May 5, 2018 by Lee
And so the day of the battle arrives……….. After a briefing to Mel, Jamie and Tim about the idea and scenario for the game, we made a start. As previously discussed, the idea of this game was to take an old Rapid Fire scenario written by Colin Rumford which was published in an old Wargames Illustrated and recreate it using the Battlegroup rules system. Please check back to parts 1 & 2 where we talk about the actual battle and what happened and the forces conversion from the old scenario to the Battlegroup rules.
The game started with the Germans being surprised as the Gliders landed. Major Howards men seized the opportunity and advanced towards the bridge, taking the 50mm Gun position.
Soon we saw the Airborne troops continue their advance across the bridge engaging the Germans in fierce fire fights taking out the Pill Box and gun emplacements along the way. The Germans however, now alert to the attack, begin to fall out of their billets and start to engage the Airborne forces. At this point I made a potentially fatal mistake in advising Jamie and Tim to detach some men and put the 50mm Anti Tank Gun on overwatch. This will play out later in the game.
Jamie and Tim got the Vickers machine gun set up aswell as the Medium Mortar. The Vickers Machine Gun began to open fire on the Germans by the Café Gondree across the bridge. The rest of the Airborne infantry streamed across the bridge and started to clear the buildings. The Germans are totally overwhelmed by the sheer speed of the attack and are getting pinned down so they decide to start to pull out and make a fighting withdrawal to regroup.
The Vickers Machine Gun continued to fire on the remaining Germans that are pinned down and wipes them out. The remaining Airborne forces secure the bridge and buildings surrounding the area. Radio message goes out ‘HAM and JAM’. With that the Germans, who are withdrawing, launch a flare which signals for German reinforcement units.
At this stage the Airborne luckily gain a section of reinforcements and they use what little orders they have to advance troops into better positions. The German reinforcement is a Panzer IV advancing from the Le Port area and advances to the crossroads at the end of the road from the bridge.
Hearing the noise of the tank approaching, the Airborne muster their PIAT teams, which were on the other side of the bridge and begin to advance them into a position to engage the tank. More German reinforcements begin to arrive and thanks to a lucky roll, a second Panzer IV arrives.
Now under pressure, the Airborne manage to get another section of reinforcements. Major Howard uses this turn to consolidate around the School House and Café Gondree. The Germans again get reinforcements when another great roll gains them a Grille 150mm Self propelled gun. The Grille opens with indirect fire with the spotting roll landing near Howard and with the roll for effect, Howard and a nearby section of infantry are pinned. Both Panzer IV’s advance cautiously.
The final section of Airborne reinforcements arrives. In a moment of bravery, Howards men become unpinned and consolidate ready for the impending onslaught. The Germans have a breakdown in communication it seems as nothing manages to spot anything, they really should have gone to Specsavers!! They did manage to get extra reinforcements of a Truck with a Medium Machine gun and Mortar.
The Airborne 3” mortar spots the new German reinforcements but fails the comms test. Airborne reinforcement section advances across the bridge as quickly as they can and begin to take up positions around the area. The Vickers Machine Gun, with no targets from where it is, begans to advance across the bridge. The German reinforcements this time has a PAK40 arriving from Bennoville. This began to engage the Airborne forces around Café Gondree. Both Panzer IV’s still very cautious in their advance.
Remember those 2 PIAT teams that were advancing across the bridge? They both manage to get across the bridge and take positions to spot the Panzer IV coming down the road. Unfortunately, they both fail to spot! The Airborne forces manage to take out the remaining garrison forces that had previously withdrawn from the bridge. The Vickers Machine continues its advance across the bridge.
German reinforcements arrive with 2 half-tracks with 2 sections of infantry. These arrive on the road from Bennoville and begin to advance towards the wooded area on the right-hand side as they look to the battlefield. The Grille opens fire and manages to pin 2 sections of infantry. The German mortar fails to spot. The PAK40continues to fire with HE and fires on the British Airborne forces causing casualties. The Germans continue to advance cautiously towards the bridge. One of the Panzer IV’s opens fire on a PIAT team and successfully wipes it out.
