- 1 Introduction
- 2 Supplements
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Tactical Notes
- 5 Summer/Christmas Special Articles
- 6 Other M&B Resources
- 7 M&B Links
Aimed at large scale skirmish actions in the Great War, with between 30 and 120 figures a side, these rules are based around the actions of leaders in battle. Sixty-four pages in all, the rules are presented in staple bound format with a heavy card gloss colour cover with a central colour photo section. As well as the main rules there is a supplementary section covering the organisation and tactics of the Germans, French, British and US forces and details of WWI artillery tactics.Perfect for trench raid and platoon and company level engagements from 1914 to 1918.
Stout Hearts and Iron Troopers: Twenty scenarios covering the whole war on the Western Front, from Loos, to Verdun, the Somme, Cambrai, Passchendaele and Belleau Wood with Germans, French, British, US, Canadian, New Zealand and Australians all represented.
Frequently Asked Questions
Close combat - occupy vacant positions
Q: When the initiator of a close combat wins and forces the defender to withdraw. Is there an implied movement by the attacker to occupy the now vacant defensive position or do they have to wait in place for another card to come up later on (and potentially get targetted by enemy troops whilst in the open)? I know I can tweak it to suit my own ideas and as this is the WH40K variant it has plenty of ad hoc rules already but I was just wondering what the official line or thinking was?
- A: Historically you would expect the attacking troops to follow-up and occupy the vacant defensive position. Enemy troops would not target them in the open as the melee of close combat would have revented them firing on their own troops as well as the attacking enemy. Typically, attacking troops learned not to stay in the enemy trenches. They became the targets for accurate enemy artillery fire (unless the foothold was so small that an infantry counter-attack was warranted). Any movement to leave the enemy position would have to be subject to a card, IMHO.
- When we play in our club we assume that the attack is actually to occupy a position (being a trench, bunker, house, whatever) and therefore we move the surviving models in it. Remember the defender is NOT considered activated and therefore has the option to counterattack (unless defeated by such a large number of casualties that it is not allowed to take any other action except fleeing). What (IMHO) does not make sense is to have expelled the defenders from a position after an attack and then the guys eventually returning into it in their activation (cannot imagine a more frustrating situation).
Close combat - against a defender that has been activated
Q: A German HMG already activated and having fired at a British unit is close assaulted by a different British squad. Why does the defender gets a benefit in close combat from the enemy's use of action dice for movement, but the attacker does not get a similar benefit? We were very much of a divided opinion about this, particularly given that the HMG was targeting a different section with its fire earlier in the turn.
A: I think the additional dice awarded to the defender as a function of the distance moved by the attacker reflects the amount of time available to prepare themselves for the close combat fight or, alternatively, the level of surprise achieved by the attacker (the longer the distance to reach the enemy, the lesser likelihood of catching them by surprise). For me, the rule makes sense and provides balance to the game, in that it forces the attacker to really consider odds when forcing a close combat. I don't really see the situation changing much if the enemy was already activated or not, and trying to consider each possible case would lead, in my view, only to more complexity. In any case, the system is "open-source", and Richard Clarke has been always very vocal in indicating that each player should use the level of flexibility with the rules he thinks more convenient. If you think that it makes sense eliminating the defender's dice in that situation, go ahead.
Direct artillery fire
Q: I need some help to clarify artillery direct fire. Rule 8.2.5 states that "these guns may only operate in a direct fire role and, due to the close proximity to the target DO NOT ROLL TO HIT". It is clearly concluded that you have an automatic hit and need only to roll the strike dice for each type of weapon.
However in rule 8.26 there is a table presenting close, effective, and long ranges for field and tank guns; you only use this in the "To-Hit" table, so it seems to contradict the previous statement.
A: I think that's just for anti-tank fire. Against infantry targets, you just roll however many dice are dictated by the calibre, but anti-tank fire does need a roll to-hit.
Firing from buildings
On buildings we abstract somewhat: when we play M&B/TWT we allow up to 3 barrels (rifles/LMGs) firing from the long sides and up to 2 barrels from the shorter ones. LMGs, bombers and other special weapons had to be declared (to the umpire or annotated) where they are specifically displayed. Replacing casualties on any building side requires 1 action dice (for moving and getting into the fire position).
