Monday, 31 March 2014

20C Bastogne The Battle for Belgium

Part of the Battle for Belgium Series. The Germans need to stop the French surprise tank breakthrough through the "tank proof" Ardennes. All they have is some infantry and their reserve of paratroops. Will it be enough?

German Briefing.
General Gotterdammerung is briefing Captain Strudel of the DLK.
“The French have sent a lightning thrust through the Ardennes. It has smashed through our forward positions. We had thought that the Ardennes was tank proof but we were wrong! “
“We need you to defend the town of Bastogne and its cross roads or the French will outflank us and the whole front will collapse!”
“General you can rely on me. What are our current forces there?”
“Strudel, we have scrapped together a single platoon of infantry with some flamethrowers and torpedo men. They are entrenched just south of Bastogne, covering the approaches. There is a HMG platoon with them plus a battery of Artillery.”
“General, I will drop with my men on Bastogne immediately. It may be a hot LZ so can I have a squadron of flyers to provide landing cover?”
“Strudel, because of the importance of this mission, Captain Rich Toffee’s squadron has already been put on alert and will escort your zeppelin to Bastogne and cover the drop.”
“Thank you General. You can rely on the Deutsch Luft Korp!”

On his way out Strudel shouts to his sergeant “Lock and load Forrest, we lift in ten minutes – drop is Bastogne and it might be a hot LZ– get the men ready!”
 “And Forrest, one other thing – don’t forget the music!”

Sergeant Forrest (Blacky to his men) went to get the platoon ready and baby sit the two flamethrowers who had just been assigned to the DLK from the army. He wasn’t looking forward to dropping with them. They can explode just walking around.
One of his men asked “Sarge what music is the Captain talking about?”
“Oh, he likes his Wagner our Captain does. He likes The Ride of the Valkyries good and loud just as we drop”
“I don’t like Wagner Sarge. Can we play something else? How about a polka?”
“Tell you what Private. When you’re Captain you can play what you want! Now lock your weapon and load your chute and stop wasting my time!”

German Defence Group
1 x Infantry Platoon & 2 Flamethrowers & 2 Torpedo men 22 points
1 x HMG Platoon              5 points
1 x Artillery plus Observer              28 points
1 x Trenches       15 points
1 x Flyers squadron          12 points
1 x DLK Platoon + 2 LMG +2 Flamethrowers            26 points
                              Total      108 points


The German Plan
The DLK dropped just prior to turn 1, avoiding a hot LZ so there was no wind assistance from the French player. Nonetheless, one soldier was lost.
Strudel told the infantry platoon to hold as long as it could and then withdraw to the ruined church. Meanwhile the DLK would consolidate in the rest of the town. The HMG would support and the Observer would cover from the southernmost part of the town. If the French looked like they would advance past the trenches the Observer would move back to the church. The flyers were to disrupt any breakthrough attempt by the French.



French Briefing
“OK Camembert, we have broken through the Prussian lines. You are to lead the exploitation force. Usual armoured assault group. Your target is Bastogne and the cross roads. Once we control them we can threaten the rear of the Prussian forces on both sides and cause a general retreat in this sector. If we move fast enough we may even surround a division or two. This is great times Camembert – don’t fail!”
“General, I will not fail. What is my likely opposition?”
“Very minimal at this time if you move fast! This is “La Guerre ├ęclair”!!” – (the French Army’s doctrine of Lightning War)
“And Camembert, we have had to replace the motor cycles with a Bike squadron? OK?”
“That is fine General. I am sure I will find a use for them!” Probably as entertainment he thought to himself.


