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Just back from holiday in Scotland via Birmingham. When we stopped over in Brum (well, near Solihull actually) I managed to get in a game of IABSM using our friend's 10mm 1940. He has only painted a limited amount so I had to fit the scenario around what he had.

Andy has read but had never played IABSM (I haven't played a lot either mind you) and I conscripted my 14 year old to play the British. We did not formalise commander's names but we did use a few which I will refer to.

German forces are racing for the Channel, Maj. Bob 'Boozy' Smythe of the Loamshires has been ordered to delay the enemy at the bridge at Limmette on the River Lys with his C Company (less a platoon held as battalion reserve), a carrier section, the battalion's one remaining 3in mortar and a borrowed MMG of the Cheshires.  A section of engineers in labouring to blow the bridge before the Germans arrive. Recently arrived under Lt Trotter are a troop of MkVIB and a solitary A13, separated from 3 RTR. Two 2pdr AT guns of the RA were also provided without tows.

By contrast Hauptmann Anders Robschaft had under command two mixed panzer platoons (totalling 2 Pz II, 3 Pz III and 2 PzIV), led by Lt Gruber and two tired schutzen platoons with an MMG, mortar and an FOO with 2 105mm howitzers on call.

Neither side had light mortars (because there weren't any models) though the BEF did have Boys ATRs.

As we were using 10mm on a small 3' x 4' table we used 1.5cm = 1" which worked pretty well. The terrain was professional KJ Warren stuff which looked really good.


The Germans arrived from the NW edge by road - which ran off the the east next to a large wood and were faced by mainly open farmland with hedges and walls down to the river with its conspicuous stone bridge (left centre of the table as the Germans looked at it) and hedgerows and copses beyond. There was one large immature orchard on the German side but this did not reach the river bank. The German entry road had a junction at mid table where the road led over the bridge.

On the British side there was a stone house next to the bridge and some hedges etc between the river and a road running more or less parallel with the river.

Major Smyth quickly identified the existence of a ford on the left of his position and positioned one platoon on his left with an A13 and one of the 2 pdrs (which could also train on the bend in the road in front of the bridge). The other platoon was deployed in depth to the right of the house with the building having only the MMG, and AT rifle and the platoon leader. A 2pdr on the road to the rear provided protection.

The MkVIBs were left in reserve parked behind cover and the carriers parked on the road as emergency transport (not being armed). The sappers were under the bridge. As all troops were in cover no blinds were used. The sappers had an Event chip - on the third they would test as to how well they had blown the bridge.

The Germans steamed forward when they came on, although good British spotting from the top floors of the house detected a panzer platoon and infantry platoon early. In the event one German panzer platoon elected to go down the road to the bridge, the other to try the right flank with an infantry platoon and the other infantry platoon to advance through the orchard between the two tank units. The German left (British right) was not threatened.

 

It was noticeable that the Germans were disinclined to spot and the British left quite a lot 'on blinds'. The German onrush was spectacular and bloody - the RA served 2 pdrs plus the A13 (deployed on a tea break because the Germans had not spotted it) hammered the German armour with pretty ineffective replies (read poor saving rolls). By the end of the action two panzers had withdrawn for repairs, two were immobilised with other damage and the other three were burning hulks. Total BEF losses in the AT exchange was an A13 immobilised and one lost artillery crewman.

Insult was added to injury by the initial 3in mortar shot landing plumb in the middle of the orchard hitting two sections. Not to be outdone the left flank British platoon deployed to hammer the enemy infantry and soon Germans - even in OK cover at medium and long range - were dropping like flies. The German right hand platoon leader and the FOO were killed.

The Germans managed to kill a single BEF infantryman before deciding to fall back with 11-12 dead.

Entertaining moments:

- the panzer crewman from a Pz III with damaged main gun sent to check the damage on the bridge: BEF response was a full burst from the previously unspotted (but deployed) Vickers doing 4P to a single crewman ...

- the 2pdr shot against Lt Grubers Pz III which scored 5 hits on 6 strike dice and which resulted in one save - BOOM

- the Boys ATR which actually caused Lt Gruber to retire at extreme range

- the fact that the BEF rifle platoon commander seemed to activate virtually every turn

- the fact that the second BEF rifle platoon and the MkVIB troop did not fire a round

It should not have been that one sided but that's the way it ended up.

Edward Sturges