WW2 German Trench Terrain - needs criticism

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WW2 German Trench Terrain - needs criticism

Postby markhorne » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:47 am


I started this project and I'm getting bogged down on minutiae. It's a range of trench terrain for 25/28mm WW2 tabletop battles but I think I need more info on construction materials and design used by the Germans.

Each tile is 10x10cm with a 30mm deep trench, wooden planks for revetments supported by posts, short-plank walkways, and topped either side with a double layer of interlocked sandbags.

I thought they might be useful to build unique arrangements for different scenarios, or stick together for a fixed position. The tiling's a little off in places but if you'd use them for a fixed diorama then puttying them together would be easy enough.

I'm thinking maybe I could write a game system around them? Place a tile per turn on a table grid, spawn infantry in them, and launch attacks across no-man's land at your opponents trenchline.

So far I've made a Straight, Corner, T-Junction, Crossroads, and Tobruk Trench. Pick em apart and give me the straight dope no foolin'...

Straight.JPG (34.29 KiB) Viewed 1118 times
Corner.JPG (33.93 KiB) Viewed 1118 times
T-Junction.JPG (35.86 KiB) Viewed 1118 times
Crossroads.JPG (35.9 KiB) Viewed 1118 times
Tobruk.JPG (29.08 KiB) Viewed 1118 times

Check out my blog at http://blackhallgaming.wordpress.com for more & bigger pics.

As I say, I'm losing sight of the objective, so I need your advice, anything or nothing, it's all good :)

Ok, interrogation time...

I guess my main questions are - would anybody use these, is a game system a dumb idea, and what mistakes did I make. These need a good run through the mill, so be thorough, spare no sentiment & trust me, I can handle the truth :D

Questions -

1 I'm using the excellent reference material at http://www.allworldwars.com (http://www.allworldwars.com/German-Doct ... Front.html) but I can't find enough pictures of what they actually looked like internally and up close. Most of my inspiration is coming from movies unfortunately, and the slim selection of pics I've found online. I need a proper reference source...

2 I want to make trenchwork you might find along the West Wall, positions along/behind the Atlantic Wall, Axis Europe in general, but I don't know what the differences would be, if there are any substantial differences.

3 Is it worth doing this as tiling terrain or as larger trench sections in a standalone diorama style? I'm working on a 30x20cm section with seven covered positions with firing loops, and I'm wondering if this might be a better idea. Hopefully posting it up here soon for comparison.

4 Were only established trenches (West/Atlantic Wall) properly revetted with planks and posts or was this a standard preferred design across all defensive lines? The closest examples I've seen to what I think the Germans used for revetting materials in WW2 are actually trenchwork from WW1 - except I realise now most positions were covered by steel/concrete shielding and used metal firing loops, right? Or were logs, sandbags and earth more common?

5 How common were simple dirt dugout trenches revetted with chickenwire and steel like the Korean trenchwork in Pork Chop Hill? I'm thinking probably more common on the Western Front?

6 Did the Germans ever top off trenchlines with sandbags or were they always covered with dirt to allow grass to grow over and obscure them from aerial photography?

7 Did established trenches never use sandbags, except for temporary repairs? All of Steiner's trenches in Cross of Iron seem to be lined with sandbags...

8 Were sandbags mainly used for marshland and urban terrain where dugout trenches were impossible?

9 How were Tobruks and Pillboxes attached to trenchwork, or were they mostly unconnected?

10 Were open sandbag gaps ever used for permanent firing positions or were firing positions always covered and preferably shielded with metal firing loops?

11 Were firing steps a purely WW1 design?

Over to you :D


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Re: WW2 German Trench Terrain - needs criticism

Postby markhorne » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:53 am

And if you were playing them as a tile game here's how your trenchline might look at turn 6 -


Of course my side would be full of Tobruks, but I've only cast one of each type so far and the rules will limit your options to some extent... That second straight is actually a firing step trench that I probably won't use. But you get the idea..

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Re: WW2 German Trench Terrain - needs criticism

Postby 50th » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:38 pm

Those trenches look great for a WWI game. I could see WWI figures with Maxim machine guns firing across no mans land.
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Re: WW2 German Trench Terrain - needs criticism

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:53 pm

Well, I'm late to this party!

First, I want to echo what Ron says, in that these are beautiful. As is, they are fine IMHO. However...

I'd pay particular attention at the width and height in terms of using 28mm (for instance) basing on individual minis. How well will the minis stand within the trenchs? I would think that there are far fewer WWI mini players and systems out there, so that would be my first suggestion. Find mini types first and your design should stem from that.

The walls in my opinion, should be angled: soldiers typically leaned against the walls, and a 90 degree vertical would have been horrible. And that brings up the stand....many trench systems had a raised platform against the wall, upon which the soldiers would stand...with enough depth for soldiers with packs to get by the ass of the guy standing on them. they were generally just below knee height above the duckboards....

Also, there were usually little dugouts in the walls at spaces....some wide enough for a soldier to sleep! Usually, the were stuffed with equipment and ammo....

You might also want to look into bridging here and there....little sandbagged roofs that soldiers ducked under in bombardment.

....just thoughts
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