Sunday, January 31, 2016

Operation Jupliter 06 - The Edge of Town

Introduction
This is game 6 is replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).  I playing them on a 4.5'x5' table using 20mm; Games 1 to 5 used my own Advance to Cover rules (1 figure = 1 section).  After the last few games, I felt 1:10 was too abstract to me and so have gone to a 1:3ish figure ratio (so 3 figures = 1 section).  The rules are largely unchanged – all I have done is doubled the ranges to account for the fact is it is now company level and not battalion level; the deployed frontage of companies are different to battalions leading to the distance scale needs to be different.   Background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Scenario
Germans are defending the village.  The British need to get 10 figures into one of more building on the village to win.  No time limit.

View of the table from the British entry edge.

View from the German edge.
Troops
Note that although I am playing with 1:3 ratio and the scenario is at 1:1, I fielded the same number of figures and vehicles as the scenario.

British
British.  I have no Crocodile tank so the lighter coloured one will count as the Croc.
1 Company HQ
     4 figures
2 Platoons, each:
      1 CO
      3 sections (3 figures each)
2 Churchill VII
1 Churchill Crocodiles (flame)
Note that the British also have 4 Bren carriers for transport but ignored it as, in my rules, they would have to dismount once 18” from the enemy.  As there is no time limit it would only save them a turn and that is why I did not include them.

German
German defenders with the Marder standing in for the Sdkfz 251/22
1 Company Commander (1 figure)
2 Security platoons each:
   5 figures
1 Pak-40
1 MMG
1 Sdkfz 251/22, which I don’t have so is represented by a Marder III

Deployment
Will so few units, it was hard to decide where to put them.  But the goal is to stop the British getting enough figures in to the building.  So no counterattacks required.  AT gun deployed forward in the orchard to cover most approaches with the Marder III further back to be a mobile reserve if required.  One platoon in the large building, another in the orchard and the right flank building.  MMG in the top floor of the central building offering a good commanding view.  A fairly forward deployment, but one the British get 10 figures into the buildings, the game is over so a counter-attack is not required.

German deployment of the British left flank

Right flank deployment of 5 figures.    The red building is a railway one I built in 1981-ish and rarely get to use as it is quite large.  I have a factory that is 3 times larger that I had not had a chance to get out for a long time either :-(

Just to show the 3 figures that are in the building.
For the British, the large building on the right flank looked very dangerous and hard to get to. All units concentrated on the left flank.  While further to reach the buildings, it offered better cover along the way.  Two Churchills to deploy centrally and the third to accompany the infantry.

Game
Normally I play the game and take notes as I go and also indicate when I took pictures so I can align the notes to the picture.  I then write it up in longer form.  For this game after deployment I dictated the game as I was playing using a voice recorder on the PC.  I could only do this as I knew I would be playing the game with no other noise around, as the rest of the family were out.  I then listened to the recording to provide the game writeup.  Three things – this worked well, I know the game took 51 minutes to play from deployment to the end, and lastly, although is was a little tedious listening to me for 51 minutes telling me what happened, it meant that when I was actually playing the game there was no interruptions (normally to take notes).

The British move on to the table. Infantry focus on the left flank, Churchills deployed to assist.  Immediately the Churchill are on, the German Pak 40 fires at a Churchill but misses, gets another chance to fire and misses again.

The British enter on the left flank
The first thing to occur at the end of turn 1 is a random Typhoon bombing run that resulting in friendly fire in the original battle.  The scenario called for random placement but I chose instead to inflict it on a random unit to reflect that real casualties did occur on the day.  With bad (or good) die rolling, all 4 dice hit and wiped out all of the company HQ except the company commander.  A subsequent morale test saw the commander pass with flying colours.  However, the CO is suppressed and the cards never saw him get a chance to move for the rest of the game...


Typhoon attack wipes out the Company HQ except the CO. 
The Pak 40 gets another chance to fire before the Churchills can react and destroys it,  The Pak 40 is fired on by the other Churchill but the Churchill never manages hit the Pak 40.  This happens for the rest of the game with appalling rolls on both sides sees neither destroying the enemy target.

The Pak 40 in the central orchard.

The Pak 40 third shot manages to destroy the Churchill.
The other Churchill  The German platoon on the British right flank (including the big read house) begins moving towards the centre where they can fire on the British invaders.