French Assault Group
3 Infantry platoons plus LMGs      21 points each = 63 points
4 tanks                                                              12 points each = 48 points
1 Bike squadron                               10 points = 10 points
1 taxi group                                                     5 points = 5
                                                            Total   126 points

French Plan
Camembert planned to over run the trenches in front of him with an infantry assault of two platoons supported by the tanks. The Infantry platoon in the taxi’s would then follow the tanks through before disembarking before the first objective. Meanwhile, the bicycle squadron would manoeuvre around the right hand side of the battlefield and try to scout the enemy and take up positions to assist the following infantry.
PHOTO 1






Turn 1
French Fire Phase
No targets so no firing.

French Movement
Infantry advance through the woods in front of them.
Two tanks move up the road between the two woods and two around the left flank.
The bike squadron races up the right flank.

German Fire
The French infantry are at the edge of the wood so the German infantry open fire. With 40 possible shots, 25 fire and they get 21 hits. With the cover save of the woods 14 French infantry are killed.
The HMG also opens fire but only one shot is made, but it takes out another French infantry man.
The Observer calls for fire on the French tanks but gets no response.
Camembert curses, half a platoon already down.

French Close Combat
No one in range so no activity.
German Movement
The DLK move towards their defensive positions. All of them trying to get within the command radius of their officers. The flyers move towards the French bikes.

PHOTO 2 – end of first turn.





Turn 2
French Fire Phase
The LMGs fire on the run. With 6 possible shots, they get off 3 and one German infantry is dead.
The rest of the force holds its fire so that it can move.
German Close Combat
None

French Movement
The two infantry platoons advance towards the entrenched German infantry. The Bike squadron moves towards the first objective. The Tanks move into positions where they can assault or fire at the German infantry.

German Fire
The Infantry fire at their assailants. 42 possible shots, result in 21 firing, 15 hits and 15 dead. The French infantry platoon is gone! Camembert curses!
The Observer can see the tanks and calls in the artillery but again gets no response.

French Close Combat
None as no one is in range to assault.

German Movement
The DLK continue to consolidate from their drop positions towards their officers and to hold their two objectives. The Flyers head towards the bikes.





Turn 3
French Fire Phase
LMG 1st Platoon fire at the German Infantry. 9 shots 7 fire, 6 hits and 3 dead
The 2nd platoon are going to move so it reduces their shooting.
LMG 2nd Platoon fire at the German Infantry. 6 shots 3 fire, 2 hits and 2 dead
Riflemen fire at the Germans. 15 shots, 7 fire, 7 hits and 3 dead.

German Close Combat
None.

French Movement
The French 2nd platoon advances towards the trenches before it so they can close assault and defenders.
The tanks advance as well.
German Fire
Flamethrower 1 targets a tank and 1 shot and fires but then explodes in flames!
Flamethrower 2, targets a tank and fires, luckily does not explode, he hits the tank and immobilises it!
The infantry target the French Infantry, 23 shots, 14 fire, 8 hits and 8 dead.
HMG also fires at the French infantry, 3 shots, 1 fire, 1 hit and 1 dead.
The Flyers target the Bikes. 18 shots, 10 fire, 9 hits and 9 dead! The bike squadron is gone! Camembert sighs.
Finally the Artillery answer the Observer’s fire requests. Target is the immobilised tank. 2 shots, 2 fire and 2 hits! The Tank explodes in fiery destruction! Camembert curses!
French Close Combat
The French infantry close with the German HMG and destroy it!

German Movement
The DLK move into their defensive positions while the flyers loop around and retreat after devastating the bikes.




Turn 4
French Fire Phase
2 LMGs moving ate one plane Shots 4, fire 1 hit none
2 Tank HMGs at infantry shots 6, fire 3, hits 2 and 2 dead
1 Tank canon at infantry shots 1, fire 1, hits 5, 4 dead
German Close Combat
Nothing.
French Movement
French infantry advance and taxis move to shelter of the hill
See photo 5


German Fire
Flamethrower tries to fire at tank but can’t.
Infantry fire at Infantry 24 shots, 15 fire, 10 hit and 10 dead.
Artillery fire at infantry, 2 shots, 1 fires, 12 hit and 10 dead (as some French infantry are in the trenches)
LMGs in the church open fire at the flank of the infantry, 6 shots, 5 fire, 4 hits and 4 dead.
HMG in church opens fire as well, 3 shots, 1 fire, 1 hit and 1 dead
French Close Combat
French can’t move to contact as less than 10 men left.
Camembert curses. Light opposition in deed. But he has learnt a valuable lesson, never expose your infantry’s flank to concentrated machine gun and artillery fire.

