Thursday, 22 September 2022

South of Leipzig, a Soldiers of Napoleon AAR

A one-off pick-up game, set at 800 points and Corps-level (so 4 brigades a-side, 3 deployed, 1 in reserve) using the 1813 army lists as my Austrians once again took on Bony’s boys in blue. The plan is run a slightly larger game at the Other Partizan in October, so we had a trail game for that (and just a afternoon’s entertainment).

Here is the force I picked.

Austrians 1813

Infantry Brigade 1 (rear right)
Fusiliers        6 stands    60 pts        1MV
Fusiliers        6 stands    60 pts        1MV
Fusiliers        6 stands    60 pts        1MV
Landwehr        3 stands    15 pts        1MV
Landwehr        3 stands    15 pts        1MV
Artillery battery    2 6 pdrs    18 pts        2MV
Jaeger Detachments    2    12 pts        0MV
Total                    240 pts    7MV    

Infantry Brigade 2 (rear left)
Fusiliers        6 stands    60 pts        1MV
Fusiliers        6 stands    60 pts        1MV
Fusiliers        6 stands    60 pts        1MV
Landwehr        3 stands    15 pts        1MV
Landwehr        3 stands    15 pts        1MV
Artillery battery    2 6 pdrs    18 pts        2MV
Artillery battery    2 12 pdr    28 pts        2MV
Jaeger Detachments    2    12 pts        0MV
Total                    268 pts    9MV    

Light Cavalry Brigade (screening left)
Hussars        5 stands    75 pts        2MV
Uhlan            5 stands    60 pts        2MV
Artillery battery    2 6 pdrs    18 pts        2MV
Total                    153 pts    6MV

Reserve Grenadier Brigade
(in centre on turn 3)
Grenadiers        5 stands    70 pts        2MV
Grenadiers        5 stands    70 pts        2MV
Total                    140 pts    4MV

Grand Total:  800 pts, 26 MV, 2 scouts.


And here are the enemy:

French 1813
Stalwart General    +5 pts

Infantry Brigade 1 (on right)
Reserve Infantry    6 stands    30 pts        1MV
Reserve Infantry    6 stands    30 pts        1MV    + Drillmaster
Line Infantry        6 stands    66 pts        1MV
Line Infantry        6 stands    66 pts        1MV
Veteran Infantry    4 stands    68 pts        2MV + Ruthless commander
Artillery Battery    2 8 pdrs    24 pts        2MV
Total                    294 pts    8MV

Infantry Brigade 2 (on left)
Reserve Infantry    6 stands    30 pts        1MV
Reserve Infantry    6 stands    30 pts        1MV    
Veteran Infantry    3 stands    51 pts        2MV
Artillery Battery    2 8 pdrs    24 pts        2MV
Res Arty Battery    2 8 pdrs    39 pts        2MV    + Full Caissons, Expert Gunner
Total                    174 pts    8MV

Dragoon Brigade
(in centre)
Dragoons        5 stands    70 pts        2MV + Le Beau Sabre
Dragoons        5 stands    70 pts        2MV + Le Beau Sabre
Dragoons        4 stands    52 pts        2MV
Artillery Battery    2 4 pdrs    14 pts        2MV
Total                    206 pts    8MV

Light Cavalry Brigade (reserve, in centre on turn 1)
Hussars        5 stands    75 pts        2MV scout
Chasseurs        3 stands    33 pts        2MV
Artillery battery    2 4 pdrs    14 pts        2MV
Total                    122 pts    6MV

Grand Total: 801 pts,  30MV,  1 Scout (max)



My plan was to fight a defensive battle, dig-in one of the infantry brigades behind fieldworks and invite the French to attack it, or the other brigade, then use the light cavalry to support them and the grenadiers to come in and hold the line behind them, counter-attacking if required. This of course was based on the assumption that the French would baulk at attacking the fieldworks. I didn’t want to be entirely static, I would punch-out to counter the French, use the light cavalry aggressively, but not just to ride off and get destroyed (losing the entire brigade would be easily done and cost me the game). So, how did it go?
 

