Treating myself to a big game as I haven't played for a couple of months. Started off with a low ridge going diagonally across the board with high ground in the other corners. Gaming cloth spread over, roads drawn in the vallies and saddles and placed a river in a flood plain and a village, which I decided the French were going to defend. A back lane was chalked in as a possible outflanking route and a few pillboxes & casemates scattered about for fun.
|Bétonville from the South.|
One of the lengths of Fat Frank's road (which were an unexpected Christmas present from Robert of 2D6 Wargaming) was used as the cobbled high street, blended with the dusty country roads a bit at the ends with the oil pastels.
|French defensive positions|
Sufficient platoons of French infantry and penny packets of tanks were dotted about to cover the diagonal front with one or two in reserve, along with some AMRs. Another gift from Robert was a pack of his objective cards (available through Wargame Vault) which are an excellent tool for any wargamer, let alone solo player. Unsurprisingly, The French had to hold three buildings, one of which had to be the tallest, as well as destroying a Panzer troop.
|German on-table forces|
With the amount of French men and materiel on the ground, I plumped for light and medium Panzer companies (somewhat under strength as I can't be arsed with all those Panzer Is) and succumbed to the temptation of SiG33, BunkerFlak & PanzerJäger SPGs with several platoons of Schützen and motorised infantry following on. As luck would have it, their objective cards called for the destruction of a tank troop, infantry platoon & AT battery.
|Medium Panzers & PanzerJägers on table|
The 88s make depressingly short work of the blockhouse and turn on the S35s who are shooting particularly badly but are under orders not to fall back without making a few kills. 80mm mortar rounds begin plunging down onto the Panhards on the high ground.
|The art of Crossfire|
The French cavalry tanks and armoured cars finally get some good kills as the Panzers press on through the crossfire (dropping to a morale level of 45%) towards Pillbox 3 and a 47mm AT position.
AMR33s arrive from HQ to help stem the oncoming Feldgrau hordes streaming between the woods but the Kradschützen hook around the last wood, heading for the French rear area.
|Very clean & shiny FCM36s emerge from under the tree canopy|
Spewing blue smoke from their cold engines, the FCM36s block Rue du Pont like geta lumbering mechanical tortoises, to allow the Panhards to fall back. With their spotter moving up, the German 105mms begin shelling the village.
Motorised infantry are hastily despatched to aid the Panzer IIs peppered by grenade shrapnel.
|SPGs rumble forwards|
Sole survivor of his troop and possibly rattled by the howitzer rounds detonating all around him, the S35 CO can't seem to hit the oncoming 13mm steel barn doors.
The FCM36s, angling 40mm glacis plates away from the closer in Panzer IIIs, plink away with impunity at the hapless German tanks, helped by a 25mm AT gun and Hotchkiss HMG who is particularly adept at finding vision blocks. The Aufklärungs companie skirt the area while trying to find a weak point in their sector.
|The advance is in full swing|
|8-rads on the skyline!|
German armoured cars probe the upper meadows, protected from the FCMs by the slope of the hill, hoping to outflank the strongly defended wood.
|All quiet on the Western flank...|
Rebuffed by the French in the wood, the Kradschützen are further harried by the AMR33s & R35s. A lone PzB38 team acts as rearguard.
|Fox cubs caught in the open|
Shaken by their earlier casualties, the motorcycle troops cannot advance any closer. As they try to rally, French cycle troop reserves and the last remaining AMR push them off the edge of the battlefield.
|'Surprise butt sex' for the Panzer commander|
The Somua emerges from the tree canopy and gets the Panzer company commander in the rear but is one-shotted by the PanzerJägers to his right.
|Ferme de Colline|
|Pretty woodland scene|
But after 25 moves, the Germans have only destroyed three penny packets of tanks and armoured cars, at a cost of triple the amount of hardware to themselves. It is true that nearly all the SPGs have survived to support the as yet uncommitted infantry and Bétonville will be taken eventually but the German advance has unfortunately not gone as swiftly as was demanded.