Tuesday, April 28, 2015

KG Klink, France, Game 2


It's 0730 on 14 May 1940, and the German 7th Infantry Regiment quickly poured across the Meuse in the wee hours of the morning, followed by the 7th Motorcycle Battalion, which streamed forth, KG Klink's Schutzen Company in trail.  First Platoon had only reached the village of Haut le-Wastia when French forces appeared in the area, keen on pushing through the ville in order to stem and, hopefully, pinch out the German bridgehead.

The opposing forces, with a relatively large French force on the left, looking to force a rather modest German force (right) from the village.

The German force: the KG's Executive Officer, Major Schultz is personally in command in the village (the Schutzen Company's commander, Captain Freitag, is still at the ford, pushing troops across and forward).  Schultz is leading the Schutzen Company's 1st Platoon (1st Lt Klugmann, Iron Cross holder, 1st Squad: SSgt Aust, 2nd Squad: SSgt Kamphaus, 3rd Squad: Sgt Lehmkuhl, 4th Squad: Cpl Orel), LCpl Steinkamp's MG34 team, Sgt Osswald's 80mm mortar team, and Sgt Grabner's Panzer Mark IV (Vehicle 3, 4th Platoon, Panzer Company).

The French counterattacking force: their CO, a machine gun team, a 25mm anti-tank gun (with truck; yes, the truck is gray, get over it), and three four-squad rifle platoons.

Spoiler alert: the French counterattack didn't go so well, and so the umpire (me) threw in some reinforcements for the French player (me) to work against the German player (me)...

Overview, north is up.  The French are deployed all along the left side, and at the road on the top.  The German force is centered in the vineyard (northwest of the crossroads) and in the ville (crossroads).  The ville is pretty well bombed out, having been hit by German air and artillery prior to 1st Platoon occupying the village (the ville was empty at the time).  The French should have used arty to soften up the Germans prior to launching their counterattack, but once again they were plagued by poor coordination and so now preparatory barrage occurred.

French in the southwest (bottom left) corner.

French in the northwest (top left) corner.

French in the north.

The German positions, deftly placed by the experienced eye of Major Schultz.  Lt Klugmann's command section and two rifle squads are in the vineyard (top left), two squads are in the left-hand houses of the village (with the CO just above them), the MG34 in the bottom right building, the 80mm mortar in the top right building, and Sgt Graebner's Pz IV at far right.

As per usual, I conduct an 'even up' die roll to see which side will activate first, and the Germans win.  I hate to say this, but I think this had a drastic impact on the outcome of the fight.  To make matters worse, or at least more decisive, the Germans roll up a 'firefight.'

Steinkamp's MG34 (far right, in two-story building) lets rip at the French in the southwest (far left)...

Forcing the French MG to fall back (top left) and pinning two rifle squads (yellow beads).  Worse yet, Steinkamp's MG34 forced TWO French rifle squads to fall back off the map!

Sgt Lehmkuhl and Cpl Orel's squads open fire (foreground, with MG34 at bottom left) on the French (top), forcing another rifle squad to retreat off the map.  The French have yet to take any real casualties, but have lost three rifle squads in game terms.  The remaining French rifle squad from the platoon in the southwest fires at Steinkamp's MG34, to no effect.

Sgt Graebner's Pz IV (bottom right) and Sgt Osswald's 80mm mortar (center left, in building next to the two craters) pound the French troops in the north (top center).

The tank fire knocks one rifle squad out and pins another, while the mortar team pins the ATG and another rifle team (yellow beads).

Then the French roll up a firefight...  Not good, they really need to get things moving, and any French units in the open that fire are going to make very juicy targets for the German tank, mortar, and machine gun.

While the French CO (bottom left) rallies the MG team, the last rifle squad in the southwest (bottom right) fires on the German MG (top center, two-story building), missing.  Steinkamp's MG34 returns fire, getting 'man down.'

The French platoon in the woods in the northwest (off camera to left) can't act as they can't see the enemy.  Apparently they've gotten lost, or are finding the terrain more difficult than expected.  Or maybe they're not all that motivated to go into the attack...

In the north, the three pinned units rally themselves, and the fourth sits tight so as not to draw the ire of the mortar and Panzer.  For all intents and purposes the French in the north are face down in the dirt, praying the Germans can't bring their heavy weapons to bear...

The German MG team (bottom center) fires north (top), causing one rifle squad to fall back and hunker, while Sgt Graebner maneuvers his tank forward then fires...

Another rifle squad is knocked out, while another rifle squad falls back and hunkers.  The French truck was also forced to fall back, which carried it off the map.  The umpire generously allowed the French player to unlimber the 25mm ATG on the board, rather than let the truck carry the ATG away too.  But the ATG crew is forced to hunker.

