Dave created a scenario to introduce armour into a hex-based adaptation of the Battleground rule system and see how this ‘combined arms’ game played out. Tim, Steve and I had 4 infantry sections, support from a 3 inch mortar, 2 Vickers HMG teams and 5 Cromwell tanks. Our German opponents, Karl, Nigel and Tony, had 3 infantry sections mounted in SDKFZ transports, 2 Panzer IVs 3 Stugs and a pack 40 anti-tank gun. Quite a well-balanced confrontation in a straight fight for control of ground.
First moves saw 2 British tanks advance to take up firing positions along the road and the other three head across country towards a wood parallel to the road. Our command roll of 1 on the D6 prevented us from bringing our infantry sections forward. And 2 further 1’s in subsequent command rolls – Steve was good with 1’s that evening, meant that we couldn’t advance quick enough to stop the Germans deploying their anti-tank gun in a very useful gateway overlooking our advancing tanks. Thankfully the first shots missed and we managed to get all three exposed Cromwells into cover behind some woodland. We tried a few shots back against this gun using our tank in the bocage lane without success.
Using generous command rolls the German infantry took up position in a small hamlet and advanced across the field to the woods behind which our three tanks had taken cover. At the same time the German tanks advanced to take up position on a small hill from which they could attempt to spot our slow moving infantry.
At this point Tim managed to call in fire support from our 3 inch mortar team and over the next few turns manged to destroy both the German Stugs with plunging mortar fire. This brief success was soon countered by the anti-tank gun popping one of our Cromwell tanks which was forced into the open to confront the advancing German infantry.
Our infantry and machine gun sections had finally taken up good tactical positions in the bocage lane only to find themselves spotted and shelled by the remaining Panzers. On the other flank the 2 remaining Cromwell’s pulled back from the woodland, successfully spotted a German infantry section armed with a panzer Faust and obliterated them with accurate machine gun fire.
This game was turning into a very bloody engagement indeed and in a last ditch attempt to take the ground from the Germans, the British infantry advanced along the bocage lane. This could have been a decisive advance to victory, but they were spotted by the German tanks. Despite the hard cover of the bocage hedge the German shooting proved to be very good indeed. This mauling of the British infantry was the final act that closed the game.
On the points count the British had 17 and the Germans 13, so victory to the Germans. In the final analysis the spotting was far better on the German side and we simply failed to cover the ground quick enough to prevent the Germans taking key positions.