Operation Beverage

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 British as the attackers and Germans as the defenders, and will use these terms from now on, but of course it could be altered for different nationalities.

The British player comes on from one end of the board with his British paras. Off board, the other end of the table, is a column of advancing British armour. The Germans are deployed as if expecting an attack from the armour-end of the table. The orders for the British player are to do what he can to aid the advance of the tanks.

The British player is handed statistics for the vehicles he will be using, and a box containing these, including a decent number of Churchills or the like is placed within his sight near the table.

The terrain should be, as ever, fairly dense and varied. The Germans will have a front-line, which might include the likes of anti-tank obstacles, barbed wire, trenches, and places for AT guns. There should be at least two places for AT guns to be, where they can see the armour-end of the table. One of these should be a sizeable emplacement with about three decent guns. I used Pak 40s. This emplacement should be well-defended with infantry. In front of it should be a fairly large open area. Either side of the open area should be discouraging to vehicles, and should include the sort of cover infantry likes when attacking vehicles in close combat. The terrain can be placed at the start of the game, but might better be added as it comes into line-of-sight of the attacking British, to conform to a pre-drawn map.

The Germans do not deploy "hidden" as per the rules, but what I called "unknown", which means that they are not deployed on the table, but are placed down only when the British attacking forces come in normal line-of-sight of them. This simulates the surprise of being attacked from an unexpected direction, by a force which is moving hastily, unsure of where exactly it is. They should deploy in depth, not just along the front line. I suggest that the area on the left half of the map should contain at least half the German forces, and a few points of distracting interest, such as a communications HQ, bridge, bunker. If the attacking player encounters very few enemies in the left half of the map, he will be suspicious that there is a surprise waiting for him. If he feels that he has already achieved something by the time he has gained line of sight to the far end of the table, and has suffered some casualties, then he is far more likely to make the mistake of calling on the armour before he has discovered all the anti-tank guns.

The Brits must push forward, to clear the way for the armoured column. With good play, the British player may encounter the Germans and defeat them piecemeal. The British para commander is in radio contact with the armoured column. When the paras come within sight of the far end of the table, then the column's commander, perhaps played by the umpire, or the player playing the Germans, reports that he can see the paras' smoke and mortar blasts, and asks if it is a good time to approach. If the answer is "yes", then the British player is handed not the many Churchills he is expecting, but three Honeys and two Daimler ACs - the recon unit heading the column. He can bring these on anywhere along the end of the table.

If the British player has not discovered and destroyed the anti-tank guns of the defenders, then the light AFVs of the column will be in great trouble.

If the answer is "no", then the British AFVs stay off table. The British player, though, may yield to the temptation to bring on the tanks, especially if things are not going well for him. This is his chance to reinforce himself, and why should he delay? Every British initiative, the commander of the column should ask again whether the paratrooper commander wants him to advance.

I used a vacuum-formed piece of terrain which I had been keeping in an opaque bag, to represent a Pak 40 emplacement. This had a narrow strip of woods hiding it from the back (i.e. from the attacking British paras), and it gets placed it down replacing some more woods terrain which first mark its place, only when the paras get within line-of-sight of the guns themselves at the front. Until this point, it looks like a bumpy-floored section of woodland, and is treated as two sections of terrain: front and back, the front having the guns in it, and the back blocking line-of-sight to the front, from behind.

In playtest, at the end of the game, the Germans (many were green troops) were in no position to hold against an armoured column, but I ruled that although the British would win, the player playing the para commander had not won, as he had not secured the area in time for the arrival of the column, and four out of the five lead vehicles had been destroyed. He would be unlikely to be promoted, having told a superior that it was safe to advance.

This type of scenario involves one player's trusting another, but can work really well.

Notice that line of sight to the main group of AT guns is difficult to achieve until one is almost on top of them. If you are using the terrain type "crest", as described in the supplement Hit the Dirt, then you might want to add one between point C and the bottom end of the main AT emplacement, running across the rough ground. Remember that rough ground does not block sight, and so those reddish blobs of bushes and rubble do not stop the paras from being seen by the armoured column's commander, but they do offer good places for armour-hunting Germans with panzerfausts and the like. This map shows the blue area on the left side taking up about half of the table's area. I would recommend your making this blue area longer, so that the British player has to fight for a bit further before sighting the end of the table.

You might like to hand the British player a print-out of the following brief:

You are to play a key rôle in Operation Beverage. You have landed behind enemy lines with your force of veteran paratroopers. A large column of heavy armour is to advance into enemy territory later today, and you are to do everything you can to aid it on its way, attacking from the enemy's rear. The good news is that you are in radio contact with the commander of the column, Brigadier Stansbrook MC. The bad news is that after a forced march at night, you are not certain of where you are, and your maps have proven useless. You do know the direction in which the enemy's front line lies, however, and so you know the direction you must go. Do not contact Stansbrook by radio, unless it is a dire emergency, since a broadcast will give away your position to the enemy. An enemy communications HQ is believed to be in the area. Instead, stay tuned to the correct frequency, and he will contact you. Make your way from one end of the gaming table to the other, stripping the reserves away from the enemy's front line, and occupy any positions you consider may be of use to the enemy. Jolly good luck. I bet you wouldn't want to miss this show for the world, eh?


Click here to go back to the home page