Sunday, 2 February 2014

20C Waterloo 2 - the Battle for Belgium

June 1917, as the three empires, France, Britain and Germany invaded Belgium to protect it from the others, the first clash occurred at a familiar crossroads on the road from  France to Brussels - Waterloo!!

Once again the British would be fighting to stop the French getting through to Brussels.

On the British Side Captain Crumpet was leading the fight. He had been told that the cross roads were to be held at any cost and he was not to disgrace the memory of the Duke of Wellington.

On the French side, Captain Camembert was under similar pressure to wipe the stain from the French flag of the terrible defeat and to even the score with "perfidious Albion"! The general told him, "you have the finest of our new tank heavy assault groups for “La Guerre √©clair” (lightning war). You are not only fighting to wipe the stain from our history but to prove our new battle doctrine. Win and you will be a Colonel, lose and you had better be a corpse!"

Captain Crumpet had the following forces at his disposal.
2 Platoons of Infantry
3 Mortars
3 HMGs
2 Horse Artillery Guns
Trenches and some barbed wire

Captain Camembert had an assault group
3 Platoons of Infantry
3 taxis, enough to carry one of the platoons
3 Motor Cycle HMG
2 F17 tanks with Cannon
2 F17 tanks with HMG

Starting positions
 Crumpet put one infantry platoon in the farm house ("I'm sure I have seen this farm house somewhere" he thought), two mortars on his right, the HMGs and one infantry platoon in the trenches across the crossroads and the Artillery in close support behind.

 Camembert decided to assault the farm with two infantry platoons in columns. While on the left flank, the tanks would be concentrated with the motor cycles and one infantry platoon in taxis to clear the British trenches, take the crossroads and chase off the Artillery. Using the hills as cover for his approach he hoped to minimise his casualties.

The French columns move forward
The British infantry hear the bugle calls of the French and move to the edge of the farm so that they can fire.

French Movement Phase on turn 2. The Infantry on the left advance while the tanks crest the hills on the left. The taxis remain in cover until the British fire is suppressed.  The Motor Cycles take up firing positions.

Turn 2 British Firing Phase.
The two mortars on the British right fire but miss!
The Infantry in the farm fire and get one long range hit
The horse artillery fire at the tanks and get one miss and one hit! Camembert heaves a sigh of relief as the tanks escapes any damage.
The British HMG's open up on their counterparts in Motor Cycles and get six hits and destroying two of the Motor Cycles - Camembert gets worried.
The final British Mortar attempts to fire but fails.

End of the British Firing Phase.
The French are not close enough to close assault and the British do not want to move, so no further action this turn.

Turn 3 French Fire Phase.
The French Tanks HMG's target the British artillery but either do not fire or miss.
The French Tank Cannons also fire at the Artillery and get one hit but cause no damage. 
The remaining Motor Cycle opens fire on his opponents but does no damage.
Camembert scowls in disgust.

French Movement Phase.
The French attack continues with the infantry columns advancing on the left while the attack on the right seems stalled.

French positions after moving
Turn 3 British Firing Phase
The Infantry in the farmhouse target one of the French columns. With a possible 40 shots, 29 fire and they get 16 hits - one French column is decimated.
The two mortars target the other column, one hit results and another six French infantry are removed!
The 3 HMG's target the final Motor Cycle and it goes up in flames.
The two artillery try to fire at the tanks but fail.
The final mortar on the British left also fails to fire.

Camembert looks ashen as he scans his forces, seeing the gaps in his infantry columns.

The French attack after the British have fired.
Turn 3 - the French are not near enough to close assault and the British do not move. So onto turn 4.

Turn 4
French Firing Phase. 
The two Infantry columns fire on the move with their LMGs. Six LMGs get eight hits but only four dead as the cover in the farm saves the British infantry.
The French Infantry also fire but can only get 12 rifles aimed at the target because of their close columns. They get four hits and 2 dead with 2 British saved by the sturdy farm walls.

Crumpet looks on with hope stirring within him. It looks like once again the British troops will hold at Waterloo!
Camembert orders the French Tanks to advance and crush the British resistance under their tracks. Will this turn out like Ney's abortive assault 100 years before?

The French positions after their movement phase. The taxis have moved to follow the tanks' assault.
Turn 4 British Firing Phase.
Once again the order to the Infantry in the farm house is to fire at the French column. This time there is 23 infantry firing and they get 18 hits and 18 French infantry are removed. The column is gone!!
Two mortars target the other infantry column but miss.
Once again the British artillery fails to fire - Crumpet curses them.
The HMGs are powerless against the tanks and bide their time for a target.
The final mortar also fails to fire.

