: German forces have struck deep into French territory seeking to keep their panzers rolling forward. Forward elements of the German division have made a bold attempt to seize a key bridge over the Aisne river. A gutsy French Major (with his four favorite captains) has decided to check the German advance.
Take the bridge 2 VP
Take either house on the flanks 1 VP
Take the enemy defensive position: 2 VP
Contest the enemy defensive position: 1 VP
: Under the command of Eddie, Mark, Austin, & Russel
2 French Rifle platoons (with 3 ten man squads each)
1 Light Mortar
1 Heavy mortar
1 6 man cavalry section
1 Somua tank
1 Charb B bis tank
1 crazy truck (driven by Pierre)
: Erik , Matt K, Jack, & Matt W
2 rifle platoons (with 2 squads of 10 men each)
1 FJ platoon with 2 squads of 10 men.
1 38T tank
1 panzer III F
Germans had the advantage about 100 more points and better GUTS than the French, but the French had 22 teams/sections to activate as well as better tanks and indirect fire capability the Germans had 18 teams and cooler uniforms.
:. I set up MY FJ's spanning the woods from the central bridge to our right flank. My plan was to seize the secondary house objective on the right flank but still keep fluid enough in the woods to be able to shift back towards the bridge (center) to support. Jack had a similar plan on the left flank.
Erik placed both tanks in a central wood (out of sight,) along with his squad of rifles. Matt K. threw the HMG
down to the right and we both agreed to hustle it into the house. with a section of my FJ's ready to keep her working.
Matt K.'s German commander checking over his troops.
: The French plan, largely of Russel's making, was to overwhelm Jack, hold on the flank vs matt with as little as possible, and then go for the bridge at the very, very last moment still possible....the cavalry with their 20-inch run would grab the bridge. French had a lot of troops against our left (I could not count how many but the place was crawling with cheese!) along with the Char B bis, Jack was in for a rough ride. The rest of their troops lined the woods along the main road and there was a rifle squad & HMG
in the woods opposite my FJ's, The cavalry set up in the rear towards the center (but soon enough were flashing across the board!)
The French got to work early, bringing fire to bear early and often. Russel caused a couple of casualties on Jack as he moved up, but we managed to keep it together. Mark shoved up his French AT
gun and quickly it went from the rear ranks, to sweeping the bridge. Erik made a quick attempt to acquire with his tanks, but failing to do so he bugged out and shifted to the left where the French were surging forward in masses.
Matt and myself hustled to the building to the right of the bridge (which gave us a good field of fire on the bridge and the neighboring woods. and set up our little MG
shop quickly and tidily.
Jack had quickly snatched up the house on the far left flank, but once he moved in Russel and Ed sprang the trap. 6 sections of rifles, LMG, & HMG
's began hosing down the building. Jack's Landsers tried to dig in but the French dice were hot. At the end of this Jack had lost a squad of 6 rifle men and his LMG team was pinned and slipping away fast.
Two pictures below show Jack's platoon moving up into the house and what waited on the other side the concentrated forces of the French. . . .
Before we knew it Russel's French were ready to assault in force. Jack briefly considered sending in his Lt. to save his last man. It was still early and by this point we realized what a death trap the house had become, and we talked him out of it. He reluctantly agreed not to. Russel's assault carried the house easily. Instead he poured fire into the building and gave the French a taste of their own medicine.
A sickening feeling of deja vu began to surface as German squads began to fail morale checks. A squad here and there, but soon it was endemic and we had 4 teams dead or sitting on their hands by the end of turn 2.The French were scoring hits and putting fire in the right places. Equally sickening was the ability of French to pass their morale (I like to think it was luck, but the French Lt.'s were in position to steady their shaky troops and it made a good deal of difference.) The French had indirect fire and used it to target important units
was definitely the low point for the Germans, Heavy french fire had decimated our only MG
nest and double pinned (effectively shooing them out the door!) both the HMG
& my rifle section attached to it. Our 3rd platoons commander got himself pinned and we tried and tried to blow up Pierre and his damned truck, (useless!)
