For our 3rd game of Battlegroup on this past Thursday night at D6, I setup a historic action set in 1940 France that I pulled out of the Blitzkrieg book.
In this scenario the French were counter attacking the Germans who had taken a pause in their advance, having had the time to dig in.
It was just Chuck and I for this platoon sized game so it’d be a good test of just how much we could get accomplished now that we’re gotten familiar with the rules.
The nature of the game would be lots of French pushing forward attacking across the fields of France. That sure worked well in WWI…. but this time they have R35 tanks in support.
Here on the left flank a platoon gets ready to move forward. As the R35s start to get a view of the German lines, in the tree line and on the opposite of that field are a couple of PaK36s approx a platoon of infantry as well as an MG42.
The PaK36s were a bit of a concern as while they are smaller AT guns, the armor on the R35 isn’t exactly great.
On the right flank, another platoon of infantry pushing forward and some more R35s in support.
Behind the initial line of Germans, there was a second line of defense that once the German battle rating had degraded by 1/2 they would have to fall back to that line. More PaK36s and more infantry…
At the top of the game as the attacker rolling 2D6+5 for orders I managed for the first few turns to roll really really low so my advance would have to be very piecemeal. I figured I’d push up into cover as much as I could and us the tanks to go after the AT guns first and then the HMG which should then allow the infantry to successfully move forward.
As the scenario calls for the Germans get a Stuka strike on turn 1. Since I couldn’t get many orders off there were lots of ripe places to drop some bombs. We hit a first snag with the rules as with the Stuka it has MGs, it has large and small bombs. Question is, how much can you drop or attack with in one turn? We went ahead and just ruled that Chuck could drop all his small and large bombs.
The results were pretty nasty. My company command died. My truck and SA-25 AT gun blew up, I lost a squad of infantry, and lots of stuff pinned down.
This then resulted in the first of a series of chit draws that were 3 aircraft chits in a row! And since my number orders for the first few turns were so depressingly low I was presented with some very hard choices of how to press my attack. (While having those 3 air chits were nice, I only make one air roll, a 5+ as I recall so while the opportunity was there, for multiple attacks, it wasn’t to be)
A few turns in with a little better, more average order roll I started to press my attack, trying to get infantry into place, with a couple of my HMGs, my observer for some off board 81mm mortars.
I used the tanks to continue to try and attack the PaKs trying either to our right destroy them or at least pin them. I generally was using the main gun on the R36s to try and HE the PaKs and use their machine guns to pin. As the R35 has a very light gun, lobbing shells at the PaKs really wasn’t accomplishing too much. Besides at the 20-30″ range band that wasn’t helping either, so the reality was I needed to get closer which wasn’t a great prospect given the open space and Chuck was in general making good use of opportunity fire.
Turning around to the German turn, Chuck brought down his 105s which pinned my mortar team. He also managed to brew up an R35 with a PaK.
Chuck started to adjust his second line of defense to the rail line. It was a raised line so reasonable cover but not exactly a trench either. There were more Germans in the houses on the left as well. Would that second defense line be needed?
You’ll note all the German guns and infantry going on overwatch. Draw those french in and then fire!
On the right flank, things were going very poorly. I tried to bring up the infantry, hop the fence and try to make a push for the German trenches. With 2 tanks in support and the small arms fire I tried to pin the Germans down while moving up under cover. I ended up taking fire all over the place and it took several turns to finally get the German HMG pinned and take out the PaK36 on this flank. The cost tho was such that effectively there would be no advancing on this side and enough chits draw that I was getting concerned about my battle rating.
Fate at least started to smile in that I was able to then get lots of orders, pin the germans on the left flank with artillery and other fire as well as taking out the PaK 36 on the left flank. If I could only keep the or take out the German HMG while keeping the German squads pinned we might just make it across the field. … might.
Over the top boys!
And the last picture in the series. The German HMG was taking out by the tanks but as I mentioned the assault forward on this the right flank was done. The withering fire by the integrated MGs and general rifle fire was a plenty adding in MG34 HMG fire where even crossing over the obscuring terrain wasn’t enough and the assault was pushed back. In some cases losses were so bad that going under 50%, and failing morale resulted in units evaporating.
Due to the losses I was within a couple of points of my battle rating. The early air raid and it’s effects to knock out several units entirely made a huge difference as well as not having the orders to get an effective advance going.
For the last turn I started my move forward on the left flank but it was obvious that the French would fall back and the game done. Chuck was only so far as being close to being forced to fall back to his second line of defense. By scenario rule once his BR fell to a certain point he’d have to fall back. If that had happened that perhaps would have resulted in some ability to exploit the chaos but it was not to be.
Should I have perhaps ignore one side to assault another side in force? That’s a good question.
The tanks while not having the greatest HE did at least make a reasonable showing. Closing range and concentrating shots for pinning fire I think was one of the major lessons to take away from the game.
The one question about how much the Stuka could drop was taken the fora and the answer seems to be you can either strafe, or drop one set of bombs but not both. Makes sense and would have blunted the early air attack a bit.
All in all, still very happy with the rules, we played approx 10 or so turns and get to a conclusive result. The rules just feel ‘right’, it does seem to have the back and forth dynamics of Flames of War but with overwatch and other flavor that Flames is definitely missing.
From the post game table talk we’re probably be going into some Battle of the Bulge scenarios once December rolls around. I’m a little light on American hardware so that’ll depend on help from the gang.