The "Miracle of Dunkirk" has happened. The war appears lost to the French. Pride and will-power still drive them. A strong tank-infantry forces is deployed along the Channel to contest the German advance. Will Rommel and the 7th Panzer get to give his famous "Am at coast" signal or not?
Rules were Blitzkrieg Command II (heavily modified). Each side had more or less 6000 points, with the French divided into three equal battle groups and the Germans into two. The Germans rightly had a command advantage and complete air superiority. BKCII allowed you to customize your force within historic restrictions. The French have several limiting rules that are consistent with what history has shown us. Each group can have up to three activations to do things like move, fire, deploy, etc. Only one per activation roll. Now to the game!
|Front right French position with some wire and hasty trenches.|
|In the near distance the English Channel. Hold at all costs!|
|By random dice roll our third 2000 pt. battle group was along the coast.|
Meanwhile, the Germans were arrayed in two battlegroups of 3000 points each, with a (deserved) wealth of air support and pre-planned artillery missions.
|While it looks swift, the river is fordable.|
|Light and medium tanks swarm forward and get behind the hedge.|
|Seems quiet for now. Time to smell the flowers?|
As reported elsewhere a massive end run developed on the French right. In the coastal group a command "blunder" forced the front line troops to retire away from their defensive positions, opening up an opportunity duly exploited by the Germans. While most of our positions held, we were in danger of cutting cut off everywhere. Sound familiar?
|Some light tanks only armed with MGs go out to delay the infantry.|
|A rare success. A Stuka is shot down and almost hits a Char tank.|
|Somewhere around mid-game reinforcements arrive on the back table.|
While welcome reforcements came to the French right, the airfield was left uncovered. The Germans recognized the futility in shooting it out with heavier French tanks (also with better saves) so kept moving.
|Infantry and MGs, supported by MkII tanks advance.|
|Blunder! Resulting in Germans crossing in rafts|
easier than it might have been.
|The reserve tanks lumber into position.|
The dice had been kind to the French and hard on the Germans (in my sector at least) so far, but the tide began to clearly turn. More and more command failures occurred with the French and more and more often the Germans got the maximum number of three move or shoot rolls.
|One got through! The Germans hit are auto-suppressed.|
|A screen of tanks engage us while engineers in halftracks race past.|
We grimly contested things the field as best possible you could feel the battle slipping away. I believe we eliminated many more stands and AFVs than we lost, but once cut off by the rampaging panzers it really didn't matter in the big picture.
|We are winning this firefight, but where are the halftracks?|
|Oh... yeah... at the airfield. Note the supply stocks being captured.|
So having spent an enjoyable morning and afternoon together we called at 4:00pm. While our armored force might be able to open the coastal road again or even recapture the airfield, all the foot traffic and guns would be mopped up.
It "felt" right. Although we did better than expected (by me) the final result was expected. I'm not a fan of activation system games where it is possible that you completely lose your turn, but the superior command capabilities of the Germans, deservedly so, were critical in their success. Hence the right feel comment.
It was also an excellent group to game with. For some this is their regular rules of choice. For me it has been a couple of years since I last played. Everyone kept it friendly and in perspective throughout. Thanks to Bill Protz for hosting and executing the game.