Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Last Fifty Yards #2, Near Caen, July 1944


This is the second fight of "The Last Fifty Yards," which I recently restarted with "Canadian and German Patrols Clash Near Caen," in which I am following the exploits of a Canadian rifle section and a German rifle squad.  That fight essentially ended in a draw, with the Germans coming out slightly ahead, but both units pretty beat up.  It is now July 18, 1944, three days later, and another fight is brewing.  A British rifle platoon had advanced north to south under heavy fire, now dealing with (off map) heavy opposition.  The remnants of the platoon, with an artillery forward observer attached, has taken up shelter in a bombed out farmhouse atop a knoll.  The fight continues; the platoon is low on ammunition, and the only thing keeping them hanging on is great work by the FO.  But not only is ammo low, the FO's radio battery is about to run out.

Cpl Kelly's rifle section (though he is still convalescing from wounds received in the first fight) is called up by the Company's Officer Commanding, and a team is put together move up and deliver the necessary ammunition and batteries to the beleaguered rifle platoon.  But, due to some faulty map reading and the confusion of battle, the team is a bit further off the mark than should be, and now has to cross the last fifty yards to deliver the supplies.  Simultaneously, Cpl Wyche's German rifle squad is being sent into action from the south in order to isolate the Canadian rifle platoon from reinforcement.

Once again, this is a 'real' game, with me playing the Canadians and the boy playing the Germans.  He's been knocking the hell out of me, let's see how this goes...

The map, north is up.  The Canadian platoon is sheltering in the bombed out house at top left (there will be a couple figures there, but they are simply representative, not a part of the fight).  The Canadian team will enter at top right, and the Germans along the bottom edge of the table.  The Germans are forbidden from moving to the bombed out house (in real life terms, to avoid friendly fire as the bombed out house is being engaged by German units off table to the left (west).  The stream is crossable at the bridge, and fordable anywhere, though at a movement penalty.  Note the liberal German use of Dragon's Teeth.  I don't know why, I just think they're cool ;)

Looking west to east.

North to south.

East to west.

The opposing forces, Germans on top and Canadians on bottom.  The Germans have six troops (left to right): Cpl Wyche (MP-40), LCpl Krumrie (MP-40), Pvt Braun (K98), Pvt Tomsen (K98), Pvt Busse (K98), and Pvt Voote (sniper rifle, K98 w/scope).  The Canadians have five troops: LCpl Reed (Sten), LCpl Bennet (Sten), Pvt Levy (Sten), Pvt McKellar (Enfield), and Pvt Lofton (Enfield).  At bottom right are two more figures to go in the bombed out house, representing the platoon leader and the FO.

The number of troops and their weapons were come up with from straight up die rolls on the Five Men in Normandy force chart, as was the scenario and terrain.  The Germans are pretty normal, the Canadians have a large number of Stens; I figured they were provided by the company as they're supposed to move quickly with a decent amount of short range firepower in order to accomplish their delivery mission.

The Canadian team enters in the northeast corner; from left to right we have Levy, McKellar, Reed, Lofton, and Bennet.

With the Canadians at top left and the bombed out house at top right, the Germans are strung out along the bottom edge of the table.  From left to right: Voote (with sniper rifle), Wyche, Busse, Tomsen, Krumrie, and Braun.

Let's get it on!

The Canadians move first, pretty aggressively.  Pvt Levy sprints straight towards the bridge (bottom left), while Pvt Lofton moves south (bottom right, between tree and Dragon's Teeth).  The rest of the team sits tight (top right).

The Germans also move aggressively (they rolled a 'scurry').  Pvt Voote gets into the ruins at bottom left, with Cpl Wyche (squad leader) just below him, and Pvt Busse just to his right.  Pvt Tomsen (center), LCpl Krumrie, and Pvt Braun move up to the river (Krumrie and Braun are above and to right of Tomsen).

Seeing this, the Canadians react very quickly, fanning out.  Lofton is at bottom left, moving up the knoll, being backed up by Bennet (bottom center), with LCpl Reed (team leader) just above him.  Pvt McKellar took Levy's spot (center, above and to left of Reed), while Levy pushed up onto the bridge.

Pvt Lofton (bottom center) spots LCpl Krumrie across the stream and takes a shot, putting him 'man down.'

And then Lofton moves up (far right, near ruins, from bottom right near tree).

On the bridge, Levy (bottom right) spots the German sniper (Voote, top left), and sets his Sten to stun.  I say stun because, while he loosed a long burst, it was to no effect...

