Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vercours Campaign - Part One - The Maquis of Malleval

I promised to write up our Vercours campaign games quite a while ago and never really got around to it.

This was the first of my Memoir '44 scenarios and the first time I really got a chance to mess around with the beautiful mountain terrain that Capability Savage built for me. I think it looks rather well.

I was going to write up a little something about the scenario, but I think the notes from the game cover it rather well.

"The Maquis of Malleval, a rural guerrilla band of the French Resistance, was composed of 50 men under the command of Lieutenant Eysseric (code name "Durand"). The group's base of operations was the isolated village of Malleval-en-Vercors, on the western buttress of the Vercors plateau. On January 29, 1944, a German battalion dispatched from Grenoble, crossed the gorges of the Nan river to encircle the village. Alerted too late, the maquisards were surrounded;
22 were killed in combat and another 7 inhabitants thrown to the fire in a barn while the village burned to the ground. This tragic episode was an ominous prelude to the battle of Vercors that would soon engulf the region in flames. The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history."

Donogh's gallant Maquis hiding out in the church, sadly their lookout is asleep

The German scouts advance

More Maquis move about. The trick I find with the French Resistance is to make the most of your movement, mass your forces and try to wipe out individual units by hitting them in a short sharp series of blows.

And then run away again.

The Germans creep forward on the left.

A German mortar unit fires on Maquis on the other side of the hill.  In Memoir '44, infantry mortars are just infantry units that can't move and fire, but don't require line of sight. It's a very small tweet, but its astonishing how much it alters the game.

Gaston! The Maquis take casualties in a barrage of 8cm shells.

The Maquisards start to retreat up the valley, things are looking grim.

The German advanced continues on the left, pressing the Maquis. The key issue here is that the Maquis are being crowded onto the back line by the Germans, but they haven't managed to manoeuvre sufficiently to isolate and wipe out any German units. This is very bad.

The German advance continues.

The Maquis are driven out of the town and up the valley sides

Lacking any other options (the cards were not kind), Donogh digs in as best he can. As I don't have any Second World War era field works, so we substituted abatis from my Napoleonic collection. These French fellows are quite traditional in some ways.

But sadly, traditional and Gallic high spirits, are no match for a fusillade of 7.92mm. The Germans move into the village and annihilate the defenders.

Colin maneuvres his dastardly Krauts forward, penning the Maquis of the slaughter.

And as it was on the left, so it continued in the centre with German forces (including a rather natty Britannia motorcycle combination) pinning the Maquis in the local church.

Colin drives on, outflanking the shell shocked Maquis. 

Meanwhile the battered survivors of the Maquis on the left try to make a break for it. 

But they're caught by Colin's infantry

And it all ends rather badly for Francois...

It was a pretty grim game for the poor old Maquis. They weren't helped by a poor card draw and a German player who kept his eye on the main objective, getting forward and denying the Maquis room.

My apologies for the recent quietness on the blog. I actually started Joy & Forgetfulness as a means of ensuring at even when I was at a low ebb, I did some writing. It's developed into something rather more than that of course, but it does take a back seat when I have "proper" work to do. Also the War Room is in the throes of being refloored, so there's damn little gaming being done. I hope that this won't persist for too long and I do have a number of posts cached already, we shall see.

We have to see how the Vercours campaign turns out first


  1. A very strong Photo-narrative. The mountains are most impressive. In Memoir and C&C, few things can compare to the old "hand full of nothing"!
    I have been there myself.

    1. Didn't he do a good job. The hand full of nothing doesn't happen very often - but a Resistance player is operating on such a narrow margin to begin with that its doubly hard for him to weather.

  2. Hi CK,

    Very nice battle report and the mountains look really effective. If I am not mistaken is that the Waterloo farmhouse relocated into rural France?

    Good luck with the war room refurb as well - I am sure you will be fully back in action soon.

    All the best,


  3. Conrad Kinch,

    A very nice battle report and I love the terrain. Memoir '44 is a very nice set of rules, and when 'converted' to the tabletop with figures and 3D terrain it looks very impressive.

    I look forward to future battle reports ... one the new flooring is installed.

    All the best,