FT270 Revenges at Saint Julien

Mike205

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Did you catch the clever play on words? “Revenges” at St. Julien? Set in August 1944 this six turn scenario from the newest From the Cellar Pack depicts a German anti-partisan operation against FFI forces in south-central France.

Historically, the Germans, or more accurately Cossacks fighting for the Germans, attacked the village of St. Julien in response to growing Maquis activity in the Dordogne region. Casualties were heavy on both sides, as FFI forces emboldened by the Allied invasion, fiercely resisted the attack.

After storming the village they rounded up all military age males (ages 18-80) and after questioning, summarily executed seventeen of them. The scenario card doesn’t mention this but the survivors were likely sent to labor service in Germany. By late 1944, the Germans had begun deploying the anti-partisan tactics of the eastern front to rural parts of France and Italy. Although the violence against civilians was not as always indiscriminate as it was in the East, the smash and grab policy of looting farms and villages for the war effort was uniformly applied, with many villagers and farmers losing their livelihoods as cattle, grain, and their children were gathered up for the German war effort.

Significantly, many of the units involved in these search and destroy missions were comprised of East Europeans and there appears to be some evidence that by summer 1944 the Germans were actually relocating eastern collaborators with the express purpose of using their counterinsurgency skills in the west. For example, Himmler had plans to resettle Don Cossacks to the Trieste region of northern Italy to fight partisans. Others wound up as part of his fortified villages program developed in Belarus. Interestingly enough, this plan seems to have influenced British COIN efforts in Malaysia and the American fortified hamlet program later in Vietnam- captured German documents about this initiative bear Pentagon stamps.

To return to the events at St. Julien, two weeks after the massacre, a nearby German garrison surrendered to the local resistance. During the POW transport, acting independently, several Maquis fighters detained seventeen German prisoners, marched them to the site of the St. Julien massacre and executed them. Hence “Revenges” at St. Julien.

If anyone is interested in the anti-partisan war in France and can read German, I suggest Peter Lieb’s Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg? Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44.

Henning Pieper has also written a good German language article which details the history of a Caucasus unit which participated in the Holocaust, the AP war in the East, and then was deployed in the West. PM me and I’ll be happy to share it.

Our Monday night fight took place on board 63 and the dice gave me the Maquis. Setting up in the R-Z stone buildings, they consisted of 8 x 3-3-7s, a 1-2-7, 8-0, 7-0, lmg, and 10 dummy counters. Turn three they are reinforced with 3x3-3-7s, 8-1, and another lmg.
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Doug’s Cossacks from the 708 Infanterie Division were represented by 6x4-4-7s, 5x4-3-6s, 8-1, 8-0, 7-0 leaders, 1 mmg, 2 lmgs. They could enter along the northern and/ or edges, rows GG5-Q10.

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By SSR all Partisan leaders can set up HIP, and 1 squad equivalent and lmg could also set up HIP. Partisans couldn’t form fire groups, but the COT for their building entry was 1MF instead of 2. No Quarter was unsurprisingly in effect, as was Civilian Interrogation. I can assure you that no civilians were interrogated during the making of this AAR. Just wanted to clear that up before we get started.

VC were CVP based- 12 or more CVP inflicted on the Cossacks meant that the Partisans immediately won. The Partisans can also win by exiting VP if members of the initial force moved off the western edge of the board. The Germans won by inflicting 15 or more CVP on the terrorists, I mean the freedom fighters.


Clearly, the designers were going for a smash mouth scenario where the bodies hit the floor like in a Drowning Pool video. That’s not at all what happened though. I’m not a fan of rock rap and planned to hunker down in stone buildings and decimate the oncoming Cossacks, with the goal that Doug’s force would gradually fade away into a bunch of disrupted conscripts. I set up a row of 3-3-7s along the X3-R7 line, sprinkled in with a few dummies that I could switch out to draw fire and allow the FFI to regain concealment.

Another row of 3-3-7s. including the HIP lmg, and a few more dummies set up V7-R9. I had a 3-3-7 and a HIP 7-0 rally point in R7, dummies in R6, more dummies and HIP 8-0 in T5, and the 1-2-7 in T4. I figured that maybe they’d be good for a desperate CC in the church at some point.

My plan here was to collapse my V7-R9 and X3-W5 lines if I got in trouble and conduct a fighting retreat through the buildings, setting up a new line centered on the village church. By that point my reinforcements would be arriving and I could make a final stand along the R4-R7 line. I wanted to stick to those +2/+3 buildings, keep good route paths open, and above all make sure I didn’t get forced out of the ville, where my defensive advantages would be negated.

Doug split his force, bringing on a mmg, lmg, 8-1, 2x4-4-7 stack into W10 on turn 1. He ran three other 4-4-7s across the wheat, attempting to close in on V7. I manage to pin one of these but otherwise he came on in good order and in turn 2, despite a broken squad, his 4-4-7s took the farmhouse in CC.