Err, not that well. First off, I failed to get any fieldworks built, which was a blow, still, the defence could still work, same plan, just no defences. I really should have included a sapper detachment for the digging-in brigade, but it’s something I need to add to my Austrians. Note to self, buy some Austrian sappers and paint them!

The French planned an infantry assault, on their right with their strong brigade, reserves out front in line, to take the punishment, with the line infantry following in columns behind that screen to rush through the make the final assault. It would be supported by the guns of his weaker infantry brigade (their job was to shoot a lot and the infantry was just to protect those batteries from the enemy, like roving light cavalry. He also had his dragoon brigade, a powerful asset and it would move up and try to co-ordinate its attack with the infantry, so if the Austrians formed square, then his infantry could blast them into bloody ruins. Behind, his own light cavalry had it’s own mission, the hussars were insurance, to get a fourth cavalry charge (looking to complete the ‘grand assault’ objective) with the chasseurs only being used for driving-in Austrian skirmishers (those pesky jaegers).

We both deployed, French with flanks forwards (both infantry) and the dragoons in the centre, being further back wasn’t a issue for them, one ‘at the quick’ move would catch-up. The Austrians had a screen, the light cavalry in front of the left flank. The right (French left) was something of an issue, as in randomly generating the terrain I had rolled up a large, dense wood, which was an big obstacle. I couldn’t leave it undefended, otherwise his light cavalry could gallop round and either flank me or quickly complete the ‘advance through enemy lines’ objective. Still, it was clear to both commanders no major attack would come that way, so the fight would in the centre and on the Austrian left.

Added to this issue, pre-game everything was working like a well-oiled machine for the French, whilst I had 1 command point, they rolled 3, for a total of 5!. His reserves would also arrive on Turn 1, mine on Turn 3 (quick for infantry though). The French won the tactical advantage and so chose table edges and I deployed first, so hey, it couldn’t go much better for Bony’s men before shot was fired in anger.

So, Turn 1 and the French began their attack against my left, infantry lines, columns behind moving up slowly, and taking fire from the deployed jaegers and the artillery. The Austrian centred moved up across the cornfield and formed firing lines here, awaiting the cavalry and prepared to jump into square if/when the dragoons got too close. On my left the infantry line also moved up, as the light cavalry pulled back through their lines (1 disruption all round) but they were in place to charge back through (just taking that disruption) and punch out if his infantry approached. At the end of the first turn, a bit of damage done, but nothing dramatic, mainly we were finding artillery lines of sight and ranges were poor, so not much doing from the gunners yet. In the end phase, continuing the French run of good rolling, their light cavalry arrived in the centre in columns of march to advance in support of the infantry attack.

As predicted, nothing was happening on my right, so back to the French attack. The cavalry first moved up, but a ‘stalled’ dragoon regiment stopped the entire brigade, willing to wait to move together. The light cavalry were soon behind the infantry and deploying into line. The chasseurs sent out a harassing squadron and drove in my jaeger skirmishers. The lines were then close enough to exchange volleys, both sides raking the other and the French flinched first, after 2 volleys the reserves withdrew back out of range and rallied off the damage, costing a few bases. As they did, the Swiss battalion-column behind burst through and charged my forward horse battery, overrunning it. They then paid the price for such boldness, counter charged by my waiting hussars and an infantry battalion, beaten twice, then shot-up, the Swiss fell back, rallied and removed all but 1 stands to remain in the fight (well, not really, just still there). Carnage, and a big pile of Swiss dead. The Austrian line was holding well, as the hussars came back to position again, but only after being bombardment by artillery and taking more damage, they needed to rally too and lost a stand. On their left the French limbered up a battery and moved it off, heading up the small hillock, which I could nothing about. If the French got the ‘guns on high ground’ battlefield objective then it was easy VPs. The random terrain generator had favoured the French here. A bit more skirmish fire saw out the turn.

