“Dung Farm” is one of the scenarios from Hit the Dirt (HTD, p. 15-16). It is Italy, 4 February 1944, and the Germans are attacking into the Anzio beachhead at the northern end of ‘The Thumb’. The “Dung Farm” of the title is the British nickname for the Italian Pig Farm that featured in the battle.
The Dung Farm scenario is interesting for a few reasons. It introduces some unique terrain features, has masses of thorns and/or barbed wire, is fought in mud, and has visible troops on both sides. It also doesn’t quite work as a four player game. So I’m going to make a couple of tweaks to the scenario before the guys turn up to play it, including changing the map.
A few interesting things about the Dung Farm scenario
Dung Farm has a few interesting features.
Italian Terrain: Terrain that other scenarios lack:
- Thorn Thickets
- Thorn Hedges
- Walled Cemetery
I talk about all of those terrain types later on.
Although HTD introduced Crests and Orchards, I use them all the time so won’t elaborate on them.
Mud: The scenario is fought in mud: “stands may not exit and enter terrain features in the same action” which means “exit terrain, cross open, then enter (probably new) terrain.” That means feature to feature movement is two movement actions not one. This only makes a difference if there is reactive fire going on. It also means that vehicles have a chance to bog when moving off road (on a roll of 1 on 1d6; unbogging on 4+; permanently mired on a 1)
- The majority of attackers deploy out of LOS of the defenders in a ravine.
- Get Snipers; normally only the defender gets Snipers
- Attacking snipers can deploy anywhere on the table, including in the Defender deployment zone. Upon British deployment British stands occupying the same terrain as a German Sniper, kill the Sniper. Two Snipers fight it out when one of them shoots.
Defender deployment: Only bunkers and Snipers are hidden. Everybody else is visible. I’ve so used to the defender being hidden that I had to read that bit several times before I believed it.
Map: The map is terrain rich. And all those thorns and barbed wire are going to make it really hard for the attacker. Particularly with mud. In terms of game balance that might be okay, because they start with a 50% advantage in numbers and the defenders deploy visible.
Balagan Map for Dung Farm
For a variety of reasons I like to redraw the Hit the Dirt maps. I use the same style of maps as Bill Rutherford did for HTD, but mine are in colour (web not book) and have a few other differences. Here’s the new map.
Generally the Hit the Dirt terrain doesn’t match my terrain templates and hence my Crossfire Maps. Bill Rutherford, when he drew his maps for HTD, didn’t stick to any conventions and made many of his terrain features really, really small. I have a standard set of shapes. So I wanted a map that matched my shapes. `
Scenario Special Rule e: Thorn Hedge
The Dung Farm map has lots of thorns. Two new terrain types with thorns are introduced. Thorns make the feature behave like barbed wire, i.e. there is a chance to be hung up when moving in/across the feature. However, thorn features are easier to cross than barbed wire so there is a +1 modifier to avoid being hung up.
Thorn Hedges are hedges and with thorns.
Scenario Special Rule f: Thorn thicket
Thorn thickets are rough ground but with thorns. See Thorn Hedge.
Scenario Special Rule j: Fences
Hit the Dirt has a map symbol for fences but not for barbed wire. Dung Farm has barbed wire and the original map uses fences to represent these. I have a dedicated symbol for barbed wire.
By the way, the barbed wire on the map is separate from the 4 sections of barbed wire that the British players get to deploy. There is a lot of barbed wire.
Scenario Special Rule g: Walled Cemetery
All I’ve done is label the Walled cemetery near the western table edge. It is a 2 squad building sector.
Line Z-Z: Operational Zones
I have divided the table lengthwise into two operational zones: West and East. One German player attacks in the West against a British player. Another German player attacks in the East against the second British player. These long thin (6’x 2′) zones are “sub-tables”.
Multi-player Dung Farm
Dung Farm is a two player game, although the forces are quite large, with a battalion of Germans in attack. We have four players in our regular wargaming group so I wanted to see if I could chop up the Dung Farm scenario into two smaller games, on the same table.
Operational Zones / Sub-Tables
Sub-tables from my house rules for Multi-player games could work for this or Operational Zones. Using Sub-tables each zone is fought as a separate game. If troops move between zones, they change owners, i.e. the friendly player in the new zone takes over their control. A bit artificial, but workable.
