The Last Hundred Yards: Narrative of Mission 1.0 – Prayer Meeting

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An American platoon has setup an outpost in and around the St. Michel Church in sector 4. Two German platoons have been tasked with capturing this outpost and driving the American’s back.

American Disposition

Figure 1

The Americans, under Lt. Murphy, set up a defensive line in the wooded hills to the south of the church (see, Figure 1). 1st and 3rd squads were situated in two central improved positions, while 2nd squad was split into two teams (sections in game terms) with one on either end of the American defensive line. The men of 2nd squad were not dug- in as they were expected to reposition as necessary in response to a German attack. An attached machine gun team was placed on the southmost point of the hill SW of the church. Murphy initially stayed on the hill with the MG to direct fire and to direct mortar support.

The American plan called for 1st squad to coordinate with the section to its west and 3rd squad was to coordinate with the section to its east. In the event of heavy pressure from the south, the Americans were to delay the enemy while falling back to the MG position and the church.

German Plan

Figure 2

The German force was to advance from the south on either side of the road until they reached the east- west ridgeline south of the American outpost. 1st Platoon under Lt. Heinz was to take positions on the hill line to the west of the road and provide support to 2nd Platoon, under Lt. Lang, which was to advance through the hills and woods east of the road and provide the initial drive against the Americans (See, Figure 2).

2:20 PM

The Germans approach the line of hills south of American outpost placing a machine gun team on hilltops on either side of the road to provide suppressing fire while the squads of 2nd Platoon began the advance up through the wooded hills to the east. Additionally, Lt. Heinz of 1st Platoon ordered the 1st squad up the tree line on the west to flank the American positions – not knowing of the American section posted there. 2nd squad of 1st Platoon took positions in a small farmhouse on the hill while 3rd squad and the MG team climbed to the secondary hilltop overlooking the small valley below between them and the American outpost.

As 1st and 2nd squads from 2nd Platoon work their way through the trees and up the small hill to the east, 3rd squad and an attached MG team set up a fire position on the crest of the hill.

2:28 PM

From the start, the Germans maintained the initiative and began their push against the Americans. The 1st squad of the German 1st platoon worked their way up the wood line on the west for 150 meters before encountering the Americans. The Germans attacked rapidly, forcing the outnumbered Americans back, across the east-west road to the woods 150 meters to the north.

Figure 3

Meanwhile supported by the 1st Platoon and the two MG teams, 1st and 2nd squads of the German 2nd Platoon advanced – attacking and driving off the eastern-most section of American infantry, which fell back in stages toward the church after taking several casualties (See Figure 3).

The 3rd squad of the German 2nd Platoon became pinned down under American MG fire and was unable to cross the open valley to support the other squads of 2nd platoon.

2:35 PM

The American platoon leader, Lt. Murphy, successfully called in an accurate mortar fire mission from the supporting 60mm mortar section – suppressing the 1st and 2nd squads the German 1st Platoon, giving the American 3rd squad some breathing room. With the MG and rifle fire from the SW temporarily silenced, the American 3rd squad fired on the Germans advancing from the SE, forcing them back the 100 meters to the wooded hill – causing several casualties among the men of 2nd Platoon. Here, under Lt. Lang, the surviving members of the two German squads steadied their nerves for the next push.

Figure 4

2:42 PM

It took a few minutes for the Germans to regain the initiative and begin their next assault on the American positions. With supporting fire from the 1st Platoon, the two German squads on the east again advanced against the American 3rd squad some 150 meters to the NW. Unfortunately, the Americans were dug in among the trees and put up a vigorous defense before withdrawing back to the church. After a brutal fight, suffering yet more casualties, the German 2nd Platoon gained the American foxholes (See Figure 4).

On the German left, the 1st squad of the 1st Platoon was forced back under fire from the American 1st Squad and the counter attack from the American section that had regrouped and re-entered the wood line.

Figure 5

2:47 PM

Upon seeing their comrades take the American positions to the NE, Lt. Heinz was unable to stop a single section from the German 1st Platoon from charging down the hill and across 100 meters of open ground directly toward the American 1st squad dug in among the trees opposite. While the rest of 1st Platoon suffered under the mortar fire still falling around their position, they watched with despair as those brave men were decimated as they charged into the trees. (See Figure 5).

The German initiative was lost. Gathering their wounded, they pulled back to the south, while the Americans reclaimed their foxholes among the wooded hills.

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2 thoughts on “The Last Hundred Yards: Narrative of Mission 1.0 – Prayer Meeting

  1. Really enjoying these AARs. A couple of comments and questions: I like this larger scale scenario. It seems to offer more options beyond fixing force, manoeuvring force. I hope the final game comes with scenarios encompassing 2,3 or even 4 or more platoons per side.

    Does the game incorporate environmental effects, like smoke, weather (eg snow), fog or darkness. It seems that the action-reaction system would really support poor LOS effects, such as the side without initiative essentially stuck until something happens.

    What effect does elevation have on LOS?

    Does it include placed fortifications such as wire, foxholes or other defilade positions, etc for funnelling manoeuvre or entrenching resistance?

    Does it include other random events, perhaps generated by specific rolls (say for time or for resolving fire combat) that add a sense of chaos to the game?

    How do you reflect command? For example, do leaders act only on the units in their hex, or is there an advantage to being placed adjacent to a leader unit?

    Lots of questions, but I’m fascinated by how it plays balance between order and chaos.

    • Simon,

      I’m sure that when released the game will include multi-platoon scenarios – many of the play test scenarios include multiple platoons per side.

      The action-reaction system of LHY can indeed limit the side without the initiative. I have had squads be forced to withdraw/retreat out of LOS of the enemy only to be stuck there with very limited options until I regained the initiative.

      Elevation is treated in a predictable fashion. Hills (and other terrain) can block LOS and cast LOS shadows causing blind spots. Shooting or assaulting uphill is more difficult. LHY also includes optional rules for minor contour levels (the maps include both major and minor contour lines) that can add more nuance to the way hills are played.

      LHY includes improved positions to cover foxholes and other hasty defenses as well as bunkers, minefields and wire for more permanent ones.

      At the start of each turn there is a chance for random events, such as a sniper taking out one of your leaders (a new one takes over a few turns later), casualties returning, panic forcing a unit to withdraw, etc.

      Leaders can generally only help their subordinate units (by helping them rally, providing a bonus in CC, etc).

      One of my favorite bits is that game length and victory are both governed by casualties, time and mission objectives. You can complete your objective, but take too long or take too many casualties – causing you to lose or draw. Killing all your men to take that position will not win you the game (unless you also kill all the enemy)! Withdrawing to prevent additional losses can sometimes win the game – esp. for the mission defender.