The third turn would see more skirmish fighting and rallying on the Austrian left, and the dragoons moved up, but with one regiment under accurate artillery fire and in disorder they had to stop again and rally-off the disruption. They were finding it hard to just get forwards. With more cannon fire into the French infantry they too could not press their attack either and so it was stalemate for a turn, fine by me on the defensive. We were holding them off, and the VPs were pretty even, slight advantage to the French. In the end phase, my grenadiers marched in to reinforce the centre, expecting that looming cavalry attack soon. If the infantry broke, which seemed unlikely in square (which I had to get into this turn), then the grenadiers would be their to hold the line and their volleys into the dragons would hurt. Speaking of which, I had (just) completed the ‘hold the line’ objective. All VPs help (and I rolled a 1 of course - eye-roll!).

Turn 4 would be decisive, and not in a good way. The French launched their grand assault attempted, with a lethal combination of special events and orders. First, the dragoons used a ‘at the gallop’ to race up and, with a second play, immediately charged my infantry lines. Oh no, my next play was to form square, nooo! Too late now! 2 dragoons regiments ploughed in and smashed up the lines, both falling back in disarray and with a lot of disruption. It got worse. I had to rally, but the dragoons followed up and charged again, in a repeat and saw both infantry regiments ridden down. The third dragoon regiment had also raced up (using at the quick) and they moved through and attacked my reserve landwehr, also caught not in square and torn apart too. A mess. My centre had been cut to ribbons under dragoon sabres. As I rallied again to try and save something, the French hussars joined the heavy cavalry and charged, to be counter-charged by my lancers which rode through the infantry line ahead to meet them, and defeat the French, sending the hussars riding back where they had come from and needing to rally, but so many cards had already been used, they couldn’t and were routed… but their charge had completed the fourth unit needed for the ‘grand assault’. The French also, by fortune, held the ‘guns on high ground’ objective… and could claim it. Drat!

Well, that turned into a disaster, the Austrian centre had been smashed open by the dragoons and the French VP total raced up to 40! The Austrians had just 14, so not even half the French total. A decisive victory for France, and 20+ VPs in a turn. The Dragoons were in a bit of mess, but no units had broken, only losing the hussars (in a continuation of our theme that hussars rarely seem to do very well). Bony will be pleased with that report.

The lesson here, wait too long to form square at your peril, because the special events can throw out all your planning… still, it was a fun 3 hours of gaming, even if it ended in a kicking. I cannot stop the French dragoons… maybe I just need my own to counter them, add a new Austrian dragoon regiment to the shopping list (it's growing).

Austrian left and light cavalry screen.

The centre in the cornfield.

Hussars and uhlan, the counter-attack force.

Sound the pas de charge! The attack columns.

French gunners, found with few targets or out of range. Note the hillock behind, handy for high ground, screened off by the large, dense woods.

Austrian guns, the forward horse battery was lost, but the foot battery 6 pdrs did good work on the flank.

Smoke, as the game started in morning mist (it soon lifted). Austrain counter-attacking column waits to go in against the reserves. 

French cavalry in the centre, deploying their 4 pdr battery.


Grenadiers arrive in the centre, but block the 12 pdrs line of sight.

Uhlan meet French hussars and drive them off, but behind, the dragoons are tearing through the cornfield.

Charge! and Charge! again, the dragoons catch the Austrians in line and destroy them. Here, the poor landwehr are hit.

All that is left in the cornfield, 1 stand of the landwehr and the 'at risk' command stand. Two battalions  shattered and gone.









    




Saturday, 10 September 2022

Colborne’s Doom at Albuera - with Soldiers of Napoleon

Continuing a series of historical re-fights, testing scenarios and ideas of how they might work, as well taking away the player’s ability to choose their own force, this would be a scenario from the Battle of Albuera in the Peninsula. Not the entire battle, that isn’t what SoN seeks to recreate, instead an hour or two, this time on the far right flank of the Allied line, as the French launched their first flanking attack, taking the ‘southern knoll’ high ground and attacking the Spanish line holding the ‘northern knoll’, and to include the fateful arrival of Colborne’s British brigade in a counter-attack that turned into a disaster as it was caught by surprise by the French cavalry in the one of the battle’s most famous events. Having worked out the forces, made a simple map of the battlefield and added a few extra special rules to help recreate the action (like the heavy rain storms that blew through on the day), it was time to crack-on. This time, for a change, flipping a coin, I got the French.

