21 July 2019

There Are Many Rivers To Cross - Game 1: The Village

Thursday, 6th of June 1940 just south of Veckring, France. The morning mist has just dissipated and it promises to become a warm and pleasant day. The forecast says 20°C and a little windy. You can hear the thunder of artillery and the drone of bombers in the middle-distance. Everybody is edgy, something is in the air.

13 July 2019

There are many rivers to cross - The cast

I've been tinkering away on German and British forces for the Invasion of France in 1940 on and off for quite a while now. And finally it's time for them to see the field of battle for the first time. Mate Chris aka Axebreaker of christopher-bunkerhill.blogspot.com fame and yours truly have decided to start a campaign set in France in 1940 shortly after the commencement of Fall Rot, the second phase of the German invasion.
As a basis we use the "There are many rivers to cross" campaign for Chain of Command which can be found in the 2018 Lard Magazine. We try to be better in keeping you up to date with events as they unfold as we were with other campaigns. To this end I'll try to update this post as often as possible with all the relevant news concerning your favourite characters. I'll also create a dedicated page where you can (hopefully) soon find the reports of the actions as they were fought.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to real persons, especially those of wargaming extravaganza, is purely intentional. Should any of the people I took for inspiration recognize themselves I hope you take it for the good-humoured jibe it was meant to be. In the unlikely case that should anybody else feel the desire to be featured in this adventure just let me know. I'm sure as soon as the bullets start to fly and casualties start to mount there'll be plenty of opportunity for men from the ranks to fill the boots of those who've gone before them.

The forces of her Majesty - Defenders of Liberty and Democracy

The Platoon is part of the 8th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division. The Division was mobilized in August 1939 as part of the Territorial Army and was sent to France in January 1940. There they were placed under command of the II Corps of the British Expeditionary Force. Till March the Division underwent a significant reorganisation during which some of its formations were replaced by units from the regular Army. This was done in order to strengthen the comparatively inexperienced Divisions of the Territorial Army. In April the Division came under command of the French 3rd Army and was stationed in front of the Ouvrage Hackenberg Fortress which was part of the Maginot Line. After the commencement of hostilities the 51st (Highland) Division did not take part in the fighting in Belgium and thus didn't withdraw to Dunkirk.
When the Germans opened their second offensive, the so called Fall Rot, the Division was tasked with holding a sector 5 to 6 times larger than could normally be expected of them. And that's where the journey of our valiant heroes begins...

The Platoon Commander
2nd Lieutenant Martin McMutton
2nd Lieutenant Martin McMutton is born in 1904 in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire as only son of well known local Doctor Douglas McMutton and his wife Drew McMutton. His mother dies of fever when he's still a toddler and thus he is brought up by his father who teaches him iron discipline, the rightful fear of god and instills in him a deep love of classical poetry.
When his father is called upon to serve as a medical officer in the Great War Martin is sent to Duke of York's Royal Military School for education. Being easily distracted and admittedly a little lazy he barely makes his grade and instead of pursuing a military career he then goes on to become a mechanic in the booming refrigeration industry.
He marries Paisley Robertson in 1929 and together they have two daughters Kacey and Annabelle. When the shadows of yet another war begin to gather over Europe he feels the obligation to make himself available to the armed forces of his Majesty. Being almost too short for a place on her majesties payroll it's due to his military school training that Martin is eventually enlisted as an officer into the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division in December 1939.

The Platoon Sergeant
Sergeant Curtis P. Campbell
Born in 1911 Curtis Campbell was a factory worker in his former life. As an intellectual looking man of average stature, sporting an imposing mustache in his hometown of Broxburn, West Lothian, he is well known for his love of a good (or cheap, whatever is to hand really) glass of red and his passion for the sound of dice on a gaming table. Just when some 'interested' party, wanting to be reimbursed for their expenses, is about to pay him a visit  he rather unexpectedly discovers an urge to defend the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden and goes to join the International Brigades in Spain early in 1937. However his stay is relatively short and so he leaves Spain following the Battle of Teruel to further Republican goals abroad. After the fall of the Republic he returns to Britain and enlists in the Army. His experiences in Spain help him to rise through the ranks and by June 1940 he finds himself Sergeant and 2iC of a Platoon. Quite to his own astonishment actually.

Corporal 1st Section
Corporal Christopher O'Sliter - 1st Section
At 26 O'Sliter is actually one of the older men in the Platoon. Of short stature, but never one to be messed with, Christopher has an artistic streak and when he's not momentarily occupied with shaping his section into the best section of the Platoon, if not the whole damn army, he can often be seen painting small figurines by the light of a small lamp and the sound of the radio at his desk. Before his military service he tries to make a living of his artistic skill, but the world probably wasn't yet ready to support a living based on painting military figurines to almost naturalistic detail. So as a way out of poverty he decides to join the army. Actually intent on joining the Royal Tank Corps, O'Sliter somehow walks through the wrong door at the recruitment office and ends up in the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division.

Corporal 2nd Section
Corporal Patrick Smyth - 2nd Section - Field promotion
After Corporal Dockertys untimely demise Patrick Smyth gets a field promotion to Corporal and is put in charge of 2nd Section. Born in Musselburgh, East Lothian, in 1919 he's a gardener by profession. Despite his young age he's famous throughout the county and beyond for his skill. His specialty is the recreation of naturalistic looking landscapes in even the tiniest gardens. Rumor has it he's even managed to squeeze a little copy of an Italian hill-town into his latest project. The demand for his services has even led to him writing a book wherein he discloses many a secret of his art to those aspiring to emulate his works. When war breaks out in Europe it finds Patrick working on his second book. Despite the well advanced stage of this second installment he feels the obligation to answer the call to arms and enlists in the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division. In the evenings and during lulls in the fighting he can often be seen writing  and making sketches of the springtime french landscape. Could it be that he's gathering materiel for even a third book?

