Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rapid Fire France 1940

I ran a Rapid Fire Game set in 1940 France. The Germans were to attack and the French were on the defensive. Victory conditions were set so the side holding more buildings than the other would win the game. There was a farm complex with 3 buildings and a small town with 3 buildings. I have been collecting and painting these armies for 3 years and it was great to finally see them on the table. We had 7 players , Jim F. , Kyle, Chris, Steve, Jim C., Jack and Al.

THE RULES: Rapid Fire 2

The rules are simple and play very fast which is helpful in larger games. We had 7 players (3 French and 4 German) and completed a game in 4 hours. The game is designed for 20mm figures but smaller scales will also work. A turn is divided into segments: Morale, Fire Smoke, Heroic Action, Movement, Reserve fire (by opponent in reserve fire mode), Close assault, Fire and Final Move (if a unit did not move in the previous segment). It is a combined arms game st the battalion level and a favorite of the club. They are not high in complexity or detail, making them perfect for large groups with a time constraint or too much beer consumption...right Jim C?

A figure represents a squad, so 8-10 figures form a company. A vehicle represents 2-5 vehicles.
A force is usually composed of an infantry battalion, (approximately 48 figures) and an armored regiment around 12 or more vehicles.

The German infantry are from SHQ, Battlefield Blitz, FAA and Revell. The Anti-Tank guns and crew are from FAA. The tanks are plastic models I have purchased from Flea Markets and the resin models are from Frontline Miniatures (Pz 38t and half tracks) bought through RLBPS. The Opel blitz trucks are plastic kits from Pegasus, a great model for low cost.

The French infantry are a mix of FAA, Battlefield Blitz and HaT WWI infantry. The Anti Tank guns are from FAA and the vehicles are from Frontline Miniatures bought thought RLBPS, as well as Armourfast (the FT-17's are very easy to put together). The CharB1 bis tanks were from Mathchbox as well as 2 other FT-17 tanks.

The buildings are Hovels , purchased from Wargames Inc., fast service and good prices for resin buildings. The rest of the terrain is scratch built.

German OOB:

4 x PZ38t's, 2xPZII, 1xPZI(Command Tank), 2xSDkfz 222, 2xSDkfz221

4 x Companies of infantry (10 figures each) all with MG support.
1 x Command Company with anti tank rifle.
1 x Motorcycle company (8 figures)

1x75mm Infantry Gun with prime mover
2x37mm Anti tank guns with prime mover
1x50mm Mortar motorized
1x81mm Mortar Motorized.
1xHanomag with 37mm Anti tank gun
3x Stuka Missions

French OOB

2x CharB1 bis, 4x S-35, 4xH39, 4xFT-17

4 x Companies of Infantry (8 figures each).
1 x Command Company with Artillery spotter.

1 x Hotchkiss MG
1x75mm Field Gun
1x47mm Anti Tank gun
1x25mm anti tank gun
1x light mortar
2 x Artillery missions of 155mm artillery


The French started off occupying the town so they had 3 of the 6 buildings in their possession at the start of the game, and spread their armor across the front since they were not sure where the main point of attack was coming from. They deployed half of their armor forward with the rest in reserve to react as needed to the situation.
The Germans started with infantry in the center and most of their armor on their left flank. Their plan was to consolidate their armor and punch a hole in the French defenses.

German Infantry had to cross fields to make it to the farm complex. The fields provided cover to help conceal their movement. A quick advance to hard cover (building) is the key to survival for infantry.

On Turn 2 the Germans were under fire from French Armor , but the managed to occupy the farm house with an infantry company. The German Motorcycle company on the right flank received casualties as they pressed forward into entrenched French Infantry. The French tried to isolate the Germans in the farmhouse but German armor countered the move. As you can see the Germans massed their armor to punch through the defenses. The armored cars lead the way to recon the advance for hidden dangers.

German casualties started to mount as the Armored cars started to receive damage. A French 75mm Artillery piece slowed the German armor but was eventually overwhelmed by fast moving armored cars that survived the direct fire. The infantry in the center pressed on to capture 2 more farm buildings, both sides had an equal amount through most of the game.

Small arms fire from the farm buildings started to take its toll on a company of advancing French infantry. The French tanks were too busy defending themselves from the Flanking German armor. The Germans were pushing through and trying desperately to reach the town.
Stukas were attacking French armor concentrations and forced the Char B1 tanks (the best the French had) off the board with a rout result.

French artillery from the spotter took out half of an advancing German infantry company in the center. The German losses were mounting up, but they were very close in completing their flank maneuver. A well placed shot by a French S-35 forced a German Armor detachment (1xPZII and 2xPZ38t's) off of the board.

A failed Morale roll for the Germans (who lost more than 20 figures) meant that they had to leave the field. It is interesting to note that the French also were at the 20 figure casualty mark, and trying to hold on.

Everyone enjoyed themselves and the scenario was a little heavy on the French side, next time I would give the Germans a couple of Mk IV's or MK III's. I would like to take this game to a convention and give it a try as host.

In the 1940 setting, armor must close in and be aggressive, the gun sizes (usually around 37-47mm) are too small for long range tank on tank combat. Tanks need infantry in this era for support, and infantry is also key to occupying structures as well as assaulting them. Combined arms is the key to success. Definitely a different experience from the Panther and Tiger days of 1944 where tanks are lethal at almost all ranges.


  1. Nice models, Joe.
    Always good to see this period of WW2 being played, with its own tactical peculiarities.

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