The Germans had a PAK 40 anti-tank gun and 4 infantry sections, the positions of which were identified on a hex-grid map so that they could be ‘discovered’ by the British units as they attempted to cut the German escape routes.
The PAK 40 was deployed in ‘ambush’ mode in a small area of woodland adjacent to the main and fastest German escape route along with an infantry section in a supporting hex. Two further infantry sections were located in buildings either side of the said road and a command section slightly further back in support. The fourth German infantry section was allocated a more offensive roll of pushing forward and disrupting any advanced British units.
British infantry sections advanced quickly on the table supported by Sherman tanks. These offered an obvious early target for the PAK 40 which revealed its position when it opened fire on the leading bren-gun carriers. Opening shots were off target, but accuracy improved in subsequent shooting phases.
As more British armour arrived the PAK 40 switched its attention to these tanks, which in hindsight turned out to be the wrong decision as it took pressure of the British infantry sections which were advancing to attack the German occupied buildings adjacent to the road.
Meanwhile, Panzer IVs, SDKFZs and a Tiger tank were arriving on the road at the table edge in numbers in their bid to escape. A Stuart tank had taken up position at a key crossroad and with shells flying across the road between the PAK40 and the British tanks, the German escapees chose the slower but significantly safer cross-country route.
The British Shermans had failed to silence the PAK 40 and it was gradually picking off the lead armoured vehicles. The German infantry section holding the key building next to the road halted the British infantry attacking it for a good while. However, its casualties were mounting and although it passed its first morale test, it wasn’t going to hold out much longer.
A German infantry section moved up to a building overlooking the crossroads with the aim of destroying the British Stuart, but this was really only a token gesture towards freeing-up the main road and the fastest escape route for the German armour. In reality, despite suffering significant casualties in infantry and vehicles, the British units had succeeded in gaining control of the ground adjacent to the one side of the road. Any German armour attempting to escape along the road would present its side armour to 17pdr and 76mm armoured piercing shells from the now numerous British tanks. The road would soon be blocked with burning tanks!
The escaping German units were forced into taking the very slow cross-country direction while a Stug IV took up position blocking the road and given orders to ‘ambush’ any British units crossing its sights. The British infantry captured the building adjacent to the lower section of the road having finally dispatched its German defenders. This in real terms had effectively cut the primary escape route for the German units and in doing so achieve a key British objective.
The British forces achieved a victory in this scenario by blocking the primary German escape-route. This was achieved at some cost in infantry and vehicles, but this sacrifice prevented significant numbers of valuable German units from escaping to ‘fight another day.’