Monday, 20 December 2010

Queen Red, Sword Beach

The third Firestorm Normandy game was fought this Sunday, and the British had their go at getting a foothold on the Normandy coast, following the successful landings by the Canadians at Juno and last months bloody encounter by US forces on Omaha.
The first picture shows the Queen Red Sector from behind the German positions with WN12 (Sole) in the right foreground, with the Luftwaffe radar post acting as battalion HQ for the third battalion 736 Grenadier Regiment. The hex immediately to the left of this position on the hedge lined road was the key objective for the British force. In the right background immediately on the sea front is the eastern end of WN20 (Cod) which was the strong point for the 10th Company, including a 8.8cm AT gun in the large bunker, 2 x 7.5cm AT guns covering the road off the beach, plus HMGs, Mortars and an artillery OP. In the right background are the houses of Breche de Hermanville which provided cover for a 5cm AT bunker and a tank turret bunker giving support fire to WN20. The position was supported by 15,5cm artillery and reinforcements of infantry and possibly panzers from 21st Panzer Division stationed close by.

The next two pictures show the beach front gun positions interspersed with wire and mines to hold back any troops on the beach to allow them to be dealt with by the machine guns and mortars in WN20

Following the initial bombardment by the navy that managed to knock out an HMG position and a rifle group in the support trenches, the pinning effect of the bombardment allowed the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment to take full advantage, by managing to land three platoons in the first wave and rush the sea wall and wire defences.
Because of the possibility of German tanks turning up, the British decided to break in to the defence primarily using their infantry assets bringing on the armour once the anti-tank defences had been neutralised, to help deal with the German infantry. This would help to make sure there were plenty of British tanks around to deal with any German armour.

By turn 3 the British infantry had "bangalored" the sea wall creating multiple breaches allowing them to assault and take out the 8.8cm bunker in the teeth of heavy fire from the German Infantry. The DD tanks and AVRE easily took care of the 5cm and tank turret bunkers, with the infantry and DDs smoking them off, allowing the AVREs to close the range and take them out with their Petard mortars.

By turn 6 the British infantry was able to make their final assault into COD having taken out most of the German machine gun positions, which with the reduced return fire allowed them to charge into the position and clear it with the grenade and bayonet.
This opened the "flood gates" and the Commandos of 4 Commando stormed across the salt marsh and brought SOLE under fire whilst the Yorks moved into the neighbouring field ready to take the objective.
The Germans were forced to commit their reserves of only half a platoon to try and keep the objective clear of enemy troops, even managing to take out a section of British infantry. By turn 9 the numbers of British troops were overwhelming and the victory was complete.

This time Steve Mathews took the Brits and I the Germans. We both picked up a lot of lessons from the previous games, ie the German infantry firepower is formidable in defence and a combination of mass return firepower and judicious use of smoke when available needs to be used to get in amongst the German troops. This is best done by the infantry who can deal with the AT guns that threaten the armour. The armour is then able to rapidly move inland to get round and behind any remaining resistance.
A really good game, great fun, thanks Steve.
Next game is Gold Beach in 2011

Sunday, 12 December 2010

War in the Desert

Hi all,

Thought I let everyone know about the game this weekend at the club, put on by Steve Mathews who brought out his ever growing collection of FOW desert troops.

Sadly I didn't have my camera with me so no pics of Steve's collection. This month also saw a reduced turn out due to various members being away, so the Brits were played by me (JJ) and Steve Hallett vs Chas and Steve M running the Afrika Korps.

The mission was the Withdrawal mission, which had a mixed bag of 2 x German Infantry platoons supported by 3 x Panzer IIIs, 3 x Sermovente 75s, 3 x Sdkfz 222 A/Cs, a couple of PaK38s and 7.5IGs, an 8.8cm Flak gun in ambush and support fire from a battery of 105mm guns, who were tasked with holding at bay the Australians whilst gradually taking platoons off the table to simulate the rearguard. The Australian force consisted of 8 x Crusader IIs, 3 x Honeys, 2 x platoons of Australian Infantry, 4 x 2lbr portees, and a battery of 4 x 25lbrs on call. The force was also supported by Hurribombers.

Steve and I decided to focus our assault on the right flank objective whilst refusing the left flank and centre. The Crusaders led the way followed by a platoon of infantry, supported by fire from the 25lbrs. The holding force of the 2lbr portees and Stuarts formed line against probing Pz IIIs and Sdkfz 222's.

The assault rolled forward with the Crusaders racing through a platoon of Sermoventes with niether side able to inflict casualties on each other. The 8.8cm in ambush declared itself to fire at the onrushing Crusaders and promptly missed. The 25lbrs caused the 7.5IGs to pin, and with anticipation I announced to Chas that my Crusaders would assault his pinned guns, literaly inches away from the objective that could win the game for the Aussies.

Meanwhile on the other flank, Steve H had dispatched a 222 with the Honey's and caused a Pz III to bail with the Portees. It only left our Hurribombers to come roaring in and tip the balance in our favour by dispatching the German artillery support.

THEN THE WHEELS CAME OFF. The Crusader is not the best tank to assualt with, with its paltry side armour of 2. Chas took full advantage and his infantry gunners promptly unpinned and shot the Aussie cavalry out of its saddles. The follow up Infantry took on the Sermoventes and with their lack of machine guns were eventually overcome by the Infanteers only for the German Artillery to whack the Aussies with a barrage while they were still clustered round the smoking wrecked Italians. The RAF continued to put in a reluctant appearence with only one aircraft showing up on 75% of the calls.

Steve H dispatched the 222 platoon, but with the assaulting Aussie armour shot together with half the infantry and the nearest objective removed, the game was a clear cut Axis win.

Thanks to Steve M for a very enjoyable and instructive game.