Friday, 12 July 2019

6mm 21st Panzer Division D-day afternoon

So, at Joy of 6 this year, we (Richard P, Ian S, Richard C, me and occasional helpers) played out a brigade level game of BKCIV, based on the 3rd British Infantry Division attempt to seize Caen on the afternoon of D-day.  The terrain stretched from Sword Beach to the outskirts of Caen and involved 185th British Infantry Brigade (3 battalions) with attached tank regiment from 27th Armoured Brigade, supported by a RM Commando with attached 13th/18th Hussar squadron and RM Centaur tank support.  The 185th was tasked with liberating Caen by advancing across Perriers Ridge (in the centre of the table below) and pushing into Caen.  The RM Commando was to cross the Orne Bridges and relieve the paratroopers holding Ranville and surroundings.

The long approach roads into Caen.  Lebissey Woods on the right.

Arrayed against the British was 21st Panzer Division.  This had been subdivided into three Kampfegruppes.  KG von Luck, mainly panzergrenadiers with a company of Pz IVs in support, was to advance on the far bank of the Orne, through Columbelles and take Ranville.  KG Oppeln and KG Rausch were to push along the near bank of the Orne, across Perriers Ridge and nip out the British lodgement at Sword beach.  The scene was set for both forces to clash head on.

Three Pz IV companies from Abt 1 of Pz Regt 22 with panzergrenadiers in the background heading for Lebissey Woods.

Panzergrenadiers from KG Rausch advancing on the flank of KG Oppeln.

The panzergrenadiers showing more appetite to get into the fight than the panzers!

The British deploy around the forward slopes of Perriers Ridge.

RM Commandos heading for Ranville on the far edge of the British advance.

The Jo6 setting - lots of people buying things and peering at very small figures.

A willing victim - sorry, games participant.  He enjoyed rolling some dice.

KG Rausch securing Mathieu and Epron.

Some troublesome Shermans at the base of Perriers Ridge.

KG Oppeln resting just out of Sherman range before Perriers Ridge.

Most of 21st Panzer stalled around Lebissey Woods.  On the far bank of the Orne, KG von Luck trading fire with the paratroopers around Ranville.

Where the game ended.  Short of a major clash, neither side was able to get to grips with the other before we had to call it a day.  However, the outcome was pretty historical in that the British drive for Caen was over for the day, while 21st Pz had come up against a serious hold up for it's drive on Sword.  On the day, 21st Panzer swung progressively further and further to the northwest, bypassing the British armour, eventually exploiting the gap between the Canadians from Juno and the British from Sword and reaching the sea in the vicinity of Lion-sur-Mer, before heading all the way back to the Epron area after being flown over by massed gliders landing 6th Airborne's reserves late on D-day.  I think I might use the image below as the starting point for another, smaller game, where the combatants can get to grips with each other sooner.

The models are all from Heroics and Ros, except the infantry, which is mainly Adler.  A lot of 21st Pz vehicles were from Ian Armstrong, although these are now available from Herocis and Ros - and lovely models they are too.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

15mm D-day Game Gauntlet 2019

Saturday saw the first of a weekend of gaming at the Gauntlet Show, held at Deeside Defenders club based in Broughton, Chester.  Owain and Ben had come up with a scenario based on a generic Omaha beach-style landing, with US paratroopers attempting to secure vital cross roads inland and meet up with the seaborne forces.

Ben and Mike defended the beaches, that Owain and his Dad landed on, while Ian and I took on Richard's reserves with our paratroopers.  Each sector had 800 points for each side.  Rules used were Battlegroup - Overlord supplement providing the forces.

I don't really have a coherent account of the overall game, being fully preoccupied with the doings on our end of the table.  We used the recce screen scenario and rolled for 6 turns before either the paras or German defenders were able to reinforce.  US recce consisted of a jeep recce team, a jeep recce command team and an infantry recce squad.  German recce comprised 2 SdkFz 250/9s, a sniper team and a recce infantry squad in a 250/1.  The US troops using their superior Jeep mobility on road, quickly secured the objective in the middle of the table and the infantry team secured the objective in the US deployment zone.  German recce infantry did the same in their sector and then pushed their 250/9s forward.  Despite lots of 105mm artillery and mortars to call on, the German recce systematically wiped out the 2 jeep recce teams and secured the central objective.  While the rear area was pretty quiet, the beaches were very busy, with a lot of US infantry casualties, especially amongst the flamethrower teams.

On turn 7, the US troops started to arrive, pushing forwards along the hedgerows.

An artillery spotter raced forwards to try and get a good position before the German armour (S-35s) arrived.

The FHQ also takes up a good vantage point.

Paras scurry across open terrain, trying to beat the advancing German armour to the hedgerows.

One of the Somuas beats the Americans to it.