Then the French roll another firefight; what the @#$%!!!  For those wondering, the French really, really need to move their exposed troops out of the line of fire, and really, really, need to get their uncommitted rifle platoon in the northwest moving forward.

In the south, the 'man down' rifle squad recovers, but in the north the hunkered rifle squad tries to rally, fails, and runs off the map!  That's four rifle squads, an entire platoon's worth, that has run!  The ATG manages to rally.

And then the French make a classic tactical error...

Reinforcements arrive in the form of a platoon of two H39 tanks (the remainder broke down on the road march), moving into position to support the uncommitted platoon in the northwest.  Sounds great, right?

It never works out, you don't reinforce failure!!!

Then the Germans roll a scurry.  I swear by the Almighty, I'm not cheating!  The French absolutely could not have a worse set of die rolls, but for and against, than what they've had thus far.

Hearing the sound of tank engines, Sgt Lehmkuhl and Cpl Orel's squads (center right) move up, while Sgt Graebner moves his Pz IV round the flank (bottom right).  The remaining French rifle squad in the south moves up (bottom left).  The French MG hasn't been able to do anything this whole fight because it took fire in the first turn which forced it into the woods, and the French have only rolled firefights since, which the French MG could do nothing with as it does not have LOS to any German units.

The French rifle squad in the north creeps forward.

The French get their first 'normal' activation!!!

The French MG moves up (bottom left), trying to get into the game, while Lt Klugmann's HQ section (top right) react (Guard) fires, missing.

French in the northwest move up (far left), drawing react (Guard) fire from SSgt Kamphaus' squad, which misses.  The French rifles fire, forcing Lt Klugmann's team to fall back (far right).

The French rifle squad in the north (center), trying to keep up the pressure and build some momentum, sprints towards the vineyard (Klugmann's HQ section, hunkering, at far left).

But then the Germans roll up another firefight, meaning every unit that can see the enemy can fire.  It's getting ugly...

Lt Klugmann tries to rally his HQ section, but only gets them up to pin (from hunker), so Major Schultz (who hasn't had much to do so far) moves over and tries to rally them, but fails, so they hop the wall and fall back (center left, at bottom left corner of the vineyard)...  Meanwhile, Steikamp's MG34 (bottom left) opens up on the northern French rifle squad, forcing it to fall back (it's at top right, having fallen back from the white puff to their left).

Then Sgt Osswald's mortar team (top left) fires and eliminates the French anti-tank gun (bottom right, please ignore the orange tracer, that was for Steinkamp's MG fire, I just forgot to remove it).

SSgt Aust's squad (manning the wall at top right) fires on the French MG, forcing them to run!

While Sgt Lehmkuhl and Cpl Orel's squads (far right) fire on the French rifle squad in the northwest that had moved to the edge of the treeline (white puff at center left), forcing it to fall back and hunker (far left, with red bead).

The only French unit able to return fire is the rifle squad in the south (far left), which fires at the German MG34 (top right) for the third time and, for the third time gets no result.  As I took this photo I saw the German Pz IV (center right)...

And was reminded the German tank had not fired, so they banged away with their short 75mm gun at the French squad in the south, but only managed a pin...

The French roll up a scurry, which would have been very useful several turns ago, but let's see what they can do.

An auspicious start: the pinned rifle squad in the south tries to rally (at the site of the white puff, bottom right), but fails and is forced to fall back and hunker...

Off camera, the French rifle squad in the north rallied up to pin.

The French CO (top left) moves over and rallies the hunkered rifle squad there, who then moves forward with his three rifle squad compatriots and two friendly tanks.

1st Lt Klugmann, hero of the very first battle in Poland, which won him the Iron Cross, is having a very rough day.  His HQ section was hunkered at top left, when he tried to rally them, but they failed again and fell back to the center, where the CO moved over and tried to rally them, but the they failed and fell back to far right.  I shouldn't complain, this is really the only issue the KG has had to deal with, but that's five times they've tried to rally and failed (one pin, four fall backs.  Those four fall backs are four 6's on 1D6).

And things just couldn't get any better for the Germans.  Sgt Lehmkuhl and Cpl Orel use their reaction moves (to the French scurry) to escort Sgt Graebner's tank around the French right flank.  And then the Germans roll another firefight!!!  Incredible...

Sgt Graebner calls out: "Gunner, target, enemy tank in the trees, 12 o'clock, 100 meters, armor piercing, fire!" "On the way!"  Graebner watches the orange tracer on the tail end of the 75mm round race towards the French tank...

BANG!  The French tank suffers turret damage and the crew bails out.

Sgt Osswald's mortar pounds the north end of the French line, forcing one rifle squad to fall back.