German Movement
The flyers move up to support the infantry so that they can withdraw while the DLK troops hold their positions.




Turn 5
French Fire Phase
Infantry (moving) fire at infantry, Shots 9, fire 6, hit 4 and 2 dead
2 tanks HMG fire at infantry, shots 6, fire 3, hit 3 and 1 dead.

German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Tank overruns flamethrower – flamethrower fails it’s save and is destroyed (no consolidation for overruns)
Taxi’s dismount their LMG for anti-aircraft fire.
German Fire
Torpedo shoots at tank but fails to fire.
The observer calls for fire on the tank and from 2 shots, 2 fire, 1 hit and 1 miss. The hit is rolled for but does no damage.

French Close Combat
None

German Movement
Infantry fall back to the woods to proceed to their secondary position in the church. The flyers move up to cover and attack the tanks.
See photo 7



Turn 6
French Fire Phase
Tanks with HMG fire at flyers. 6 shots, 3 fire, 2 hits and 1 dead.
LMGs from 2nd platoon fire at flyers, 6 shots, 4 fire, 0 hits.
LMGs from 3rd platoon fire at flyers, 9 shots, 6 fire, 2 hits and 1 dead.
Captain Rich Toffee curses as his planes get shot down in a hail of bullets.
German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Tank overruns the torpedo but it manages to escape.

German Fire
The remaining flyer bombs the tank but does not fire.

French Close Combat
None

German Movement
Infantry move into the trees.
The flyer turns away from the concentrated AA and finds shelter behind a hill.
The observer moves back from his exposed position and heads towards the ruined church.
See photo 8



Turn 7
French Fire Phase
No fire for the French

German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Tanks advance, taxis embark their LMGs and the infantry move into the trench.

German Fire
None

French Close Combat
None

German Movement
Observer moves to the church.
Infantry move into second wood
Flyer moves back while the DLK hold their positions.
See photo 9



Turn 8
French Fire Phase
None

German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Tanks advance while taxis reposition and infantry hold.

German Fire
None

French Close Combat
None

German Movement
Infantry move towards church, and the observer takes up his position there.
Flyer hides behind the hill and DLK hold, waiting for the final French assault.
See photo 10.



Turn 9
French Fire Phase
None

German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Tanks advance and taxis advance and disembark their infantry

German Fire
The observers sees the infantry and calls for the artillery to fire. 2 shots but only 1 fires but it is on target and 10 infantry die.
Camembert curses the German artillery. The British artillery didn’t fire like this at Waterloo!

See photo 11


French Close Combat
None

German Movement
The flyer moves to a shooting position.
The infantry move to the church while the DLK hold their positions.



Turn 10
French Fire Phase
2 LMGs at flyer 6 shots, 4 fire, 2 hits no dead.
3 LMGs moving at flyer, 6 shots, 3 fire, no hits.
Rich Toffee weaves through the heavy French fire.
German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Tanks advance with the infantry close behind while the taxis race for safety behind a hill.

German Fire
The observer calls for fire on the tanks but gets no response.
The flyer lets loose its LMGs at the infantry, 6 shots but only 1 fire and it does not hit.

French Close Combat
None

German Movement
Infantry take up positions in the church.
Flyer moves to enfilade and the DLK hold their positions.
See photo 12



Turn 11
French Fire Phase
LMGs at the Flyer Shots 6 fire 2 no hits.
Camembert curses at his troops.
LMGs moving fire at the flyer- shots 6, 4 fire, 1 hit and 1 dead – Rich Toffee leaps out and pulls his rip cord as his plane plummets to the ground.
Tank canon shoots at HMG but does not fire.
German Close Combat
None

French Movement
HMG tanks advance and the infantry follow them.

