Saturday, 4 August 2012

FOW - Battle for Hondegham

The Defence of Hondeghem:27th May 1940

By the evening of the 26th May the defence of Hondeghem was in place. Two 18 Pounder guns, I and J Sub-Sections were placed outside the village on the Rue de Staple. The other two guns, K and L Sub Sections were placed close to the village church, to be used as defence in depth. All guns were to be used in the anti-tank roll. The HQ location under command of BSM Millard can be seen in the sketch map below and had its communication vehicles parked to the side. The rest of the soldiers were were tasked with digging in and blocking roads. By the end of the day most were placed at strategic positions throughout the area which in the main were looking out of second floor windows armed with Bren guns and A/T Rifles.

This is the second game I played of this, The first was using Rapid Fire (See earlier post) to which I use dthe map within the rules. A little bit of research and I made up a table to represent the above.

Looking from the South East towards the outskirts of Hondegham
German Forces: C/V
Co in Pz1 CMD tank
1 platoon: 3 Panzer 1
1 lorried platoon:
cmd std + 50mm mtr
3 sections each: 3 rifle teams
3 lorries
Above deploy within 12" of the table edge.
Immediate reserves (Start with 2 dice), scattered deployment (1,2 enter via South West road, 3,4 enter along deployment edge, 5,6 enter via South East corner)

They must arrive in following order:

1st: Armoured Infantry Platoon:
cmd stand + 2 sections each 1 halftrack with 2 rifle/Mg stands.
2nd: Weapon platoon:
Cmd stand + 1 section: 2 HMG stands + 1 Section: 2 81mm mtr's
2 Lorries
3rd: Inf Gun platoon:
Cmd std + Observer std + 2 75mm IG + transport
4th: Reduced Infantry platoon:
Cmd stand + 50mm + 1 rifle section of 3 Rifle stands
5th: Panzer Platoon:
3 Panzer 38T
6th: IG platoon:
Cmd Sig33 IG auf panzer 1

The Outskirts of the town must be at least 24" away from the German Deployment area.

Looking down the South West road towards the outskirts of the town.

British Forces Defending the town:
CO + 2IC Territorial R/T
Rifle Platoon: Cmd std + 2" Mtr std, 3 sections each: 2 Rifle/MG Std's + 1 ATR Rifle Stand
Artillery battery: RHA (Deploys either end of the town at end of roads leading into town)
Cmd stand + 2 Batteries each: 1 18pdr gun F/V
Delayed reserves: Regulars C/V
Rifle platoon: Cmd std + 2" mtr + ATR
3 sections each: 2 rifle/Mg stands
2 Lorries

British Deployment special rules
18pdrs deploy at either end of town facing down roads.
British Platoons may deploy sections out of command distance of other sections/HQ, but must deploy with in command distance within the section. All Out of command Sections/Guns are classed as in Command distance for all motivation tests and movement.

Victory Conditions
Germans win if Both guns are destroyed before Turn 10
British Win if at least 1 gun survives to Turn 10.

Deployment: The British deployed both guns at either end of town whilst the infantry platoon deployed across a broad front with 1 section in buildings next to the guns and one section covering the middle.
The Germans deployed to the East of the South East road, using the building by the railway track and tree line as cover from the 18pdr covering the road.

Turn 1: The Germans fail to get any reserves and move towards the railway line. The British wait silently for the Germans to arrive.

Turn 2: And the Germans receive the Armoured Infantry which arrive on the South West road. The Panzer's cross the railway line with the infantry following. The Panzer's then open fire upon the infantry in the building to their front, but the bullets bounce of the wall harmlessly. The East 18pdr fires at the Panzer 1'smissing whilst the 18pdr to the West tries to range in on the advancing half tracks.

Turn3: See's the heavy weapon platoon arrive which moves along the South East road towards the town. The half tracks move off the road and use a farm for cover from the 18pdr which in turn fires at them but misses. The German Panzer's along with he infantry start to flank the Eastern side of the town trying to avoid the 18pdr. One of the Panzer 1's are not so lucky and with line of sight to the half tracks the 18pdr to the West bombards the bunched up German infantry killing 2 stands. Luckily for the British the reserves arrive and double into the town.
German Panzer's and Infantry flank the town ready to assault the infantry in the house.
Turn 4: And the infantry gun platoon arrive and deploy ready to provide artillery support. The heavy weapon platoon quickly deploys from its trucks having seen the infantry on the road attract indirect fire from the 18pdr to the West. The Armoured infantry deploy and move towards the hedge in front of them ready to advance on the house with an British section in.  The half tracks lay down suppressive fire and fail whilst the rifle platoon and panzer's open fire pinning the Infantry to their front. The Infantry platoon assaults but even pinned the territorial section along with the 18pdr manage to pin the German assaulting platoon. The British reserves de-bus and move along the road towards the Eastern side of the town.

Armoured Infantry advance covered by the machine guns on their half tracks.