Germans moving from one flank to another.
A random event sees the British subject to 1d6 sniper attack.  It is successful and 1 figure down. The British require 10 figures into the village to win so every figure gone makes it harder.

One British figure has been lost to a sniper.
Both British platoons advance over the first hedgeline and into the crops and the woods.  It seems a way to go to get to the first building, and barely a German unit has been seen.

British continue to advance.
The Marder moves from its central location to the German right flank to repel the British coming down that flank.

Marder moves to a good defensive position to fire on the advancing Brits.
The PanzerIV enters as the German reinforcement.  The aim is for it to move up the centre to provide a fire base from its central location towards any British it can see.

The PanzerIV enters as the reinforcement.
The British reach the second hedgeline, and the second last before the buildings.  The Churchill moves up in support.  The stage is set for the British to charge in and take some buildings!

The German MMG believes the time is right to fire on the British in the wheatfields, but causes no casualties.

The British  all ready to advance and take the village.
The Churchill spots the Marder, fires and destroys it.  I believe this is the first kill for the British.

The British finally destroy something (the Marder)
The left most British platoon send two sections (6 figures in total) in the wheatfields over the hedge and towards the last hedgeline before the buildings. The German platoon (3 figures) in the orchard fire at the exposed advancing British - certain to cause casualties - but cause none!

British advance.  The Germans seen on the right open fire but fail to inflict any damage.
Now that some German defenders have been seen, the British platoon in the woods send to sections (6 figures) to charge at the Germans).  The British successful close assault the defending section, cause one casualty and the rest then rout.  The British advance over the wall into the orchards.  that went well.

British assaulting the Germans in the orchards, and win!
The German from the other flank decide it is time to advance into the orchard to provide a mini-flank attack on the British.

Meanwhile the German MMG is spotted, suffers one casualty and is suppressed.

The Germans advancing into the orchard.  Also note the PanzerIV that has moved up to protect the orchard as well.

The Germans jump the wall land now in the orchard.

The Germans are charged by the British.  The Brits lose the assault, fired on shortly later and go from 6 to 2 figures very quickly.  This was a mistake for the British and they really need to conserve figures.   I would say this was a turning point for the British that made it very hard for them to get 10 figures into the village.

Germans and British meet in the orchards.  The British lose.
Meanwhile the other leftmost British platoon is advancing besides the orchard trying to actually achieve the objective of occupation rather than destruction.

The other leftmost British platoon is still advancing 
The orchard is effectively lost to the British.

Six figures went in and only one is left.
The British charge the building.  They are down to 12 figures left on the table and so hope that there are not many Germans in the building.  There are Germans who are on hold in the building, and the MMG in another building, so they fire, cause some casualties as the British advance. The British continue to advance to assault the building but lose.

The British assault the building but lose and do not have enough figures left to continue.
The British are down to 9 figures on the  table and so cannot meet the objectives and so retreat. Game over.

Picture at game end.
Note: I used the word appalling about 6 times when describing the second Churchill and Pak 40 rolls!  I was very surprised they lasted though about 6 exchanges of fire.

Verdict
A great scenario and my rules seem to work well.  Card activation (to decide which side may activate a previously inactivated unit of choice with a joker for end of turn) is still my favourite mechanism to recreate the uncertainty of battles, at least in my opinion.  It also is great for solo play.  The rules worked fine with the doubling of distance.  My 6mm rules for a similar scale of game on a 2’x2’ table had suppression as the main result for infantry fire with a really good roll required for a KO.  For these rules I went with an unchanged Advance to Cover rules firing process with hits as the main result.  While my last 6mm game has the same number of units of the table as this game, I did not miss the suppression result.  The game played faster as a result.  The 6mm rules are 1 base = 1 section and so is a ruleset in-between the battalion level rules and these rules.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

WW2 6mm company Contour 180 scenario and battle report - Normandy 31 July 1944

Introduction
This is the second of a planned series of WW2 historical scenarios based on the operations of the Hampshire Regiment (7th Battalion) of the 130th Brigade, 43rd (Wessex) Division in Europe July 1944 to April 1945. The scenarios will be a mix of a battalion and company level, with maybe some platoon/skirmish if the detail is available.  These will be based on their War History with further research where necessary. At the moment this is a side project, so not sure when I may get to the rest.

The first scenario and more background to the Hampshire Regiment is at this blog post.