LMG Squads fire
When firing, LMG- armed squads should use two figures to man the LMG. The rest of the squad can fire normally as per their weapons. For example, a British LMG 8-man squad firing its 2 action dice would have 8 firing dice on the LMG (4 weapon x 2 action dice) plus 6 on the rifles (1/2 weapon x 6 rifles x 2 action) . Efectively we have 2 soldiers manning the LMG (gunner + ammunition bearer) and 6 rifles in support.
Support weapons activation
Q: Should these have their own cards or be activated by Big Men like infantry groups?.
- A: You can do either. It really depends on how much flexibility you want.
- It depends....If they are directly attached to your force then they should have a big man
allocated and activate on his card. Other wise use a support card. Also
remember that support can fire on the snifter card if it wasn't activated during
- When we talk about support weapons I understand that you mean a mortar, large
grenatenwerfer or HMG not assigned to any specific section but providing fire to
a platoon, right?. We usually play with the "support weapon" card for activation but allow a Big
Man from the HQ section (only from the HQ) to be allocated if the player wish to do it (to remove casualties, change location, etc)
- (Richard Clarke) That is exactly how we play it. They get the support weapon card, but Big Men can interfere if they want to. For some weapons we may occassionally simply have them activate on the Snifter card, that might be a machine gun bunker that is only vaguley involved in the action (maybe representing a unit in the next sector that, due to accident of location, is involved in sombody else's fight.
German Flamethrowers Use
Following on from recent discussions about the use of Flammenwerfer, the following extracts are taken from 'Instructions for the Employment of Flame Projectors'. This was translated from a German document that was captured in December 1915:
"1. Flame projectors (Flammenwerfer) are a new weapon for trench warfare. The responsibility for their technical employment rests entirely with the Flame Projector Commander.
11. Flame projectors must be used offensively. It is forbidden to build flame projectors in as defensive weapons in the foremost lines. Small flame projectors may be used, however, to drive off counter-attacks against positions, the capture of which has been facilitated by a flame attack, until such positions have been consolidated. For technical reasons they cease to be effective after about 48 hours. In other special, and quite exceptional, cases when it is proposed to use them defensively, the Commander of the Flame Projector Detachment should be consulted beforehand.
18. As a rule, half an hour, or on dull days one hour before sunset is the most suitable time. Only in exceptional cases... may the attack be carried out in the early morning."
From these quotes, you can see that it was not possible to have Flammenwerfer on standby for defensive purposes. The small projectors had to primed and used within 48 hours. More importantly, any use of Flammenwerfer had to be approved by the officer in charge of the Flammenwerfer unit, irrespective of who ordered the Flammenwerfer to be used in the attack. The Flammenwerfer commander could even override a General if he thought the use of Flammenwerfer was not warranted or safe. All of this took time and careful planning, so Flammenwerfer were not used during acute defensive operations.
These restrictions in use of Flammenwerfer came about because of the earliest experiences with them. There was an operation on the Eastern Front where Flammenwerfer were used for defensive purposes. It led to heavy losses. Some Flammenwerfer were retained in the captured area after the attack on the British at Hooge. When the British counter-attacked and subsequently retook most of the captured ground, they captured two Flammenwerfer. This enabled the British to quickly learn about the new technology, which caused a major concern for the Germans.
Summer/Christmas Special Articles
- Ils ne Passeront Pas - Scenario - Verdun 1916
- Somme Enchanted Evening - Scenario - Somme 1916
- The Game to End All Games - Solo gaming M&B
- Alan Watermain and the Tomb of the Prophet - Scenario - pulp in Africa
- Escape from the 'Joy - Scenario - Irish War for Independence
- A Most Ludicrous Thing - Cavalry and armour cooperation in M&B
- That Fakin Fakir - Scenario - Baluchistan
- The Mad Baron and the Living Buddha - Scenario - the Mad Baron in Mongolia
- The Disturbance of an Antheap - Cavalry and Armour Cooperation in Through the Mud and the Blood Part Two
- Toro! - Scenario - Spanish Civil War
- Flight of the Golden Pheasant -Scenario set in the last days of the Third Reich
- Winter Sports -Trench raiding rules and scenarios
- Rolling Into Action -Tank actions in 1917
- Midnight at the Oasis - Scenario featuring Lawrence of Arabia
Other M&B Resources
There are a large number of resources available in the Mud & Blood files section of the TooFatLardies Yahoo Group. Here you will find a FAQ, playsheets, cards and scenarios.
- Roundwood's World Lots of WWI and M&B material in this blog.
- Gaming with Toofatlardies A TFL games dedicated blog, with a strong focus on WWI and M&B