Turn 5: See's the arrival of the reduced infantry platoon along the South West road and the panzer 38T's which arrive in the South East corner.. The mortars smoke the infantry section in front of the 18pdr, whilst the 75's shell the house and pin the defending infantry platoon. The German infantry supported by the Panzer 1's unpin and again poor  fire into the building  to no effect. HMG fire also rakes the upper windows and pins the  platoon. The Germans again try to assault the building and this time manage to reach the walls. A few grenades through the window kills a British stand, the Germans are now on the ground floor. The British infantry (Reluctant) pass  their motivation test and counter attack killing 1 stand. Making the best of the brave territorials counter attack the 18pdr move  away from the Germans. ( they were within 4" of the attacking stands and not directly involved in the fighting so I  deemed that they can be manhandled away). The Germans hit back killing another stand. The British infantry fail their counter attack roll and fall back into the town.

German infantry now have a foot hold in the town.

Turn 6: See's the arrival of the last reserves again in the South East corner. The Panzer 38T's move along the road to support the infantry in the house who fail to unpin. The mortars switch to bombard but fail to kill anything pinning the reserve platoon caught in the street. The 75's also fail to hit anything. The Armoured infantry advance upon the house to their front pouring suppressive fire into the building. The Panzer 1's rake the 18pder with machine gun fire which harmlessly bounces of the gun shield. The supporting HMG's use the lull in the attack to move forward.
Both British infantry platoons unpin and the Defending platoon moves through the house towards the German held house.The reserve platoon moves past the house into the field to try and delay the advancing armour. The combine fire of the two rifle platoons and the  Eastern 18pdr score a hit on a Panzer 1 which bursts into flames. The surviving Pz1 promptly runs away.

The Armoured infantry before turn 7.

Turn 7: See's the Germans unpin and carry on the attack. The Pz38's move up to the hedge surrounding the field which contains the reserve platoon. The German Infantry move towards the 18pdr whilst the armoured Infantry also advance ready to assault the house held by infantry.
The mortars again fire smoke which obscures the Eastern 18pdr and the HMG's rake the top windows pinning the troops inside. The 75's also bombard the troops in the houses catching the reserve platoon pinning them. The Panzer 38's rake the reserve infantry with machine gun fire killing 3 stands. The armoured infantry assault the house and take casualties going in, in a bitter hand to hand fight they are repulsed by the Tommie's inside and fall back suffering heavy casualties. They promptly fail a motivation test and flee the field. The Other German platoon also tries to assault the 18pdr but is repulsed. Both British infantry platoons pass their moral tests  and pull back deeper into the town. The 18pdrmanages to kill the German CO.
The Germans close in.
Turn 8: The lorried infantry section that was moving up behind the Armoured infantry now finds its self having to assault the house next to the 18pdr. The panzer 38's move into the town to have a go at the 18pdr. Again the German infantry move to attack the Eastern 18pdr. The lorried infantry section manages to force out the defending infantry from the house near the Western 18pdr, meanwhile the 18pdr to the east suffered a hail of bullets and the crew died at their gun,1 down 1 more to go. The British now consolidate back further into the town. The second 18pdr to the west pulls back to cover the road to where the other gun had been.
The Eastern 18pdr's last stand.
Turn 9: The panzer 38's, now move to be able to cover the road leading to the West and the last 18pdr. What was left of the 1st infantry platoon now moved to slowly clear the buildings. Meanwhile the lorried infantry to the West open fire on the 18pdr not far from them to no effect. The 75's target some infantry in a house near to the 18pdr and hit there mark. Missing the infantry in the building a stray round catches the 18pdr destroying the gun.....  The remaining British infantry march off into captivity. 

Post game
Well it was a close game. The 18pdrs were so resilient and the reluctant infantry held out for so long. A whole German platoon repulsed by 3 infantry stands...ouch and the armoured infantry suffered. Maybe it would have been better to wait for the extra infantry to catch up. Smoke helped the German's along with the 75's bombarding and the British reserves were wasted and should have stayed with in the town. I will have to replay this again in the future to see if the scenario works alonf with a rematch using rapid fire.

Modifying the rules in regards to command distance for the defenders helped in this game, and I doubt the British would have been able to hold out if they had to stay in command. The pinning rule was a problem because one gun got hit the both were pinned and the same with the infantry, a section got pinned in the eastern part of town only to effect the western section. It may be worth only applying the effects of pinning to the gun or section that was hit.
The German reserves worked well, not totally overwhelming the defenders. Concentrating on one flank also helped but this was what happened with the guns having to be moved on a regular basis.

This game needs playing again to check that the scenario works but i need more buildings tomake the whole town. I also need to replay it using Rapid fire, once i have reread the rules that is.


  1. You could try just giving the British more, but smaller rifle platoons. That would alleviate the pinning issues, but also make them a little more vulnerable to morale checks.

    1. What like? either 2 platoons of 2 sections or 3 platoons of 1 section each?