This post contains a scenario and a battle report of two companies supported by Honey tanks attacking German defenders in the Normandy countryside.

Contour 180 outside Cahagnes scenario

Background
As part of Operation Bluecoat the 130 Brigade is to head from Caumont to Jurques. On 30th July, the 7th Battalion (also known as The Hampshire Regiment) advanced down the road and settled for the night midway between Caumont and Cahagnes. Cahagnes is midway between Caumont and Jurques.  D Company was subject to a small counter attack from a farm complex on the right side of the road.  On the 31st D company was to take out the farm complex (scenario 1 **link) and later join the rest of the battalion for the attack on Cahagnes.  A Company was protecting the left flank and B and C Company were to advance down the road to take Contour 180 - the ridge line outside of Cahagnes - prior to the assault on Cahagnes itself.  In this battle they were supported by Honey Tanks from the Sherwood Rangers.

The scenario is the taking of the Contour 180 ridge by the two companies.

Map

  • Each grid is 100m by 100m. North is at about 2 o'clock.
  • The Caumont-Cahagnes road runs down the centre of the table (the one with no bocage on either side), indicated by dark brown dotted line.
  • British B Company enters on top left of the Caumont-Cahagnes, C Company on the right. Onboard infantry support must be allocated to either company  Honey tanks on the road but may then go off road first turn.
  • German deploy anywhere below the red line.
  • Germans may be in shell scrapes but there are no specific fortifications or engineering works.
  • All buildings are stone (hard cover).
  • Tress represent orchards but the trees are not close and are not bushes but low trees.
  • All hedges lining the roads are bocage and impassable to the Honeys and Carriers.  Other hedges are hedges.
  • All roads are one lane and a destroyed vehicle will block the road to other vehicles (no way around with bocage on both sides).
  • Germans start the game hidden.
  • The fields have the occasional crater, but not really enough to place on the map and not really an impediment to traversing the field by foot, wheel or track
  • The ridgeline (contour 180) does runs across the bottom of the table as indicated (the road and hedge) but its effect negligible - it blends in with the very gentle slope that runs from the top to the bottom.

British (7th Battalion)
Mission: Clear the road to Cahagnes and the ridgeline.   You have 10 turns as you need to reform and attack Cahagnes with the rest of the battalion later in the day.

Victory:
Score 5 points for clearing the the Caumont-Cahagnes road (no German units within 150m).
Score 5 points for no unbroken/unsuppressed/non-routing Germans on the ridgeline.

0 - lose
5 points - draw
10 points - win.

B Company:

B Company HQ
     1 HQ infantry rifle stand
     3 PIAT teams (may be allocated to Platoons)

10 Platoon
      1 2” mortar
      3 infantry rifle stands

11 Platoon
     1 2” mortar
     3 infantry rifle stands

12 Platoon
     1 2” mortar
     3 infantry rifle stands

C Company

C Company HQ
     1 HQ infantry rifle stand
     3 PIAT teams (may be allocated to Platoons)

13 Platoon
      1 2” mortar
      3 infantry rifle stands

14 Platoon
     1 2” mortar
     3 infantry rifle stands

15 Platoon
     1 2” mortar
     3 infantry rifle stands

Carrier Platoon (as reinforcements enter a random turn):
On turn 4, roll 1d6: on a 1,2 enter on top road; turn 5, 1-4 is required; enter automatically on turn 6.
A full 13 carrier platoon, depending on how you want to represent it. Here I have it as
1 Carrier with 1 rifle stand
3 Carriers each with 1 rifle stand, 1 2" mortar and 1 PIAT.

MMG Platoon (as reinforcements on  random turn):
On turn 4, roll 1d6: on a 1,2 enter on top road; turn 5, 1-4 is required; enter automatically on turn 6.
2 MMGs plus 2 carriers as transport.

Battalion Support
     3 batteries of 2 3” Mortars in direct support (4+ on a d6 to call)
     1 battery of 4 4.2" Mortars potentially available (6+ on a d6 to call)

Battalion AT Guns were not available.

Armour Support:
3 Stuart V Honeys from Sherwood Rangers.

Initial artillery:
    One call of 4 4.2" Mortar pre-game bombardment.

The British are of Average/Regular quality.  Although the 7th Battalion took many casualties in the Battle for Maltot on the 10th-11th July, reinforcements from the 12 Battalion filled the gaps.