The first turns would see my two infantry brigades advance on the Spanish lines, and having deployed my columns, they attacked en masse, whilst the guns deployed onto the southern knoll’s high ground and opened fire with some effect on the Irlanda (Irish) volunteer battalion. It seemed, give the weakness of the Spanish line, especially on their left (with just 2 militia battalions and 1 4 pdr gun), the French would overwhelm them. Not so. As my columns closed in, sending out skirmishers to harass the Spanish, who could do little back, a sudden withering volley from the Spanish line turned two battalions into a bloody mess, including my best (the combined grenadier battalion leading the attack on my right). Reeling back to rally, the French were suddenly in disorder and losing stands. Even the militia battalions in line (with some good rolls) blasted my columns into a mess. My voltiguers had done good work, but the Spanish had rallied as well and completed their ‘hold the line’ objective. Nowhere did the French reach the Spanish and in response a few of my line battalions formed into lines to try and respond with their own volleys… the Spanish were fighting hard and well ahead on VPs.

On turn 3, the British reserve brigade arrived on the Spanish right, Colborne’s 4 line infantry battalions and their 6 pdr guns, these pressed forwards to counter-attack and it looked like they might flank the French attack and threaten the guns on the knoll. I had 1 reserve infantry battalion to throw in their way.

That was, until the French light cavalry arrived, the full Vistula lancers regiment and 2 small hussar units rode in, in columns of march for speed but with a ‘well drilled’ special event, raced forwards and smoothly deployed into lines, ready to attack. The British were sitting ducks, no time to form square before the lances were lowered and the charge! sounded. In the French cavalry crashed, predictably, through the British in lines, winning both melees and causing a lot of disorder (they weren’t lucky enough to capture the colours though, but it was close).  As the British pulled back and rallied to save themselves, a quick rally on the professional and elite cavalry saw them back in good order again. Using a consecutive order (sometimes its worth taking the hit, for the gain), they charged again, into 2 different British battalions and again, it was carnage (well, the hussars just won, by dint of being better quality troops than line infantry). Still, 2 more melees won and the British had to rally again, the cavalry attacks had earned 10 VPs in a turn and the French had turned round the earlier Spanish lead on VPs.

On the right, after much difficulty, and another Spanish withering volley, two of my infantry columns finally charged. One was defeated and pushed back, the other, the doughty grenadiers won and pressed on victorious, the Spanish militia that had flayed them with repeated volleys now running for their lives.  

By the end of turn 5 it was very close, but the French had just broken the Spanish (a good ‘How Goes the Day’ rolled also helped). The Allied break point  was 20, the French had 22 VPs. The French break point was 20, the Allies had 20 VPs… so a very marginal win to the French.

The game had played out very close to the actual day, the French infantry attack floundered against unexpectedly tough Spanish resistance, but Colborne’s counter-attack had been shredded by the lancers and hussars… still, with a bit more luck or maybe just not bad roll at the end, it could have been different. Great fun. 

French guns are dragged up onto the southern knoll. Target rich environment ahead.

Vielande's brigade advance on the French right, confident of a swift victory.

Brayer's brigade in the centre, 6 battalions in attack column (have are 'bis' troops though).

Vielande's attack approaches the hillock, held by 2 Spanish militia battalions and 1 4 pdr gun.

French fire support.

The weak Allied left needs reinforcements, the reserve Navarre volunteers are on the march to their aid.

On the Allied right, Colbornes 4 battalions arrive at the march.

The French winning the skirmishing duel in the centre. But closing the gap into musket range hurts a lot, from the Irlanda and Patria battalions.

To counter the British counter-attack, the French cavalry, led by the mighty Vistula lancers, gallop on at top speed.

Well disciplined, they form line to attack. Hussars cover their right flank.

Back on the hillock, the Spanish militia have held out and driven back Veilande's columns with withering volleys.

The Irlanda battalion, disordered but fighting on and holding back the French columns as well.

Charge! The lancers go in, and tear Colborne's redcoats to shreds. A second charge saw all 4 British battalions withdrawing in disorder and needing several rally cards. Guard lancers (treated as here), are very good troops.




