Wednesday, 21 May 2014

20C - A Bridge To Far - The Battle for Belgium

A Bridge To Far

German briefing and forces
“Alright Strudel, it is time to go on the offensive. Have you heard about Operation Beer Garden?”

“No General, although I like the sound of it!”

“Grow up Strudel! We have launched an offensive to get past the British lines. But all these rivers and canals in Belgium mean that by the time we breach one defence line the British have established a new one at the next river. To get past this we are going to drop the DLK on the next two bridges. This will open a corridor through the British lines breaking them wide open and we can head straight to Brussels. Do you understand?”

“Yes General, will they be hot LZ’s?”

“No, the British don’t suspect anything. This is your chance to show the value of the DLK on the offensive. So a lot is riding on this! Your career for starters!”

“I understand General. I will not fail you!”

“Strudel, you have the following forces”
                                                                 Quantity x point cost
DLK Platoons plus LMG                                            2 x 22    44 points
DLK mixed platoon of HMG & Mortars                     1 x 8       8 points
Infantry Platoons plus flamethrowers                          3 x 20    60 points
Artillery Battery                                                           1 x 28       28 points
                                                                           Total      140 points
“General, can I have some Flyers for cover and as mobile artillery?”

“Strudel, they have taken heavy casualties and are re-grouping. You will have to do without any flyers this time!”


British Briefing and forces

“Haggis, I know you have been re-grouping your men and tanks for the next offensive. However, the Germans have broken through and yours are the only forces available at short notice. I need you to cover two bridge crossings before the Germans get there. It should be a walk in the park. As soon as the Germans see you there they will stop and wait to bring up reinforcements. Any questions?”

“Aye General, no opposition is expected. You know that this will delay our offensive?”

“Haggis, we are stretched everywhere. The salient at Kortrijk is expected to come under heavy attack by the French any day now. We need you to do this. Once you secure the bridges an infantry force will be sent to hold them long term.”

“Yes General. It will be done."

“Very well Haggis, I will assign the following forces to the defense.”

                                                                          Quantity x point cost
Male Tanks                                                                     2 x 28    56 points
Female Tank                                                                   1 x 28    28 points
Infantry                                                                            3 x 18    54 points

                                                                                          Total      138 points



Note on the game board
The terrain for this game is unusual. Each of the rivers is covered by trees on each side so that the only Line of Sight (LOS) is that near each of the bridges. This mean to engage the enemy on the next board you need to be on or near the bridge before your will be able to see them. Effectively this breaks up the game into three separate areas, Board 1, Board 2 and Board 3.

The Germans need to capture the Bridge between boards 2 and 3 to win the game. The British need to stop the Germans at the bridge between board 1 and 2, or failing this hold the bridge between board 2 and 3. A draw will be if both sides hold one bridge each.

For both players speed is of the essence. While the Germans will have the advantage once they get all their troops involved, the bridges will slow their deployment. The British need to capture the bridges before the Germans can bring their forces to bear.

British Plan

General Haggis sends 2 tanks and platoons across board 3 and one across board 2, reasoning that once he has secured the bridge between board 2 and 3, the forces there can move forward to assist the forces holding the bridge between boards 1 and 2.

German Plan

Strudel drops his DLK platoons, one at the closest bridge and the second at the further bridge together with the mixed platoon of 2 mortars and 1 HMG. An observer also drops with the mortars.

Each DLK drop goes reasonably well with only 5 infantry and 1 LMG lost into the canals at each bridge.
The three infantry platoons raced towards the first bridge.
The artillery are deployed off board as they will never be able to keep up with the advance. Their forward observer follows the first platoon.

Photo of initial positions.










In the descriptions of the turns, firing is shown as it is rolled for.
The number of shots equals the number of shots the unit can potentially make which is dependent on its weapons, what targets are in its line of sight, the range and whether or not it will move.
Fire means how many shots are actually made, this is dependent on the unit’s training.
Hits is the number of enemy that are hit, and this depends on the firing unit’s weapons’ fire power compared to the defending unit’s armour.
Dead showing how many of the hits were not able to make their natural save and / or cover save.



Turn 1
German Fire Phase
Nil

British Close Combat Phase
None.

German Movement Phase
The German infantry move towards the first bridge.
The DLK at the first bridge deploy towards the woods with a reserve in the buildings.
The DLK at the second bridge move towards the outskirts of the ruined village. The observer for the mortars moves to a secure position with good views of the road.

British Fire Phase
None


German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
The British on both boards head towards the bridges.







Turn 2
German Fire Phase
The Mortar observer calls in fire on the British tank he can see but the mortars fail to fire.

British Close Combat Phase
None.

German Movement Phase
The Infantry continue their head long rush to the first bridge while the DLK consolidate in their positions from their scattered drop.

British Fire Phase
A British tank’s LMG tries to fire at some DLK but can’t get a shot off.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
The British continue towards the bridges, taking advantage of cover from hills.
At the first bridge they close to within close combat assault range of the defending DLK.