The vital gap in the hedgerows with burning recce jeep by the chateau.

A lucky deviation saw an 81mm mortar battery land a barrage right on top of some advancing Somuas, brewing up one and pinning the other - phew a delay.

More paras, this time engineers in the foreground and a platoon command beyond.

Another chateau, this one providing an excellent vantage point to the recce infantry squad, who called in mortar fire from this point throughout the game.  A newly deployed 81mm mortar would soon be available for smaller fire missions.

A para LMG and bazooka team advance to support the infantry.

The bazooka went on reserve move and then closed with the Somua by the hedge, which was pinned by mortar fire.

More artillery and mortar strikes - lots of pins and a brewed up Pz III and another Somua.

The engineers advance to get in the fight.

The Somua gets brewed up by the plucky bazooka team.  With the rest of the tank platoon brewed up or pinned, we expected more armour, but it had been directed towards the beaches, to contain a US armoured breakthrough, spearheaded by a Sherman dozer.

At this point the Germans on the beaches exceeded their break point and resistance ceased, allowing the US armour to push across the beach road and enter the town - they would be looking for some infantry support from reserves across the beach or pressing paras into service.  With the German tanks in the rear areas whittled down, they too decided discretion was the better part of valour.

It was a great game, fortunes favoured the Germans initially in our area and the US recce was slaughtered, although the foot patrol managed to keep up withering mortar fire on the advancing German reserves.  With the arrival of US reserves, an artillery spotter and the FHQ were able to call in 105mm fire, which swung the balance back in favour of the yanks.  That and a couple of heroic bazooka team members.

I'd have been happy to try the scenario again the following day (maybe swopping sides), but sadly we had a pre-commitment to Joy of 6 in Sheffield on Sunday, so Richard, Ian and I went over for that, putting on a game based around 21st Panzer's attempts to push the British back into the sea inland of Sword beach in the late afternoon of D-day.  More on that in a later post.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Gentlemen Pensioners post-Phalanx ACW game

I was lucky enough to be invited to join the Gentlemen Pensioners ACW wargame the day after the St Helens Phalanx show.  Rules used were Fire and Fury, which seems a good set of rules, easy to pick up the basics (I'd never played them before).  The table was laid out as shown - the Yankees coming on from the right hand table edge and the nearest table edge to the right of the road.  The Rebels were allowed to deploy their main force as far as the road, although cavalry units could deploy further forwards.

The Yankee objective was the river port town in the far left hand corner of the photo, particularly the Rebel artillery battery and redoubt, which was proving particularly troubling to Yankee riverine units attempting to pass by.

The length of the table looking towards the Union deployment zones at the far end and right hand table edge as far as the first road.

Most of the days actions would take place around the first lateral road.

Rebel cavalry forming a speedbump around the farm and adjoining woodland.

The main Rebel lines, a forward screen lines the lateral road, supported by artillery batteries in redoubts on the two hill.  Behind these are the main trench lines.  Confederate reserves will deploy from the town to the right.

Confederate defence in depth - a forward line of skirmishing cavalry, a line of Confederate infantry supported by artillery redoubts, and a final defence line of entrenched infantry and artillery.

My own personal command, an infantry brigade and two artillery batteries.

The Union advanced rapidly, attempting to sweep aside the Reb cavalry screen, with varying success.  Some truly abysmal Rebel artillery fire causes them not a problem.

On the Rebel right at the top of the photo, Union troops are pushing back the thinly held Rebel line through the trees and the Rebs are starting to give ground.  On the Rebel left and centre, the Union are struggling to cope with Reb cavalry charges - real death or glory stuff as one might expect, and their own command and control, which sees the Union right advancing in a very ponderous manner.

My brigade are beginning to get a bit jittery - at least the sound of the guns is having a soothing effect as they imagine the devastation being caused - if only they knew!

The Union right get within musket range of the Rebs first line and one brave unit attempts to push the large Reb unit back onto the hill.

They are thrown back in disarray, thanks largely to enfilade fire from a unit which swung around from the other side of the road.  However, the Union centre have pushed the Rebs back from the hill in the distance.  Time for the Rebs to pull back to their main line, or have they left it too late?

While the guns cover the retreat, Reb infantry start to pull back towards the trenches, but not before the small unit on the Reb left flank is wiped out in hand to hand combat.

Even the guns pull back as the infantry continue to give ground, but they should be able to add some extra muscle to the main trench line.

Sadly, that's where Will and I had to leave the game and head home.  I'm not sure whether there were any more turns played after we left, if I can find anymore reports, I'll add some links to those.  Thanks to Steve for hosting and Dave for coming up with the scenario, most of the troops and terrain, as well as the players for such a fun days gaming.

Dave's report of the game from the opposite flank and Union perspective

Thanks for looking.