Tuesday, 23 August 2022

‘Das Heu Heilige’ - Soldiers of Napoleon scenario

I’m currently working a series of scenarios for SoN, all historical re-fights linked across a major battle, in this case Waterloo. Here, we tested out the La Haye St scenario, but with the Austrians defending it, so ‘Das Heu Heilige’ (maybe?).

It was a good scrap, the French in all out attack with the Grand Assault and Take a Strongpoint objectives, the Austrians defending with Hold the Line. The defender’s forces, with 3 heavy cavalry regiments in reserve had the better Breakpoint, and it looked a tough ask for the French, given the excellent troops holding the farm buildings, reinforced by riflemen (jaegers) and more feldjaegers in the nearby ‘sandpit’ quarry.

With such forward positioned units, the fight was on from turn 1, the French having reached the farm’s southern orchard and skirmish firing from both sides. The French manoeuvred to get the first charge in, taking fire, when a handy ‘Stalled’ event brought their plan to unleash the ‘Vive L’Empereur ‘ card on turn 1 to an end (phew!), the veteran light infantry in the farm held on, but after a ‘withering volley’ from the French lines outside, it took 2 rallies to keep them in the fight. In the process, they withdrew from the barn (far too hot), to the farm house. As per history, I send a landwehr battalion marching towards the farm to aid them… but they didn’t get that far (as per history).

The French cavalry came forwards in columns, at the quick, galloping hard and, in turn 2, before I had moved my landwehr, used a fierce charge event to thunder into and over them… the landwehr, caught in line, where ridden down and routed. Meanwhile, back the farm, more skirmish fire was exchanged and the rifle’s skirmishers were hurting the French again, but the return fire, from voltiguers that had reached the barn also forced the defenders to use a ‘stand firm’ event, they were still there, but no aid was coming. On an up-note, the Austrian gunners were having  field day, their fire broke one infantry battalion with repeated accurate bombardments, and the cuirassiers got a whiff of grapeshot too, blasting them, but they rallied, and lost 2 stands to regroup.

Turn 3, and it was no holds barred. The cuirassiers, rather than be caught again in front of the guns, charged them and cut down the gunners, in another fierce cavalry charge (sometimes you just get the right special event). The 1st Cuirassiers were running riot. My infantry were forced to form square as the second regiments moved up to threat and intimidate them. At the farm, the desperate stand of the defenders was coming to an end, too many French skirmishers were now surrounding them, and so, after a heroic effort they broke. The farm was now empty. The French were on top, well ahead in VPs. I need my cavalry now – bring up the heavies!

No, not yet, they were late, and so I had to endure a fifth turn without them. The French occupied the farm and could claim their ‘Take a Strongpoint’ objective, meanwhile the last of the 1st Cuirassiers swung away, circling the farm and attacked the riflemen in the sand pit from the flank. They scored a narrow win, by 1 point, and pushed the jaegers out of their cover, but skirmish fire from them would break the rampaging regiment in return, but the damage done. They had earned the French 9 VPs…

Finale of turn 5, and my heavy cavalry arrived, but too late to save the day. The capture of the farm strongpoint mean the French had amassed 22 VPs, equaling the Austrian breakpoint. A win. The Austrians had amassed 12 VPs, needing 18 to break the French, so a solid win for old Bony’s boys.

That was a pretty good recreation of the day's action, except the result. The key here is holding that farm and without reinforcements, those few (but tough) defenders are in trouble.  With hindsight, I should have sent more men to help, but with those very aggressive cuirassiers roaming about, it is risky to advance. The earlier arrival of my own ‘big boots’ would have helped swing things (maybe), but such are the vagaries of war… waiting for that cavalry adds a nice tension to the game for the defenders.

Shots of the action… 


The battlefield around the central farm

French skirmishers in the orchard south of the farm, facing Austrian skirmishers and attached jaegers

The Austrian left line the sunken lane's hedge.

Jaegers hold the sandpit quarry, having deployed their own skirmishers to aid at the farm.

Onward the cuirassiers! ... on the French far left.

