A Xmas/New Year game is becoming an annual fixture together with the resolution to do more gaming. I opted to host ‘North of Caen’ from the IABSM3 rulebook and have finally written up an AAR to tell our story of A Company, 6th Yorkshire Fusiliers’ attack on Le Moulin held by 3rd Kompanie, 4041st Grenadiers.
The German deployment proved sound for the 3 ‘stonks’ from 567th Field Regt RA targeted the forward edge of the village and the southerly buildings. 3rd Kompanie came through the bombardment relatively unscathed, only the squad on the ground floor of the central building suffering 2 dead and 4 shock.
A Company’s attack with 2 platoons up under Blinds, with the track as company axis, was very cautious with more emphasis on spotting rather than moving. Some would say too cautious, for 3rd Kompanie was able to recover all shock and due to some bad dice the British didn’t spot anything for over five turns. They were still struggling through the wheat when the forward German squad quickly spotted 8 Platoon west of the track, voluntarily deployed and opened fire from their dug-in position.
The Germans were throwing better dice and Lt Scott’s left section took casualties and was pinned. The right section kept advancing.
Whilst Lt Scott kept urging his men on, 7 Platoon on the other side of the track, walked slowly forward intent on spotting the enemy in the forward orchard. Despite repeated reports of, “You spot nothing” they failed to realise that there was nobody there! (Perhaps in frustration) A Company widened its frontage and brought 9 Platoon from reserve up on the left.
Back west of the track 8 Platoon’s 2-inch mortar came into action to lay smoke but didn’t effectively screen the enemy fire and the lads in the left section kept being pinned. Lt Scott pushed the right and reserve sections up on the right.
The 2-inch mortar team wasn’t quite getting it right! Lt Scott re-aligned his foremost sections ready for an assault. On the other side of the track 7 Platoon finally realised the forward orchard was empty and pushed on through, still on a Blind themselves.
Meanwhile on A Company’s left, Sgt McAlpine had pushed his 9 Platoon up to the edge of the wheat field, but realised he’d been spotted taking some ineffective enemy fire from his front.
Back on the right, 8 Platoon’s assaulting section got mangled in close combat and the survivors lost their bottle and ran back to join the remnants of the left section in the wheat field. (We allowed them to join forces, but under a heavy dose of shock from which they just managed to stay put). Lt Scott himself dashed forward to join his only remaining effective section at the hedgerow, where they had only just failed to spot another enemy position. 7 Platoon in the orchard realised they must be in close proximity to an enemy position in the central orchard to their immediate front.
The Germans in front of 8 Platoon opened fire and Lt Scott directed the return fire of his men.
On the left, Sgt McAlpine tried to win the firefight between his 9 Platoon and the dug-in German squad to his front.
7 Platoon under Lt Watson was spotted in the front orchard, after which they cautiously kept trying to spot the enemy in front of them. This German squad lay ‘doggo’ keeping the British guessing. The foremost German squad that had engaged 8 Platoon so effectively decided that 7 Platoon threatened their flank and took advantage of some more British smoke to leg it back into the village. Seeing this movement, Lt Scott directed his section to side step left along the hedgerow and occupied the vacant position. In doing so they took casualties and were pinned by fire from the German squad beyond the vegetables.
At this stage all three British platoons had come into action and A Company had secured a line on the forward edge of the village. Sensing his attack was being stalled by futile spotting attempts, Maj Jones decided to instil some urgency into his men. Joining 7 Platoon in the orchard with his radio op he shouted “Push on, the Yorkshire Fusiliers!!”
The Germans must have understood for they opened fire cutting a 7 Platoon section down by half. Further back in the central orchard Leutnant Klemp sensed this was the critical moment for his defence and ordered out his reserve squad that had fully recovered from the bombardment, from the central building to reinforce their comrades in the orchard. Just in time, for 7 Platoon after a burst of fire which virtually destroyed one squad, launched two sections through their hedgerow to initiate close combat. Maj Jones’ leadership had also rallied the combined section from 8 Platoon left back in the wheat field and he urged these men forward to support this assault on the right. 9 Platoon weren’t idle either, engaging the enemy to their front and Sgt McAlpine pushing a section up on his right to try and bag the Company’s first building.
After two brutal rounds of close combat, 7 Platoon secured the position with a sole German survivor running for the rear. To their credit the Germans had repulsed two sections and only lost to the third section after being reduced in strength.
Maj Jones in the forward orchard knew his company had broken into the village but had lost nearly a third of his men. Having not lost any buildings yet, 3rd Kompanie seemed to still have the upper hand. 7Platoon was shouting that there was a MMG post further back in the central orchard.
If A Company’s attack was to continue, Maj Jones needed to rally and reorganise his men.
Unfortunately, that’s where we had to stop after over six hours of play and twenty-two turns. It was the largest scenario we’ve attempted so far and it was a great one to learn from. Everyone thought there was still scope to continue the story with victory in the balance, so everything will stay in place and Part 2 will follow when we can get back together.