And then Steinkamp's MG34 rakes the French line, forcing one squad to fall back (hey, lucky, he's right next to their CO) and pinning another.

All the German rifle squads fire (except Lt Klugmann's cowering HQ folk), but get only a pin...

And now I expect it's retribution time as the French get to react...

And first up is the remaining French tank (top right), who trades fire with Sgt Graebner's Pz IV (bottom left), both missing.

The French rifle in the north (far right) fires at SSgt Aust's squad (to left), no effect.

And then another French rifle squad, this time in the west (far left), fires at SSgt Aust's squad, also missing.

But then tragedy strikes when a French rifle squad in the west fires and eliminates Cpl Orel's 4th Squad...

The French get a normal activation.

The H39 (top right) moves up and fires, pinning Sgt Graebner's panzer crew (bottom left), which means they can't return fire.

The French CO stays busy, rallying one squad (top left), then moving over (center right) and rallying another.  The freshly rallied squad takes a shot at Steinkamp's MG34 team (off camera to right; this is the 6th time they've been fired at), missing again.

German normal activation.

Graebner's tank fires, pinning the French tank.

Lt Klugmann's HQ section (top right) FINALLY rallies, whle the CO (top center) moves up, intent on getting to Graebner's tank to rally it (bottom left).

Sgt Lehmkuh'ls 3rd Squad moves forward on the French squad that eliminated 4th Squad.  The French Guard fire, pinning Lehmkuhl's squad...

The French roll up a normal activation.

The French, knowing my penchant for rushing rifle squads into close combat, even against tanks, are a bit nervous about SSgt Aust's 1st Squad, lurking just off camera to the right.  The French CO moves up, intent on rallying the pinned rifle squad there, then moving them forward to shield their pinned H39.  But the French roll a 1, and so the rifle squad stays pinned...

The French tank takes another shot at the German tank...

But the 37mm round falls short, and Graebner's crew returns fire...

The French tank goes up in flames!

The French CO blows his whistle, signalling his men to fall back.

Always alert, Sgt Lehmkuhl sees the enemy beginning to retreat, and rushes forward, capturing a rifle squad and the crew of the first French tank.

Well, what a fight!  At least if you're rooting for the Kampgruppe, which I am.  I didn't cheat, dammit, at least not for the Germans!  Hell, I brought in two tanks for the French!  The French were really just victims of some incredibly unfortunate dice rolls, but c'est la vie!  In retrospect, this seems to match with plenty of reading on the campaign in France: the French, in those cases where the Germans were forced to go straight at them, were extraordinarily dogged in the defense, but when the Germans were able to outmaneuver the defense, and when on the attack, the French were often ill-coordinated and sluggish.  I think we saw that today.

In all fairness, I didn't do the French any favors.  The Germans made good use of their heavy weapons, and this caused four (four!) French rifle squads to run off the map very early on in the fight.  I should have done one of two things (or maybe both):

1) I shouldn't have placed the French platoons in the southwest and the north in the open so near the table edge.  Being so near the table edge made it too easy for them to immediately be forced off the map.

2) I should have given the French the first activation, which would have helped them get off the table edge.  However, given their propensity for rolling up firefights (meaning no units may move), it may not have mattered.  The reason I didn't simply give the French the first activation was that I'd recently fallen into the habit of simply doing a straight up, opposed roll, with high die getting the first activation.

On a side note, this was the first game (in twenty-four games of 5Core Company Command) that I feel I was able to put my heavy weapons to good use, and the results were telling.  The mortar kept French units pinned down, and the MG34 and tank mowed French squads down.

-Sgt Graebner (V3, 4th Pz Plt), Recommended for Iron Cross 2nd Class for eliminating two tanks and two rifle squads (F2).
-Sgt Lehmkuhl (3rd Sqd, 1st Inf Plt), Mentioned in Dispatches for valor for capturing one tank crew and one rifle squad (F2).
-Cpl Orel (4th Sqd, 1st inf Plt) WIA Campaign (F2).,
-Lost: ~15 KIA/WIA.
-Caused: ~35 KIA/WIA, captured ~15 POW, knocked out two H39 tanks.

I've got another to write up still, so stay tuned.



  1. It's funny how, without any rules for "national characteristics", the results still seem to match up just fine :-)

    1. Yeah, it does, doesn't it?

      Personally I'm not much of a fan of national characteristics; OOBs sure, training/equipment sure, but 'British Stiff Upper Lip' or 'Yank Recklessness' and such, not so much.

      A fight's a fight, and I'm sure I'll get whupped as much as I do the whuppin' ;)


  2. Like the muted look of the terrain. I think I used these rules in a participation game recently (the term 'scurry' rings a bell). Fun, fast-moving skirmish.
    (Is that an SdKfz 251/10 as command vehicle there?)

