Clash of reconnaissance near the Dyle

It is may 14th 1940. The BEF has arrived at the Dyle River to man their pre-planned defensive positions. Several Recce units from both sides are having sharp skirmishes both west and east of the river.
This is an encounter between some recce units. Parent units are from BEF I corps (2nd infantry Division) and the aufklärung elements of Army group B (4th Panzer & 31 Inf division).

The Scenario:

It is a variation from the standard “Recce Screen”. Each side has 2 separate forces. The Recce forces and the main forces. The Recce Forces would battle alone for 4 turns. Then on turn 5, the main force arrives.
Also, already on the table there was an artillery fortified position for each side (3+ saves). The German one is manned by a sIG33 howitzer with a loader team. The BEF gets a 3” inch mortar battery of two tubes.
Primary mission for the scouts is to defend their own artillery positions and to scatter the enemy´s scout force. There is no BR chit for outscouting.

The Terrain

The game was played over an 8´ by 6´table. There are 3 objectives. The central windmill. (a new purchase I made at Historicon) and each building to its side. These would be re-scored in turns 5 & 10. The artillery positions were also objectives in case of capture by the enemy (only). As always, objectives can only be captured by infantry.

Deployment zones will be in oppposing corners.

The Opposing Forces:

The Germans: BR (42). 598 pts.
Recce Force:
– Recce Command. 1x sdkfz 223.
– Armoured Car. 1x sdkfz 231 6-rad
– Armoured Car. 1x sdkfz 231 8-rad
– Armoured Car. 1x sdkfz 222
– Kradschutzen Recce Patrol. Rifle squad (6men) + MG squad (3men w/MG34) on bikes
– Cavalry Patrol. Rifle squad (7men) + MG squad (3men w/MG34) on Horses.
– Motorised Scout Panzerjäeger. 1x PAK36 37mm AT gun. Sdkfz 10 tow.

Main Force:
– HQ in a sdkfz 265
– Forward signals unit in a sdkfz 260. RCN.
– Schutzen Infantry platoon in 4 medium trucks
– light mortar team
– HMG team with tripod MG34
– Panzer II tank platoon. 5x PzII C.
– 1x Panzer IVD
– 1x PanzerJaëger I

The Fortified Position:
– 1x sIG33 150mm L12 Howitzer with loader team. Fortified gun position (3+ saves)
– 1x sdkfz7 tow

The German Fortified sIG33

I want to use all my panzer grey recce models. Also want to field the cavalry patrol. To support them I feel more appropriate to deploy a reinforced light panzer platoon of 5x PzII´s.
For the PanzerJaeger, I give it´s 47mm czech gun a penetration value of 5 for a litlle more points.
The Germans would enjoy their usual good number of orders thanks to their RCN.

The British: BR 55. 596 pts.
Recce Force:
– Recce Command. 1x Dingo scout car.
– Armoured Car. 1x Dingo scout car
– Armoured Car. 1x Morris CS9 scout car
– Light tank. 1x Vickers VI C.
– Light tank. 1x Vickers VI C.
– Light tank. 1x Vickers VI C.
– Motorcycle Patrol. 3 men with a Bren gun in a Norton combination bike.
– Infantry Foot Patrol. 10 men with a Bren gun
– Light Mortar team. 2 men with a 2¨inch mortar
– AT rifle team.2 men with a Boys AT rifle
– Sniper + Spotter team
– Carrier Section:
– 3 men (officer) with a Bren carrier
– 3 men with a bren gun in a Scout carrier with Boys AT rifle
– 3 men with a 2¨inch mortar in a Scout carrier with Boys AT rifle

Main Force:
– HQ in a Light Car
– Forward signals unit in a Morris CS8 wireless
– Infantry platoon in 4 Medium truks
– Vickers HMG team
– A11 Infantry tank platoon (3x matilda I tanks)
– A12 Infantry tank platoon (3x matilda II tanks)
– Additional A11 tank (with 0.5 vickers mg)

The Fortified Position:
– 2x 3¨inch Mortars. Fortified gun position (3+ saves)

The British fortified 3¨ inch mortar battery.

 

The BEF recce force is intended to be mainly based on units from a cavalry regiment. These units were composed mainly of Light Tanks and carriers. So I added a carrier section equipped with Boys AT rifles to the force. Also, I added a light mortar and an AT rifle.
The Dingos and the bike were there just because I love them. They were almost useless game-wise. The BEF is going to be severely outgunned by a hailstorm of german 20mm Autocannon fire. But they like to suffer.

