Just a quick update regarding the "Operation Gericht" game that TooFatLardies, Richard Clarke and myself are running at Partizan this coming weekend. I’ve still to finish off the last of the French machine guns, which just need some webbing and the layers of Horizon Bleu. There is also a small French command group to paint, although I’m not sure if that will be finished in time – fingers crossed they get done as they should look quite fun on the tabletop.
There’s still a fair bit of work on the terrain to finish.
The game is set on the edge of the village of Fleury on the decisive day of 23 June 1916. Fleury is one of the “lost villages” of France – one of nine villages close to Verdun which were completely destroyed in the Great War. There was no rebuilding of Fleury after the Great War, was never repopulated but is managed by a municipal council of three members appointed by the prefect of the Meuse department. In every way, the village of Fleury died for France.
Although Ian Ousby, in his fine book “The Road to Verdun” mentions that in the early stages of the battle, despite shell damage, meals were still laid out on tables in the village homes, this would be a distant memory by June 1916.
By then, according to Raymond Jubert, a veteran of the battle, the battlefield was a series of “melancholy little scenes and, in obscure corners, of little heaps in which one cannot be at all sure if the mud is flesh or the flesh is mud”.
I’m aiming with the buildings from Fleury to try and reflect more of a shadow of what was there before, or a smudge on the terrain, than anything which looks like a village in a typical wargaming sense. It’s really a rather grim piece of terrain to want to model, but I’ll post the results in the next post (hopefully with, at last, the finished French machine guns).