Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Game 68 : France 1940, the main battle

This was the main battle fought over the same terrain as the last smaller battle. This would feature 4 French Divisions, all picked as desired by the French, against a 3 Regt Motorised Division of good quality. The Germans would also receive a Panzer Division as reinforcements.

The battlefield had 4 major roads all passing through a crossroads system in the middle of the villages in the centre of the terrain. The objective was to control this transport nexus by occupation in strength or the driving off table the enemy forces.

The French made their selection of troops. They chose a Motorised Infantry Division (which manoeuvred to defensive positions and then halted),  a DCR with Char Bs, a DLM which is tank heavy, with good armour and infantry support and DLC for the recce ability and relative speed.

This picture is included to show how we do hidden deployment. The grey square with the cross denotes the potential of hidden troops. If you flip the marker it has a number underneath. Under the table, 6 boards are laid out, each with 18 numbered squares.

When we deploy, hidden troops are placed onto a numbered square, we don't limit how much as it has no influence in game play. Some squares will have no troops, the classic dummy deployment.
Prior to the start of the game we have a Recce phase where we have mechanics that define how an attacker may discover the disposition of hidden troops. The process is involved, but still simple, and is best answered if a specific query is asked. It was taken from "Cornish Combat Command" an unpublished set of rules by two Cornish gentlemen.

The result above shows the deployment after the Recce phase. The French have discovered some German troops, others are still potentially hidden. Any troops that move are automatically placed on table and when spotted by enemy we use a rule that previously hidden troops are not deployed any closer to visible enemy.  

The DLM, heavy in armour, approaches the German position from the flank. The Germans in the area, including a coy of ATGs are manhandling backwards to the relative safety of cover around one of the two villages.

This shows the target for the DLM. You can also see that the DLC, to the top left of the picture, is advancing swiftly to the front of the village. The DLC was reinforced, immediately, by the DCR. The DLM was reinforced by the Motorised ID but would deploy in defensive positions and play no affective part in the battle. You can also see the German initial armour moving to their right flank to impede the fast movement of the DLC with its copious numbers of ACs. The Germans have 3 Pz IIIEs and 3 Stug IIIDs as the total armour prior to the arrival of reinforcements. The Panzer Div reinforcements arrival was determined by a random method (they arrived on turn 10 if I remember).

The tanks from one of the DLM Armoured Regts attack the German ATGs in the open just before they could make their escape. The problem for the tanks is that their main gun is really designed to fight armour and not infantry style targets. The result is a lot of fire and relatively little affect. The German Pak 35 has a similar problem. It has an AP round, but as effective as a banana against French tanks. Little affect there either.

This is looking at the DLC to the top right of the pic. The DLC is quick, has ACs and other armour but is not that strong in infantry (cavalry to be precise but the French are allowed to dismount for the game, or not as they see fit). The Germans would hold the right of the village relatively easily. The DCR reinforcing the DLC was thrown out to the French left when German armour arrived and would play no part in the centre of the battlefield.

This is as the game progressed and German Panzer troops arrive. The German armour was pushing against the lead elements of the DCR. The initial engagement went badly for the French, losing a number of ACs. The German mini disaster was the downrating of the Panzer Btn when it first tested morale. Nevertheless, the French were being forced back to their starting lines.

This shows the end result in the centre, facing the DLC with the DCR to it's left flank. The French have been forced back to their starting lines and the Germans are still advancing, albeit slowly and carefully.

This is game close. The Germans have kept control of the villages and the French to their front have been checked.

This is the flank where the DLM attacked. It is now being faced by Panzer Grenadiers from the Panzer Div. More importantly out of pic to the bottom of the Panzer Btn and also 2 forward observers who are now calling in 2 Btns of German artillery support which results in being the key factor. The French are now giving ground in this sector in a slow controlled manner.

The key points from the game was that the French lacked enough infantry to assault the villages. The ATGs, even though with poor AT rounds, do eventually inflict hits on French armour. German numbers of point weapons is also a significant factor in their favour. Quality of troops always plays a significant part and this was again demonstrated. The last factor was artillery. German artillery, when directed towards stationary tanks, will eventually inflict casualties. This really hampers early war tanks who would prefer to be stationary, especially when engaging infantry. In all events, a great fun game was had along with the usual accompanying beer and good food.

The generals in all their splendour.
The next game will be another smaller version of the game as my opponent, Pete, was supposed to be coming to this game but couldn't make it. Ironic when it is known as "Pete's" weekend. C'est La Vie!!