Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Death of 1 Tyneside Scottish I - France 1940

Death of the Tyneside Scottish:

The Tyneside Scottish experienced two very very rough wars indeed.  The Tyneside Scottish brigade suffered the heaviest casualties of any British brigade on the Somme (it is worth reading that sentence back to oneself).  It was a Territorial Army battalion before the Second World War.  It was assigned to the 23rd (Northumbrian) Division.  Totally unfit for combat, it was one of three British divisions mobilized and sent to France exclusively for use in pioneer-duties.  However, the disasters of mid-May caused it to be activated and it found itself at the extreme left flank of the British Army as it tried to form a defensive position to stop the German armoured attack.  Unbeknown to it however, the 8th Panzer Division had already outflanked it...

The Tyneside Scottish at this point were actually moving westwards, trying to concentrate before being pitched into battle.  Moving west from MERCATEL, they were reaching the village of FICHEUX when suddenly the sound of German machine gun fire ripped through the silence...

This is a scenario for my 15mm forces.  It isn't supposed to be an eact replica of the situation, I am still working on that, and that will probably be done in 6mm.  It is a test for doing a set of "adventure scenarios" set in 1940-2 and featuring a variety of British units, so please forgive the liberties and the basic nature of the fight.   I used Nuts! Final Edition.

If anyone is interested, then these three pages here and here and here are worth a look in understanding the real engagement.

The Scenario:
The Tyneside Scottish have been engaged by a machine gun from the northern end of FICHEUX.  The Tyneside Scottish have two options: to try and take the village or to escape it and skirt round to the North.  To escape, any of the Tyneside Scottish must exit the board on the top-left of the board between the corner and 12" on the top-side of the board.

The British Forces consist of:
The Battalion command party: Lt-Col SWINBURNE Revolver 5, Pistol; the Adjutant Rep 4, Rifle; the RSM Rep 5, Rifle.
1 Platoon, A Company:
Platoon Commander: Rep 4, Revolver
Platoon Sergeant: Rep 4, Rifle, Grenade
Anti-Tank Rifleman: Rep 4, Anti-Tank Rifle

3 Sections each of:
Corporal: Rep 4, Rifle, Grenade
Bren Gunner: Rep 3, Bren
Eight Riflemen: Rep 3, Rifle, Grenade

Because of the very basic nature of the British training, soldiers with Rep 3 are not able to use any weapons other than the ones they are issued with.

The German Forces:
The Germans start with an MG34 team of three soldiers in a house (Rep 4)
German infantry sections consist of:
Corporal: Rep 4, SMG, Grenade
MG42 Gunner: Rep 4, MG42
MG42 No.2: Rep 4, Pistol
Six Grenadiers: Rep 4, Rifle, Grenade

Tanks should be Pz38(t) (I think!) but not having them, I used a mixture of PzII, PzIII and STUGIIIB.

To replicate the German reinforcements arriving, another PEF is generated each turn at a random place on the West (left) side of the board.  The Germans are initially at Force 4, but this is increased by 1 after every 5 turns.

There should be no random artillery, mine or sniper strikes in this game, but reinforcements are allowed.  British reinforcements should follow the pattern above, using appropriate 1940 tanks if any should turn up.  Replacing with equal numbers of French is fine too.  Partisans should be replaced by straggling Allied soldiers.

If one wanted to increase the randomization somewhat, I would suggest:
British: 1-5 = Rep 3, 6 = Rep 4 (all of the platoon members, not the battalion command; assign the highest Rep soldiers to command positions)
Germans: 1 = Rep 3, 2-5 = Rep 4, 6 = Rep 5 (as above)

The Battlefield:

The outskirts of FICHEUX; a German MMG team has just opened up from a concealed position in the second building down (from the top-left)

Lt-Col SWINBURNE with the Adjutant and the RSM

1 Platoon of A Company has just deployed from column of march to take FICHEUX.

The Engagement:
The encounter actually began with some good luck for the Tyneside Scots: both the Adjutant and the RSM managed to get shots off at the MMG position in FICHEUX, seriously injuring two of the crew.

Lt-Col SWINBURNE crawls forward through the crops (left)

A Company rushes forward after the MG34 is silenced, getting a bit ragged in the process...

One of the riflemen on the left of the British platoon spies German movement between the buildings...opens fire and hits the German!

The British platoon continues its advance...

German riflemen behind the buildings, trying to get into firing positions, although one has been hit by the British rifleman above

The Bren gunner (left) and the No.2 also open fire at the Germans through the trees and buildings

Lt-Col SWINBURNE (bottom-right) waves his Adjutant forward towards safety...

...and then his RSM...

...Lt-Col SWINBURNE then follows his staff, waving for the remainder of the battalion to follow him...*

One German wounded by British riflemen...

The British Bren gunner incapacitates another German far so good for the British: four Germans are casualties and another has run off, and none of the Tyneside Scots' have been hit.

The remainder of the platoon advances forward, except the left-hand Bren team (bottom-right) is engaged and cannot risk moving in the open.

Another German MG42 team opens up on the Brits (background) from a courtyard

The German MG42 team causes the Brits to go head down, but they are otherwise unhurt

The situation takes a distinct turn for the worse: a Panzer II arrives to bolster the Germans

The Panzer II's guns wounds the Bren Gun number two.

A British Bren gunner then kills the MG42 gunner with another great shot

More of the Brits manage to reach safety...

Whilst the rest of the British platoon tries to catch up

A wider shot

German machine gunner cuts down the British Corporal leading 2 Section...

One of his blokes can't take it and scarpers (and will be made POW)

Another German section arrives and enters the buildings

Another Brit goes down to machinegun fire (top)
...unfortunately I had some camera issues and the rest of the photographs were unusable.  The battle was actually quite static after this anyway, since it mainly involved the Brits being outgunned and slowly whittled down by rifle and machinegun fire as more German infantry and tanks arrived until they surrendered.  Only a few more members of the platoon escaped.

Game Notes: Eight Germans were killed or incapicated during the fighting.  Sixteen of the Tyneside Scottish managed to escape, ten were killed or incapacitated and ten surrendered unwounded.  This was broadly in line with the historical result.

The game overall worked quite well, although this was on the more favourable set of results possible for the British, with the great shooting at the start of the battle giving the Tyneside Scottish a decent chance of getting forward. 


  1. Great battle report and a nice looking game.

    1. Many thanks. I actually did this scenario twice, so another report will be coming up soon.

  2. Superb post and a lot of work - thanks.

    1. Thanks very much Norm, I really appreciate that. It is a very sad story but I think it deserves to have a little miniature memorial, however imperfect.

  3. At first I thought the Brits might pull it off, but it was not to be. Looking forward to the second AAR. Another nice looking game BTW.

    1. Thanks very much Steve. After the great start, I too thought the Tynesiders might pull off a really spectacular escape, but it was not to be: the ground and the odds really were stacked against them.