The second PIAT team goes on ambush awaiting for the perfect opportunity. The 3” mortar fails to spot and the Vickers Machine Gun goes on overwatch on the bridge. The Airborne reconsolidate their position around the buildings. More German reinforcements begin to arrive with 2 half-tracks holding 2 sections of infantry advancing from Le Port. The Panzer IV on the main road advances slightly and fires at a
German Airborne section in the trenches by the bridge. The half-tracks on the right advance towards the School House. The Grille fails to spot although the Mortar fires and manages to pin Major Howard again. The second Panzer IV advances on the left-hand side and engages the same infantry section as the other Panzer IV.
The Airborne forces are now under a lot on pressure from the German reinforcements and their numbers are starting to thin. They consolidate even closer around the Café Gondree and School House area and they roll one dice to unpin Major Howard, which they are successful with. The counter they drew from the bag was a ‘Beyond the Call of Duty’ counter. Having just moved the PIAT previously to a better position, the PIAT uses this counter to fire at the Panzer IV coming down the road. It passes the test to do so, spots, fires, hits and brews the tank (a recreation of what Sgt Thornton did in the actual battle). No reinforcements for the Germans this turn. The half-tracks on the right-hand side advance and dismount their troops, engaging the paras in the surrounding woods. Both the Grille and the mortar open fire on the school house. This ended up killing the PIAT team and 4 others. The remaining Panzer IV advances and fires on the troops in the School House. At this stage the battle ratings for the Airborne was still pretty good however the Germans were getting low.
The 3” mortar failed to spot anything. Feeling bold, Major Howard and a section of men engage the German infantry in the woods. The remaining orders were used to consolidate the remaining fragmented Airborne forces. They roll to unpin one of their units and pulled a Breakdown counter out of the bag. This they put on the remaining Panzer IV. A Hotchkiss arrives as part of the German reinforcements. The German infantry on the right continue to engage the Airborne in the woods. The Grille opens fire on the bridge and takes out the 2” mortar and pins the Vickers Machine Gun. The mortar however fails to spot anything. Both the PAK40 and the Panzer IV open fire, spot and miss with their shots. The 2 half tracks on the left continue to advance towards the bridge.
A poor order roll with only 3 orders for the Airborne on this turn. The mortar fails to hit anything. Major Howard and the section of infantry manage to take out one of the German squads in the woods. Jamie and Tim take the opportunity now to roll 2 dice to unpin all of their units which pulls 2 counters out of the bag. This was also a very poor orders turn for the Germans. The infantry from the right-hand side and the half tracks advance towards the School House. They engage the infantry in the School house and surrounding area, killing 8 men. The artillery and Mortar both miss and the PAK40 misses. Seeing an opportunity as the German battle rating is getting very low, the bridge is empty and so one half track on the left hand side moves twice across the bridge. It manages to get half way until……. (remember the gun on overwatch on turn 1?), yes you’ve guessed it. It fires of the half track and blows it to bits, killing some infantry and pinning the rest. The Germans pull a counter from the bag to unpin units and this left them with only 1 battle rating left.
In the final turn of the game, the Airborne open fire with the Anti-Tank gun on the infantry on the bridge and miss. Major Howard and the rest of the troops muster and fire on the same troops and the troops at the School House. This pinned those units. The Germans again roll poor for their orders. With not much infantry left and only a couple of vehicles, they needed to unpin their troops but knowing if they did so, they would lose the game. They threw caution to the wind hoping not to get a number counter but alas, they pulled a 3 from the bag.
Game over and the Germans withdraw from the battlefield.
What can I say, this was a very close battle and it could have gone either way, but, in the end, it didn’t matter who won as for us the game won. We all had great fun playing this scenario with all its twists and turns. This series was not about if Battlegroup was a good or bad set of rules as there is many different peoples reviews of these rules online. This series was purely about seeing how the Battlegroup rules would work using an old Rapid-Fire scenario / force organisation. I have to say that the rules played very well, and the game played out very similar to how we’ve played the Rapid-Fire version in the past. On paper the German forces should smash their way through but, as in the real battle the reinforcements came in piecemeal. This meant that the smaller Airborne force could consolidate their defences and try to make it hard for the Germans to capture the bridge.
Well this concludes this little series, I hope you’ve enjoyed this battle report and the series as much as we have. Until next time, please feel free to Like, Comment, Share and also Follow us as we continue our journey in this hobby…….thanks again.