Saturday, August 3, 2013

"The Regiment will advance.."

The Regiment had been ordered to probe what Div HQ believed was an empty Norman landscape despite Intel's belief that veteran German panzer-grenadiers had occupied forward positions across the axis of advance. The Regiment was advancing, troops moving tentatively across fields and through farmsteads shrouded in early morning mist.
"One zero this is one zero alpha, over".. whispered voices.
"One zero over", more hushed tones.
"One zero alpha. We have movement in the tree line." The chatter of MG42 fire was clearly audible over the radio channel before the pressel switch was clicked off.
The point sections of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were probing cautiously towards their objectives when fire broke out on 3 Battalion's front. Men dived for cover as 105mm rounds fell on their positions. The advancing Vickers platoons attached to 3 Battalion were early casualties. 2 Battalion continued it's advance through the village of Le Chat, it's first objective of the day, with the squadron of Churchill VIIs crawling reassuringly behind the forward troops.

1 Battalion had advanced to the heights on the left flank where it took up reserve positions.

The battle field seen from the British right, the British advancing from left to right.

Elite Panzer Grenadiers advanced onto 2 Battalion's objective unseen by the lead 2 Battalion platoons. The battalion deployed in depth with it's reserve company seen on the feature at the top of the photo.

The British Regiment had deployed for it's advance in three battalion groups. 1st Battalion at the top of the photo has already reached it's reserve position. Each battalion has a front line, and a reserve line, all very WW1 ish.

3 Battalion approaches it's objective, a small wooded hill, already occupied by those elite Panzer Grenadiers unknown to the British lead platoons.

2 Battalion's right flank company deploys in it's initial position, having reached its first 'phase line' in its attack, coming under fire from German infantry in the outskirts of the village sitting across it's front.

The main portion of 2 Battalion deploys around its objective of 'Le Chat', it's Churchill Squadron in support.

A second panzer Grenadier battalion  crosses a river line advancing on 2 Battalion's main position.

The lead elements of 3 Battalion on the British right come under fire from the previously undetected German elites, and simultaneously 105mm rounds crash amongst the British troops.

1 Battalion sitting in its reserve position on the high ground on the British left, watching with surprise as a German armoured force enters on the British flank, directly to its front.

The StuG IIIs and JgdPz IVs are supported by dismounted infantry.

The 3 Battalion commander order 9 Company to send two platoons right flanking in order to outflank the German position. However the German commander had anticipated just such a move and brought his battalion reserve forward to counter the move.

And suddenly the whole world fell apart as a Battalion Nebelwerfer strike hits 2 Battalion's forward position.
British counter battery assets (a battery of 5.5" guns) finally located the German 105mm battalion, and soon their fire had eliminated the entire battalion. However the damage had been done.

2 Battalion casualties from the German Nebelwerfer barrage were heavy.

And the forward elements of 2 Battalion were coming under pressure from the German battalion applying pressure to its front.

The flanking armoured force was caught by the AT gun screen of 6 pounders and 17 pdrs. One platoon of StuG IIIs was eliminated and another forced to close down and halt. The JgdPz IVs were forced to pull back by the 17pdr AT guns firing at long range.
British artillery had been in high demand across the entire division, and so the 25pdr regiment attached to the infantry regiment was late in lending its support to the regiment. However once engaged the entire regiment brought its fire down on the dismounted infantry, stripping two full companies from the German flank attack.

A second Nebelwerfer strike hits 2 Battalion and panic hits its ranks.

Meanwhile 1 Battalion was hit with heavy fire from the Battalion's flak units. Two platoons of Quad 20mm flak vehicles were taking a heavy toll, stripping the supporting AT gun batteries from the battalion in short order.

1 Battalion had started to take heavy casualties.
The Churchill squadron had been caught in the wrong position and was forced to manouvre to try and counter the armoured threat on its exposed left. I had assumed that 1 Battalion, deployed in reserve, would be able to contain any flank threat, but this was proving difficult. My position was in jeopardy because I had relied on 1 Battalion to protect the left flank, and had failed to deploy 2 Battalion to be able to respond to a flank threat itself.

In addition the 17pdr company attached to 2 Battalion was positioned in anticipation of a German armoured thrust through the centre. Two of the three batteries were able to provide support to the flank against the flank attack, but the third battery was forced to manouvre to try and get into a useful firing position.

2 Battalion was close to a morale check, with 3 battalion not far behind. The Britsh troops had received a severe bloody nose, a result of poor planning and inadequate support.

Overall a great game, but a few lessons for me on list composition and deployment.

The game was played using the 6mm Ros Heroics vehicles and figures from Keith's collect (German) and my own (British). The game was developed using Keith's scenario generation system, and became an advance to contact using defend lists.

My own defend list was proved to need some development, in particular because I had no adequate Option A prepared to add to my defending force.

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