Corporal 3rd Section
Corporal Michael Awry - 3rd Section
Born in 1917, in the middle of the Great War, Michael grows up in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire. Having lost his father to a German artillery shell in Flanders in 1918, he joins a circus when he's still a boy. Tall and thin his skills as a juggler and entertainer have already earned him quite a reputation throughout the realms of King George VI when answering the call to arms in the aftermath of the Munich Crisis. How on earth he ended up as Corporal he's not quite sure himself. Must have had something to do with his ability to focus on the job at hand, not succumbing to temptations of any kind.

The dead and missing:

Corporal Davis D. Dockerty - KIA
25 years of age and a strapping six-footer Davis Dockerty was a Clerk at the General Post office and deep within he still is. His head for figures and aptitude for paperwork makes him well liked by the company quartermaster and in return by his men as well. He's well known for his good spirits under even the most dire of circumstances. Davis reportedly was seen staging a grand scale what-if game centered around a joint anglo-american invasion of France against a hypothetical German occupation force as part of a training exercise for the men of his section. This earned him a reprimand from his Lieutenant as it's absolutely unthinkable the Germans could ever be able to boot the BEF out of France, let alone subdue the mighty, if admittedly a little inflexible, French Army.
Davis is killed on the 6th of June while trying to shore up the left flank of the platoons positions in the face of the German onslaught.

Men of the Reich - Saviours of Europe from Bolshevism

7th Panzer Division (Ghost Division)
Kraftradschützenbataillon 7 (7th Motorcycle Battalion)

Der Zugführer
Leutnant Dieter Steindorf
Dieter's upbringing was a comfortable middle class with 4 siblings in the large capital city of Berlin. In addition to his excellent performance in the regional Realschule Dieter was fortunate enough to have a father who served with distinction in the Great War thus helping him in getting a commission in the Wehrmacht in the newly formed Panzer divisions. Keen to be at the tip of the action he requested a leadership position in the specialized Motorcycle Reconnaissance Battalion and was granted command of the first platoon.
He is 26 years old and stands about 5ft 8in. His father not wanting his son to get soft had him working part time laying and carrying bricks in addition to strength related sports has resulted in Dieter looking like bricks he used to carry a virtual block of a man.

Der Feldwebel
Feldwebel Heinrich Zornburg
Born and raised in the inner city of Dresden hardened Heinrich to the realities of life. His father worked in the local armaments factory supporting a large family made making ends meet difficult at time so Heinrich went to work at a young age getting work where he could to help support the family, before joining the Hitler Jugend gaining a reputation for an iron will leading local groups. As soon as he could he joined the Wehrmacht at 18 years old and due to his will and training in the Hitler youth he rose rapidly to the rank of Feldwebel at a young 20 years of age.Thin and rather pale belies a strength of will and body that impress all who come into contact with him.

Führer 1. Trupp
Obergefreiter Hans Schwarzfuss, 1. Trupp
Hans was born and raised in the small village of Linzdorf in Saxony working and living on the family farm. All that heavy lifting turned an already very tall Hans into somewhat of a lumbering giant. A model citizen and thanks to his disciplined upbringing Hans found life in the Hitler youth easy to adjust to and equally found life in the Wahrmacht to suit him well.
At 21 years of age Hans is ready for to lead his squad into France even with the laughs and smiles he gets when fitting his bulk onto his motorcycle, but knowing he has the squads respect he takes it with a good nature and bidding joke with his men.

Führer 2. Trupp
Obergefreiter  Wolfgang Obermann, 2. Trupp
Hailing from the west in the large city of Cologne 21 year old Wolfang dreamed of an adventurous life outside the dreary office job he was saddled with so jumped at the chance to join the Wahrmacht and even better ride a motorcycle while doing it! All that office work has left Wolfgang a bit pale and on the thin side which he hopes to change, but sadly it seems nobody can cook in the army so will likely need to wait until he gets married after the war!

Führer 3. Trupp

Obergefreiter Heintz Kellermann, 3. Trupp

Taking over for the recently deceased Johann Waldarm is Heintz the "old man" of the platoon at 33 was born and raised in Obermenzing near Munich Bavaria and made a living as a game keeper on a large country estate that Reichsmarschall Göring used on occasions. Heintz is of average height and build and tends to be rather quite from all his solitary work on the estate, but is easy going and well liked in the platoon(even more so when shooting for extra meals for the squad to improve the rations!) While Heintz was content being the squads "dinner man" both he and the men took it as no surprise Heintz was raised up as the replacement to Johann, but as leader of squad will take an adjustment for everyone nonetheless.

The dead and missing:

Obergefreiter Johann Waldarm - KIA
An average looking 19 year old citizen in all respects working as an office clerk in the northern city of Hamburg Johann answered the call of his country and joined the Wahrmacht to serve his Fatherland. Usually accustomed to paperwork his quick wit allowed him to adapt to the army life and his ability to navigate came to attention of his superiors who assigned him to the Motorcycle Battalion to take advantage of this ability to scout ahead. Johann is killed on 6th of June 1940 in his first engagement with the enemy.