Turn 3
German Fire Phase
Board 3
Mortars fire at male tank Shots 2 but don’t fire.
DLK Infantry and LMG at infantry Shots 21, Fire 8, Hit 4, Dead 4. Strudel growls in frustration.
Board 2
DLK infantry and LMG at infantry Shots 30, Fire 22, Hit 16, Dead 13
Haggis swears when he sees the platoon decimated.

British Close Combat Phase
Board 2
The British, undaunted by their losses close assault the DLK
British attack      16 fire, hit 12, 10 dead
Germans counter attack 10 fire, 7 hit, 7 dead
British continue their attack 10 fire, 5 hit, 5 dead.
Germans hold firm and return fire 10 fire, 6 hits, 6 dead.
The British, with only 4 men remaining must retreat.

German Movement Phase
The Infantry race towards the bridge and the leading platoon starts to cross, but the difficulty in getting three platoons across just one narrow bridge quickly becomes apparent.

British Fire Phase
Board 3
Tank Male fires at DLK infantry;
               Canon   2 shots, 2 fire, 1 miss and 1 hit, 2 dead.
               LMG       3 shots, 1 fires, no hits and no dead.
Female tank fires at DLK infantry 12 shots, 7 fire, 7 hit and 4 dead

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
Board 3 infantry advance around the tanks towards the bridge.



  



Turn 4
German Fire Phase
Board 3
Infantry and LMG at infantry        Shots 33, fire 14, Hit 11, Dead 11
Mortars at Male tank      Shots 2, fire 1, Hit the tank and it is immobilised. Strudel is relieved. That leaves only one tank on Board 3.

British Close Combat Phase
None.

German Movement Phase
The leading Infantry platoon crosses the first bridge and head towards the second bridge.
The remaining DLK move towards the tank to close assault it.

British Fire Phase
Board 3
Male Tank fires at DLK infantry
               Canon   Shots 2, fire 1, misses
               LMG       Shots 6, fire 4, hit 4, dead 2.
Infantry moving at infantry Shots 12, Fire 6, Hit 5, Dead 2.

Strudel curses, the DLK are being whittled away. will they last until the infantry relieve them.

Board 2
Male Tank fires at DLK infantry
               Canon   Shots 2, fire 2, 2 hits 3 dead
               LMG       Shots 9, fire 6, hit 4, dead 4.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
Board 3 the infantry and the female tank advance.



 



Turn 5
German Fire Phase
Board 3
Mortar at infantry  Shots 2, Fire 2, one shot goes long and misses, the other is short but still hits 6 infantry  and kills them.
HMG at infantry Shots 3, Fire 1, Hits 1, Dead 1.
Infantry (moving) at Infantry Shots 14, Fire 8, Hits 4, Dead 4.
Board 2
DLK Infantry fire grenades at the tank, Shots 4, Fire 3, Hits 2, 1 is no effect and 1 Immobilises the tank. A relief for the oncoming German platoons, at lest they won't be run over.

British Close Combat Phase
None.

German Movement Phase
Board 3 the DLK move back into the ruins to escape the British fire.
Board 1 & 2, the infantry continue to deploy over the bridge.

British Fire Phase
Board 3, with no line of sight to the Germans the British have no targets.
Board 2
Tank fires LMG at DLK Shots 6, Fire 6, Hits 5, Dead 4
The canon is fired at the German infantry in columns. Shots 2, Fire 1, Hits 5, Dead 5.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
Board 3 the tank and infantry advance to the ruins.


 





Turn 6
German Fire Phase
Board 3
Mortars at Infantry Shots 2, Fire 1, Hit 6, Dead 6
HMG at Infantry Shots 3, Fire 1, Hit 1, Dead 1
Board 2
The Observer calls in fire on the Tank. Shots 2, Fire 2, but both shots go wide.
Flamethrowers in the first infantry platoon open fire at the tank. Shots 2, Fire 2, 1 hit has no effect but the second hit does and the tank explodes in a fireball. Strudel beams, the first bridge is firmly secured and the way is open to the last Bridge.

British Close Combat Phase
Board 3
Infantry close assault the forward observer for the mortars, destroying him immediately. The other infantry can’t close assault as they do not have a line of sight to their opposition.

German Movement Phase
Board 3
The DLK continue their retreat. (or "retrograde tactical positioning")
Board 2
The leading infantry platoon race towards the final Bridge in a desperate attempt to relieve the DLK. The second platoon is crossing the first bridge.

British Fire Phase Board 3
Infantry at infantry Shots 6, Fire 3, Hit 3, Dead 2.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
The British move towards the final Bridge, trying to catch and eliminate the DLK before the German infantry gets there. The female tank re-positions so that the immobilised male tank can fire.

       





Turn 7
German Fire Phase
Board 3
HMG fires at infantry Shots 3, Fire 2, Hit 2, Dead 1 with 1 saved by the cover of the ruins.

British Close Combat Phase
Board 3
Infantry assault the HMG, Fire 8, Hit 5 Dead 1 – the HMG falls under the weight of the assault.

