The men of 2nd Lieutenant Martin McMutton, having just taken over positions the day before, are in the midst of their morning routine. At once the drone of aircraft first gets louder and a cry goes out:
And indeed the vulture like silhouettes of a whole squadron of that most hated of enemy aircrafts can be seen against the clear sky. The Platoon, in fact the whole Division, hasn't yet seen the devastation wrought by those birds of prey, having been in a quiet sector of the front, far away from the Germans Sichelschnitt through the Netherlands and Belgium and the resulting fiasco. But the horrific tales from these theatres have spread wide and far. Carried across northern France by displaced civilians and fleeing soldiers alike.
|The western outskirts of the town - just before the attack|
Without having to be given an order the men of McMutton's platoon go to ground, searching for any available cover. Roadside ditches, hay stacks, bushes, everywhere the men seek shelter. There's just one thought on everybody's mind: "Dear Lord, don't let them see us!"
Despite all the prayers all of a sudden there's an infernal noise, later likened by many to the sounds of the trumpets of Jericho. The Stukas must have seen the commotion below them as the noise heralds their attack run. Diving out of the sky nose first the planes target the north-western outskirts of the town. Clearly intent on creating as much damage as possible.
|British Force Moral at the start of the game|
|A triple-six - meaning the morale effect of the Stuka ends and the next phase is also mine|
|Four hits - not bad considering my usual dice rolling|
|Corporal Davis D. Dockerty directing the fire of his men|
|Obergefreiter Schwarzfuss waving his men into cover|
|Corporal O'Sliter and his men taking full advantage of the cover provided by a low garden wall|
|The men go on overwatch, focussing on their immediate front|
In the distance Dockerty can hear the song of a lone bird and to his surprise he finds his thoughts drifting home to Old Blighty and the loved ones he left behind.
|Smoke from the destroyed church drifting lazily towards the enemy|
|Obergefreiter Schwarzfuss is hit - he loses one command initiative courtesy to a british bullet|
|Obergefreiter Waldarm arriving at the british right flank|
|Shabby Nazi trick - an imposter trying to mislead Sergeant Campbell with faked orders|
|The imposter is uncovered, Sergeant Campbell making short process with the wretch|
|Pins starting to mount on the German Trupp|
|With casualties mounting German Force Moral starts to drop|
|Sergeant Campbell on the left flank putting some fire into the hearts of Corporal Dockerty's men - Look lively now!|
The German fire is immediately returned by the men of 1st section. Projectiles zip back and forth across the young corn on the fields.
|The enemy can be seen in the distance|
|Corporal Awry making himself comfortable in the upper floor of the Café|
|Feldwebel Zornburg arriving to rally the men of Obergefreiter Schwarzfuss|
|Medic! - Corporal Dockerty is fataly wounded, Sergeant Campbell now takes over his section|
|The loss of the well liked Corporal means a severe blow (-2!) to British Force Moral|
|British 2"mortar deploying smoke and thus buying some breathing space for the Brits|
|A Vickers Light MkVI C arriving on the right flank|
|Corporal Awry's men open fire...|
|... and score a grand total of 6 hits!|
|The squad on the outermost German left starts to look rather brittle|
|A british smoke round aimed to block the German FOO's LOS lands well away to its right|
|Concentrated German fire means Corporal O'Sliters men accumulating lots of Shock|
|The men under Sergeant Campbells supervision open fire on the Germans again|
|This time the smoke lands just on spot and keeps the German mortar battery from opening fire for another round|
|A little shaken but still in the fight O'Sliters men open fire again|
|Success - Johann Waldarm is hit and drops dead instantly|
|German Force Moral drops - but that CoC die troubles me no end|
|The church is still burning and smoke now effectively separates both flanks from each other|
|Chris ends the turn and with the effect of my smoke rounds gone immediately opens fire with his off-table mortar battery|
|Corporal O'Sliter is wounded just when he's needed to rally his men|
When 2nd Lieutenant Martin hears of the bad news he decides it's high time for him and his men to surrender the field and retire to a more defensible area.
The first game of this campaign was a pretty intense shoot out which saw little in the way of movement. This was probably due to a mistake in laying out the terrain at a 90° degree angle to the set up as described in the campaign guide. This presented the German attacker with more open ground to cover than there should have been while at the same time allowing the British defender to better concentrate its fire than would have otherwise been the case.
The reason I decided to withdraw at the end, with the Germans at a Force Moral of 3 and the British at a 4, was my 1st section under O'Sliter (who was down unconscious on top of it) being well and truly pinned and close to breaking which would probably have cost me the game anyway.
So having made the mistake of not taking with me a "Drinks Cabinet" I thought it was better to call it a day while my force still was more or less intact.
Despite the lack of movement it was still a rather intense game which hung in the balance all the time. Only the mortar barrage and the resulting pins on 1st section clearly turning things in the Germans favor.
As a result of the days action three men, sadly including that giant of a man Corporal Davis D. Dockerty, were reported killed. Two men were sent back to the dressing station and would only be available again in the fight after the next, while one man with a scratch wound across the forehead immediately returned to duty.
Due to the -in his opinion- premature withdrawal the outlook of the company commander changed to -1, as did that of the men under command of McMutton. Having suffered only rather light casualties meant they'd continue to follow him into another fight without too many bad feelings.
The Germans on the other hand having sustained rather more substantial casualties but having effectively won the fight end the day at +1 for the company commanders outlook but at a rather harsh -4 for the mens oppinion.
Stepping in for the killed Corporal Dockerty as commander of 2nd Section is:
Corporal Patrick Smyth - 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?
On the German side Obergefreiter Waldarm is replaced by:
Obergefreiter Heintz Kellermann - Field promotion
The "cast" has been modified accordingly and you can find all the relevant data there as well.
Thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed this rather lengthy post.