The farm is becoming encircled by the many voltiguers

Having destroyed the landwehr battalion and artillery battery, the regrouped cuirassiers come under skirmish fire from the farms kitchen garden, more jaegers in the hedges.

Riflemen try to ho,d off the voltiguers by the felled tree roadblock.

The French take the orchard and cautiously advance on the barn, their objective. 


But, the French are in the barn and courtyard.

The Austrians heavies arrive, but too late this time. They can't retake the farm anyway.

The remnants of the 1st Cuirassiers (man of match to them), drive the jaegers out of the sand pit in a last gasp charge.

 



Friday, 5 August 2022

BATTLEGROUP: TORCH. CLASH ON THE THALA ROAD, TUNISIA, 1943

One of our occasional games in Tunisia using Battlegroup Torch, this time 800 pts per side in a Recce Screen scenario (for which I, the Germans, did not take enough recce). Set, vaguely, near the Thala Road as British armour fought to stop the advance of 10th Panzer Division out of the Kasserine Pass (towards Thala). Known as Gore Force, it included Valentines and Crusader tanks, against 10th Panzers III and IVs.

Lots of pics of this fight. The first 5 turns were the recce screen, something of issue for the Germans with their mere 2 recce units (Kradschutzen squad and SdKfz 222, both spotting for a off-table 80mm mortar battery), vs the Brit’s 5 (2 x Daimler armoured cars, sniper team, foot patrol and recce HQ in Dingo, spotting for off-table 25 pdr battery - ouch!). The recce battle was only ever going one way, as I lost my kradschutzen trying to prevent the British getting all the objectives early, and a handy mine-strike did for one Daimler as it moved to the central objective by the road (marked by a desert well). The 222 survived though, but was repeatedly pinned by incoming 25 pdr rounds at the farm. I gave up unpinning it until the army arrived. On Turn 6, it did, the first Panzer IIIs and supporting grenadiers in their half tracks, and the battle was on for real. The Brits had had the better of the chits in the recce phase though, so I was playing catch-up.

My plan was to go fast and hard at the objective on the ridge (to my right), take it quickly and hold it and prevent the British from having it. To this end the panzer grenadiers in the captured M3s would lead, with the tanks in support. That would be my main attack, with support to their left from more tanks, trying to get to the well objective and using their long guns here, including the tasty Pz IV F2 (and its unerring ability to mIss!). Behind woulD come the support stuff, FHQ, Luftwaffe forward air observer (come on the air attack chits, I was bound to get one right?), AA quad flak truck (on ambush fire against the RAF, resisting the temptation to use it for ground fire and get it killed, it is just a truck) and my supply truck waiting on reserve move for when the tanks ran low.

From the opposite corner the Brits would arrive, Valentines moving to their left to contest the ridge objective, crusaders and motor infantry platoon moving up the centre for the clash around the well. They had dedicated 25 pdr support, which I thought would hurt, but actually, repeated failed radio checks and some wild shooting, to miss the table, meant I got away lightly here, then my Stuka timed strike, by sheer good luck scored a direct hit on his observer in the Dingo. That was a Dingo in orbit then from a heavy bomb impact, and no more artillery spotter –fluke, but hey you take the smooth, because there is enough rough!.

My own mortars, spotted for by the handy 222 lurking at the farm, had that British ridge zero’d in and would harass it turn it after turn. Handy pinning was all that was required.

The attack on the ridge objective also went well, a timed 105 barrage pounded the ridge with harassing fire and by fluke (again) killed his sniper team holding the objective. My M3s (and 251s) pushed up fast, infantry piled out and took the objective, hiding amongst the rocks. They’d just hang tough, unable to harm the Valentines facing them, but they were distracted by the Pz IIIs in a gun battle that would not end. So, here we have two tanks that cannot hurt each other (much). 2 pdr guns bounced every hit. Short 50mm gun bounced off the Valentines front armour as well. Many hits, all for nothing. Clang, clang, clang… much ammo used. The Valentines also couldn’t easily shift the infantry, no HE shell and 1 MG.