As a plus note for the british, they always seem to have a hefty advantage in BR for the same points of enemy. That thanks to their cheap, nice (and useless) heavy infantry tanks.

The Battle:

The BEF won the roll for first turn. They deployed al their recce force in their corner and gave a really good sight. Armoured cars and carriers on the left flank.

Morris and Carrier section advance

Infantry and supports to the woods. Light tanks and Bike patrol on the road.

BEF foot Patrol deploys into position.

The Germans also pressed their left flank, with the cavalry patrol, and the scout PAK36. I love the early war combination of cavalry, light AT guns, light mortars and AT rifles. You never see this in 44!

German cavalry patrol and the recce support units (light mortar, AT rifle, and PAK36)

The Norton speed 48 inches up the road. They were tough guys from Gloucestershire and fear nothing. They also were told their bike was bullet-proof.

Lonely Norton Bike combination leads the way!

On the second turn, the vickers light tanks sped up and ended very close to the germans. The PAK36 nervously unlimbered and poured two shots on the nearest tank, but missed both.

The German cavalry commander then went into a frenzy. Like polish legends, they used their charge movement of 12 inches and then poured 4 volleys (two from the rifle squad and two from the MG squad) of area fire into the nearest tank. A great dissapointment to all the players when no die ended as a “6” needed to pin the tank.

scout PanzerJaëger deploys. And Mad Cavalry Charge!!!!

In the left BEF flank, the carrier section debussed their small teams (except the 2 inch mortar team) to try to gain the orchard and the house. The officer from the carrier section claim the house objective.

Officer debuss

In the centre, a sharp firefight develops. the germans have deployed and moved their Kradschutzen 48 inches up the road, jut to end at MG range from the Vickers VI C. The vickers scored two hits, two bikes gone. On the D3 for additional loses the whole Kradschutzen rifle team is wiped out.

Following the bikes, an 8-rad sdkfz 231 avenges their fallen comrades by taking out the Vickers mk VI C.

First shots exchanged

The carriers (now empty) have put themselves on reserve move behind the orchard. Now, they used their quadruple movement to rush the table. The one still carrying the 2 inch mortar gained the windmill and claim the objective. The CS9 gained the central road.

bold carriers

One of the scout carriers sped up the hill and get to grips with the sdkf 231. The other stays behind the orchard wall in ambush fire.

close duel

The Dingos also gained the house and orchard. The command Dingo positioned itself for radioing the 3 inch mortar battery in the coming turns.

Morris and Dingo

The foot patrol follows the carrier section into the Orchard

foot patrol

and advances through the apple trees.

The Orchard is ours

A light mortar and a Boys AT rifle also position themselves on the Orchard walls. They got armoured support from a mighty Dingo. A Sniper team also sneak up to a window in the first floor of the house.

Dingos in the orchard

The German 8-rad went into 3 turns in a row open fire orders, and stayed there in the road firing at evryone. It missed ALL shots! even two 2+ shots at the nearest carriers. The British answered with a fussilade of mighty Boys AT rifles and light mortars (from scout carriers and foot teams). At least 6 hits were achieved on the 8-rad, but not a single one penetrated. Clank, clank, clank. Fritz passed all morale tests after finally becoming pinned by the last one. Blitzkrieg is soooo good! when you have penetration 1 vs armour N. You can really feel the tension of those men.

Fritz cannot shoot

Turn 5 arrived, and the BEF main force deployed into battle.

1st Army tank brigade to the rescue!

With scarce orders the BEF prioritizes their infantry and A12´s to move ahead.

7th RTR

The germans by now have gained the centre of the table, and start dominating it with their 3x20mm autocannons.

lots of Aufklärung! 222, 223, 6-rad, 8-rad

The german main force arrived. Panzers in front, trucks behind.

4th Panzer to the rescue

The panzer II platoon elected to make a Valkyrie charge across the left flank. At 20 inches per turn, they quickly gained the Hill and aimed for the british mortars

PzII horde!

The British infantry debuss en masse to the help of their mortars. But their tank support is lagging behind. Their are alone agianst a mass of Panzers.

Lancashire Fusilliers debuss

The Panzer IV and Panzerjaëger went for the middle.