With LCpl Krumrie down at bottom right, Pvt Tomsen (bottom center) takes a shot at Levy (top left, with Lofton at top right)...

Forcing him to fall back and hunker (red bead at right, from explosion at left).

The Germans pour on the fire (rolled a firefight): Pvt Braun (bottom right) fires at Lofton (top center)...

Dropping him.

Back on the German left, Pvt Busse (bottom center) fires on the hunkering Levy (top center), putting him 'man down.'

Next to Busse, Cpl Wyche says hell with it and fires his MP-40 at Levy, but doesn't hit him (leave him alone, he's already 'man down'!).

And then Tomsen (bottom center) takes a shot at Levy too, missing.

And then the German sniper, Voote (bottom center) lines up a shot on McKellar (top center, with Levy left of him)...

McKellar (white bead at top center) is 'man down,' while Reed falls back (red bead at bottom right, from up next to McKellar).

Things are off to an auspicious start for the Canadians...

But then, from way down town, LCpl Bennet (bottom right) sprays the ruins (top left) with his Sten, sending Voote 'man down.'

Feeling lucky, Bennet (bottom right) turns his Sten on Pvt Braun (top left) and sprays again...

His rounds miss, but he sprints to cross the road (top center right).  However, Braun (bottom center right) shoulders his rifle and fires...

But he misses too!  Bennet makes it safely across the road to check on McKellar (far left, with Reed hunkering at bottom right), but McKellar is shot up and out of the fight...

Reed tries to self rally...

But fails and falls back (far right, from red bead at bottom center.  Bennet is at top left)...

The Germans continue to burn through their ammo (the boy rolled another firefight; seems the 6's are just pouring from him...).  Braun (bottom center) fires on the cowardly Reed (top right), but misses.  Krumrie (bottom left) is still man down.

Bussey (bottom center) fires at Levy again, getting him man down.

And then Cpl Wyche (just left of Bussey, with Voote 'man down' in the ruins at left) fires on Bennet (top right)...

Wyche's (top left) rounds miss, and Bennet (bottom right) returns fire, missing too.

Bennet (top center) takes another shot at Wyche (bottom left), and misses AGAIN.  Reed (top right) successfully self rallies.

Cpl Wyche (bottom left) returns fire, pinning Bennet (top right).

No one is moving anymore, the firefight continues at a frantic pace, though not hitting a lot: Braun (bottom right) fires on Reed (top right), missing.

Reed (bottom right) turns and returns fire with his Sten (far left)...

Forcing Braun to fall back (red bead at bottom center, from explosion at top right).
On the German left, Cpl Wyche runs up into the ruins (bottom center), spraying his MP-40 at Levy, but missing.  Wyche bends down to check on Voote...

And finds a hole in his chest...

LCpl Reed is beginning to panic; we need to get moving, gotta get the ammo and batteries to the bombed out house!  But we've got so many men panicking or down!  Reed sprints across the road to get to Bennet and rally him (top right), but Cpl Wyche (bottom left), seething from seeing his friend Voote hurt, spots him and fires his MP-40...

Driving Reed back (red bead at bottom right, from top right).  Bennet (top right) is pinned, and Levy (top left) is 'man down.'  McKellar (at Bennet's feet) and Lofton (at Reed's feet) are out of the fight...

Bennet is not doing great, but he can help;  should he help Reed or Levy?

Bennet decides to push forward and check on Levy; along the way, Bussey (bottom center) fires on him (top center), but misses.  Bennet checks Levy; he's a little shook up, but ready to get back in the fight.

Braun gets a sudden shot of courage and shakes off his hunker (random event), then dashes forward through the forest and checks on LCpl Krumrie (center, from bottom right); Krumrie is back in the fight.  Tomsen (far left) moves forward into the stream.

LCpl Reed (bottom right) self rallies, then shouts orders to his remaining men to damn the torpedoes and push ahead!  Bennet moves onto the bridge (center), while Levy gets across the bridge and begins moving up the knoll to the bombed out house (far left).

Seeing this, Cpl Wyche nearly loses his mind with rage!  He charges down the hill and up to the bridge (left), while Busse moves into the ruins at bottom left.  On the right, Krumrie and Braun move into the river (bottom right) as Tomsen emerges from the river and sprints into the ruins at center right.

Well, there's our maneuver!  Took awhile, but there it is.

Wyche (bottom center) pulls up, takes a breath, levels his MP-40, and fires a burst at Levy's back (center left), getting 'man down.'

And then he charges up and butt-strokes Levy!!!