I have assumed that the Battalion 3” mortars are available for indirect support.  D Company was also conducting their own attack on the 31st,, so the mortar support is not fully guaranteed.

While it is likely that the Carrier support platoon was with the Battalion AT guns and did not move on the 30th with the infantry companies, they did move forwards on the morning of the 31st. I am assuming the Carrier Platoon will arrive during the battle.  The recon Honey tanks are documented as being in support.  The Sherwood Ranger Shermans were also in the area for the assault on Cahagnes later - I am assuming they did not participate in this battle.
4.2" Mortars and an MMG platoon were allocated to the 7th Battalion and so are also a possibility.

Random Balance.  If you wish to increase the British force slightly, roll 2d6:
  2-3
One M4 Sherman
4-6
Extra Honey Troop (3 Stuart V) enter at same time as 1st Honeys
7-8
Extra MMG platoon (2 MMGs plus two carriers)
9-12
Reserve A Company platoon (3 rifle stands + 2" mortar) arrives on turn 7


German (elements of the 751 Regiment of the 326th Infantry Division)
Mission: Defend the ridgeline and keep the road closed as long as you can.  If you last at least 10 turns you have successfully delayed the advance of the British.

Victory:
Score 5 points for having the Caumont-Cahagnes road with German units within 150m.
Score 5 points for having unbroken/unsuppressed/non-routing Germans on the table and on the ridgeline at the end of 10 turns

0 - lose
5 points - draw
10 points - win.

Kompanie HQ
    1 Rifle stand

1st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands

2st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands

3st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands

Support
   3 MMG stands (representing 6 MGs) to be allocated to the Zugs
   1 Panzerschreck stand allocated to one Zug

Battalion Support
     1 batteries of 2 81mm Mortars in direct support (4+ on a d6 to call)
     2 batteries of 2 81mm Mortars available (5+ on a d6 to call)
(can only be called by Kompanie HQ and at same target)

Average quality.  Panzerfausts can be allocated as much or as little as required but assume each stand has Panzerfaust capability.

Options
None.

To increase the balance for the German side, you may add any or all of the following 2nd Kompanie elements:

Second Kompanie HQ
    1 Rifle stand
1st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands
2st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands

The German unit designation is correct, but not much else.  From the histories, it seemed that average motivated troops were defending the ridgeline at near organisational strength.  Based on the tenacity of the defense, I have used approximately a company in defense.

Aftermath
After a hard fought battle, B an C Company cleared the ridgeline mid-afternoon and re-organised ready for a battalion assault on Cahagnes later in the day.

Notes
I did use an aerial map from 1944 to assist in creating the terrain features for the scenario so the terrain should be a close match.

Replay

Rules
I am using some company level rules I have written based on my battalion level set with a base = a section, 1 MMG base = 2 MMGs,

The problem for the British is that the Cahagnes road is very open and so an attack down the centre is fraught with danger.  To clear the road and ridgeline in time, the British cannot concentrate on only one flank;  they would run out of time to clear one flank and then attack the other.  They must attack down both flanks for a win.  Just like in 1944. For the Germans, the problem is in reverse - how to maximise the forces to cover both flanks?

British force

The British in 6mm
I did not use any extra forces.

A few months ago, I thought about buying some Honeys as I only had one in 6mm. But then, when I am ever going to use them ;-(  So I have 2 armoured cars substituting for the Honeys, but will use the stats for the tank. They may look like armoured cars, but they are really tanks.

German units

The Germans  defenders. Does not seem a lot compared to the Brits.
Deployment

German deployment was done by choosing 4 good positions (I could only really think of 4 but if I looked longer there may have been more) and randomly chose 3 of them.

Overview of German deployment
1st Zug is in the stone farm and can both slow things down, the MMG has good coverage for the centre, and it could be used as a counter-attack force if the British do attack down the flank.

View of 1st Zug.


2nd Zug is in a central location to defend the road and anything coming down the left flank.  It is in a position that it can be switched to the right flank if required.

2nd Zug


3rd Zug is in the best of a worst position where is does have some good fire lines, but cannot concentrate it fire.


The Kompanie HQ is in a good position for calling in the mortars on any unit on the left flank, and could move to the right if required.

3rd Zug and Kompanie HQ.
British orders
B Company, supported by Honeys, to advance down the right of the main road.  C Company to go down the left.  The Honeys are supporting B Company as it is more open.

