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Radelange, Ardennes, 1944


Second World War, Rapid Fire!, 20mm

This week I didn’t organise a game beforehand, so I got invited to play in one with unfamiliar rules, using scenery dragged from the depths of the club store. However, the tanks looked nice – and there were lots of ’em! The scenario was based on one from the new Rapid Fire! scenario book covering the Battle of the Bulge. OK, in this game the frost-free ground looked lime green rather than slushy, the trees still had leaves on and the roads looked like they’d been freshly swept, but, as I said before, the tanks looked nice!DSCF2239The idea was that the American armor was trying to widen the corridor south of Bastogne, and they launched a drive to clear the Krauts from a handful of villages to the west of the Bastogne to Marletange road. As in any Rapid Fire! game there were lots of toys on the table, and a tank represented a platoon, while a group of ten or so infantrymen were meant to be a company. This is a command level above the regular Battlegroup Panzer Grenadier games I play, so it took some getting used to.DSCF2248Fortunately my fellow American players were adept at using these somewhat peculiar rules, and Neil – the guy with the tank-heavy command managed to ambush a column of Kraut armour as it crested a ridge. Visibility was down to 12″ at the start, which played in the American’s favour. By the time the freezing fog lifted the Germans were reeling, having come of worse in the tank duel. Meanwhile the American infantry-heavy column captured its two objectives, and so secured a victory.DSCF2242I’m afraid that as the commander of the American reserves my contribution was merely the odd artillery stock, airstrike and long-range tank shot. Still my guns knocked out a Stug, my thunderbolt took out another (see the picture above), and by the end of the game the Krauts were beginning their long walk home to the German border. Few things are more satisfying that a tabletop littered with burning Nazi tanks.DSCF2240As for the rules, I used to play Rapid Fire! many years ago, but I’ve never tried this new version. I enjoyed myself, but I didn’t become a convert. Its strange, as on the whole I like my rules to be simple and straightforward – which Rapid Fire! undoubtedly is. I suppose I just regard the Second World War as a slightly more technically advanced period, and so tanks blowing up on a roll of 5-6 doesn’t seem to cut the mustard. It was interesting though, but I think I’ll stick to the  more complex set I already use.

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