Sunday, 27 January 2019

WW2 Western Desert Game

There are a couple of terrain items I have yet to make for the Western Desert games. One is an escarpment and the other is salt marsh.

British units in defensive positions (Heroics and Ros models)
This weekend I knocked the salt marsh off the list. The terrain was fairly easy to make. Felt was cut out into the required shapes, then a watered down paint was used, first sand and brown mix was applied and followed with a sand and black mix. Once this was dry, dots of green paint was added for vegetation and light stippling of sand colour mainly around the edge of the marsh.

Salt marsh - painted felt cut to fit into the hexes
These were added to the tabletop for a game in the evening. From a gaming perspective they represent impassible terrain.

A view of the tabletop
The game has a British Tank Brigade with supporting infantry, artillery and armoured car units, defending a small collection of buildings against and attack. The attack is being lead by a Panzer Regiment and supported by infantry, artillery and armoured car units. The forces are fairly even.

British order of battle:

  • 2 x Grant tanks
  • 2 x Valantine tanks
  • 2 x Matilda tanks
  • 1 x Infantry (universal carriers)
  • 1 x Motorised infantry
  • 1 x 6 Pdr. AT
  • 1 x 2 Pdr. AT Portee
  • 1 x 25 Pdr. Artillery
  • 1 x Sexton Artillery (not in photo)
  • 1 x Stuart tanks
  • 1 x Armoured Cars
  • 2 HQs and Independent Commander (treated as Ace in rules)

German order of battle:

  • 4 x Panzer III tanks
  • 2 x Panzer II tanks
  • 2 x Armoured infantry
  • 2 x Motorised infantry
  • 1 x Marder II
  • 1 x 50mm AT
  • 2 x Armoured Cars (Sdkfz. 222 and 234)
  • 1 x 88mm AT
  • 1 x Wespe
  • 1 x 105mm Artillery
  • 3 x HQs and 1 x Independent Commander

The British units were placed on their half of the tabletop.

British defenders prepare for the attack
German units arrive
One rule I was trying out was allowing motorised infantry and artillery to move 2 hexes providing the unit starts its move outside of enemy range. When within range they are restricted to a 1 hex move.

Opening positions for the game

A view from behind the British lines as the German units advance in the distance
British tank reserve move to counter the advancing Panzers
On the other flank German units move up to occupy the hills and come under artillery fire.
A tank battle ensues on the British right flank.
German units push forward in the centre and on the flank they begin to get the upper hand in the tank battle.
The British halt the centre attack, but having lost the tank engagement on their right flank are now in a very tenuous position 
The buildings are seized
A marginal victory to the Germans who took the buildings (their objective).

Constraining the game to 13 x 13 hexes worked will Oand I will keep for the next game. Along with the rule allowing motorised infantry and artillery units to move an addition hex when not starting their movement in range of enemy units.

Flow of the game
One area of the tank on tank rules which I enjoy is the decision making required to get right the balance between making attacks and moving up units to support an attack and replacing the inevitable losses.


  1. Looks great! I think the rules are simple but elegant in that there is a lot of tough decision making. I am really enjoying your reports.

    1. They are some very clever rules indeed. I hope to set up a campaign once I the Italian models arrive.

  2. Peter, that is as good a desert table as I have ever seen, it imparts exactly the right atmosphere, especially with the scale of models. The salt marshes are excellent and have the advantage of needing minimal storage.

    1. Thank you. The painting of materials has been most interesting to do and seems to be a quick and easy way of conveying terrain on the tabletop, particularly with 6mm scale. And as you say, it minimises storage needs.

  3. Superb looking table! As Norm states, perfect rendition of desert terrain. Great job!