The Game
Initial British 4.2" mortar bombardment of farm near C Company entry (randomly chosen).  No effect as there are no Germans there.

The British move on. Observant readers with a good memory will remember the Honeys are supposed to enter via the centre road.  I did not remember...

British entry.

Close up on C Company entry.
The German 2nd Zug (bottom centre) opens fire on B Company and one British section retreats.  The German Company HQ can actually see the same platoon but fails artillery call.

A Honey spots them, fires, and one 2nd Zug gruppe routed.  B Company's platoon fires as well and another routed. The Zug takes a morale check - rolls a 1 and routed. Oh dear - a 1/3 of the defenders gone already!  It happened so fast I took no pictures.


B company positions after entry.
Panzerfaust attack on the the left honey sees a die roll of a 1: nothing.



Elements of B Company move in on the farm.
Can I just mention that by now the German Co HQ has had 5 attempts to call in artillery on a really great target of British infantry and has failed every time...but the 6th roll was a winner!  3 retreats scored but morale check is passed by both affected platoons.

Another successful artillery call by the Germans and gone is the B Company HQ!

Artillery fall - the green markers to the rear indicate suppression for the retreating sections.
More bad rolls for the gruppe panzerfaust attack so I will assume they are out of panzerfausts. Another gruppe is in range of another Stuart, fires and it brews up on their first shot!

Now it has fired the panzerfaust, it is almost certain to be spotted so the entire Zug also fires at another British platoon and destroys a British section.

The British platoon (3 sections) storm a farm building defended by one gruppe.

First shot by another gruppe sees a Stuart brewed up.
The Brits lose! and retreat and also fail a morale check and rout.  A lone gruppe fire, rolls a 6 to rout another B Company section.  Suddenly B Company is running out of steam - they have not advanced very far and a lot of casualties.

A British platoon assault a lone gruppe in the building.  They will lose and retreat. 
Another brutal German artillery roll sees another platoon gone from B Company.   A subsequent morale check for B Company sees it routed.  This is bad. Half the attacking infantry no longer is involved in the attack.

An advancing C company platoon runs into the 3rd Zug, the latter wins the close combat.  And subsequent firing routs a section.  Only one left in the advancing platoon.

C Company platoon advancing into the 3rd Zug.  They subsequently lose the resulting melee. 
The Germans continue to fire and rout the platoon.  The Brits return fire and with brilliant dice rolling rout 2 gruppe,the Zug fails the subsequent  morale check (a '1').  This flank is now wide open except for the German Co HQ. It makes up for the fact the advance on the other flank has stalled.

Only the Kompanie HQ left on this flank (bottom left).  British elements of C Company can be see among the trees top lef.t.
Note we are at turn 5 - halfway.

The MMG platoon arrives and deploys.

British MMG Platoon in the centre.
C Company manage to surprise the German HQ before it could move (no German card drawn for ages - there are not many of them left).

C Company elements advancing on the Kompanie HQ. 
The Brits manage to get into close combat and it is routed.

Brits assault the German HQ.  The Germans rout.
German company morale checked but the other Zug is happy to continue and defend the farm on the German left flank.

The Germans manage to rout a British MMG.

Only one MMG element left.
The Carrier platoon arrives.

Carrier platoon arrives on the British left flank to provide some desperately needed infantry support.
The Germans rout the last MMG from the MMG platoon.  They also inflict one casualty on the carrier platoon.  But one gruppe of the Zug is routed in retaliation.  The farm is being very hard to clear - stone buildings and there is not enough British troops to charge in and clear them by assault..  The Honey MGs are being most ineffective.

A British platoon of 2 sections has made in to the farm on the Cahagnes road and is able to fire on the German Zug in the farm.

End game with the location of the surviving British units
Finally the last German succumbs...on turn 9!  So what I thought was going to be an easy game for the Brits, and then by about turn 3 thought they had no hope, actually turned out to be quite close.

Note that what the Brits should have done is simply continued to move along the ridgeline - they do not need to rout all Germans units, just clear the ridgeline.  Of course, routing all the German doe shave the same result.