Our one bright spot was to flush Russel out of the house he had recently taken from Jack. Jack's platoon put concentrated fire on the house and double pinned the occupiers, and they abandoned the objective. Sadly five other French teams and the Char B had moved up under the cover of the hill and were ready to storm forward. . .
Seeing the massive French push, the other German commanders browbeat Jack into giving up on directly taking the house on our left flank and urged him to fall back in good order to preserve our troops. He did not like the idea but agreed.
Matt K. had moved up a rifle section to make sure no French made a mad dash to secure it. You can see the stand off at the bridge in the picture below
Again more squads became pinned or failed to unpin at important times.
Erik had backed the tanks out of woods, hoping to sweep left to support Jack's flank but found his field of fire restricted and did not succeed in acquiring targets.
I continued to watch the cavalry snake around behind the trees, looking as if they would attempt to sweep around our right. I left a section in the house and began pushing up through the trees and towards the bridge (getting one 5 man team snugged up against a wall overlooking the bridge and three teams of Frenchmen)
My squad also managed to put a round through crazy Pierre's (Austin) engine block and stop the rampaging truck that had driven madly down the length of the board. Pierre bailed out and stood quivering behind the open door hoping he would not be seen, The Germans took no notice of him.
LATE GAME: Realizing time was short and the bridge was still unheld the Germans mobilized. We managed to unpin some units and start scoring hits.
* My HQ
section made it to the river's edge and sprayed the Frenchies with SMG fire. killing two
* Mark's response was to fire at my HQ
(killing two and I promptly failed my guts check, pinning my LT.) and then moving into assault. I could not fire because I was pinned but did have 2 teams deeper in the woods for support (Fritz! Hermann! Schnell ). Mark had initiative. and we fought a bloody three round melee, with a lot of anxious dice. I threw back the attack. Killing 6 but losing 4 myself.
* My five man team at the house gunned down some of Austin's men in the central woods near the bridge. He still passed morale but abandoned the position to save his men's lives.
* Jack charged up the hill in spite of the danger. He instantly became a target but strangely the French dice gave out at this point.
* Erik and Matt K. dumped fire all over the board. shooting up more troops. Matt's Lt. shifted around to unpin and rally what troops we could and got two squads up and running (including the HMG
* Erik sprung his tank out and opened up on the Somua on the main road. It was good in theory but the weak German armaments and weaker German dice failed to impressive the French.
* The last move of the game was the end around reverse of the cavalry. Which had been the French plan all along. With 20" of movement and a long snake of horsemen it was a quick reaction force. The braver dragoons thundered towards the bridge, braids and sabers flashing in the sun, and then they met Mr. Maschinengewehr 34, I was closest with the best firepower so I took the job on snapfire. I needed 1's to hit and promptly rolled 3 on 4 dice. Chewing them up and pinning them.
The 3 remaining cavalry who made it to the bridge were shaken pinned and most likely dead meat!
END GAME: We had only reached turn 5 and many things were still up in the air and there were still 2 or 3 more turns (depending on the dice) to play.
*The French advance on our left was daunting, even though Jack had heroically moved up the hill. His men would have not survived another turn. If the French broke through Jack they could have linked up with their center and the Germans were thin behind their front lines.
*The French brought a majority of fire to bear early in the game with telling results. I like to blame bad dice but we were forced to take a lot more checks and thus failed a lot more.
From my viewpoint things that still were in doubt.
* Erik's 2 tanks vs. the Somua (knocking out the opposition's tank support would have made an all out assault over the bridge easier)
* Matt K. & I were going to set up our HMG
nest in the same house. The only difference was we had thinned out the French on the other side of the river so the house would have come under less fire while dishing out more
: It was an interesting matchup. The board had lots of scenery, but nothing too dominating or protective and lots of room to move around. Some way to activate more quickly (like the half board idea) would help keep the game moving. The meeting engagement does not unbalance the game with dug in positions and we can re-use this scenario with many different nationalities (Russians, Americans, Brits, Finns!