March 27, 2018 by Lee
So, in part 1 of this 3-part series we took a brief look at the action that took place in capturing Pegasus Bridge and holding it until relieved on D-Day June 6th, 1944. In this article we will look at what inspired me to wargame this small but vital raid, the forces we are going to use and the rules we will be using to game the action this time around.
The game inspired me from an article in an old edition of Wargames Illustrated by Colin Rumford titled “Hold Until Relieved”, which used his own published set of rules Rapid Fire. I have played the game using Colin’s original article using Rapid Fire a few times before and had great fun playing it. I have also played an extended version of this scenario, which included both bridges and the relieving forces of Lord Lovat’s Commandos also using Rapid Fire rules. I have always played the game with myself controlling the German forces defending the bridges and their counterattacking forces. The other players playing the airborne troops trying their best to hold until relieved. Every time we have played the game everyone has commented how much fun they had trying to hold on to the bridge, waiting for Lord Lovat to relieve them and having the Germans controlled by me the umpire made it even more tense for them.
So, what’s different this time? Well, I’ve been playing the Battlegroup Rules by Iron Fist Publishing for a while now and I thought I would see how Battlegroup played the original scenario. So, I dug out the original article and compared the orders of battle Colin had wrote for Rapid Fire to using the same forces playing with Battlegroup. The only real stumbling block is that Battlegroup uses a Battle Rating for its morale. For those of you who don’t know, in Battlegroup each unit has a battle rating value and when you’ve worked out your forces for a game, you add up all the battle rating for each side to find a total value for each side. Then each time you lose a unit for example you dip your hand into a bag a pull out a counter, often it will have a value on it. This value is then deducted from your overall battle rating and so when your battle rating reaches zero your force has deemed to have suffered too many casualties and has quit the field.
The other nice touch that the battlegroup rules have is that you roll for the number of orders you can perform each turn. This of course is determined by the size of the game you are playing and added to the dice roll is the number of officers in your force. So, deciding the size of the game in this conversion is very important and I think looking at the forces in the original article it would convert to a platoon action using Battlegroup.
I will list the original forces from the article and I will note the conversion using the Battlegroup rules and what book / units I have chosen.
The original forces in the article are as follows :-
German garrison at the bridge
• One officer + 35 other ranks equipped with
• 1 x 50mm A/T gun on a fortress mounting
• 2 x Tripod MG42s
So, when you look at this initial German force at the bridge it seems to fit perfectly with using the Atlantic Wall Resistance Nest – Ost Infantry Platoon from the original Overlord campaign book. I will waver the restriction on the platoon support units as in the Ost Infantry Platoon, like most of Battlegroups infantry platoons, additional units may not be taken more than once. I will also upgrade them to regulars instead of inexperienced.
The conversion for this platoon will make the German defenders Inexperienced and have 9 BR.
It is entirely up to the German players to decide if or when they want to pull back off the bridge to regroup and attack again. Once the bridge has been captured, on the next German turn they may first roll on the Counter Attacking Reinforcement Table to see what is available. The first time you roll on the table below roll 1d6, a score of 6 will allow a further roll of 1d6 and a roll of 1d10 to see what the counter attacking unit will be and from where it will come from. I will use the original chart for this as from previous games it seems to work well, but I will include the battle rating for each unit selection. This battle rating gets added to the overall German force Battle Rating when the counter attacking force gets deployed on the table. The next time the German players roll on the table they first roll 1d6 as normal, but a score of 5+ will allow the further rolls and so on until you require a 2+ to get to roll on the table. This 2+ stays active until all reinforcements have arrived, also if you have rolled for the same unit again then reroll the d10 until you have something that’s not been used.
The Counter attacking forces conversion comes from the original Overlord Battlegroup book using the Panzer Ersatz Armoured Panzer Grenadier Platoon etc. See the map below for entry points as noted for each unit on the chart.
The British “Coup de Main” force from the article :-
• One officer (Major John Howard) + 19 other ranks equipped with 1 PIAT
• One officer (Lt. Wood) + 19 other ranks equipped with 1 PIAT & 1 x 3” Mortar
• One officer (Lt. Smith) + 19 other ranks equipped with 1 PIAT, 1 x 2” mortar & 1 Vickers MMG.
Again, the British force seems to convert nicely into Battlegroup using the 6th Airborne Division, Airborne Infantry Platoon from the original Battlegroup Overlord campaign book. The conversion will be as follows :-
• Forward Headquarters (Major Howard) Veteran 3 BR
• Airborne Infantry Platoon, Veteran 15 BR equipped with
• 1 x Medium Mortar, 1 x Vickers MMG, 1 x 2” Mortar, 3 x PIATs
We will also waver the restriction on the platoon support units as in the Airborne Infantry Platoon.
Once the bridge has been captured, on the next British turn they may first roll to see if they have any reinforcements. The British forces have 3 Airborne Infantry sections that can help reinforce the bridge, but only 1 section can reinforce in a turn. To check if a section can reinforce 1d6 and score 4+ each turn once the bridge is captured, but after the third section has arrived it is down to the troops to Hold Until Relieved. No more stragglers will be coming to help at the bridge, its down to the Airborne to hold until the end of the game. Each Infantry sections will be classed as Veteran with 3 BR added to the overall British Battle Rating. They will arrive from the road coming from the Orne River Bridge heading to Pegasus Bridge.
The game ends when either sides Battle Rating has been reduced to zero, the Germans manage to recapture the bridge and hold it for their next turn. If the British are still holding the bridge when the game ends, Lord Lovat is deemed to have arrived. The battle rating for both sides is on a sliding scale, each time they get reinforcements their rating goes up. But if at any point their rating reaches zero at the end of that turn the game will end.
Scenario Special Rules-
Night – The action started at night and so for the first 6 turns the following night rules will be in play. Ignore both sides having to take a battle counter. All spotting / aimed fire is restricted to 20”, any air attack battle counter drawn from the bag will count as 5 instead of an aircraft counter to the drawing side.
Surprise – As we have read in the historical account of the raid, Major Howard’s men managed to gain the element of surprise as the German forces were totally unaware they had landed. The British forces will have the first turn and at the start of the game roll 1d6. A score of 4+ and the German defenders are still asleep, and the British may have the first turn as a free turn. If the result was a 1,2 or 3 then the Germans are alert, and they will have the next turn as a normal game.
The game will be played in 20mm using many different companies’ models, notably the bridge. The bridge is an old Village Green resin / metal kit that from what I remember was the only one available back in the 90s. Now I don’t think you can go wrong with 4grounds pre-painted bridge which comes in many different scales. Having said that I have recently changed my old resin café Gondree over to the 4grounds pre-painted one and I have to say it fits the part well.
Well that’s it for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this look through how we intend to play this scenario using Battlegroup from converting an old Rapid-Fire scenario. In Part 3 of this series I will post a brief battle report and my findings using this converted scenario. Until next time, I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Please feel free to Like, Comment, Share and Follow us as we continue our journey in this hobby…….