Verdict
A fun game, and researching it was fun too.  The scenario needs more playtesting, possibly shorten the number of turns and alter the artillery support. But the decisions it threw up were quite good so I will have to come back to it when I have a few more done and collate them into a decent scenario booklet with background, maps etc. The mortars may be too powerful.  Certainly the British never got to use theirs as my rules have indirect artillery only being able to be called by the Company HQ.  And the British Co HQs never got in front enough to call - when one HQ did, it was routed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

WW2 6mm - 7th Battalion D Company at La Londres July 1944 scenario and replay

Introduction
This is the first of a planned series of WW2 historical scenarios based on the operations of the Hampshire Regiment (7th Battalion) of the 130th Brigade, 43rd (Wessex) Division in Europe July 1944 to April 1945. The scenarios will be a mix of a battalion and company level, with maybe some platoon/skirmish if the detail is available.  These will be based on their War History with further research where necessary. At the moment this is a side project, so not sure when I may get to the rest.

Background (or why a company level scenario and AAR when I prefer a battalion)
Feel free to skip this this section, just personal musing on why I created the scenario and the rules.


I wanted to run a campaign for a British Infantry Company in 1944 in Europe. My Dad is from Portsmouth so I decided to use the Hampshire Regiment (of the 130th Brigade, 43rd (Wessex) Division) as a basis for the campaign. The 7th Battalion fits well into my criteria and I got fairly involved in reading their history, and even went as far as ordering their history that was published recently. Do not ask the cost of shipping to Australia but it was more than the book itself.  I think it was worth it. I thought about creating some historical scenarios (as that is what I like playing) but decided for a campaign I would run some fictional scenarios loosely based on some of the 7th Battalion actions.

In parallel to this I created some things I would need for a company level campaign.  I had written some solo friendly rules for infantry skirmish, played a few games and found they worked quite well.  So I thought I would use them as a basis for some company level rules.  So I spent many hours combining my battalion level rules with the infantry skirmish rules until I had a set to test out.  In parallel, I also spent many hours on randomly generating scenarios in Excel spreadsheet based on Platoon Forward (not quite finished).

My moment of crisis came a month ago in mid-November.

I became more interested in creating and playing scenarios on the battles in the War History and much less enthused in playing fictional scenarios.  Many will be company based, but some will be battalion.  I was also disillusioned with the company level rules I had created (although I had fun writing them – I find it enjoyable writing rules).  I had moved from card based activation to dice based, and also gone for a 2 step process for infantry combat (a d6 to hit and d6 for the level of result).  I really like a single d6 as it speeds it up a lot, or multiple dice is OK so long as it is not a 2 step process (e.g. FiveCore rifle firing is 2d6 – Kill and Shock - but rolled at the same time, not sequentially).  I find card based provides enough solo friendliness rather than resorting to reactions ( the rules were full of reactions, similar-ish to NUTS!). So I shelved the rules and moved on. I tailored my battalion level rules slightly to work for company level.  I kept the scale the same but modified the die roll result slightly so that infantry don’t die as fast (as there are much less bases on the table e.g. a battalion level game may about 30-40 bases (each a section) while the company one has about 10-15).  That was about it!  Much happier.

I picked one of the early company level battles in the War History to attempt to create a scenario.  I was not counting, but I spent at least 20 hours do so, likely closer to 30.  Finding a map of the area from WW2 took many hours on the internet and then resolving the terrain took longer.  And then working out the forces involved.

But I have done a scenario based on D company’s attack on a farm complex on July 31st 1944.  And also played it in 6mm, hence this blog post..

La Londres farm scenario

Background
As part of Operation Bluecoat the 130 Brigade is to head from Caumont to Jurques. On 30th July, 4th Dorsets (a battalion in the 130 Brigade) advanced down the left of the road from Caumont to Jurques to take a location known as Le Londe farm.  They ran into difficulties with a minefield and then, for unknown reasons, never cleared the farm.  The 7th Battalion advanced down the road and dug in for the night.  D Company was attacked in the flank from the direction of Le Londe.  On the 31st July, realising that La Londe was still in enemy hands, D Company was given the task of clearing the La Londe farm complex prior to assisting B and C Company with their attack further down the road. Much of Battalion support is not available as it was left behind at Caumont  to come forward during the 31st.

Note that the War History calls it La Londe but all the maps I found online called it La Londres. But I finally discovered the general area is La Londe.

Map

Map of LeLondres farm complex and surrounds


  • Each grid is 100m by 100m.
  • British starts deployed in red sector, German deployment is in blue.
  • Germans may be in shell scrapes but there are no specific fortifications or engineering works.
  • All buildings are stone (hard cover).
  • Tress represent orchards but the trees are not close and are not bushes but low trees.
  • Hedges are not bocage but tall enough not to see over.
  • Wheatfields are waist-high and should have no effect on moving or firing.  All roads are one lane.
  • Germans start the game hidden.

