Textbook. Absolutely textbook. The instructors at St Cyr Academy would be proud. A textbook deployment in defence. High ground dominated. Interlocking fields of fire. Battalion reserves. Flanks protected. Ils ne passerant pas.,, the Bosches will not pass.
The setting is northern France, April 1940. Our first WW2 Spearhead in over a year, and the first outing for the new 6mm French army, fighting Keith's German army (both modelled from the Heroics & Ros range).
Keith's force was modelled form a Panzer Division (a panzer battalion, a recon battalion, a motorised battalion, and a mechanised battalion), while mine was from a French infantry division (three infantry battalions, an independent tank battalion equipped with FT17s, and artillery support).
The French plan was to hold positions behind the river, and support the open left flank with the independent tank battalion which was held back off table in reserve and available for commitment on command. All of the French units are 'Random' morale, that is their morale is determined when they first come under fire.
The German plan was to hold on the left with the motorised battalion, and probe down the right flank with the recon. The Panzer battalion was held off table in reserve ready to commit down this flank dependent on the situation, while the Gepanzert battalion was held in reserve off table in the centre, and so available to commit dependent on the situation.
|The battlefield looking from the south. The French positions are on the left facing east. The Germans attack from the right (the west).|
|The French right with refused flank|
|The German motorised battalion advances against the French right|
|The French left|
|German recon advances|
The French independent tank battalion was deployed behind the French left in reserve awaiting orders to advance and protect the flank.
|The German recon battalion pushes forward attempting to bypass the French positions|
|The German left (motorised battalion) advanced and took up a holding position in front of the French right|
|The French reserve is committed in order to hold the flank|
|The recon motorcycle platoon pushes forward, with the armoured car components of the recon battalion supporting.|
|The FT17s engage the advanced motorcycle platoon|
|The motorcycle platoon takes fire and is suppressed|
|German recon elements call down fire from a supporting battalion of 105mm guns. They suppress and kill two platoons of FT17s. The battalion turns out tom be Regular|
The German artillery fire immediately drew counter battery fire from French 155mm guns tasked with CB support. One German battery was eliminated in the first turn of CB fore.
|The motorcycle platoon is suppressed again|
|French 105mm guns suppress the SP artillery support on their right (the German left)|
|The German Panzer battalion is committed against the French left, the recon having established that the road was only held by the independent tank battalion of FT17s|
|The French FT17 battalion is reduced to below half strength and withdraws from the battlefield (fails its moral check)|
|With the French armour eliminated the German recon pushes forward again, in advance of the German armour|
The French plan was fundamentally flawed from the outset. Leaving the left open with only the armour to counterattack from reserve was clearly NOT the best thing to do. In addition I had laboured under the (mistaken) belief that independent battalions could only change orders when they individually spotted enemy. This is clearly wrong, but memory is a damned unreliable thing, and that's a commentary on how long it is since we had played any Spearhead games. Had I got that right, I may have attempted to counterattack with one of the infantry battalions.
The choice of four artillery battalions supporting the infantry in the army list composition phase may (or may not) have been the right thing to do too. My rationale was that given the lower AI factors of French infantry, they need plenty of support if they are to hold against the German counterparts. I also rarely ever leave home without some sort of counter battery capability - I have suffered under the impact of German 105mm and 150mm artillery before - devastating!!That may have worked had my deployment and overall plan have been more robust.
However regardless, this was still a good game. It was great to flex the 'Spearhead muscle' again.