German Movement Phase
Board 3
The mortars move across the Bridge to escape the advancing British.
Board 2
The infantry platoons race forward.

British Fire Phase
Board 3
Immobilised Tank has line of sight to the DLK in the ruins and fires
          LMG Shots 3, Fire 2, Hit 2, Dead 1
          Canon Shots 1 but does not fire
Female tank fires it’s HMGs on one side at the DLK in the ruins, Shots 6, Fire 6, Hit 6, Dead 1 –

Haggis curses his luck.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
Board 3
The Infantry advance into the ruins for a final assault on the DLK

    




Turn 8
German Fire Phase
No targets

British Close Combat Phase
None.

German Movement Phase
Board 3
DLK hide from the immobilised tank.
Board 2
Mortars take up new positions overlooking the Bridge.
Infantry platoons race forward. The second platoon is nearly over the first bridge and the third platoon starts its advance.

British Fire Phase
Female tank fires at DLK. Shots 6, Fire 4, Hit 2, Dead 1.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
The two platoons advance in a co-ordinated assault on the remnants of the DLK hiding in the ruins.


 





Turn 9
German Fire Phase
Board 3
DLK fires at one of the infantry platoons Shots 21, Fire 11, Hit 9, Dead 7.
Board 2
Mortars at Infantry Shots 2, Fire 2, 1 Hit and 1 miss, Dead 2

British Close Combat Phase
Infantry assault the DLK    Fire 12, Hit 7, Dead 5. With less than 10 men left the DLK remnants flee into the ruins.
German Movement Phase
The Infantry platoons race forward. The first platoon is within sight of the Bridge. The second platoon is across the first bridge entirely and the third platoon finally starts its crossing.

British Fire Phase
Infantry (moving) fire at DLK Shots 7, Fire 7, Hits 5, Dead 4
Infantry not moving at DLK Shots 6, Fire 4, Hit 4, Dead 1 – the DLK is eliminated.
Immobilised tank fires at the German infantry on Board 2.
Canon Shots 1, Fire 1, Hits 5, Dead 5
LMG Shots 3, Fire 1, Hit 1 Dead 1


German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
Infantry platoon moves closer to cover the bridge.







Turn 10
German Fire Phase
Mortars at Infantry   Shots 2, Fire 0

British Close Combat Phase
None.

German Movement Phase
Infantry advance across the second bridge - finally they make it, but too late for the DLK.
The second platoon races forward and the third platoon is moving across the first bridge.

Maybe the Germans will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

British Fire Phase
Immobilised tank at the leading infantry column Canon Shots 1, Fire 0, LMG Shots 3, Fire 2, Hit 2, Dead 2
Female Tank at Infantry Shots 6, Fire 2, Hit 2, Dead 2
Infantry at infantry on bridge Shots 4, Fire 2, Hits 0,
Infantry at infantry on bridge Shots 22, Fire 16, Hits 9, Dead 9

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
None







Turn 11
German Fire Phase
The Forward Observer calls in Artillery fire on the immobilised tank but there is no response.
Mortars fire at the infantry but miss.
Infantry on the bridge, moving, fire at the British in the ruins. Shots 4, Fire 3, Hit 2, Dead 1.

British Close Combat Phase
The British infantry counter attack the Germans to drive them back across the Bridge.
British Fire 6 Hit 5 Dead 5.
The Germans with less than 10 men left must retreat.

German Movement Phase
The two remaining infantry platoons move forwards but it does look like they have fallen short.

British Fire Phase
Immobilised Tank at Infantry on road Canon Shots 1, Fire 0. LMG Shots 3, Fire 3, Hit 3, Dead 3.
Infantry moving, fire at mortars, Shots 8, Fire 7, Hit 5, Dead 1.

German Close Combat Phase
None

British Movement Phase
The British advance to cover all the approaches to the bridge. The female tank is firmly in place with all HMGs aimed at the bridge.

End.
There is no further hope for the Germans and the attack is called off. It definitely was “A Bridge Too Far!”








































Epilogue
Haggis reports to the General. “We lost one bridge general but gave the Germans a bloody nose. The losses were very serious. Only one tank left fully operational and the infantry reduced from 90 to 20 men!”
“Haggis, the losses are acceptable. You have saved the day and we can begin our assault on the French at Kortrijk”

In the German camp the faces were very down cast. “We nearly made it General. If only the DLK had held out slightly longer. It was just so hard to funnel so many troops over a single bridge!”

“The DLK platoons were eliminated. One of the infantry platoons was eliminated, one was barely engaged and lost 3 men, and one did not even see a shot fired in anger”

“Well as long as you take full responsibility for the failure of the plan Strudel! I guess I can forgive you. Next for the DLK is the race for the Dyle! The French have left an important bridge over the Dyle near Wavre undefended. It is your job to take it and hold it!”

“Yes General”

Outside, Strudel called to Sargent Forrest – “Blacky! Another undefended bridge and  LZ to capture! Get the new troops to ready. We head out in 2 days!”

Sargent Forrest thought. “Great. Another undefended LZ, losses expected 100%.”