Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Defence of Hondeghem:27th May 1940, Rapid Fire

I decided to dig out an old set of Rapid Fire rules as a friend commented how he used to enjoy playing with them.
Remembering that there was an Early War scenario with in the pages of the rule book; I wanted to see if I was able to convert it to FOW and see what the different out comes would be if played with both sets of rules.

The Defence of Hondeghem

Looking towards Hondeghem from the German entry point.

German Order of Battle:

1st Wave
Panzer platoon: 3x Panzer 1
Lorried Infantry Platoon: 36 Figures

2nd Wave
2 Infantry Sections in Half tracks: 20 Figures
1 Towed 75mm IG
1 Lorry with 2 HMG's

3rd Wave
CO in Panzer 1 command
Plt HQ in Half track with 37mm: 6 Figures
1 lorried infantry Section: 10 Figures
1 Lorry with 2x 81mm Mortars
Panzer Platoon: 3x Panzer 38T
4th Wave
1 Towed 150mm IG
1 Towed 75mm IG

British Order of Battle

CO; Captain N.B.C. Teacher
'F' troop 2 18pdr Guns + CO: 10 Figures
2 Dragon towing vehicles
Radio Truck
Searchlight detachment with 4 Boys ATR: 38 Figures

Reinforcements (from turn 5): 2 trucks with 14 figures.
18PDR protecting one of the roads into Hondeghem.
The 18 Pdrs were set up protecting the two roads into the town that the Germans would advance down. The Infantry were split into 3 squads and spread evenly across the front of the Town using the houses and walls as cover.

Turn 1 saw the first of the German forces to arrive. 2 of the Panzer 1's moved straight down the road towards the town halting near a farm allowing 2 infantry sections to de-bus from there transport and move up behind the Panzer's. The 3rd Panzer 1 escorted the last infantry section to the top road into town, as to force the 18 Pdrs to split there fire. The British opened fire with the 18 Pdr's but failed to find their targets.
Panzer 1 advancing supported by infantry.

Looking down the second road towards the waiting 18pdr.

Turn 2 saw the expected reserves failing to turn up, so the Panzer 1's cautiously moved towards the town as the infantry fanned out. The panzer 1's started to fire their machine guns at the 18 pdrs to no effect. Like wise the 18pdrs were struggling to find their mark, missing the panzer 1's. A lucky Long range shot from an ATR in a house lightly damages the lead Pz 1.

Turn 3. With the arrival of the Second wave the Germans advanced more openly. The armoured infantry in their half tracks roared up the road behind the Panzer 1's whilst the 75 mm moved to find a better position the other side of the farm, and the HMG's de-bused and moved through the farm. The panzer 1's manage to kill one of the gun crew of the first 18 Pdr. The Battery CO promptly takes the dead gunners place.
Germans advancing along either side of the road with the Panzer 1's almost at the town.
Again even at point blank range the 18pdr's are unable to hit the Panzer 1's. luckily for the British an ATR found it mark and heavily damaged a Panzer 1 stunning the crew for a turn. Both sides suffer light casualties amongst the infantry from a smattering of rifle fire.

Turn 4 saw the arrival of the Third wave, with the Pz 35(T) (I used Panzer 35(T)'s in error but hey they are similar tanks to the 38(T)) moving to assault up the middle as to provide cover for the two routes of attack. The now de-bused armoured infantry advance towards the 18 Pdr which now fires direct HE at them killing 3 (Ouch). The Exchange of rifle fire continues to no great effect and once again the German armour avoids getting hit.

Turn 5 began with the arrival of the fourth wave, which moved along the road to find a good firing position. The crew of the 18pdr on the top road were mowed down by the flanking Panzer 1, with the sole survivor sucomming to an grenade thrown by the advancing infantry. The gun on the bottom road suffered several more casualties and the two flanking infantry squads also took a few too many casualties from the massed machine gun, rifle and direct HE fire from the advancing Germans.
The British now hard pressed are relieved to see that reserve infantry sections arrive, which race towards the town. The Searchlight command runs towards the surviving 18 Pdr which is under attack by the Half tracks and the accompanying infantry. The British left flank Infantry pulled back into a house as they were suffering far too many casualties from an advancing infantry section. One of the infantry men in the middle squad run over towards the 18 Pdr using the wall as cover and throws a grenade at the armoured infantry section killing 3, along with 3 more casualties from the 18 Pdr firing HE at point blank range and another 1 from the Searchlight commander leaves the Armoured infantry with a morale test.
In revenge the right flank infantry fire their Boys ATR at the flanking Panzer 1 and with luck blew it up, at last the first armoured casualty. The ranks of the German infantry who had thrown the grenade was raked by machine gun and rifle fire causing heavy casualties.
The Germans put the British under pressure.
Turn 6 See's the Armoured infantry fail a morale check and they retire from the battle field. The remaining panzer 1's push into the town and the German infantry platoon start their House to house clearance. The defenders now struggled to prevent the German infantry breaking into the houses that they were defending and heavy casualties were suffered on both sides. The German Armour machine gun the last 18 Pdr but do not kill enough of the crew. The panzer 35(T) decide to fire over the heads of the infantry but cause no casualties. The British now have to take a morale test for the guns to which they pass but only just. The Searchlight commander helps man an 18 Pdr to keep it firing. May be due to the crews inexperience it fails to hit anything...AGAIN!. The Infantry have better luck with the AT Rifles claiming another Panzer 1 and one of the Pz35(T) and force the German Infantry to take a morale test.

The view from the top road as the British reserves arrive.
Turn 7 and the German Infantry grimly hold on and carry on their assault of the British positions, turning the tables and forcing the British to also take a morale test. The 150 mm SIG decides to fire upon the 18 Pdr reducing it and its crew to a smouldering crater. Without the 18 Pdr to hold up the advance the British were now in trouble. Meanwhile the German Mortars find there targets and cause casualties amongst the advancing  British reserves. The Searchlight platoon pass their morale test and grimly hold on causing more casualties on the German infantry.  The reserves arrive just in the nick off time to throw an AT grenade at the surviving Pz1 which in turns blows up..."Howzat!" shouts the throwing soldier who used to play for England's cricket team as a bowler before the war.

Turn 8, "They think it's all over.... but it is now!!" The German infantry fail a motivation test and fall back the British have held on. Without any supporting Infantry the German armour is unable to forces the British Infantry from the buildings so pull back to await more troops.
Final German positions, the town still in British hands.
Post game
Rule wise as I was not ofey with all the rules as I last played them 15+ years ago, so I was trying to read the rules as I went along. It got quite messy when it came down to the house clearance and I defently got some of the rules wrong...  Okay maybe a lot wrong.

I played the 18 Pdrs as Non AT guns which added a -1 to the dice roll which meant they could not hit the armour at long range. To be honest the dice throws were the most apauling I have ever seen them, throwing a  5 or 6 was elusive until the British morale time, when they threw 6's.

I would like to play this game again after reading the rules some more, but first I have to do it again with FOW v3.
coming soon to a blog near you:

The Defence of Hondeghem:27th May 1940, FOW

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