Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Crete Campaign Game Six

Another instalment of our ‘what if’ campaign to prevent German airborne forces from capturing the island of Crete. In game four, the first attempt by the 2/1st Australians to take the Olive Oil Factory was repulsed after heavy fighting, so HQ deployed some of the scarce armoured resources (a Matilda tank) for the second attempt, however that attack was also repulsed but with heavy German casualties. So the third attack will be pressed home by the newly arrived Commandos of Layforce, preceded by a heavy bombardment (or “Naval Gunfire Support” as it’s known) courtesy of the Royal Navy. Let’s hope the matelots give Jerry a hard time! Surely Dave’s lads must be running low on ammo by now?! 

Our initial rolls for Force Morale were Commandos 9 and FJs 8. Was this a sign? Anyway, we agreed that the RN had given the area a pounding with their big guns, leaving Jerry somewhat dazed and confused. The original Von Luck campaign has a Naval Bombardment listed as a support option that effectively shifts the campaign along one whole turn. The Allies certainly wouldn’t want this as it would be playing right in to German hands. Instead, we used a modified version the Werfer Barrage support option - we agreed that on each successive phase the difficulty would ease by one dice pip, representing the Germans gathering their wits as the naval shelling slowed and stopped.

The patrol phase was, as usual, good fun in its own right. Crucially the Commandos were able to push forward on their left flank and keep the FJs out of the rubble of the ruined building. In previous games I’d had to feed troops along the sunken lane which exposed them to German shooting for much longer. Dave’s JOPs were placed in and around the factory compound itself. Again, this seemed appropriate as with fewer men the German leader had pulled his defensive perimeter in to the stout walls. 

We agreed that the NGS would have destroyed one of the buildings. So here the “house of death” (a nickname earned during the last battle due to all the fierce close quarter’s fighting in/around it) has been blasted to rubble. Plus there are a number of blast craters which may (or may not) provide valuable cover.

Here come the brave Commandos!

But the barrage was keeping Jerry busy!

More Commandos join the attack. These were accompanied by the Lieutenant who was definitely the “lead from the front” type!

The sub-section led by the Lieutenant dashed forwards, knowing that at any moment the barrage might cease.

Some FJs have deployed in to the courtyard of the Olive Oil Factory but they’re still struggling to mobilise properly. Meanwhile the Lieutenant’s men have reached one of the buildings, another sub-section have set up a position in the rubble of the destroyed building, whilst a third have deployed. 

Look! Here are some Germans!

Dave deploys his LG40 team. The Lieutenant has led his men inside the low building.

The LG40 hammers the Commandos in the rubble, killing several men and crucially the Sergeant too.

The courtyard becomes the scene of a vicious firefight as a squad of FJs and the Commandos in the store building trade shots. The Commandos are having the best of it though.

Another group of Commandos pour Bren shots through the tumble down section of wall.

The German JL is wounded and the LG40 team (including its own JL) are badly mauled so FJ morale starts to slide. Indeed, the gun team are broken and the lone crewman has made a run for it.

The other FJ squad was on the wooded flank and caused heavy casualties on the group of Commandos without their leader. But the firefight in the courtyard ground on with the FJ squad eventually being wiped out. The German SL moved to bring the remains of the other squad under his control but by this point FJs morale was very low.

In a final hurrah the Commandos and the FJs exchanged grenades over the pantile walls which resulted in the German SL being wounded. Out of ammo and with their leader badly injured, the few brave remaining FJs put their hands up.

Another thoroughly brilliant chapter in our Crete campaign. My thanks to Dave for a fun game of toy soldiers. I think we were both relieved that we wouldn’t be playing a fourth game at the Olive Oil factory.

So, with their flank and rear secure, the Australians can press the attack on Pervolia. But time is fast running out. Two tables to go and only two campaign turns left. Crete seems to be slipping from the Allies grasp.


George Anderson said...

Great stuff Matt, exciting game.

The Wargames Table said...

Thank you George! This campaign is providing a lot of entertainment πŸ™‚

Matt Crump said...

Great to see and quite inspiring, love the terrain πŸ‘

The Wargames Table said...

Thank you Matt, glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

Phil Robinson said...

A grand set to on some fantastic looking terrain and toys on display.

The Wargames Table said...

Cheers Phil 😎

Ray Rousell said...

Looks a great bash.

A J said...

Smashing stuff! Excellent terrain.

The Wargames Table said...

Thank Ray, it was great fun

The Wargames Table said...

Thanks AJ