François Lefebvre Reporting For Duty Sir!

Chris checks the rules François Lefebvre Reporting For Duty Sir!
with Chris Townley.

A couple of years ago I watched the French movie Indigènes (otherwise known as Days of Glory) which follows a group of French Algerian Tirailleurs (and to a lesser extent some Moroccan Goumiers) who have been recruited into the French First Army of the Free French Forces, formed to liberate France. It shows their involvement in the Italian Campaign, then on to Operation Dragoon and the liberation of the south of France, and then up to Alsace for the conclusion of the movie. The combination of this movie and the battlefield prowess of the Goums meant I was keen to volunteer to lead these brave men into the guns of the enemy hiding in and around Cassino.

Left: Chris checks the rules.
Building A Hero
François spent a number of years out in the colonies where he failed to be noticed and therefore promoted, but he was happy with this life and had gained the respect of the tough Moroccan troops he led. With his homeland invaded by the Nazis he was keen to lead his men back to liberate France, but the road to France started with Italy. The Goums were known to have a minimum of logistical requirements, which is a nice way of saying that they managed to live off the land and scavenge what they required to keep moving on, so my choice was clear.

Right: Chris' Goums advance.
Chris' Goums advance
François would follow the Scavenger archetype to represent the ability of his men to improvise and acquire whatever they needed to get the job done.
Turn One Ability François' Infantry Ace Abilities
Weapons Upgrade
Turn One Ability
Your Infantry Ace may shoot as an Assault Rifle, MG, or Anti-tank team.

Read Phil's account of the Infantry Aces campaign here...
We Can Use That!
Turn Two Ability
If you win an Assault you may capture and use enemy Gun Teams or abandoned vehicles.

Read Blake's account of the Infantry Aces campaign here...
Turn Two Ability
Turn Three Ability

Teller Mine Stash
Turn Three Ability
Before the game begins, you may either deploy a minefield or give an entire platoon Tank Assault 5.

Learn what Infantry Aces is here...

Crack Shot
Ace of Aces Ability
Your Infantry Ace may re-roll one of his misses while shooting.

Read the Cassino Design Notes here...
Chris' Goums approach the river Off to War
Despite having played the Goums a lot during the play testing for Cassino, I was a little apprehensive when it came to our Infantry Aces campaign; I had never run such a small force of just Goums. For the first round of games I was scheduled to fight Mike (with FJ) and Casey (HG Panzergrenadierkompanie).

Left: Chris' Goums approach the river.
Coming up against Mike I found myself on part of our Rapido table, with a massive river dominating the terrain and forcing me to either get caught in a bottleneck crossing the solitary bridge or try swimming across instead. Mike cunningly placed a platoon in ambush and managed to catch me crossing the bridge and despite my attached weapons platoon laying down a wall of fire the dice were with Mike and he managed to easily sweep aside my assault. My second platoon swam across the river but Mike’s reserve platoon moved to intercept and under the cover of his mortars managed to stop my advance cold. The Goum advance had been stopped!
For my game against Casey I had the luxury of defending this time and whilst the table had another river (a bad sign perhaps?) this time it did not provide the luxury of letting me hide behind it, rather in went down the middle of the table forcing me to divide my defenders on both sides. Casey pushed up one flank whilst I scrambled to re-position my weapons platoon and second infantry platoon. The river once again proved to be my undoing as the moving infantry were caught in the open and suffered serious casualties (despite their Cautious Movement rules). Casey moved in for the assault expecting and easy fight but thanks to the Goums Fearless rating and Colonial Troops rule, I managed to destroy his platoon. However it came at a serious cost to me as well as my platoon could now only be considered reinforcement in name only.

Right: The Goums cross the bridge.
The Goums cross the bridge
Over on the objective his flanking platoon burst out from behind the tree lines that it was safely advancing up behind and with a massive volley of fire pinned the defenders and assaulted. Casey managed to push me back from the objective and despite my efforts I failed to dislodge him. I was starting to get a bad feeling about any table with a river!

Below: Members of the Battlefront Studio enjoy some time-out to play Infantry Aces.
Members of the Battlefront Studio enjoy some time-out to play Infantry Aces

For our first escalation round I found myself facing off against Mark and his FJ Company. This game went significantly better, although it was entirely due to Mark's dice choosing to stab him in the back and the resulting game was over before we knew it. No river equals win.

Up next were Wayne and his Gebirgsjagers. Despite the fact I would be attacking, and despite the fact there was a river I was actually feeling confident. My Goums would be supported by a battery of artillery and the open nature of the table would restrict Wayne's ambush options. This game was dominated (at least in my memory) buy two things: 1. the fact that my artillery achieved nothing despite multiple Time on Target bombardments of dug-in enemy artillery as well as infantry in the open, and 2. that river! This time I pushed up, successfully assaulted and killed Wayne’s first platoon, but his waves of reinforcements wore down my attacking infantry and the river crossing turned into a mass of Goums and Gebirgsjagers fighting over the objective. Needless to say the game did not end the way I planned, but we had a great game of punch, counter punch that could have gone either way.

Below: The Last Day in Combat: The Allied Side.

The Last Day in Combat: The Allied Side

Last Day in Combat
For the Last Day in Combat my trusty Goums were reinforced by a small platoon of three Stuarts and I found myself on the left flank with Phil, facing off against Blake and Mark (with Casey's troops just across the river.... yep... another river). This time everything seemed to go according to plan with Phil’s tanks duelling with Mark’s Panther turret whilst my Stuarts scooted up the table, dodging craters. Meanwhile my Goums fearlessly advanced from shell hole to shell hole, holding their fire till the last possible moment. Finally the Goums were in their element and swept across Blake’s troops (even capturing a 2cm AA gun and turning it on their owners) whilst the Stuarts worked their way down the line helping Phil's infantry to assault the stubborn FJ. I even diverted one of my platoons to cross the river to support James' Kiwis, where they successfully overran his infantry guns before hunkering down and stopping Casey from helping Blake's now severely depleted troops. It may have been the Last Day in Combat for my Goums, but it was a great last day!

~ Chris.

Below: Chris' Stuarts advance with Phil's infantry in support.

Chris' Stuarts advance with Phil's infantry in support

Last Updated On Tuesday, August 9, 2011 by Blake at Battlefront