This is a slightly tongue-in-cheek mini campaign for Chain of Command - historical purists may wish to look away now! It's based on the following (somewhat dubious) premise: In the days shortly after D-Day 1944 the Germans have intercepted information that Monty is due to tour the front lines in hope of inspiring his men in the push for Caen. Following on from rumours of a mission to capture Winston Churchill (Operation Adler-ist-Gelandet), the Germans have formulated another daring mission where a small force of elite Fallschirmjager, all volunteers, will infiltrate the confused battle lines and attempt to capture or assassinate Monty.
It's a series of three games; Patrol, Delaying Action and Attack on an Objective. The action will represent a very short period of 'real' time as the FJs (led by Mike) must attack swiftly if they are to catch Monty before he is whisked to safety. To keep things very simple we've decided not to use the (excellent) At the Sharp End campaign supplement and just go with the scenarios and rosters from the rule book - adding any 'spice' we feel is appropriate to the story we're creating.
The Germans, led by Leutnant Meindl begin their attack with an aggressive patrol on the outskirts of Authie, north west of Caen. Just before first light they emerge cautiously from the trees looking for the best route in to the village and their objective. But the British are not entirely caught napping; Lieutenant Carruthers is a stickler for duty and efficiency and is returning to the village after leading his men on a night patrol when they spot Jerry. Sending a runner for reinforcements, he begins to organise his men to hold off the attack...
The battlefield at first light. Our starting points for the Patrol Phase were the road on the lower left (my British) and behind the woods on upper right (Mike's Germans).
I managed to keep the German JoPs away from the buildings forcing them to advance over open ground. The British JoPs are by the wall in the foreground, to the left of the smaller stone barn and behind the garden with the ruined wall. German JoPs are all amongst the woods on right.
The action gets underway! Leutnant Meindl is by the JoP whilst a sniper peers through the hedge. A squad dash towards the hedge too.
The early stages of the battle went well for the British. The open fields across which the FJs had to advance became a killing ground, with some heavy-ish casualties being inflicted. The return fire of the Germans proved to be relatively ineffective.
A British sniper takes careful aim but the shots whizzes past Meindl's head.
The British right held by Section no 3. The rifle and Bren shots begin to add up whilst the Germans advance tactically across the fields.
Feldwebel Kruger leads his squad on a bold flanking move with the aim of capturing the British JoP. But wait - is there movement in the garden?
The FJs press their attack on a broad front.
Hurrah! Here's comes the armour! One of my supports was a Sherman M4.
The FJ squad trying to outflank the British are brought to a sudden halt when Section no 1 (hidden in the garden) open up on them. The bold German NCO is cut to shreds by the Bren. His men hurriedly seek shelter behind the wall.
The British have brought on section no 2 whilst the newly deployed 2" mortar drops smoke somewhat off target! The tank let off a round or two of H.E. but had little impact on the Germans.
You'll see in that last picture that the British flanking sections have been annihilated. This was because as the battle continued the reduced German squads were able to take up some good firing positions, so then their superior firepower really began to swing things for them.
The final shot of the game went to Mike's Sniper who managed to cause Lieutenant Carruthers to dive for cover before calling the retreat.
Speaking of snipers... You know that bit in Saving Private Ryan where the American sniper takes out his German counterpart by shooting him through the telescopic sight... Well ours were nothing like that. They would have done better using their rifles as clubs!!? ;-)
The Germans have achieved their objective of a surprise attack, pushed back the British pickets and successfully broken in to the outskirts of the village. Both sides took fairly heavy casualties but Jerry had the best of it. The next stage is for Meindl and his men to quickly press on through the village to their objective. The British have sent runners to summon fresh troops whilst a more cohesive force is mustered.
It was a superb game with several very cinematic moments and a real pleasure to play; many thanks to Mike. I'm looking forward to the next instalment.