Saturday, 17 June 2017

Normandy D-Day Campaign - Game Three

Game three of our Normandy campaign sees the action switch back to the airborne bridgehead east of the Orne river. British 12 Para hold Ranville as the German 125th Panzergrenadiers begin their counter-attack on the village. It is late morning on D-Day now and the Germans are pushing through orchards and along a sunken lane on the southern edge of Ranville.

As I’ve mentioned before, some of the campaign games are inspired by the Chain of Command supplement “Kampfgruppe von Luck” (KGvL) – this time it’s “Probe Amongst the Hedgerows”. Whilst Chain of Command is not quite my cup of tea, the supplements are well worth a read. Anyway, here’s a map of the table

And here's my take on it.


In the game I would be leading the German forces; basically a reinforced platoon comprised of regulars and inexperienced troops. I wanted to reflect the fact that a good number of the German troops stationed in Normandy were not exactly first rate!

That's five squads, two of which were inexperienced, the rest are regulars, all with an LMG, plus an MMG, a medium mortar and a sniper team for support, led by a Leutnant.

Top Wargames Table chum Dave Howes (visiting with another top chum Paul) would be commanding the Paras.

The Paras were, as you would expect, all veterans: a second Lieutenant, a medic, one full strength section of 10 men with a Bren team, a second section with 9 men and a Bren, the third section of 9 men with a total of 5 SMGs, plus an MMG and a light mortar.

Here's the table at the end of turn 1. Both Dave and I have committed our entire forces!

I've put two squads (In-ex & Reg) on the left flank and in the centre, with only the regulars on the right flank. My MMG and mortar were, on reflection, not well sited.

Dave placed his Bren-equipped sections on either flank with the SMG section moving up to the farmhouse in the centre. His MMG was perfectly deployed making excellent use of the cover provided by the gated field entrance (upper right in pic), giving them a clear view along the narrow lane.

That clear view was used to good effect in turn 2. The Vickers opened up on the MG42 team, killing two of the three crew. The remaining chap kept his cool, passed his morale test and got ready to return fire. But before he could, his mates crewing the mortar lobbed a shell neatly on to the Vickers (I rolled a six!) and killed all three crew in the blast! "You cheeky b*****d!", exclaimed Dave ;o)

At the end of turn two both of us are carefully pushing our troops forward. I've moved my in-ex squad on the left flank forwards in the hope that it might tempt Dave's paras in to a slightly more open position. All the other sections have advanced to take better shelter behind the hedges.

Dave's SMG section makes good use of the cover afforded by the farmhouse's stone walls and both his flanking sections advance to get better lines of sight on the advancing Germans.

Turn three had the numerically superior Germans in good positions and the combined fire-power of 4-5 LMGs really started to punish the Paras, although you need to roll a 5+ to hurt these elite soldiers.
Sorry about the shonky pic - tablet was having a 'moment'!

Even when the shots weren't knocking over the Paras, they were racking up 'pins' on them. Having more units meant more opportunity to cause 'pins', which in turn mean that whilst the Paras usually passed their morale test they were also usually firing back at -1 or -2 to hit. Some more incredible shooting by the mortar only added to Dave's problems. That was slightly evened out by the fact that my sniper couldn't seem to hit a pig's bum with a shovel!
More shonky photography!
Some coordinated German fire-power on the left flank (Paul - thanks for the tip ;o)) saw the remaining troops in Dave's right-flank section cut to shreds. The chaps in his left flank section were also getting hammered by a mix of rifle, LMG and mortar shots. Still, they went down fighting and the German casualties were also rising.

In the final turn of the game the Germans could turn their attention to the SMG section and the Lieutenant in the farmhouse.

Squads were poised to move in from both flanks.

And the mortar was still in a position to provide support... along with my cross-eyed sniper!

With time pressing we shook hands and called it a day. What a thoroughly enjoyable game! Dave is always a fantastic person to play toy soldiers with and the win was a bonus for me.

The Allied perimeter south of Ranville has been driven in so the next game will see the Panzergrenadiers pushing deeper in to the town and no doubt facing some well prepared resistance from the men of 12 Para.

Lessons Learned:-
  • More units = more opportunities to shoot = more potential pins on an enemy.
  • Coordinate your shooting, have two or three units pick the same target.
  • Advancing with one unit whilst another provides support really works. If both advance then both units are at -1 to hit

EDIT: Just realised that I've been running this blog for over ten years now... Thank you for joining me along the way. Happy days! :o)