British (7th Battalion)
Mission: Attack and clear the farm complex (the two main clusters of buildings).  You have 10 turns as you are required to then assist with the Battalion attack further south-east.

Victory:
Score 5 points for being the last to occupy the right farm buildings.
Score 5 points for being the last to occupy the left farm buildings.

0 - lose
5 points - draw
10 points - win.

D Company:

D Company HQ
     1 HQ infantry rifle stand
     3 PIAT teams (may be allocated to Platoons)

16 Platoon
      1 2” mortar
      3 infantry rifle stands

17 Platoon
     1 2” mortar
     3 infantry rifle stands

18 Platoon
     1 2” mortar
     3 infantry rifle stands

Support
     2 3” Mortars not in direct support (5+ on a d6 to call)

Initial artillery:
    One call of 4 4.2" Mortar pre game bombardment.

The British are of Average/Regular quality.  Although the 7th Battalion took many casualties in the Battle for Maltot on the 10th-11th July, reinforcements from the 12 Battalion filled the gaps.

Note: D company, like most in a British infantry battalion, had platoons numbered 16, 17 and 18.

I have assumed that the Battalion 3” mortars would be available to call on for indirect support.  The other three 7th Battalion companies were also conducting their own attacks on the 31st, so the mortar support is not guaranteed.

Options:
It is documented that D Company participated in the attack, but not what other support units may have been involved. Other possible support units are a Carrier Section, Honey tank, Sherman or Heavy mortar support.

While it is likely that the Carrier support platoon was with the Battalion AT guns, they did move forwards on the morning of the 31st.  The recon Honey tanks were in the area (thinking it had been cleared) and Shermans were also in the area later in the morning.  4.2" Mortars and an MMG platoon were allocated to the 7th Battalion and so are also a possibility.  If you do not want to roll for the optional units, then the 4.2" Mortar support or MMG is the most likely to have been available.

Random support (2d6):
  2
One M4 Sherman
3-4
One Honey (Sherwood Rangers recon)
5-6
Carrier Section (3 Carriers, 1 rifle section, 1 PIAT)
7-8
One MMG stand (representing 2 MMGs with crew)
9-12
Four 4.2" Mortar support (6+ required)

German (elements of the 326th Infantry Division)
Mission: Defend the farm complex (the two main cluster of buildings).  If you last at least 10 turns you have successfully delayed the advance of the British.

Victory:
Score 5 points for being the last to occupy the right farm buildings.
Score 5 points for being the last to occupy the left farm buildings.

0 - lose
5 points - draw
10 points - win.

Company HQ
    1 Rifle stand

1st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands

2st Zug
   3 Rifle Stands

Support Zug
     1 MMG stand (representing 2 MMGs)

Average quality.  Panzerfausts can be allocated as much or as little as required but assume each stand has Panzerfaust capability.

Options
None.

The German unit designation is correct, but not much else.  From the histories, it seemed that average motivated troops were defending the farm and were at near organisational strength.  I created a generic infantry force that would be sufficient to hold onto a farm and create difficulties for D Company to take.

Aftermath
After a hard fought battle, D Company cleared the farm in time and continued along the way to Cahagnes in time to support the other companies.

Notes
I did use an aerial map from 1944 to assist in creating the terrain features for the scenario but the terrain is not an exact match, mostly the hedges on the top right of the map.  But the farms, roads, orchards and most hedgerows are in the right place.

Replay
The whole idea of researching the battle was to create a scenario to play.  Here is the first play test of it.

Scale
I am going to be playing the battles on a 30”x20” table using 6mm miniatures. Distance scale is 1:800. Bases represent squads/sections/gruppe.   It is a company level game.

Rules
I tweaked my own rules I use for battalion based games to be used for companies. Card based unit activation with a joker to end the turn (I counted each flipped joker as equating to 1/2 a turn, so 20 jokers is the same as the end of turn 10).  Most things stay the same except the unit scale has been reduced slightly from 1 vehicle is 2-5 vehicles to 1 vehicle = 1 vehicle and support weapons are closer to 1:1. Distance scale stayed the same.  Some support weapon and HE values needed to change to reflect this change in unit representation.  I have not posted the company level rules up on my WW2 rules page as they are not yet in a ready state to do so, but they play very similar to my latest battalion level rules.

