Sunday, 18 August 2013

France 1940: The battle report

I was almost totally wrong about what I would end up doing in this battle ... and actually fought a rearguard action against a reinforced German Infantry Division and an attack on a Panzer Division!

During the first part of the battle I was in command of the French 53rd Infantry Division (a Series B Reserve Division containing older reservists) ...


... which was dug in around the town of Hirson, a small industrial town near the Franco-Belgian border.

Almost as soon as the invasion started, my Division came under air attack ...


... whilst my position was probed by light armoured reconnaissance units from a Panzer Division.

The Panzers bypassed Hirson, but this was a prelude to an all-out attack by a reinforced German Infantry Division.


The German attacked during the night, but were held off (at great cost) and when they renewed their attack at first light they swept away the remains of one of the Division's three Infantry Regiments.


By this time the 53rd Infantry Division was cut off, had no line of retreat, and was close to 50% of its original strength ... and the only course of action left to it was to surrender.

I was immediately switched to command of 5th Motorised Division, which was advancing towards Bethune. This was a regular formation, and was very well equipped.


I moved the Division forward so that it was threatening the flank of one of the advancing Panzer Divisions, which immediately turned to intercept the advancing French formation.


Whilst the Panzer Division engaged the majority of 5th Motorised Division, I managed to slip one of the Division's Motorised Infantry Regiments past the Germans.


The resulting battle was a slogging match, and after suffering considerable casualties I withdrew the bulk of the Division back to Bethune, pursued by the Panzer Division.




The Panzer Division mounted yet another attack on 5th Motorised Division, which was on the verge of collapse when the battle came to an end.


And what happened to the Motorised Regiment that managed to get past the advancing Germans? It ended up facing off an entire Panzer Division on its own ...


... just as the battle ended!

This was a thoroughly enjoyable day ... and proved yet again that the Megablitz system works. There were 21 players taking part, some of whom were (like me) old hands and some who were new to the rules. By the end of the first day of game time (we fought through three days of game time during the five hours of wargaming that took place) everyone was confidently using the rules and thinking like Divisional/Corps commanders.

My thanks go to everyone involved in organising the game and providing the 'toys' (Tim), setting up and organising the venue (Tom), providing the catering (Kiera), and umpiring the game (Tim and Chris), as well as to all the other players who took part.

8 comments:

  1. Nice report ...

    For those who did not make the game, it might be worth saying that '5th Motorised Division' was generally refered to by the more technical designation 'Bob and his Lorries'

    Great game, and a well organised day out ...

    'Fast' Phil

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  2. Great battle report. I almost exclusively play 28mm games so this is a bit new to me, but I'm interested in military history and strategy at this level.

    In your opinion could Megablitz or another system be adopted, perhaps even to use with Cyberboard? I'm reluctant to get a whole new scale of figures, but I was thinking about using counters with NATO map symbols on them, on a hex board, as a cheap introduction to games of this scale. Do you reckon I'm crazy?

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  3. SoA Shows North (Phil),

    When I first saw 5th Motorised Division and thought 'I've been given the Eddie Stobart Division' (or should that be the Norbert Dentressangle Division?).

    It was a great day out!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Colonel Scipio,

    As the basic game mechanisms used in Megabliz are very similar to those used in board games, it would not be difficult to use the rules with cardboard counters on a tabletop or even on a Cyberboard hexed map.

    Good luck with your potential project.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Wow this one looks EPIC (a the kids these day say)

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  6. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

    It was ... in so many ways.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Still a fantastic post especially given today's date

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    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      I'd missed the fact that 10th May was the anniversary of the German invasion! How remiss of me!

      I re-read this battle report ... and it brought back loads of memories of the events of the day.

      All the best,

      Bob

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