Operational Zones allow more interaction between the players and on balance I prefer that.
Defining Operational Zones
The operational zones are fixed: West and East. Both are long and thin (6’x 2′). A German player fights in the West Operational Zone and the other fights in the East Operational Zone. Ditto for the British.
Stands must be within their own player’s Operational Zone at all times. Any boundary between Operational Zones is considered to be in both zones, i.e. a stand can safely overlap the boundary. Stands pay attention to the Operational Zones of their own team, never those of the enemy. A stand cannot move (CF4.0) outside its operational zone. Phasing fire (CF6.0, CF7.0) and Reactive fire (CF6.2.1) can target stands in any Operational Zone. Operational Zones may not be redefined during the course of the game.
All on-table stands must be assigned to one of the players at all times. The players attach these assets to platoons and companies as per the standard rules
One German player takes 4th Company and the other takes 5th Company. 6th Company is assigned to one or other of the players / Operational Zones, or is split between them, or is retained in reserve. Similarly for the battalion HQ. Snipers can be assigned to either Operational Zone.
One British player takes Company B, 6th Gordon Highlanders and the other player gets Company D, 1st Irish Guards. The bunkers, barbed wire and snipers can be assigned to either player / Operational Zone.
When a team gets the initiative both phasing players take actions simultaneously. Players lose the initiative in the normal way. The initiative shifts to the other team when both players have lost initiative or passed;
Ideally both players on a team go for it simultaneously. If, however, a non-phasing player is “facing” both phasing enemy players, and the non-phasing player wishes, the phasing players take their actions one at a time. This is a courtesy and not intended to be realistic. “Facing” means the stands of the enemy player are:
- Attacking a stand of a non-phasing player (direct fire, indirect fire, close assault).
- Moving within line of sight of any of the non-phasing player’s stands even of non-phasing stands that are currently No Fire, Pinned, or Suppressed.
NO FIRE (CF6.2.1) markers are removed when team initiative shifts.
The German attacker can start with all of their troops on-table or with some of their troops in reserve. Units that are in reserve start the game off table. The advantage of having troops in reserve is that they can be channeled to either the West or the East zone during the game.
The reserve can contain any or all of the following units. The German players must decide before the game starts:
- Unit 1: Battalion HQ:
- 1 x BC
- 1 x SMG Squad
- Unit 2: 1 x Assault Gun Platoon as a single entity or split up into its component elements2
- Unit 3: 1 x StuG IIIg2
- Unit 4: 1 x StuG IIIg2
- Unit 5: 1 x StuG IIIg2
- Unit 6: 6th Company as a single entity or split up into its component elements6
- Unit 7: 1st Platoon: 1 x PC(+2); 3 x Rifle Squads6
- Unit 8: 2nd Platoon: 1 x PC(+1); 2 x Rifle Squads6
- Unit 9: 3rd Platoon: 1 x PC(+1); 2 x Rifle Squads6
- Unit 10: Company HQ and Support Platoon6
- 1 x CC (+2)
- 1 x HMG
- 1 x FO for off table 120mm Mortar (8 FM)
(2) You can combine all three StuGs (Unit 3, 4, and 5) into “Unit 2: Assault Gun Platoon” instead of dishing them out piecemeal. Combining has the advantage that they all arrive at the same time. Decide to combine or split before the game.
(6) You can combine all units of 6th Company (Unit 7, 8, 9, and 10) into “Unit 6: 6th Company” instead of dishing them out piecemeal. Combining has the advantage that they all arrive at the same time. Decide to combine or split before the game.
At the point the Germans decide to bring a particular unit of reinforcements on-table, the unit is immediately assigned to one of the German players and hence either the West or East Operational Zone. A unit arrives on a die roll of 5+ on 1d6 at the start of any friendly initiative. Throw for arrival of each unit separately. All German reinforcements arrive in the ravine along the north edge of the game board, in the appropriate Operational Zone (West, East) for the assigned player.
Where to get Hit the Dirt
You will need Hit the Dirt to play this scenario.
In the USA, you get them from On Military Matters. Just Search for Crossfire and you also get Hit the Dirt. They sell both the paper and PDF versions.