Deployment

The British forces, optional force was an MMG stand.

The defending Germans


Where the units deployed
The Germans were deployed  across the two main farm locations with the MMG in a central location to cover most approaches.

German deployment
The British deployed ready for a two pronged attack (see image after this).

The British deployed
The British aim is to have 16 and 17 platoon come down the edge of the table.  MMG down the centre to lend support.  18 platoon to come down the right of the road as a reserve.

British orders of advance
The Game
British pre-game bombardment. 12 dice (4 heavy mortars at 3 dice each.  a 6 will suppress, two 6s will KO) on farm 1. No 6's out of the 12.  Rolled again just to be a little fair on the Brits.  No 6s in the next 12 rolls either.  I will call that destiny. They are all shaken (-1 to fire) as being under HE fire, but that will only last a turn.


The main British forces continue to advance and are spotted by the Germans who hold their fire. They have the advantage of not being seen in the farm, and will be much harder to dig out by close combat that being fire on.

The British 16 and 17 Platoon advance.
16 platoon moves into position to charge the farm; company HQ keeps calling for mortar support while 17 platoon and 18 keep advancing.  The Major finally gets through and the farm is shaken and one gruppe retreats.  The 16 platoon charges in!  The German MMG was on overwatch and fires on them as they cross the open field.but it causes no casualties, except infantry units first fired on in the game must take a morale check and they hit the dirt.

German MMG opens fire of the advancing British platoon.
The British MMG has been lying in wait for such a moment, spots the MMG and routs them.

The British MMG was on overwatch, spots the German MMG, fires and routs them
More mortar fire on the farm and another defender retreats.

Retreating defenders
This triggers a morale check, the German defenders roll a 1 and the whole zug routs.  Very unlucky to get two mortar barrages in two turns.

But...it is turn 4 already.  Only another 6 turns to clear the other farm.  And that other farm has a  gruppe that can see the British infantry 16 Platoon in the field so fire on them - one routed, one retreats.

...and the morale check for 16 Platoon is a 1! and they also rout.

One platoon down on each side (German right hand farm defenders, British 16 Platoon that advanced over the field)
I created a new random event table a few weeks ago based on a d20 and finally (after 9 goes though the card pack) got one - the British 18 platoon get a leader.  This will help with morale checks.

A few more moves sees the Brits move closer to the second farm.

British 17 Platoon occupy the farm. 

British 18 Platoon wait across the road from the remaining occupied farm.
The German whittle down 18 platoon to one section.  The British have managed to force one gruppe to retreat in retaliatory fire, but that is about it.

The red Xs are former British 18 Platoon sections.  The farm defenders still OK.
A few more turns, the Brits call in some 3" mortar fire again, for no effect.  But then the Germans are subject to a random mortar attack of 2d6 and roll 2 6s that cause 2 retreats!  And them more successful mortar radio rolls!  But the cards are against the British and they just don't get any card allowing them to move as well to take advantage of the Germans being shaken in the farm.  And it is turn 8.

Retreated and suppressed Germans on the left.  On the right is 17 Platoon waiting for the right moment to charge in., 
Finally a card to activate the British platoon, and the Germans are still shaken! British 16 platoon charge into combat with the shaken Germans in the farm.

British 16 Platoon charge into the farm complex.
Brits roll 4d6, Germans 2d6. British win and lose 1 section.  The Germans loose both gruppe, one was the company HQ.  The last gruppe left on the board rolls a morale check and packs it all in.

The second farm is taken and the game ends with the lone survivor routing.
Well, with only one turn to go the British managed a win, as per the historical battle.

Verdict
Well, I thought it would be a rather dull game with 2 German zugs in hard cover while a British Company tries to take it. Nope.  I have mentioned it before that my sweet spot is for these little vignettes of a battle.  And this was one with lots of tension the whole way.  At various times I thought the battle would be won by one side, and then the other. The scenario needs some more playtesting before I would put it as part of a scenario book.   The homebrew rules seem to work OK for me for company level - they are quite fast and simple (for me at least) as they are based off my battalion level game.   I will have to have a go and do the scenarios for the different attacks that A, B and C Companies were involved in on the same day - about a  kilometre or so to the southeast of this D Company action.