So Wednesday night saw the second of our scenarios for Williamsburg Legati’s Fall Gelb campaign. The campaign is a Chain of Command game focusing on the very first days of Germany’s invasion of France and Belgium.
The first encounter was at Arlon just hours earlier. There, recon elements of the 2e DLC were pushed back by the forward elements of the Gross Deutschland to positions in the rear at Etalle Belgium. Chris continued to play the Germans, this time added by Bill who is visiting with us for another month or two. Peter continued with the French along with Dave.
The objectives were simple. Leutnant Rolf Schraeder had been ordered to take his platoon forward into Etalle and to continue to drive the French back. He would be supported by a Panzer I from the 10th Panzer as support.
Preliminary scouting revealed enemy activity in the first buildings just across the bridge into town. It also revealed a French minefield laid just after that bridge. The little Panzer I would be prevented from crossing the Bridge until a pioneer squad might be brought up to clear the road.
Both forces were still worn from their earlier action and went into this battle a little shaky. The French platoon was also down a few men.
Schraeder sent his granatewerfer team forward to the wall surrounding the central field and the MG34 team of 3 Gruppe into the small farm house to its left. They started to receive frie from the French rifle grenades brigaded together in a fox hole to the rear. The firing was ineffective but the MG 34 and the 5cm Mortar opened up on the position.
OGefr. Dietmar was ordered forward to the wood line and towards the rivers edge. Apparently this activity drew the attention of the French, for suddenly the woods were under a barrage of medium mortar fire. While little damage was done by this barrage it was to keep the 2 Gruppe pinned for the majority of the conflict.
Schrader decided to send 1 Gruppe under the command of OGefr. Erhard Busch who had behaved so bravely earlier that morning in assaulting a barn at Arlon. The Gruppe plunged through the river and across the recently plowed field to yet another Belgium barn. Again, like at Arlon, the barn was not empty and Busch’s Gruppe found themselves flinging grenades and charging into a very bloody close combat. A French bullet found Busch and fell him and almost all of his men. The situation was no better for the French however and in the end only two Germans survived the massacre and they were to distraught from the carnage to take advantage of their victory, but instead pulled back into the woods. There they remained broken throughout the rest of the battle.
OGefr Everhardt, having witnessed the bloody fate of the 1 Gruppe held his Gruppe back and fired for effect into the central house. Lt Schraeder also redirected the 5cm mortar and the MG34 in the farmhouse to support Everhardt. When they felt they had significantly weakened the position the finally surged forward, successfully taking the position. At this point the French lost their will to continue and the routed out of the village.
So again a German victory, and again in no small part due to very unlucky rolling by the French players. They did however do significantly more casualties this time around compared to the first but not enough to stop the German Blitzkrieg!