symbol to be able to move my units. I got one dice to roll for each command card in my hand. Which meant on this occasion I rolled six dice. So an infantry, tank or star symbol is all I needed to roll. Six dice. I should have rolled at least one of those symbols. But no I roll six, yes SIX hand grenade symbols. Which meant I could do nothing. Jonathan couldn't believe this roll, and neither could I. It had to be photographed.
However I did eventually manage to steal the win. Although it could very easily have been an Axis victory. As the photos below show the Axis forces were left with a single artillery unit, while I managed to capture Varsseveld.
After the win it was time for a little photo session and remembering the fallen. Below Jonathan pays his respects to his grandfather and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice at the battle.
The Queen's Westminters at Silvode, March 30, 1945 – Axis
Round two. My turn to play the Axis powers. My tactics for this game were to try and utilise my strength in the middle against the Allies, and make use of the strong defensive positions my troops had, and let the Allies come onto my forces, hopefully picking up heavy casualties.
My opening hand wasn't brilliant, but I could work with it. I even utilised playing bad cards to just get rid of them from my hand, and in hope of drawing something better.
My forces retreated to form a defensive pocket, waiting for the Allie forces to break upon them like waves on a beach.
The Allies won the day again. My hand of command cards at the end where all left flank command cards. Useless to me.
This was a fun scenario to play, I think with the right card draw and rolls my tactics would have worked better and possibly won for the Axis powers.
This scenario was made more poignant with the personal connection it had to Jonathan and his family. We really didn't mind losing as the Axis forces (this time).
Jacques 'jdrommel' David on the Memoir '44 forums did a really great job designing this scenario. He dedicated it to Jonathan's grandfather Private Kenneth W. Warren of the 12th KRRC, who was killed in this battle on the 30th March 1945, “and to all soldiers who have lost their lives during these forgotten battles at the end of the Second World War.” And I have to say I totally agree with this dedication.
You can read Jonathan's blog post and personal journey here.
The evenings gaming was bought to a close with me teaching Jonathan how to play Tiny Epic Galaxies. This was the first game I played since it arrived that I won! Jonathan really was impressed by the production quality of the game, and the game itself. I wouldn't be surprised to see it end up in his collection soon.
Another great evening of gaming. I felt honoured that Jonathan shared this scenario with me, and gave me the opportunity to play it with him. Thank you Jonathan, it was an honour to be able to have an opportunity to pay my respects this way to your grandfather and the other fallen.