Operation Glimmer

WARNING: This scenario works only with one player kept in the dark. The map appears at the bottom of this page. Once you have read the text and seen the map, then you can play the rôle of defender only.

This is a scenario where one player knows more than the other, or else an umpire is used. At least one player should not be told the full scenario, and he should play the attacker. I played this scenario with Germans as the attackers and British as the defenders, and will use these terms from now on, but of course it could be altered for different nationalities.

The table is rectangular, and divides roughly into three parts: attacker's home side, centre, defender's home side. The centre of the table is made up of many sections of woods, and either end of the table has other sorts of terrain (hills, walls, fields etc.).

The defender deploys half his forces hidden, and half not hidden. He may deploy anywhere on the table except in terrain features touching the German end of the table. The attacker starts off table, and comes on anywhere along his table end.

German Brief

You receive the following written orders:

Tomorrow at 0800 our army will launch an attack at several points along the enemy front. While the main effort of the enemy will be in defending against attacks elsewhere, you must break through a weak point which intelligence tells us exists in the enemy's front. Once through, you will turn, after receiving new orders by radio, to link up with other spearheads, and will attack to the enemy's rear. Punching through the enemy's front should prove easy, as the terrain is well suited to your unit.

You send out scouts, and go to reconnoitre the area, with inadequate maps. The reports from the scouts say that the area is defended by enemy infantry, some of whom are dug in. The terrain is not good, and you have no choice but to pick a route forward which takes you through a fairly extensive area of woodland. The table represents your route through the enemy lines. Once off the far end of the table, you will be in a position to receive your new orders.

British Brief

[First radio message] "Great Scott, Titchmarsh! What the Devil are you doing there? Don't you know you're out of position? Pull back for mercy's sake! At noon today the whole of the AGRA's going to be blasting that area to blazes! You're far too far forward to support where you are, and besides, that's not the point of today's attack. Get your men to fall back, but... ah! Hang on for now, I'll get back to you. In the meantime, get your men to start packing."

[Second message] "Titchmarsh? Ah, good man, now listen: had a word with the Big Sunray, and he says that you might be able to do us a little favour as you pull back. Try and suck in Jerry and draw forces away from the main attack. Make a couple of feints, and then pull back. If you get it right, your local nasties will get a right stonking, what? Just make damn sure your men are not in Pixieland at noon. Out."

(AGRA = Army Group Royal Artillery = huge artillery unit, Big Sunray = chief commander, Pixieland = area to be subjected to barrage at noon (wooded centre of table))

At noon today, an outrageously large number of big artillery shells are due to rain down on the forest in the centre of the table. Your objective is to fix things such that as many Germans are in those woods at the time as possible.

The German attacker is told nothing more of the scenario. He should for instance not know that half the enemy forces are hidden. He should have no more clues as to how many enemies he is facing. Similarly, the defender is not told the best way to play the game, but the best thing to do would probably be to fight a steady retreat vacating the centre of the board and holding steadfastly to the home end of the board. The trick will be to make the withdrawal appear forced and reluctant, rather than deliberate and willing. To make this more difficult, part of the terrain includes a large woods terrain feature in the centre of the table, in which is a trench. Troops firing at the trench roll a penalty die, rather than just dropping one die for cover as usual (penalty die = roll an extra die, but discount the highest result of all dice, so rifles (3 dice) firing at entrenched enemy roll four dice, and get 3,5,6,6, but this is a suppression, not a kill result, since one of the sixes is discarded). This is a problem for the defender, since the trench is in an excellent position, with a good field of fire, and protects his troops well, so it may look suspicious if he doesn't deploy any troops in it, or if he abandons it when things are still going well.

The Moving Clock is used, and the game ends at noon, at which point any units in the centre of the table come under massive bombardment. Starting at 0800, at the end of each German initiative, a roll of 4+ on 1d6 means that the clock is moved on by quarter of an hour.

At noon, 1d6 is rolled for every infantry stand and vehicle in the central area of woodland (including units in the open, between woods features). Infantry stands and soft skinned vehicles die on 4+ (5+ if in the trench), armoured vehicles 5+. Also, stands in terrain features touching the central area die on 5+ (armoured vehicles 6+), and stands either in the open between the central area and the next nearest terrain piece in the end sections, or in terrain features which, though not touching the central area, have no intervening terrain features between them and the central area, die on a roll of six. When the dust settles after this, the points are awarded.

The British player gets a point for every German infantry stand and vehicle dead, and loses a point for every German stand or vehicle off his end of the board. He gains a point for every stand/gun he has surviving, and loses a point for every one he has lost. To win, he must score more points than his starting number of stands and guns.

The Forces

The attacker should have a very significant advantage in numbers and equipment, but he shouldn't know this. These are the forces I used, but you will probably have to come up with some substitutes. I play Crossfire at the scale 1 figure = 1 man. A "platoon" of men in the game as I play it, is roughly equivalent to a "company" at the published scale.


Two platoons of regulars, two Vickers MGs, two 3" mortars with FOOs, one or two 6pdr AT guns.


A full panzergrenadier company, with three platoons of infantry, with every section having two LMGs; three tripod-mounted MGs; enough half-tracks to transport the whole company (with 251/10 command vehicles for every platoon); a support platoon of two stump guns (75mm-armed 251s), two 81mm mortar carriers, two radio carriers, and four 20mm flak AA gun carriers (total of 23 half-tracks - see panzergrenadier section). I didn't find it necessary to make them veterans, but you could also make the attacking troops veterans. If you don't have many half-tracks, then give the attacker armoured vehicles of some sort, but not ones with very heavy armour. The attacker should have over double the strength of the defender.

(Note that the way I play the game, armoured half-tracks are not invulnerable to small arms' fire. I play that they afford protection like pillboxes - drop one die and one pip per die, and that they ignore pins.)

With this overwhelming force, the German player should be able to obey his orders fairly easily. As soon as he punches a gap in the enemy line, he can mount up in his half-tracks, and zoom through it. In playtest, however, the German player has always become fascinated by the enemy troops, and has spent an age trying to finish them all off instead of by-passing them at the first opportunity. I would recommend that players allow German attacking vehicles more than one move action per initiative. Four or five actions is better.

A Area at defender's home end of the table.
Ai Example of terrain feature where a 6 would destroy a stand in the great AGRA cataclysm.
Aii Example of a terrain feature where a 5 or 6 would destroy an infantry stand.
Aiii Example of an area of open terrain where a 6 would doom a stand.
B Area of woodland densely dotted with patches of wood terrain features, and perhaps a few bushy bits of rough ground. 4, 5, or 6 will kill infantry here at noon.
Bi Central terrain feature of woodland, containing a trench.
C Attacker's end of the table, attacker enters from right hand edge.


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