Dawn, Sean Harris:British, Ed Beekman:Germans
As discussed earlier, I bought a Panzergrenadier Company and Platoon as well as a platoon of GSW 39H (f) self propelled artillery. The infantry reinforcements were full strength but Jabos must have hit the vehicles along the way because they arrived depleted. The infantry platoon received an 8-0 leader and a full complement of support weapons. The company received a 9-1, an 8-1 leader and all allotted support weapons except they had no HMG. The sole GSW 39H received a 9-1 armor leader, extremely useful for an open top vehicle. I also figured that I would need to spend the last CPP on FPP to create HIP and dummy stacks. Otherwise Sean would see only real units and every shot would put real squads at risk. I placed a HS HIP in the orchard next to the Town Hall overlooking the valley and a full squad HIP in the forest road hex into Le Port. I used ten concealment counters as dummy stacks.
My objective was to get my reinforcing infantry into the front line. The infantry platoon would move to the chateau, put the MMG and Lt Mortar in the Second Level and Roof to interdict movement along the river road. The rest of the platoon would move to reinforce the blocking force on the road into Benouville. The infantry company would move as fast as possible to get as many troops to reinforce the brittle garrison in Le Port. Sean’s main objective was to expand his bridgehead.
Maneuver dominated the early turns of the scenario. My reinforcements double timed towards their objectives, although I shifted three squads from the company to reinforce the east approaches to Benouville and another three to the north approach. Sean snuck paratroopers through the streams north and south of the bridge and formed up to assault along the west road to Le Port and towards the Town Hall. My units directly confronting the British continuously skulked out of LOS during my turns and whenever possible would remain there to regain concealment. The +1 dusk attack drm combined with stone building or wall covers made +3 or +4 attack modifiers common and there were even a few shots in the game with a +5 modifier. Of course I usually had 4, 6 or 8 FP attacks but Sean, on the other hand, usually had 12, 16 and once got as high as a 36 FP attack. The power of these attacks just wore away at my units and tested my ability to rally them back into the line.
When the shooting started it did not go well for the Germans. The first shots wounded and ELR’d my new 8-0 leader and casualty reduced and ELR’d one of my two elite squads. The GSW 39H found a good firing position in the behind the Town Hall so it could hit any Brits that tried to make a move on Le Port from the crossroads building cluster. Unfortunately it Malf’d its MA on the second shot and it was several turns before it finally repaired it.
The Town Hall/School House building cluster fell when a Conscript squad disrupted from a good shot from Sean and then later in the turn the only other squad broke due to sniper fire. Sean infiltrated a squad of paratroops and cleared the buildings before my troops could reinforce. The loss of these buildings was a boon for expanding Sean’s bridgehead and a blow to my containment efforts.
Around this time I found a collaborator in the local populace who revealed the location of a HIP British 6 pounder AT gun. The info was very useful, if my SPA had moved a little more to the north it would have come into its LOS with potentially dire consequences.
Sean kept shooting at the squads in the treeline shielding LePort but they held their ground. I even generated a hero on the west flank, who bought time to reinforce his position, at the cost of his own life, when his original squad broke and routed. The southern line would not be breeched although some Frenchman ratted out my HIP squad in the forest road.
The eastern approach to LePort was another story. Two groups of paratroops infiltrated up the stream, crawled up to the crest, drove back the defenders and charged into the tree line. The fighting was bitter and frequently turned to ugly melees. One German squad escaped by luck of ambush and withdrew to continue the fight. Some of my conscripts weren’t so lucky. One British team moved to clear the buildings to the river road while the other drove in towards the church with its steeple that gives the Germans a sniper bonus. The squad and leader clearing the way to the river road succeeded in its mission all the way to the last building at the river road intersection. Here defender and attacker alike met mutual destruction in melee. Only an abandoned French-made LMG scrounged from a Hotchkiss tank remains to show what happened there.
The other, more powerful stack reached the church, driving off the wounded 6+1 leader and disrupted conscript half squad occupying it. They also scared off my Hotchkiss tank, their PIAT threat caused me to move it around the stables to the west and it never got back into the fight. The 1st line HS in the steeple proved to be another matter. It took everything thrown at it even though encircled. They proved to be full blown Nazi fanatics, laughing off a 24+4 attack by becoming an Elite HS with a Hero. When the scenario ended the Brits still controlled the ground level and the Germans in the belfry survived the encirclement 1TC. The next scenario will start with the British Isolated in the church and I have a Fanatic Elite HS isolated in the steeple. Unfortunately, Sean’s sniper twice got kill shots on my sniper and since I don’t control the church my SAN will not get a bonus in the next scenario.
In the south the MMG squad and Light Mortar team in the chateau made the British move cautiously. The Light Mortar was not very useful. It once went on a six shot ROF tear. Net result, one MC passed by both affected squads and five, yes five, British SAN’s of which two were successful. I was grateful when the mortar malfunctioned and X’d out. Sean tried to use the 50L AT gun against the MMG but it was lost on about the third shot.
Then disaster struck. My 10-2 stack keeping the Brits at bay, it had killed a 7-0 leader and broke two squads of paratroops, broke on a 12 +3 attack. I had a major rally point in the woods south of Benouville. The 10-2 attempts to rally and… I can’t stand it….Boxcars…2LLMCs all around. Not only did I lose the 10-2, but the wounded 7-0 broke and ELR’d, a broken squad CR’d and ELR’d and another broken squad was eliminated by boxcars. Fortunately I was able to thin my lines out to cover the loss and still keep the Brits at bay.
About half a dozen squads with some support weapons made the run through the valley south of the stables and were able to get to Le Port with a help from Smoke from the GSW 39H. Unfortunately the GSW 39H eventually ran out of smoke and was unable to replenish that ammunition type during refit for the next scenario.
In the end, the British were unable to expand make any inroads against Benouville itself, but Sean consolidated the buildings between Benouville and Le Port into his lines and well as break up the defenses on the east side of Le Port. His losses were fairly light, four leaders dead (all 0 leadership modifiers except for one 8-1), one squad dead and another relegated to Walking Wounded status. I had considerably higher casualties, eight squads lost although the vast majority were quality garrison troops, a Hero and the 10-2 leader. I had achieved my goal of holding Benouville and reinforcing Le Port while Sean had achieved his goal of expanding his bridgehead.
For the next scenario, Day I, both sides will see improvement in leadership. Sean had 9-2 leader become a hero and he will return as a 10-2 leader. My wounded 6+1 leader in Le Port was declared fit for return to full duty by the medics after his wounding at the beginning of the Night II scenario.
I will receive 32 + dr of CPP for the next scenario while Sean will receive only 15 FPP. It will be harder on me to drive him back because there will be no +1 dawn modifier to non-CC attacks to soften those expected 12 and 16 FP attacks. I have yet to contemplate my reinforcement purchases but I need to look at what I can do to help Le Port. It is vital to any attempt to smash Lovat’s troops in the Day II scenario.
There will be more heartbreak and blood shed around Pegasus Bridge now that the Normandy Landings are in full swing. The Germans have one counterattack opportunity left before the first Brits arrive from the beaches. We will let you know how it goes at a later date.