On the right, Tomsen and Reed exchange fire at point blank range, but both miss!!!  Understandable for Tomsen, who has a bolt-action rifle, but Reed has a damn Sten Gun!!!

Braun and Krumrie (bottom left) watch from the river as Tomsen works his bolt with great difficulty and Reed changes magazines...  Reed is quicker and fires another burst.

Tomsen (top left) goes down, and that's enough to unnerve Braun, who falls back (red bead at bottom right, from the river next to Krumrie).

Reed dashes up the road (top center right), intent on getting to Bennet, but Busse (bottom right) spots him and fires...

The 7.92mm round skips off the pavement harmlessly and Reed reaches Bennet.  There he attempts to rally the lad, but he remains pinned...

The failed rally attempt probably had something to do with the fact Bennet (bottom center, with Reed next to him) was solely focused on the German Corporal, who was standing over his friend Levy (top left).  Bennet fires a burst from his Sten...

Forcing Wyche to fall back (red bead at bottom left, from explosion at center).

The Canadians are soooooooo close; all they need to do is get one damn man to the bombed out house (just off camera to top left, with Levy 'man down' there and Bennet and Reed just off camera to right on the bridge).

Ugh; I missed a photograph, and it's important...  Back on the right. German LCpl Krumrie charges out of the river to get a good look at the bridge, and then sprays an entire magazine from his MP-40 at Bennet and Reed...

Bennet goes out of the fight and Reed is 'man down.'

Game officially over; with 'man down,' the figure may not move, shoot, or rally.  The only way to get him back in the fight is to move another man to him to check on him, then roll to see if he's okay (and he has a 33% chance of not being okay).  The Canadians have three men out of the fight, and two men down, but no longer have any men in good fighting order, so they can't move anyone over to check the two 'man down' figures.  Besides the fact that we had them ignoring any conventional morale and fighting to the death...

So, without ammo and batteries, the Canadian platoon is forced to fall back out of the bombed out house.  Seeing a a large group of enemy soldiers emerge from the building, Cpl Wyche and his men grab their casualties and fall back.  The Canadian platoon grab the team's casualties and retreats, mission failed for the Canadians.  The damn boy got me again!!!


The Canadians got off Scott free (I swear I didn't cheat, the boy was right there as I rolled up the casualty effects);
Pvt Levy went down when Cpl Wyche fired his MP-40 at point blank range, but he wasn't hit, just scared @#$%less.  But Wyche moved up and butt-stroked him, knocking him out.
LCpl Reed, LCpl Bennet, and Pvt McKellar are all okay, just suffering battle fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration, and a lot of minor scrapes and scratches (shell splinters, hit by dead rounds, etc...).

That's right, I rolled up one 'big scar' and four 'knocked out.'

Pvt Voote was severely injured by the chest wound, to the point he was sent home and medically discharged.
Pvt Tomsen was hit in the shoulder and is out until 7 Aug 1944.

Pretty cool; again, probably fought too long, should have had the Canadians fall back after a couple casualties, but I was pressing, I really really really wanted to win ;)  I think it worked pretty well on the 2' x 2' table, though I need to get more terrain in that blocks LOS.  Unfortunately the table is a lot uglier with the carpet hills on top of the boards, but it's a helluva lot quicker to set up and take down.

Three more very cool batreps coming up; I'm very excited and interested to see what kind of reaction they will get.



  1. Guess that was a bridge too far!

    The boy is getting good, nice work :-)

    1. Yeah, apparently. I'm going back to solo gaming... I need to send you an e-mail about 5MaK.


  2. The writeup was so exciting, I did not even notice the carpet hills were back! After your poor early start I was cheering for the Germans. turns out that was the right move, although you did come close to making a comeback Congrats to the boy - he is winning more of these than the last time you let him loose as the opposition.

    And I iterate again - 2"x2" rules :-)

    Oh, I even though you said you did not cheat, I am still finding it hard to believe that the Canadian casualty list was...a scar. :-)

    1. Sure, everyone takes the boy's side, and he's killing me. And you're right, 2' x 2' seems to be the sweet spot, both for 15mm skirmish and 10mm company-level (a la Cuba Libre "Liberation").

      And I didn't cheat! If we're honest, I think Ivan's casualty table is a bit too generous; you only have a 9% chance of being KIA.

      I owe you a big e-mail; sorry man, I've been on the road and unable to check during the day, then at night I've been super busy writing up all these batreps.


    2. Don't worry too much about the email - I am away for the next 4 days down at the beach and while I have access to email on the phone, I will find it hard to respond. It is winter here - I will not be swimming but the children do not seem to care the water is freezing!