In the centre, the British motor infantry moved a section up to take the well objective, but when they became pinned and their AT rifle team ran away (last man pinned), my third (reserve) grenadier squad raced up the road (reserve move again), then jumped out and assaulted them, wiping them out and taking the objective for me. Their MG team got the next British section (down in the scrub) head’s down too. The Germans were winning. Under attack, the British started to quick evacuate all those truck transports off the table.

That, of course, doesn’t last, things change. A Valentine finally scored a penetrating hit on a Pz III, first tank kill, and his second infantry platoon, on foot, was now closing in on the ridge objective, if under MG ambush fire from my grenadiers and their supporting transport, their pinning would keep the British counter attack struggling forwards for several turns. Taking a counter to remove that pinning resulted in an air attack counter, and the RAF did show up! Damn. A Hurribomber came buzzing in next turn, only to be shredded by quad 20mm flak rounds. Pinned and with 2 damage, only 1 point left, the Hurricane got a pasting. Quad on ambush fire, nice work!  The Hurricane would try 3 times to attack, getting pinned every time, be lucky not to get shot down and then give up and stay pinned. Too hot down there. I never took the counter for under air attack.

I also drew an air attack counter, hurrah for the air observation officer in his little 250. Then rolled a 1, so no Luftwaffe help… typical. Dice malfunction. Another Stuka would be so handy, and the British had no AA defence.

Oh well, we’d been at it for 3-4 hours and both side’s counter stacks were building, it was close. The Germans clung on their objectives, in the centre the panzers moved up, but one was hit by a Crusader and KO’d. One Valentine, pinned by HE fire, failed a morale test and the crew bailed, still no kills, but at least it was out of action. Another Valentine survived a second mine strike counter (man these things are tough). My tanks were low on ammo, mostly AP rounds although throwing HE to pin Valentines had become handy. The resupply track rumbled up as the first panzers fell back to meet it and rearm.

And that was about it… we had run out of time. The game had lasted all afternoon, but neither side had actual broken. We added up the numbers to see which side was closest to breaking. The Germans were, just. But (and this is something we did not realise mid-game), the Germans actual had all 3 objectives. A draw then? Slight German win on objectives?, but a fun fight. The tanks had really struggled against each other, and my veteran grenadiers had done great work in getting to those objectives and holding them. Good fun. 

Thala road, Germans moving on from the bottom, Brits from the top.

Kradschutzen moving up the road on a recce.

SdKfz 222 in support at the farm.

Daimlers of the Derbyshire Yeomanry lead the British recce force.

Foot patrol move into an olive grove, go on ambush fore, and get forgotten about.

Early timed Stuka strike, scores no hits, the Daimler it targeted was already dead from a stray mine.

Kradschutzen, on foot now, try to hold an objective.

25 pdr's open up on the farm.

First Pz IIIs move on.

Followed by panzer grenadier's half tracks.

Motor infantry platoon and supporting 6 pdr (dangerous gun in '43) deploy in the centre.

Grenadier squad takes the ridge top objective (marked with a KO'd gun).

Valentines move against them. Tough as old boots...

The F2 moved to cover the German left, if only it could hit a Crusader!

Flank covering force on the Thala rd. Ahead the Brits have the well objective. Not for long...

Used a heavy infantry gun, supporting direct HE fire from a captured 25 pdr. An ammo low counter saw it withdraw off the tabe. Not much in that limber then...

On ambush fire, bring on the RAF!

Pz III pinned by 2 pdr shells off the gun mantlet.

Ah, thr RAF is here... Hurribomber about to meet quad flak...

Attack up the road, and the Germans have the well objective too.

Rear echelon stuff, FHQ, air liaison officer's 250 and comms link armoured car.

British motor rifle platoon in trouble. Finally a Pz III got a Crusader.

The foot platoon try to attack the ridge, but 4 MGs on suppressing fire make it hard work getting anywhere.

The panzer grenadiers hold their end of the ridge.

More ammo please... supply half track moves up.

German counters... its 49 out of 54 BR

Brits, 39 out of 52.

Oh, give it up, even at under 10" these tanks can't score a killing hit. 
Good prolonged gun duel though...