Doug brought his conscripts in on the west edge, managing to get into Z4 by the end of turn 2. So far we’d been mostly trading shots back and forth with little effect, and my SAN 5 sniper managed to break one squad and pin a couple of others.

But on turn 3 things got really interesting when I discovered that Doug was in fact a Drowning Pool fan.
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In true rock rap fashion, he started pushing conscripts up the main road, and despite my defensive fire, actually got two squads into X4 and W5, killing another squad in CC. Despite having one squad CAS reduce on a boxcars MC, his guys broke my 3-3-7 in X3 and they fled into the partisan infested woods from whence they came.



It was ballsy and it continued for the next two turns, as Doug pushed conscripts steadily forward. True, one disrupted and died as it was raked by one of my lmgs as it advanced down the road, but the rest of them managed to clear the T5-T6 church, winning a bunch of bold HtH CCs in the process.



I’d always been taught that conscripts suck and that they’re so brittle you need to keep them in a heavily fortified location, like a Red Barricades factory, in order to be effective. In other words, they’re great as defensive speed bumps but useless on the offensive. Doug proved me wrong in admirable fashion.

Although I had plenty of troops left, my guys were fading to the north, as his mmg/lmg stack started to get good effect on them. I set up a second line, mostly my reinforcements, across from the church and the game ground to a halt until turn 6 as we continued to trade fire.

Technically, this was a draw, since neither of us hit the minimum CVP cap, but I gave it to Doug, he had me beat CVP wise by two full squads thanks to CCs, which he seemed to win every time. In one occasion, his lax conscripts even managed to ambush my Maquis.
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The real fun for me came watching Doug pull off his conscript assault. Otherwise, it was a pretty tame shoot out scenario. Clearly, the designers had intended otherwise, but they’ve never met me, Mr. Force Preservation.
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I’m a no risk, buttoned up vanilla poindexter who feels bad every time he loses a squad and wants everyone to go home when the war’s over. Doug played this the right way, took chances, pushed his crappy OB to its limits, and won as a result. If I’m every bloodthirsty enough, I’d like to try this one again some time.
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Major Issues

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This scenario has problems. With the partisans winning with 12 points off, 5 squads and both leaders run for it, while the remaining 3-1/2 squads and LMG set up to shoot at Germans who try to stop them from running. R7, T8 and X4 are good for this.

The partisans can have 5 squads and 2 leaders in O1 and N1 by the end of P1. To stop them from running there, and their move east on P2, the Germans need to be in hexes like Q10, R9, and X4. Even then, only 447s and the MGs would be likely to get shots due to range.

Q10 and R9 are the best likely spots for the Germans to stop this, but getting and staying there is hard. Any German who breaks in Q10 or R10 dies for failure to rout. Which is more partisan points.

With the German entry used in this AAR, the partisans could have moved east on turn 1 unscathed.

Note - the partisans should not have been allowed to set up in R9. And I don't see where HtH CC is allowed.

I would love to hear the Maquis' pre-battle meeting -
"Claude and Pierre, we will long remember your sacrifice, as you die today under a hail of bullets, while the rest of us run away!"
"Uh, our sacrifice????"

"Yes, didn't you get the memo? We discussed it at last week's meeting, the one you weren't at. We unanimously voted to leave you and your gallant men behind!"
 

Mike205

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This scenario has problems. With the partisans winning with 12 points off, 5 squads and both leaders run for it, while the remaining 3-1/2 squads and LMG set up to shoot at Germans who try to stop them from running. R7, T8 and X4 are good for this.

The partisans can have 5 squads and 2 leaders in O1 and N1 by the end of P1. To stop them from running there, and their move east on P2, the Germans need to be in hexes like Q10, R9, and X4. Even then, only 447s and the MGs would be likely to get shots due to range.

Q10 and R9 are the best likely spots for the Germans to stop this, but getting and staying there is hard. Any German who breaks in Q10 or R10 dies for failure to rout. Which is more partisan points.

With the German entry used in this AAR, the partisans could have moved east on turn 1 unscathed.

Note - the partisans should not have been allowed to set up in R9. And I don't see where HtH CC is allowed.

I would love to hear the Maquis' pre-battle meeting -
"Claude and Pierre, we will long remember your sacrifice, as you die today under a hail of bullets, while the rest of us run away!"
"Uh, our sacrifice????"

"Yes, didn't you get the memo? We discussed it at last week's meeting, the one you weren't at. We unanimously voted to leave you and your gallant men behind!"
All good points here and apologies for gacking R9.

The Maquis got the memo but it was written in lemon juice so it was invisible, per SOP.

I figured I'd try to hammer the Cossacks rather than run for it, I imagine the designer intended both forces colliding and total carnage breaking out. I just figured I'd have a better chance staying indoors.
 
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