Saturday, 4 February 2017

Early WW2 15mm game...somewhere in France, 1940..

We had two players per side plus an umpire, our host, for todays 15mm game. Paul and I took the Germans whilst Rick and Chris were the BEF, attempting to hold a river line and prevent the Germans from capturing any of the three bridges necessary to continue the advance into France. The rules used were in house as, after many years of trying, none of our group is a very big fan of the Flames of War ways of doing things!

This map gives a rough idea of how the table was laid out. The Germans could start anywhere on the table edge at the bottom of this map and the British could be deployed ANYWHERE on the table - some ambushes seemed to be the order of the day!

A general view of the table - river and railway line ran the full length of it. The Germans were attacking from the left as you look at this picture. In classic Whermacht style, we decided to concentrate all our forces in one area and thus concentrated on attacking on the left flank of the table as we looked at it IE top left corner of this image.

Initial advance by Kampfgruppe von Paulus's panzers

British mortars

British RA 25lb battery - they plus the mortars above were the only British troops visible on move one!

First platoon of Kampfgruppe von Russ's infantry advance on our extreme left flank, supported by PAK 36 AT guns

German advance continues - Von Russ infantry on left and Von Paulus panzers on the right

Von Paulus reaches his first objective - a wooded hill line. His recce troops in SdKfz 222 located a British artillery observer (FOO) in the woods.

Von Russ's infantry clear the first lines of woods

SHANKFOR springs a surprise! Three gun portees deploy, fire and retire in the same move, knocking out one panzer in the process

Infantry from NORFOR redeploying from the flank that we decided to ignore

I rolled a 6 to call on air support, Chris failed to roll a 6 to drive it off, and our Stuka took out one of the gun portees!
This map shows how the Germans concentrated their attack on their left flank and left half the defending British force hanging in the air on the other flank. NORFOR spent half the game redeploying from their original positions in an attempt to get into action against the Germans.

Von Paulus's artillery battery arrives on the table

Von Paulus's panzer advance in the centre continues

The second infantry platoon of Kampfgruppe Von Russ arrives in vehicles and advances rapidly down the left flank towards the first bridge

A view of the second platoon from a passing Stuka!

My second success in summoning air support came shortly afterwards - this time, the Luftwaffe caught elements of NORFOR in the open and exacted a heavy toll - one AT gun and three stands of infantry were destroyed

The British 25ib battery in action

Von Paulus panzers destroy the remaining two gun portees . At the same time, the recce troops killed the British FOO
The second infantry platoon debus from their transport

Von Paulus's recce advanced to the railway line and discovered three British Matilda II tanks of SHANKFOR in the woods ahead - and were immediately engaged and destroyed!

NORFOR infantry deploy in a wood as they relocate towards the centre of the table

NORFOR's mortars are ready for action but have no targets to engage

My third Stuka strike - one of the three Matildas is hit. This was the last successful intervention by the Luftwaffe - from this point onwards, they either failed to appear or if they did, failed to acquire their designated target.

By this stage, the leading infantry from Kampfgruppe Von Russ had reached the first bridge

This third map shows how the game evolved. The Germans advanced up the left and took the bridge in that sector, then advanced along the northern bank of the river to threaten the second bridge. The British attempted to bring their infantry across from the top right of the map but were easily contained by one platoon and a few panzers, whilst the main German force smashed the British armour

Kampfgruppe Von Paulus panzers head to the right to confront the advancing NORFOR

The first armoured component of Kampfgruppe Von Russ arrives - PzKfw 38(t) advance to support their infantry colleagues

SHANKFOR springs a trap - three light tanks ambush the advancing PAK 36 AT guns

Result of the ambush - the leading PAK tow in flames on the road just short of the river - in the next move, the same guys knocked out a second PAK

Retribution! The infantry HMG's on the bridge knocked out two of the ambushing light tanks

View of Kampfgruppe von Russ infantry advance

British tanks emerge from the woods in the top centre of the previous picture and engage panzers of Kampfgruppe von Paulus

Their success was short lived however and next turn, they are both reduced to burning hulks

The Stuka searching unsuccessfully for another target

The German battery in action - they mainly engaged in counter battery fire

Having neutralised the British ambush, Kampfgruppe von Russ infantry and panzers seize the first bridge and continue to push forwards

Another view of the action around the first bridge - British armour burns as the Whermacht infantry advances

British infantry of NORFOR holding the line of the railway in the centre of the table. They spent several turns doing nothing more than ringing up the RA on the telephone and calling in artillery bombardments on the opposing Kampfgruppe von Paulus forces.

The target of the repeated RA "stonks" - infantry, panzers and PAK 36 AT guns of Kampfgruppe von Paulus seal off NORFOR

The effect of constant counter battery fire by the German artillery - one of the 25lb guns burns

The view of Kampfgruppe von Paulus from the NORFOR lines

Kampfgruppe von Russ clear the first woods over the bridge

The second panzer unit and infantry platoon from Kampfgruppe von Russ crossing the captured bridge

View from Kampfgruppe von Paulus positions on the heights overlooking the second bridge - the British Matildas of SHANKFOR are in the woods in the distance

A pilots view of the same position as shown in the previous photo

The second infantry platoon crossing the captured bridge in their motorized transport

The Matildas finally advanced from their shelter and knocked out a couple of panzers but after a
couple of rounds of fire, they were knocked out despite the fact their armour was basically impenetrable to almost every German gun on the table!

Final view of the game as it ended - Kampfgruppe von Russ have captured the first bridge and are closing in on the second one.

Paul and I thoroughly enjoyed the game but it was pretty hard for the Brits! They probably needed to have some more light/medium armour - not Matildas as they are too strong - 6 of them would have been like giving the Germans 6 King Tigers in 1944/5! We also had the better tactics I think - interestingly, we initially were going to concentrate our attack at the other end of the table, which would have made it even more one sided I suspect, as we would have been confronting only infantry and 4 heavy AT guns - all the British armour would have been hiding at the wrong end of the battlefield!


  1. Looked like a good game Keith, shame I couldn't make it.

  2. Yes Mark - Paula nd I enjoyed it - not sure it was quite so much fun for Chris and Rick!