Last night Alan, Filip and myself had another BKC game. The battle was a meeting engagement in France between an allied battlegroup (Americans and British) and a German formation, sometime in the summer of 1944. Filip and Alan teamed up to play the Allies (Filip played the Americans, Alan his home team) while I took on the role of German commander.
Centrally located on the battlefield, the little hamlet of La Vache Inversée (the origin of whose name will become clear once Alan and myself post our pictures of this battle) featured prominently in the commander’s battle plans.
For my plan, I split my forces in two (oooh - bad general): the largest part, consisting of two companies of infantry with the battalion support weapons (75mm ATG, 81mm mortar, 76mm IG and an HMG), a mixed armor company of two Panthers and a Tiger I, and an 88mm ATG for flavour. This part started on table, and my intention was to race the infantry into the hamlet and the fields next to it, while the armour and AT formed an antitank screen on both flanks (the right flank was covered by a fordable stream). The second group, consisting of a company of infantry and one of PzIV tanks, was to flank march on the right flank, hopefully catching the enemy formations’ flanks or rear.
That was the plan, and a fine plan it was too. However, the execution was found to be lacking somewhat. Firstly, I made the mistake of choosing to move second (because that allowed me to deploy second, after the allies had deployed), which on the table we used (only 100cm deep) meant that the allies got the drop on me in the race to the village. Second, although this would be reversed later in the game, the allies, and particularly the Americans, manage to roll above average command rolls and to hit rolls for the first few turns, while my commanders took their time in organising their advance (command failures on all but two out of eight rolls or something on the first two turns). And third, because I opted to bring on the flank march way over on the allied side of the table, that meant I was rolling with a -2 modifier on the command roll to bring them on (6 or less on 2d6). I had taken this into account, hoping to show up on turn 3 or 4 or so, but in the end the flank march only showed up on turn 6, just too late to be of much use.
As it was, the Americans raced two infantry battalions supported by a few Shermans and Priests into the village and the neighbouring fields, having firmly established themselves by the end of turn 2. The British over on the other side of the stream were a bit more cautious, undoubtedly deterred by the fire of the Panthers and Tiger (when those weren’t suppressed, which was not often — big toys tend to attract big attention). In response, I managed to bring one infantry company to the edge of the fields, while the other perished in the fire from the village.
Over the next few turns, the situation around the village developed in somewhat of a stalemate, with the Americans unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority, while the Germans were in no position whatsoever to do anything but hang on with gritted teeth. Only towards the end of the game did the pressure on the Germans become too much for them.
The British in the meantime, after dallying around a bit in typical fashion, boldly charged forward, racing to the stream and a bridge across it with two companies of carrier and halftrack borne infantry, supported by a company of Cromwell tanks. They crossed the river in turn 7, not in time to save two of the Cromwells which came under fire from the German PzIV tanks recently arrived in their rear (flank march arrived turn 6), but in the perfect place and time to charge into the Germans locked in combat with the Americans, completely scattering them and taking the German force to its breakpoint. Well done, F & A!
It was a fine game, with everyone involved virtually convinced that the game would be over by turn three (with the Germans still very much in their starting positions), but that did last out the full exciting 8 turns. Another triumph for BKC.
Alan and myself took quite a number of pictures of this game, so once they’re unloaded from the cameras, I imagine that they will be posted here shortly.