    1. Les,

      Yeah, I can't think of any other rules where I've heard the term 'scurry.' I hope you had enjoyed the rules, I certainly do.

      Actually, the command stand features a Sdkfz 250/10, and yes, it's about a year too early. Dammit, I hate when people call me out when i use the wrong stuff! ;)

      I used it because when I bought the Germans I didn't really have any interest in early war, they were going to be mid-war on the Eastern Front, but then I got interested in early war and didn't feel like doing up another command stand...


  3. Fantastic BatRep Jack, thoroughly enjoyed this, and although I'm not at all familiar with the rules, it all flowed smoothly for me. A very pleasant way to pass the time with a hot cuppa :-) I thought the game sounded very fair and was more down to good dice rolling on behalf of the Germans then anything else. And another one Batrep coming soon... excellent :-)

    1. Blazkleric,

      Thank you, Sir, I'm glad you liked it, and I'm loving your winter Eastern Front stuff as well. The game was a blast, and I highly recommend the rules. I'm almost finished with batrep #3, should have it posted Thursday night.


  4. Another great BATREP Jack.
    BTW, where are those rules are you using for giving the troops recommendations and medals?

    1. Javier,

      Thanks, I appreciate it, and stop making us wait for more from you! ;)

      To tell you the truth, I can't recall if there are rules for medals or not; Ivan usually thinks of everything, so I'm sure they're in there somewhere. But to tell you the truth, I'm not using any rules, I'm just sort of doing it by feel. I'm playing the game, I'm in the flow, and if it feels like a unit did something heroic, I give them a medal.

      I'm only tracking the leadership, and so the NCO or officer sort of gets the credit for anything the squad or vehicle did, but I don't want to bog down too much with detail, so I just say "Sgt Schultz won the Iron Cross 2nd Class."


    2. I put it in Five Men but it was pretty much just a D6 table.
      My generic rule for solo gaming is "4-5 minor reward, 6 major reward".

    3. OK thanks. I just wanted to know if there were some kind of upgrading troops through experience sort of thing, and how they would win it,
      I think it could be fun to give some morale or activation or combat or tank assault boost to a specific unit, depending on the badge or medal it gets.
      Jack, I'm afraid you will have to wait for a new BATREP as right now I'm using my spare time to paint minis; but it will come eventually :)

    4. The skirmish rules have a full skill system which is 90% compatible :-)

    5. Oh! Now I will have to read them :)

  5. KG Klink seem to be going from strength-to-strength! Historically you got a pretty accurate result I would say. Providing they make it through this campaign, it'll be interesting to see where they're dispatched next: North Africa or the Soviet Union!

    On a personal note I finished my first exam today ( a pass!), so hopefully there'll be some gaming on the horizon. In what little free time I have had recently, I've been painting WW2 British paras and making some modular terrain boards for Operation Varsity and Plunder (WW2) in - boo, hiss - 15mm.

  6. Gaz,

    Fantastic, congratulations on the exam, hope you're soon getting plenty of gaming in. But what is this WWII stuff, you owe your adoring fans some Falklands fights, Sir. And 15mm??? Traitor ;)

    I've got nothing against 15mm, as a matter of fact every now and again I catch myself viewing a manufacturer's website and thinking, 'man, I could really do some cool stuff with that.'

    But then I remember that I already have it in 10mm, and my problem with 15mm is just that the ranges don't look right to me. It's not a real or unreal issue, it's just a feeling, a mental block that I can't get past. If we're perfectly honest, I've actually spent almost $1000 on 15mm WWII stuff; I bought a bunch, painted it all up, got it on the table, didn't like the look of the ranges, and gave it away. A couple years later I bought a bunch, got about halfway through painting it, remembered I didn't like the ranges, and gave it away...

    I've resolved to (mostly) stick with 10mm; I've thrown so much money away in this hobby, and I don't mean that regarding the stuff I have, I mean it regarding the stuff I've bought and given away, sold, or sits languishing because I lost interest...

    KG Klink goes to North Africa after France. Here's my plan for the entire war:

    -Poland - 1 Sep-6 Oct 39

    -France - 10 May-22 Jun 40

    -N Africa - Mar 41-July 42

    -Stalingrad (W) - Oct - Dec 42

    -Kharkov (W) - 19 Feb- 15 Mar 43

    -Kursk - 5 Jul- 23 Aug 43

    -S Italy - 17 Sep - Dec 43

    -Ukraine (W) - Jan- Mar 44

    -Normandy - 25 Jun- Aug 44

    -Holland - 17 Sep - Oct 44

    -Hungary - Oct - Dec 44

    -Ardennes - Dec-Jan 45

    -Silesia/Pomerania - Feb- Mar 45