Trench Raiders: Tale of Two Battles 1915 - 1917

Myself, Ed and Ollie recently got together for some superb games of Ed's self-penned ruleset, Trench Raiders. This post covers my French raiding team in their first game as attackers and a (narrow) victory, and a superb stealthy victory by Ed's Brits against Germans played by myself (report written by Ed). 

For the other part of this triple set of games and an overview of the rules go to the superlative Palladian Guard blog.

French raid on a German Trench, 1917

Player: Kieran
Army: French
Defender: Germans (Ed and Ollie)
Year: 1917
Mission: Intelligence Grab (search a dugout and then escape the board)
Maximum Artillery Support Available: Regimental Bombardment (Level V)
Artillery Support Selected: Company Bombardment (Level III)

Kieran's Plan
As with the game where we played the French as defenders where Ollie opted to take Company Bombardment, I opted to do the same. This does mean the opponent starts with the maximum number of defenders, but also has the slowest response time for enemy reinforcements appearing on the board. So as long as I could take out the bulk of the defenders in the first couple of turns, it could be wine and croissants for me.

I split my Raiders into two combat teams centered around a bombing team (pair) each – as seen below with the bombing team members in base contact. After taking out the defenders, the team in the top right corner were to make their way to the dugout and complete the objective; the other team (top centre) would cover the comms trench and deal with any reinforcements. The other riflemen/Officer were spread out between them, intended to move to wherever the most resistance appeared.
Where's the je ne sais quoi in being stealthy?
F1 grenades in the first turn killed three defenders. Lieutenant Emile Corbeau's plan was coming together nicely.
The flurry of grenades disturbed what the defender's hoped would be a quiet night on the Western Front
At top centre above is the surviving but wounded German defender, whilst to the left the other defenders regroup and consolidate.

The covering team take their casualty, as one of the Riflemen dropping into the front line trench is picked off by well-aimed rifle fire. However, the First team are able to swiftly move to the objective, and rummage through the dugout for vital Hun intelligence.

After the French covering team push the initial German sentries back down the comms trench with grenades and rifle fire, the box barrage lets up and the Germans are finally able to sneak a few more reinforcements down the comms trench. The bombing team have a grenade prepped ready to hurl at the Hun foe. Meanwhile the German officer has climbed onto the parapet to better fire off pistol shots at the sneaky Frogs.

 A French Rifleman (face down, to left) takes a fatal wound from the German officer's pistol fire. The French bombing team covering the reinforcements respond with an F1 grenade, not seeming to be too concerned about their unconscious comrade. 

Meanwhile to the right, the key team having gained the intelligence they were looking for (clutched by the Officer leading at the front) make a bid for freedom towards No Man's Land. They already have +4 victory points for searching the dugout, but they need to make it off the board to complete the objective.

The German Officer having already killed one of the French raiders and having wounded another, regroups his men for a charge, waiting for a gap in the shower of grenades keeping them hemmed in. However, a lucky shot from the one of the bombing team killed the German Officer before they could act.

Undeterred and having a seemingly endless amount of well burning star shells and flares, rather than pursuing the 
French, the Germans with plenty of reinforcements opt to line up on the parapet and use the artificial light to provide some aimed rifle fire. 
As the French Officer scrambles into No Man's Land clutching the vital intelligence, he's severely wounded (killed in game terms) by the aimed volley of the German firing line. But getting something of a lucky break, as the Officer is shot (well not that lucky) the flares and star shells die out. The defenders unable to see clearly enough to fire at long range give the French a respite to grab the Officer and the intelligence and haul him to the safety of their own lines in the cover of darkness.

Did the plan work?
Well, all in all a fantastic and rather close game. A good start allowed the combat team to get to the objective quickly, but as soon as the reinforcements arrived, and particularly as they lined up on the parapet to fire aimed volleys as the flares/star shells stayed on the table made it very close indeed. It was only an unlucky roll on Ed's part that meant the star shell burned out, making it impossible to fire at range for that turn and allowing the French to finally escape.

French Victory Points

Dugout Searched: 8 points
German Casualties: 7 points
German Officer Killed: 2 points
French Casualties: -9 points
Casualties Recovered: 1 point

Total: 9 points - Victory!

Read on for the next game!

British Raid on a German Trench, 1915

Player:  Ed
Army:  British
Defender:  French (Kieran)
Year:  1915
Mission:  Attrition (kill as many enemies as possible)
Maximum Artillery Support Available:  Battalion Bombardment (Level IV)
Artillery Support Selected:  Scouts (Level I)

This was an interesting game.  The usual tactic for Attrition missions is to go in, kick up the hornets' nest and have a straight fight with the defenders.  But having selected Scouts, I knew there would only be a few sentries in the trench to start with.  If I could kill those three silently, that would guarantee six victory points.  I could then blow the German dugout unmolested (for another five points), and get out before re-enforcements began pouring through the comms trench.  Well, that was the plan... 

I attacked from the far side of the board in this picture.  Kieran had three sentries to start with,
so I went for the section of trench with only one in it.
But Jerry had his Wheetabix that morning and put the bayonet through
Private Howell, giving him a superficial wound.
Lieutenant Shaw moves in, but receives a mortal wound.  At this point, Kieran made a tactical decision that changed the whole course of the battle.  When it came to his turn, he had a choice of finishing off Shaw or spending his action raising the alarm.  He decided that the five victory points he'd get for killing my commander were too good to pass up.
However, I successfully clear the trench and prepare to deal with the other two sentries. 
I sprint my demolition team round the corner...
Wer ist da!
But the alert German sentry spots him, bumping him up to six
suspicion points and removing the random NPC actions each turn. 
I have to hurriedly send in my bayonet teams.
The alarm still hasn't been raised, so Jerry is fast asleep when
 a pair of Mills bombs put paid to their dugout. 
I hurriedly try to escape as re-enforcements pour in from adjacent sectors.
They line up on the parapet as I try and sneak away into No Man's Land.
And just as I manage to escape, Private Divall is shot and killed yards away from safety!

All in all, it was a splendid game.  Normally stealth is just used to insert the team before the shooting starts, so I thought I'd try to do it all silently and prevent the alarm being raised.  I managed this, so I suppose my plan worked, but it cost two men and there were several times when I was only saved by the dice rolls.

British Victory Points
Dugout Blown: 5 points
German Casualties:  6 points
British Officer Killed:  -5 points
German Casualty:  -2 points
Casualties Recovered:  1 points

Total:  5 points - Victory!

To continue the story, go to Palladian Guard and let Ed relate the stories of the final game!


  1. I'm so very impressed...

    ...and so very jealous.

    Is this game as easy to equip and play as it looks?

    1. Haha thanks for the comment Drax, yup it's ridiculously straight forward and easy to set up, and great to play too

  2. Exciting games to follow! Need some Austrians versus Serbs action too.

    1. Thanks Dai, funny you say that as there may be some Austrian v Russian games on the way that have been on the cards for a while...


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