Since the Germans were (just!) held off in the previous battle, they have to have another go at the Blitz on Villeroux scenario, the third scenario (and now the fifth engagement) of the Too Fat Lardies' pint-sized campaign Taking the Gembloux Gap.
As usual, I am using "The Farquhar Variant", John D Salt's variation of the WRG 1950-85 modern rules re-imagined for the WW2 period.
1 Rifle command group
1 Rifle grenadier group
1 Rifle + LMG group
1 Rifle group
1 25mm ATG and limber
1 Renault R35
The French platoon is really weak now after suffering heavy losses in the previous two engagements
1 SMG command group
4 Rifle groups
2 GPMG groups
Plus the following additions:
1 SMG company command group
2 Stuka dive bombers
1 pioneer team
support from a 105mm howitzer battery
|The single consolidated rifle section in L-formation in the woods, with the anti-tank gun guarding the junction|
|The AFVs are sheltering behind the L-shaped building|
|A German squad arrives: it has commandeered a car from somewhere and four Landsers are in it. The remainder advance on foot.|
|This time the Germans are being more methodical: a battery of 105mm howitzers shells the village|
|Most of the French troops are suppressed, and the anti-tank guns horse team is wiped out|
|And then, in an early and heavy blow to the French, the rifle grenadiers are eliminated by some direct hits on the big building!|
|The bombardment lifts and the Germans instead bring up the smaller, but still useful, infantry gun|
|Then the Stukas arrive! (Okay they are 109s, but I amongst friends, no?)|
|Not that they spot much...which is fine, since they both miss by a mile anyway! Fortunately the Germans hadn't begun advancing much yet (the foot soldiers are sneaking through the wheatfield (top-right))|
|In a bold (foolhardy? rash?) move, the Germans adapt the failed tactics from the last battle and instead use the car to drive very quickly up to the building and jump out!|
|Another view. The unfortunate gap left in the French arcs by the elimination of the rifle grenadier group allowed the Germans to get away with their bold move!|
|Most of the rest of the German platoon arrives (2 squads), led by the company commander in person and a pioneer team. |
|Some devastating MG34 fire cuts down the anti-tank gun crew! Meanwhile, the French platoon command is coming under heavy fire from the rifle group in the building, plus the German infantry off to the right|
|The French platoon commander can stand no more, and he, followed by the rest of his platoon, beat a hasty retreat! However, just as the French rifle section is running across the road...|
|They are gunned down by the German MG34 and riflemen in the corner of the top wood!|
|Waiting for a gap in the firing, the surviving French riflemen try to escape...|
|But they are cut down too!|
|The position at the end of the battle: the German infantry is mainly by the hedge in the centre|
The French lost 6 KIA and 12 WIA (all taken prisoner), plus the anti-tank gun and the horses. The Germans lost no-one, only a couple of soldiers received minor wounds.
The French managed to combine being unlucky and outnumbered and outgunned in a pretty terrible combination! The French casualties were distributed evenly between those from artillery fire and those cut down by machine gun fire: all very realistic and it is very possible that no one was incapacitated by rifle fire on either side...
Not much to say on this one, really. If not using semi-realistic command and control, the French armour could have wreaked havoc on the Germans but since orders in this game have to be defined (they are supposed to be written, but since it is just me, I simply declare it) then those kind of omniscient-gamer moves just don't happen...it might have worked in this game, but on the other hand, they might well have been spotted and knocked out by the Stuka strike in short order, so who knows? I am a bit unhappy that the Germans in this campaign don't carry anti-tank rifles though, just in case...
There should be another fight with this French platoon before it gets replaced for the final battle, but since it is literally just the lieutenant, a sergeant and a runner left, not sure how realistic that is?!? But they would have some attachments..thinking that one over.
Figures by Baccus 6mm and Adler, vehicles and guns by Heroics & Ros, aircraft by Plastic Soldier Company.