The young officer was poring over his maps as Perkins approached, "Here we are sir, a nice cup of tea," he said placing the steaming mug on the table. The farmer had even provided some fresh milk. "Eggs for breakfast sir?"
"Thank you George but alas there's no time for that," he said tapping the papers on the desk, "Message from Company HQ, they want us to push on and take a vital rail junction. Jerry is on the move. Reconnaissance suggests they could be Fallschirmjagers. So, be a good chap and let the Sergeants know I want them here in five minutes"
"Sir!" came the reply accompanied by a crisp salute.
Yes, Mike and I were battling it out again amongst the Normandy hedgerows. He led his formidable FJs whilst (for a change) I fielded my British regulars instead of my Paras. The game was to be a straightforward clash of reinforced platoons using a variant of Maximum Attrition scenario. To spice things up a bit we deployed in opposite corners of the table and extended the game length by a couple of turns.
My British would arrive from behind the farmhouse and signal box whilst Mike's FJs entered from beyond the larger farm complex. I was delighted to be able to use my Signal Box (Charlie Foxtrot of course!) and tracks for the first time.
|Sniper upstairs and the artillery observer below|
The first couple of turns were pretty cautious affairs with both of us gradually moving men forward, both trying to turn around the flanks without exposing our men.
|The British begin their attempt to outflank the Germans|
Mike was trying out a slightly different FJ list with fewer but larger squads giving a total command dice count of just seven. I had four main sections plus a variety of support including an armoured car giving me a whopping twelve dice.
|Jerry advances steadily|
First shot of the game went to my sniper who somewhat predictably missed! However my 3" mortar team were 'on point' landing a shell plum on top of the German MMG and wiping it out. Take that Jerry!! ;o) Undeterred, Mike's elites continued to push forward and started chipping away at the larger but less experienced British force.
The British artillery support was delayed a couple of times but I did get to move the aiming marker to keep up with the German advance. When it did finally arrive it just put a few pins on a couple of units. Still, it is a freebie.
|There's lots of them sir!|
In one of the superb cinematic moments from the game, Mike's Stug rumbled on to the table and let rip at my Bren carrier (with flamethrower crew on board). I had gambled that he would be more interested in dealing with my armoured car. The shell tore in to the lightly armoured Bren and set it ablaze. The crew promptly failed their morale test (hey, there was a flamethrower on board!) so they bailed out.
|Rumble ... rumble ... !?|
In another superb ‘movie moment’, my Lieutenant was activated but with only a pistol he couldn't do too much against the German squad behind the hedge to his front. "Excuse me sir, let me handle this," said the confident Perkins. He calmly took aim... and I rolled three consecutive 6's to pick off the MG42 in the squad. Very amusing!
However, the continued advance of the FJs was putting ever greater pressure on my sections. Mike's larger squads made them very durable, particularly when combined with their veteran status. Mike's troops advanced along the railway to draw a bead on the Lieutenant and his trusty bat-man. Poor Perkins was wounded so was ordered to the rear.
The Stug and armoured car had a brief duel but Jerry had the best of it as another shell tore through British armour like a hot knife through butter.
|Boom!!! (again :-S)|
At the end of turn 9 the result was crystal clear. A solid and well deserved victory for Mike's FJs. This was a superb game of BA with plenty of drama and lots of laughs. My thanks to Mike for a great game played with the customary spirit of gentlemanly wargaming. Very much looking forward to a re-match.