This scenario was played using 15mm miniatures on a 8ft by 6ft Hexon terrain layout modelled by Dave Mack. The Command Decision rule system was used with all movement and weapon ranges adapted for hexes. Dave played the role of ‘Scenario Controller’ while Tony and Jack were the British Commanders defending the village, and Chris, Andre and I had the task off trying to take the village from them with our German assault troops.
The interesting, and from the German perspective, the most challenging feature of the game was that no British units would be indicated by models on the table until their presence was triggered by shooting in response to German actions. Chris, the appointed German Commander in Chief, had the challenging task of sending German assets relatively blindly into tactical locations as potential targets, which by their very elimination, would reveal the British positions! This did provide for a very entertaining game in which the word ‘ambush’ became the most feared word if you were one of the German Commanders.
A bocage lane ran to the west of the village which would provide much needed cover for the German advanced units. Directly in front of the village was a large area of open ground through which ran a straight road which parted an area of woodland, which again would provide much needed cover despite being a good distance from the village. We therefore sent 2 SDKFZs carrying panzer grenadiers along the aforementioned bocage lane. One section dismounted to take up position half way along the lane sending the armoured vehicle forward. The other SDKFZ advanced along the edge of the field next to the lane. Unfortunately, both vehicles were knocked out by two Stuart tanks waiting in ambush to the west of the village. The Panzer Grenadiers riding in the second SDKFZ also perished.
Chris after this initial set-back quite rightly gathered the German forces behind the woodland area in preparation for a frontal assault. Unfortunately, British mortars found their targets and supressed and hampered these preparations. Jack was already demonstrating the uncanny ability to spot and target our units over considerable distances. Elevens and twelves on D12’s became the norm as our SDKFZs and small number of tanks became his victims!
We sent 4 more SDKFZs along the bocage lane into which they unloaded their infantry. This gave some useful crossfire which revealed Two British infantry sections dug-in in-front of the village, and we caused our first casualties on the defenders. However, at the same time the first of 2 British 6 pdr anti-tank guns revealed themselves by popping off our most advanced vehicles. Also, a British machine gun section positioned in the upper floor of a village house started to inflict pain and suffering on our infantry units trying to advance across the open ground in-front of the village.
More German tanks arrived on the long straight road to support our attack and these in turn were successfully targeted by off-board artillery, their progress hampered. Try as we might, and to Chris’s utter frustration our mortars and artillery failed repeatedly to successfully target any of the British positions.
On the road to the east of the village, a small convoy of British reinforcements appeared – a Cromwell tank leading a section of bren-gun carriers. With some new visible targets, the remaining German tanks took aim, but again failed to successfully spot and fire upon these new arrivals.
At this point, we German commanders took stock of the situation. Our infantry in-front of the village were suppressed and therefore unable to move or fire because of the constant and accurate shooting of the British defenders. Our few remaining tanks could make no progress across the open ground behind them to offer support because they were easy targets for the 2 6pdrs in cover and the Cromwell positioned to the east of the village. The whole attack had gone pear-shaped and there was nothing much we could do to change the situation. We therefore gracefully accepted a resounding defeat.
From the German attackers’ perspective, not knowing what or where the opposition was, did create a very entertaining and challenging game. In hindsight, we could have organised our attack differently but made decisions commensurate with the information available. I think its fair to say that when we needed a’ bit of luck’ we didn’t get any! And Jack’s superlative performance with the spotting and shooting dice inflicted a death by a thousand cuts on the German forces.