So far the Allies have had it all their own way and the British are now looking down on the village of Blenneville, which was the objective before the campaign started. Good fighting by the Americans previously means major success is a good possibility.
The town is low lying and looks open and narrow and from the aerial photos, better this time, and seems to be approachable from all directions. The hill, church and orchard dominate the town but the whole area has impressive buildings scattered around. The bad news is that the Germans holding the town are veterans from Russia and it won't be easy.
The Allied plan is to send 1st Platoon over the hills and 2nd over the fields to the east. The tanks and MGs are to advance down the road, but 2nd Troop will assist 2nd Platoon in the trek over the fields. The 3rd Platoon will surprise the Boche with an expert outflanking manoeuvre to the west.
The Germans have sections in the buildings to the west, with AT and MGs mainly guarding the Eastern approach.
After a slow start it suddenly sprung to life as the MMG in an advanced position to the east spotted the British section marching in the open watching the birds it seemed (double 1 on spotting for both them and the previous dummy!). Not the best shooting ever, but four dead and four shock later the MG had done its job.
The bad news is then it was then somewhat surprised with the very speedy advance of the suddenly appearing Shermans, and was pushed back quickly itself.
It was then the turn of the centre to get exciting as the AT Gun and Jagdpanther spotted the advance of the tanks down the road. Bad shooting though only made the tanks stop. The British to the west spotted the Germans in the houses there at this point. It's all going to get very exciting very soon!
The view from the German viewpoint looks very threatening indeed, with enemy infantry and tanks everywhere. To defend the main road the Jagdpanther and Pak 40 will need to work hard, and the other Pak 40 has the whole of the open field to the east to cover.
The first main attack was from the British 1st Platoon who went into close combat with the occupants of the western house and kicked them out quite handily.
Whilst the centre was where the main attack would go in, the British also planned to clear the east with combined attack with infantry and tanks. The Pak 40 here got this clear view of this attack. This Pak 40 was to end the attack but suffer at the end. A glorious little action
The Pak 40 in the centre was proving a pain as it destroyed several tanks so 3rd Section, 2nd Platoon decided to take it out in melee. This was a small but bloody melee which the gunners won, but seven men were lost altogether. One could sense the Germans really want to win this one for once.
The Jagdpanther then decided to get into the action and rushed forward to take out another tank at full speed. Great shooting there! Between the Paks and the tank-hunter, the British tanks really are suffering!
The off board manoeuvring went well and the British 3rd Platoon are now in place to attack the southern German position. The British are aware though that losses are mounting, and that the Germans Paratroopers are very deadly indeed with their two LMGs per squad.
This was to continue to be the case as the last two heavily armed sections were able to out shoot their opponents.
The beginning of the outflanking action can be seen here.
In the centre, this MG nest had proved very annoying and was causing some trouble so needed to be taken out. In the second most heroic action of the day, Lieutenant Bob Bristol led his men to glory. Brilliant!
In the background is the Jagdpanther and a lot of smoking British tanks.
Then suddenly after all the British suffering came the potentially game winning manoeuvre. First card of the turn was Armoured Bonus and then the British tanks card came up. This meant that the British had two flank shots from their Firefly at the Jagd-monster that had been doing them so much damage. First shot missed. Second shot hit, but bounced off the tank hunter's armour with only one 6 for penetration and four 6s for defence. The Firefly had utterly blown its opportunity!
To cap it all, the Jagdpanther went next, and calmly destroyed the Sherman to its front before reversing out of sight!
Glad I was playing solo as that was the one chance in a game you hope for.
The British then attacked and destroyed the Pak 40 to the east, but it had destroyed three tanks already, so done it job nicely. The was the difference from the last games: as with the exact same forces the two Pak 40 didn't kill any tanks whereas here they accounted for five altogether.
At this point the British were getting desperate as they suddenly realised they only had two full sections left on the map.
So Lieutenant Ian Ipswich decided to take things into his own hands and clear the church. His unit's move card was the last of the turn, so next turn there were potentially three cards that would allow his men to move before their opponents; with the Germans having two cards that would allow them to move first. This was by far the most heroic move of the game.
As the Allies had had all the luck in the campaign so far, it had to change. The German's card appeared first, allowing them to shoot Ipswich and his men to bits and then, to cap it all, a lucky long shot killed Lieutenant Stokes in the same unit's fire.
This was the end for the British as the German were still holed up in the main three buildings you can see here, with the JagdPanther strolling around along the road. The British only had their MGs, one full section and two tanks left.
The picture here shows the German in occupation of the buildings.
With the end of this game, the campaign also ended. Although the Germans had won the last battle, the one described here for the occupation of Blenneville, the result of the campaign was a Major Allied Victory: four wins versus one loss.
The Blenneville action was another great game. This time German quality shone through as the Pak 40s and Jagpanther cleared the British tanks, and the five fire dice Paratroopers totally out fought the British which led to more melees than I normally like.
The Germans had all the luck this time, but after all their bad luck in the previous games, one can't really begrudge them something. I never threw a 5-6 for Air Support and that Firefly miss was something else.
Thanks Robert for a great campaign scenario booklet!