Grey steel

The panzer II´s quickly gained the Hill and threaten the british mortars. They have no infantry support though.

Panzer charge!

The bold british know they face a very one-sided battle against the panzers, but nevertheless they pushed ahead.

Defend the mortars Ladz!

The panzers are in the hill. The Matildas are still to far and on the wrong side of the hill. It seems the Tommies would face the grey horde alone.

Prepare to receive chariots ladz!

The A11´s finally advance. But it is too late. They would make ZERO contribution to the battle (apart from their hefty 12 BR). But they look sooooo good!

4th RTR slowly advances

Matilda II´s receive desperate calls for help. But their speed also wont permit them to reach a suitable position to help. The germans, on the other hand, have the speed AND the orders to turn the table in their favor. RCN is a game changer here.

the power of the A12´s

The german infantry platoon now also start to debuss from their trucks.

german thrust on the centre

On the british left flank an attack on the sIG 33 position is mounted. The foot patrol and the CS9 start moving towards it.

Morris gun chaser

The PzII´s now advance and get to grips with the infantry. A very unequeal duel ensues. But the BEF infantry are 9-ROF tough sections. They could pin tanks on 5+. But to no avail., autocannons are great meatgrinders. After the exchange, one panzer is pinned but one of the sections is decimated and the other elects for a fall back deep to the woods behind.

slaughter at the hill

A 6-rad is going to help the sIG  in repelling the attack

to the hill!

The german infantry is now in full swing. They aimed for the windmill. and they go in strength and well supported by armour. As the british entire platoon is busy in the hill, the only british infantry defending the windmill is the 2 inch mortar, part of the carrier section.

to the windmill!

Massive area fire from several MG´s and autocannons pin the mortar team. After that, a close assault by ferocious schutzen kills the unhappy mortar team.

German infantry assault

The british press thier attack on the hill

go get that gun ladz!

The sIG starts to worry. The BEF sniper team in that house at 35 inches  is starting to snipe the crew. That sniper team would score 6 total hits over several turns. But only 2 dead! German helmets are well made (remember you can only save on a roll of 6 from sniper fire). The morale rolls from the 2 dead crew are easily passed by emboldened ened german artillerymen with mithril helmets.
The howitzer start pouring area fire on the house, but the sniper team is well concealed, making succeeding their saves every time.

Fritz, those tommies are coming….

One mighty Dingo follows the attack on the left

silence that Howitzer!

Matilda I´s continue to do nothing, but they do nice photos! A vickers HMG tries to pin the panzer II´s and fails miserably.

Mighty 4th RTR keeps advancing

One of the A12´s gain at last the crest of the hill to confront the PzII´s

and doing nothing!

Finally, the A12 is crowned King of the Hill. It could make short work of the Panzers. But first he must hit something. Of course he missed every shot.

7th RTR big brothers

The other A12 is more lucky, destroying the PanzerJaëger I.

Only Matilda kill in the game

Meanwhile, the attack on the sIG33 falters. German disciplined 20mm autocannon fire make short work of scout carrier, and also makes the foot patrol run for cover.

BEF attacks fail on the left flank

As a final touch, the sIG33 makes two shots, one of them a remarkable one.. Destroying a carrier who is making a frontal attack, but also a distant Matilda!. At penetration 5 at all distances, the heavy HE shell impacted on the side of the A12 and completely destroys it. What a great crew Fritz!

Destroying the 6-rad with a scout carrier is no consolation for the british.

The power of the schwere infanteriegeschütz!!

At this point we have to finish the game as we have reached our time limit.

Conlusions:

The Germans have 8BR left, and the British have 12BR left. As per the standard rules, it would have been a narrow BEF victory. But the Germans are in posession of two of the 3 objectives, and if the battle would have continued they would have definitely won at the time of objective re-scoring. So I declared a German narrow victory.

In our Barbarossa campaign, the tie-breaker for games going out of time is always the number of objectives. So this seems fair enough for me.

A very hard fought encounter! In the end the Germans got the edge by focusing on the objectives and some very good help from the sIG33!

 

Hope you liked it.

Best Regards,

Diego

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. MarquesDuCarabas

    A great map, some amazing photos and a spectacular narrative Mr. Spallatti.
    You are to be commended on your work.

    Please keep it up.-

    Reply

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