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Somewhere in Belgium - Mid May 1940

Today saw a mid morning wargame with bacon and egg sandwich reinforcements with SWF.

We played a 15mm Rapid Fire meeting engagement.

Unusually the table was spilt down the middle with a single bridge in the centre. The unusual aspect was that the river would not separate the two forces, but would split the battlefield.

The view from the Allied side.

The bridge was the main points scoring terrain piece, although there were four other points which would also allow scoring.

I sent the Northumberland Fusiliers racing to the bridge.

The Northumberland Fusiliers were a mixture of light tanks, scout cars, and carriers carrying machine gun teams or Boyes AT rifle teams. They were quick, but light.

They were backed up by a Belgian 25mm Anti Tank battery

It was not long before a company of Panzer II's moved swiftly onto the table...

They were soon joined by a second Panzer company

I had 700 points to spend, whilst SWF had 800, but a hundred of those had to be spent on aircraft. I chose an infantry heavy force, with a speedy element. My Force was known as LePoitier Force. They were fighting elements of Kampfgruppe Von Spier.

The Hq of the Northumberland Fusiliers, along with machine gun teams and a Boyes AT section take up position in ruins near the bridge.

Soon other German tanks are spotted on the left flank across the river...

German infantry started to make an appearance. At this point I felt quite comfortable, the Brits and Belgians had secured the bridge and a nearby building (a total of 25pts of the 40 available).

I was though, concerned about the number of Panzers on the table - 30. I did not have much AT capability on the table at this point.

If SWF took out my AT battery, I would be in serious trouble.

More Infantry approached the centre and my right flank.

Neither of us knew had any idea of what the other purchased, although I knew the Luftwaffe would make an appearance. I had some big targets held in reserve off table, and was almost certain they would attract attention...

The Panzers approach the Hq of the Northumberland Fusiliers (secure in the damaged building ahead).

The Panzers closed on the bridge. The firing on both sides was ineffectual to a point, but the Germans did manage to take out five Vickers light tanks and damage several of the British carriers to no loss of their own.

I had no choice but to play my trump card, a company (15) of Char1 bis tanks. They secured another objective, which gave me 30 points of the 40 on the table.

Sculking between buildings to avoid air attack.

A French Infantry battalion arrives, along with the Force commander - Gen Maurice LePoitier.

They even had some trucks. Gen LePoitier was in the lead truck. Note how close the Panzers are in the background.

Soon the Luftwaffe appeared an immediately attacked the French armour. At this point I was relatively happy with my plan. But on hindsight I had made a grave error. I should have put the French infantry battalion where the tanks were and vice-versa.

No hits were scored - much to my relief.

Meanwhile the Germans were busy destroying my transport and caused a major casualty near the bridge.

General LePoitier is killed when his lorry is struck by a German shell.

A captures Somua makes an appearance.

Soon the Char1 bis company attracts attention and a number are lost through 88mm AT fire.

Bloody 88's.

Bloody manoeuvrable 88's

Meanwhile a company of Panzer III's make an appearance. Due to my error, the Char 1 bis never fired a shot, they were more of a 'threat in being'. Frustrating nevertheless less.

SWF was running rings around me, and my force.....

In a desperate move, and somewhat mimicking the ' charge of the light brigade ' I sent some light forces to Harry the 88's which were keeping my heavy tanks out of the battle. For a brief moment SWF looked worried.

Would Lady Luck smile down on me?

Meanwhile, a Nothumberland Fusilier with a Boyes AT rifle (and some guts behind it) scored the first German casualties of the game.....

So far I had lost: 5 Vickers light tanks, 10 lorries, another five carriers were damaged, and several Char 1 bis destroyed. This compared to the five heavily damaged Pz38's SWF had received. This did not include the 90 odd infantry casualties (British/French/Belgian) - which included the General either. Not a single German infantryman had been lost.

You will note that the battle was not going well for the Allies.

The Kampfgruppe commander seemed satisfied.

Meanwhile after causing fifteen casualties to the 88 battery, the forlorn hope was quickly surrounded and destroyed - 10 Vickers, and 10 Dingo scout cars and crews were destroyed.

The French second in command looked on with a large frown on his Gallic brow.

German infantry secure five points worth of terrain.

A French infantry company seek cover behind a wall.

Others march toward the bridge, unaware of the disaster unfolding around them....

The British grimly hold onto a key building..

The battlefield showing the allies surrounded on three sides, with minimal AT support. I threw in the towel and withdrew. The Germans won the day with superior tactics, and kit.....

Comments

  1. I love Rapid Fire - quick, easy to remember and provides a good flavour of the period........

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