“Right... Sergeant Murphy!” he called, his voice carrying even over the buzz of German MG fire. “His Lordship isn’t going to run just because a few German parachutists are giving us some bother, so I want a section in the old barn and another behind the café. The Vickers can cover the château gates and the road!”
“Yessir!” the brawny Irishman replied snapping a crisp salute, then dashed off bellowing at his men to get going.
More bullets rattled off the boulangerie wall causing everyone nearby to duck instinctively. Todd swiveled round and pointed at the Corporal leading section number three, “Watkins, stay here. The tankers are getting a Sherman ready – you and your men are its eyes and ears. Got that?”
“Sir!” came the reply before he started getting his men in to good cover positions along the street.
“Where do you want us sir?” it was Perkins and Lark, the PIAT team.
Todd paused, so far there had been no reports of any German armour, which didn’t surprise him given that it was clearly a mission that had relied on stealth and subterfuge. “Leave the PIAT, join Watkin’s men. If there is any armour then the tank can deal with it”.
Turning to the 2” mortar team he called “get dug in further along this road but wait for my orders, I don’t want Jerry using our smoke to cover his attack”.
With his men deployed as best he could, Todd took up position behind a solid garden wall and readied his binoculars. In the distance he could see grey clad figures dashing between buildings. Any moment now he thought...
Use “Attack on an Objective” from the rulebook.
The Germans must capture the Château, which is being used as a forward HQ by Monty.
Full elite FJ platoon.
No armour or artillery may be selected as support.
Full regular Infantry platoon.
The final British section to deploy has 12 men, but the platoon has no PIAT team.
Monty is a senior leader, with 2 rifles and a sten as his 'bodyguard'. He is in the château and cannot be deployed/activated until the German reach the chateau walls - otherwise he could very quickly escape via the back gate! Clearly he expects the brave men of the King's Own Somerset Light Yeomanry* to hold Jerry off!
*not a real formation!
Germans, 2D6 as per the scenario but to represent the attrition of the preceding battles in and around Authie both dice are reduced by one pip, to a minimum total of 2 points. The British calculate their support based on the unmodified dice roll.
The British also gain 2 points of entrenchments as the village is being used a forward HQ. These must be used on two teams and not combined to entrench a section.
Before I move on to the action, here's a few pictures of the village.
Right, enough of the guided tour of Authie. On to the action!
First, the Patrol Phase is complete so here are the Jump Off Points. The Germans are approx halfway across the table, well in to the village.
The British have achieved some good positions on the flanks, behind hard cover with good fields of fire. The central JOP was awkward to place and ended up just inside the gates of the château.
Mike wastes no time in getting his bold FJ's in to action! Two squads advance on each flank.
Here come the Tommies! Loitering to the rear of the Boulangerie. Should they occupy the building and thus gain better cover although with restricted lines of sight, or should they use the stone walls?
An ideal vantage point for my sniper.
With one and a half German squads closing in on this flank it was time to get a few more of my men on the table. An infantry section deploys behind the stone shed whilst the (newly painted!) Vickers sets up shop in the back yard of the café.
Alas, their combined firepower was rather less than effective so the German reply was fearsome! The Vickers team were shredded and broke - the two survivors (with four points of shock) make a hasty withdrawal.
Across the village square the Platoon Sergeant has come forward and got the section in to the Boulangerie starting a firefight with the smaller FJ squad in the garage.
Bwah-hah-hah-hah! A Chain of Command dice allows me to ambush with my flame-thrower team!! They caused no casualties but inflicted a hefty amount of shock on the Germans, pinning them on the (rather singed) hedge line.
Back across the square another section is deployed to help deal with the FJs in the garage and those in the gardens behind. With their Bren team joining the firefight, the section in the Boulangerie are gaining the upper hand against the FJs in the garage.
What is it with my Senior Leaders?! The Platoon Sergeant is hit by the hail of bullets whizzing across the little street. Mike has to bring one of his own SLs forward to help reduce the shock on the FJs.
Hurrah! A second 'squirt' from the portable BBQ and these FJs have had enough. Again, few casualties but with seventeen points of shock they're off. Even the presence of their Leutnant in the farmyard is not much help.
The firefight between the men in the Boulangerie and Garage concluded with the few remaining FJs breaking and withdrawing to the relative safety of the garden behind a stone wall. By this point both platoons were low on morale, both on 4 or 5, so things were close.
The section behind the café are close to breaking having taken a lot of fire from the MG42 squad by the barn so I decided to use the section by the Boulangerie to reinforce that flank. The Platoon Sergeant orders the Bren team to lay down suppressing fire on the MG42 (as noted by the counter with 'puffs' of dirt) whilst the rifle team dash across the square. But even 'at the double' they fail to clear the square.
Mike's turn and he fires but only kills one man ... may be they'll reach the safety of the café?
Or may be not ... Mike has a Chain of Command dice and uses it to interrupt my move and catch the riflemen in the open. Only the Corporal survives. Ouch!
With the reinforcements now laying dead in the village square, the section on the flank break after taking yet more fire from the MG42.
Mike then used another Chain of Command dice to end the turn causing my broken section to rout which resulted in my morale falling to 0. The village was in German hands.
"For you, Herr General, ze var is over!" - Leutnant Meindl bags his man outside the château... but will they remember to take Von Klomp's priceless work of art?
What a superb game! An absolute belter that went right down to the wire. My thanks to Mike for another evening of top notch gaming. In fact the whole series have been a delight to play and really shows what you can do with the basic scenarios and a bit of imagination.
Albert Spangler sat in the back of the Opel truck and worked hard to keep a look of grim determination on his face. Either side of him sat two large Fallschirmjaegers with MP40's at the ready. On the bench opposite sat Leutnant Meindl. The Leutnant had been most polite when he entered the château and announced - in excellent English - that he was to accompany the paratroopers back to German lines. Albert knew he was no soldier; only three months ago he was on the stage at the Windmill Theatre in Westminster. Then suddenly he was drafted in to the army, despite being nearly 60, just because he bore a striking resemblance to a certain General. Well he would need all of his acting talent now...