Last Wednesday saw the beginning of The Williamsburg Legati’s new Chain of Command Campaign, Fall Gelb. This campaign pits the French Dragoons of the 3e Regiment de Dragons Porte against Germans from the Infantrie Regiment Gross Deuschland at the head of Germany’s rush to the Meuse River.
Historically, after months of inaction in the phoney war, the Germans invaded Luxembourg and Belgium to attack France through the weakly defended Ardennes. As per their plan, the Allies raced their troops up to hold a defensive line. At 12:30, recon elements of the 2 DLC encountered German recon west of the village of Arlon.
Peter played the French and Chris the Germans. The scenario was played as the Patrol Scenario from the Chain of Command rules. The Germans began the game with a Force Morale of 10, the French, beginning a long trend, rolled poorly and had only 8. The Germans choose a preliminary barrage as their support, the French choose a medical orderly and an 81 Mortar Battery with forward observer. I have to apologize for how few pictures I have of the game. The battle ended so quickly and I was so lost in the action that I failed to get many pictures!
The German commander, Lt Rolf Schraeder, slowly approached the farm buildings, first deploying his granatwerfer team with Feldwebel Kurtz on the treeline north of the old barn. They were quickly spotted by French Caporal Salvage( an overweight former waiter) and his team of rifle grenade launcher who had been in cover in that barnyard. The fired their grenades into the woods but di very little damage. The French platoon leader, Lt Allard, also tried to deploy his forward observer but the orders were lost in the chaos of the Germans barrage.
Quickly Schraeder ordered more of his men forward. A section in support of the granatwerfer team and another section amongst the houses on the crossroads. This crossfire proved quickly pinned the rifle grenade team beside killing two of its men, including the ill fated Salvage, never again would he return to his beloved Parisian restaurant. the French moral slipped.
Seeing the difficulty of his position, Allard ordered a section under the command of Sgt Bribois in to the Barn and his Forward observer finally took his position in one of the farm houses. The FOO began to call for a barrage into the German positions in the woods.
It was however to late. OGefr Busch and his 1st Gruppe, fired and advanced on the beleaguered French Rifle grenade team. the attack was more than they could stand and the broke and ran. this advance forward however brought the Frenchmen in the barn to the attention of the Germans which initiated a fierce close combat. This fight continued for two attempts with serious casualties to both sides, but in the end the French had the worst of it. The entire section was destroyed and Sgt Brisbois was killed. The Germans took the barn and in doing so over ran one of the French Jump Off markers. The loss of this section, the marker, and the Junior Leader caused the French Force Moral to drop so low that another jump off marker was lost. Seeing the poor situation they were in, Allard ordered a withdrawal and his forces fell back to their positions with the rest of the Command at Etalle.
So ended the shortest game of Chain of Command I have yet to experience. Poor French luck and the German preliminary barrage was a complete game changer. I consider my having allowed that barrage a mistake. The patrol scenario does not allow for that as an option. I knew that, but having forgot to share those limitations with my players, when the Germans chose it I decided to leave it alone. In the past I hadn’t seen much effect from the barrage and wasn’t too worried. Wednesday however, it cost the French the scenario. Although a 50/50 chance on deploying troops he was rather consistently failing and therefore the troops he did deploy were easily outnumbered and over run by the superior number of the Germans.