Right then, back to getting posts done after a couple of doses of the horrible cold lurgy before Christmas then just after New Year, coupled with my blood condition being a bastard again too it really did me in and so I wasn’t fit for anything. I have a couple of CoC campaign games to write up too but have had a bit of writers block and all efforts have been shite quite frankly and I’m hoping a nice straightforward write up might clear the cobwebs so to speak and get the old juices flowing again!
Philip put a shout out for anyone interested in having a bash with his 10mm 1940’s kit and I jumped at the chance, Des wasn’t going to be at the club so we couldn’t have carried on with our Martlet campaign anyway, and I really do dig those French tanks! The scenario was loosely based on the action at Stonne when the French counter attacked a knackered out (or massively coming down from all that Pervitin they’d been necking?) Gross Deutschland Regiment and their Char B’s went on a bit of a romp.
I was given the following to undertake my mission, which was a nice and simple ‘secure the village’ order.
- 2 x Companies of Char B’s (one was veteran)
- 1 x Company of H-35’s
- 1 x Battalion of Dragons Portees (Mech infantry in those crazy Lorraine carriers)
- 1 x Panhard 178 armoured car platoon
- 1 x off table 105mm battery
- 1 x Potez as air support
The terrain was empty of troops but there were a series of blinds on table which would obviously be hiding some nastiness so my plan (yes I had one!) was to try and avoid the ones that would probably have some nasty 88mm Flak shaped nastiness in them and try the indirect approach. To this end I sent the infantry accompanied by the H-39’s on a flanking march around the wood with the aim of securing the ridge and establishing a base of fire there to hopefully assist in the assault on that end of the town whilst the tanks could also keep an eye out for any nasty Panzer types entering the table along the road.
At the other end of town I was going to charge the armoured car forward into town to see if it could draw the fire of any of the filthy Bosche lurking there and then once they were located one of the Char B companies would start to work on them and keep them occupied whilst hopefully breaking their will to resist. The veteran Char B company would go for a long sweep around the far side of the town to take out any supports for the garrison then linking up with the infantry to help shoot them into the village.
So, a nice simple plan that, for once, went well all things considered. My ‘recon by death’ saw the armoured car platoon embrace the spirit of Lannes and went the way of all good Hussars, their sacrifice did however identify targets for the following Char B’s to start firing on. Meanwhile over on my far right the lighter tanks and mechanised infantry started on their march for the ridge and as the passed the middle of the wood they were engaged by a 105mm Howitzer battery from their objective. Shrugging off the fire from the German gunners (only suffering some suppression) the tanks surged forwards and took the battery in the flank, shooting up the gunners and crushing the guns. Whilst this action was happening an 88 Battery that was hiding in the woods broke cover and headed for the outskirts of town. This caused me to change my plan somewhat and I de-bussed the Dragoons and ordered the through the wood to take on the mighty gun which had already started firing on the H-35’s on the ridge albeit not very well.
Meanwhile at the other end of town the Char B’s taking on the house clearing duties were making a right dogs dinner of evicting the filthy Bosche squatters, failing time after time to secure enough hits to either eliminate them or cause them to bugger off. They were also engaged by a 37mm AT gun firing from the wood which tried desperately hard to get a lucky shot through the side grill’s to no avail and soon one of the Char-B’s had dealt with this futile attempt at stopping them. The other Char B squadron was having a whale of a time round the other side of town, seeing off an enemy 20mm flak gun and swanning all the way round to the far wood without any mishap. Which was a good thing for my forces as by now some horrible panzers had turned up along the road and had started to engage the H-35’s on the ridge.
This tank duel was an indecisive affair for a while, with each of the two forces losing a platoon but once the German’s heavier tanks got involved they soon saw off the lighter French tanks (to be fair my rolling here was utter garbage, I just couldn’t get enough telling hits on the enemy!). However the Char B’s were now within range and shrugging off attacks by Stukas they started to engage the PzIII’s and IV’s still strung out near the road. This did allow the H-35’s to return to the fray from the ridge again once they had rallied and the German’s were stuck between two fires at one point but it wasn’t for too long as the brave light tank men lost another platoon and retired from the battle (again appalling dice rolling here prevented me from taking full advantage).
Elsewhere the 88 had succumbed to the joint attentions of the French artillery and the Dragoon’s MG platoon and mightily pleased I was too! I also managed to get the Potez involved but its attacks on the newly arrived Panzer Grenadiers who had scurried into the houses along the road came to naught. At the other end of town the relentless pounding that the other Char B squadron was doing to the infantry company was finally starting to have an effect and some of the platoons were very close to breaking point. All I had to do was to win the tank battle and then the remaining Char B’s would have been able to help my artillery shoot my infantry into town and snatch victory.
Unfortunately this wasn’t to be as we ran out of time but I was happy to claim a winning draw! As usual it was a cracking game against Phil and it is always a pleasure using his lovely 1940 kit. My rotten luck with the dice did stymie my progress on the right but my plan seemed to be working ok, mind you I did manage to swerve the lethal 88 by guessing correctly where it might be and then I managed to knock it out in short order once I found it so that was a big bonus. Hopefully we can have another crack at this.
I lost my phone which had the pics of this battle on it, I’m going to see if Phillip has any I can pinch to jazz this up a bit but wanted to still post it.