German Fire
The Observer calls for final defensive fire but gets no response.
Other troops can’t fire as the infantry are shielded by the tanks or terrain.
French Close Combat
None

German Movement
All hold their positions and wait the final assault.
See photo 13



Turn 12
French Fire Phase
The canon tank shots at the HMG on the left but once again does not fire
The HMG tanks fire at the HMG on the right. 6 shots, 3 fire, 3 hit and 1 dead.


German Close Combat
None

French Movement
Infantry advance into the town. Finally says, Camembert, we are in Bastogne.

German Fire
DLK Infantry fire at French infantry in range, 24 shots, 9 fire, 6 hit and 3 dead (3 saved by terrain)
Flamethrower fires at infantry, 1 shot, 1 fires and does not explode, 5 hit and 3 dead.
Infantry in church fire at French infantry, 6 shots, 4 fire, 2 hit and 1 dead.
HMG fires at infantry, 3 shots, 1 fire, but no hits.
Artillery once again fails to heed the observer’s frantic calls for fire.

French Close Combat
Infantry attack the DLK in the buildings.
French Infantry fight first, 18 shots, 18 fire, hits 10 and 10 dead.
Germans take their losses from the infantry in contact and the remaining troops fall back 10 cm.
German Movement
The DLK advance so that they can assault the French.

See photo 14



Turn 13
French Fire Phase
Infantry fire at the DLK, 22 shots, 12 fire, 7 hit and 6 dead
LMGs fire at DLK, 9 shots, 6 fire, 5 hit and 5 dead.
Tank canon fires at HMG, 1 shot, 1 fire, 1 hit but the HMG survives.

German Close Combat
The DLK assault the French Infantry
They get 8 rifle shots, 8 fire, 6 hits and 6 dead.
The LMGs get 4 shots, 4 fire, 3 hit and 3 dead.
The French have less than 10 men left so must retreat.

French Movement
The tanks advance.
German Fire
Flamethrower fires at tank, 1 shot, 1 fire, 1 hit and the tanks explodes in fire.
The artillery finally come through, 2 shots, 1 fire but is misses.

French Close Combat
None

With the French outnumbered, their forces shattered Camembert decides to withdraw from the field of battle.  Strudel is happy to see them go saying it was a near run thing. He quickly goes over to congratulate the German infantry on their sterling performance and sends his thanks to the artillery and condolences to the air force.





Epilogue

Camembert was down cast when he reported to the General. “Never mind Camembert, you did your best and nearly broke through. The Germans were much quicker to respond than we expected with their DLK and ground support! I have a new mission and new force for you. The English having made a great salient at Kortriik and we want you to break in from the east to meet a thrust from the west. It is called Operation Bastille”
“Don’t worry General, I know how to handle the English!”
French Forces
Original force and what was left
Infantry 1            33 to 0
Infantry 2            33 to 7
Infantry 3            33 to 7
Bikes                     8 to zero
Tanks                    4 to 2


In German HQ, Strudel reported to Gotterdamerung. “A near run thing General, we got there just in time. The infantry performed magnificently and the artillery was OK.”
“Well done Strudel, a great victory for the DLK the Kaiser has heard and is most impressed! Probably be an iron cross in this for you. But first things first. We are planning a strike at the English. There will be a series of jumps to capture bridges while the main assault group follows. Hopefully this strategy will gets us past all these dam rivers and into Liege! It is Operation Kinder Garden ! Are you up for it Strudel!”
“Yes sir!”
German forces
Original force and what was left
Infantry                34 to 11
DLK                       34 to 11
HMG                     3 to 2
Flyers                    3 to 0
Observer and artillery no losses