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.
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)...
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.'
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.
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...
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...
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.
The French get their first 'normal' activation!!!
But then the Germans roll up another firefight, meaning every unit that can see the enemy can fire. It's getting ugly...
The French roll up a scurry, which would have been very useful several turns ago, but let's see what they can do.
Off camera, the French rifle squad in the north rallied up to pin.
And now I expect it's retribution time as the French get to react...
The French get a normal activation.
German normal activation.
The French roll up a normal activation.
The French tank takes another shot at the German tank...
The French CO blows his whistle, signalling his men to fall back.
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.