Nonetheless Crumpet is pleased - he is pretty sure that the French assault on the farm house is stopped.

French positions after the British Firing phase.
 Turn 4 French Close Assault.

The French Infantry close assaults the farm house.
 The French Infantry, knowing that their is no way back, surge forward past the bodies of their fallen comrades to attack the British Infantry hid

ing in the farm house.

The first phase of the close assault the French get 10 infantry in contact and cause 8 dead.

The British consolidate (taking the casualties from models not in contact) and fight with 8 infantry and cause 6 French casualties.

The French do not give in, also, taking their casualties from the un-involved troops  they respond with another 10 attacks getting 7 hits and deaths on the British troops.

The British Infantry is down to its last 9 men so must withdraw 15 cm against the superior French force. The French move 5 cm to consolidate their position.
The French take possession of part of the farm house as the British retire from its edge.

Camembert is elated as Crumpet is distraught. Although the French columns are down to a quarter of their strength they have pushed into the farm house.

Turn 5 French Fire phase.
The French do not fire, it is time for the assault on the British trenches.

French Movement Phase.
The French tanks move over the British trenches, destroying the barbwire and crushing two British HMGs and 5 infantry who could not escape.

The French taxis race up behind the tanks and disgorge their passengers into the fray.

Turn 5 after the French move.
Turn 5 British Firing Phase.
In the farmhouse nine British infantry can fire and get nine hits but with the French in the farmhouse they get cover saves and only 4 are killed.

On the British right, the artillery fires once this time but misses!
The mortar does not fire - Crumpet screams at them.
In the Trenches, 22 infantry fire and get 30 shots off but only 19 dead.
The remaining HMG targets the taxis and one goes up in flames.

The French right after the British fire phase and their close assault.

Turn 5 French Close Assault.
 The French attack first and score 8 hits from their 15 men.
The British fight back with six men and two French Infantry go down.
The French keep attacking and another 10 British infantry fall.
But the British are not ready to quit yet and fight on. Seven infantry fight on and 4 French fall.
With the French platoon down to 10 men and being less than the remaining 12 British, they must fall back 10 cm.

The French position after the failed assault.

Camembert scowls, so close! Crumpet looks on in shock, down to his last few men and still 4 French tanks in action.

Turn 6
French Fire Phase.

The remaining LMGs and rifle men fire at the British infantry and score 10 hits with 5 dead in the trenches.
One on the tanks fires its HMG at the British infantry and scores three hits with 2 dead.
The cannon in the tank also fires but misses.

French Movement Phase.
Two tanks assault the Artillery and over run it. Crushing the guns beneath their tracks.
On the French left, the British infantry have been seen off and the French start moving to control the entire farm house and support their compatriots on the right.

French final assault.

British Fire Phase.
The British Infantry throw grenades at the French tanks. Two fire at the front of the tanks but miss, two fire at the side and with one hit, only the weapons are damaged! Crumpet crumbles, nothing is working, the battle is lost.
A HMG gets one hit on the French infantry and a man goes down.
2 mortars fire and get 4 hits with another 3 French infantry down and a taxi in flames.

But it is all too little and too late! The British retreat to the nearby forest.

French Victory!

Post battle there were two very different de-briefings.

In the French HQ Camembert was greeted cordially by the General. "Well done Colonel Camembert! A fantastic victory it will be in the papers tomorrow. I have already sent the press release with all the details!"
"But General we suffered many casualties. Of 100 Infantry we have only 21 left, Not even a full platoon! The Motor Cycles are all destroyed! And two of the taxis!" sobbed Camembert.
"Never mind Colonel. France can take casualties but NOT defeat!" shouted the General.
"OK General what are my orders. I hear a Prussian corp are headed for the Waterloo cross roads. Am I to defend them?"
"No Colonel, that is not the job for our armoured assault group. I am sending you to Bastogne. Your losses will be replaced. You move at dawn!"

In the British HQ it was a very different story. "Crumpet you are a coward and a fool. There is only one place for you. The Navy's tanks where all the scum of the army are sent! No dont say anything. There are no excuses - only failure. Get ye gone before I shoot you!" Crumpet trudged out, his reputation and morale in tatters.