Monday, November 27, 2017

KG Klink, France, Game 5


It's 1600 on 14 May 1940, and KG Klink, attached to the 7th Panzer Division, is on the move.  Earlier this morning KG Klink attacked and destroyed a strongpoint manned by the French 5th Infantry Division.  Having broken through 7th Panzer Division is on the road to Flavion.  However, an hour ago, 7th Panzer reconnaissance elements on the march came under fire from the (fictional) French village of Riqueville.  7th Panzer continued west around the village, and KG Klink immediately received a FragO to stand detached to reduce yet another French strongpoint.  Colonel Klink decided to lead the assault himself, composed of the better part of his Grenadier Company, two platoons of tanks, a portion of the Kampfgruppe's Reconnaissance Platoon, and a section of 80mm mortars.  Aerial reconnaissance stated the French force as a couple platoons of infantry with perhaps a couple crew-served weapons, with maybe a single tank in support.  Ordinarily a single tank in support wouldn't be something for Colonel Klink to be too concerned about, but when that tank is a Char B, with it's extraordinarily heavy armor...

Regarding rules, I'm messing around again...  Years ago, when my father was still alive, he'd come over pretty much every weekend and we'd play wargames (sadly, this was before I created a blog to record all my wargaming efforts).  In any case, we primarily played three games: Force on Force, Bag the Hun, and I Ain't Been Shot Mum (IABSM).  So it's been awhile, but I've had a hankering for some larger, reinforced-company level games that are a bit grittier that what I normally play, so I decided to give IABSM another try.  I did change some things up, vastly simplifying the shooting and morale mechanics, but I've kept the 'guts' of the game as written: platoon and 'Big Man' activation randomized by cards and further randomized by the 'Tea Break,' starting the game on 'blinds' and having to be spotted, and variable (diced-for) movement.  I say guts; others may have differing opinions, but to me, those items are what set the IABSM rules apart from others.

This desire to play a larger game and try out IABSM again also happened to coincide with my eight year-old boy telling me "it's been a long time Daddy, we should have another battle."  I happily acquiesced ;)

Overview, north is DOWN, with the Germans entering the table at left (east) and the French defending the right (west) half of the table, including the village, at top right (southwest).  The north is covered with crop fields and bushes which provide neither cover nor concealment, and while the bushes across the entirety of the table might look a bit bocage-ey, they're just bushes.  At far left is The Chateau, which has The Orchard just above it.  At center top left is The Farm (with a wood fence running around it and north *down* through the fields), and at center/center right is The Granary.

Looking northeast to southwest, with a little monkey present (top center, my three year-old boy).

Looking east to west down main street.

Looking southeast to northwest.

Looking southwest to northeast from behind the ville.

Looking west to east.

Looking west to east from a lower angle, the ville at right, the Granary at center.

Looking northwest to southeast.

Ze Germans: at left is the Kampfgruppe Commander, Colonel Klink, proud owner of the Iron Cross 2nd Class for his actions in Poland.  At top is the German infantry company: top center left is the company commander, Captain Freitag (Iron Cross 2nd Class).  He has three of his four platoons:

1st Platoon Commander: 1st Lieutenant Klugmann, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class
1st Squad, 1st Platoon: SSgt Aust
2nd Squad, 1st Platoon: Sgt Kamphaus
3rd Squad, 1st Platoon: Sgt Lehmkuhl

3rd Platoon Commander: SSgt Janke, Iron Cross 2nd Class
1st Squad, 3rd Platoon: Sgt Hauer, Iron Cross 2nd Class*
2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon: Sgt Nader
3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon: Cpl Arndt, Wound Badge

4th Platoon Commander: SSgt Mader, Iron Cross 2nd Class, Tank Killer Badge
1st Squad, 4th Platoon: Sgt Imhofe, Iron Cross 2nd Class*
2nd Squad, 4th Platoon: Sgt Kandler
3rd Squad, 4th Platoon: Cpl Rishel, Replacement Squad Leader

Two vehicles of the Reconnaissance Platoon
Platoon Commander: 2nd Lieutenant Weidner, 1 Tank Kill
Sdfz 221, Cpl Edst, Replacement vehicle commander

Three vehicles from 2nd Tank Platoon
Platoon Commander: 1st Lieutenant Loeb, Iron Cross 2nd Class, 2 Wound Badges, 4 Tank Kills
Pz III: SSgt Grossman
Pz III: Sgt Mayer, 1 Tank Kill

Two vehicles from 4th Tank Platoon
Platoon Commander: SSgt Mangold, 2 Tank Kills
Pz IV: Cpl Edst, Replacement vehicle commander

A mortar section under Sgt Osswald (who has been incredibly unreliable in the past)
Sgt Osswald is the forward observer on a motorcycle
Two 80mm mortars and crews

*I thought about adding all of the Iron Cross holders as "Big Men," but I didn't, I only did the KG Commander, the Company Commander, and each Platoon Commander, which is how I treated the French as well.

The French: they are commanded by Major Renaut (left) and have:
-Two rifle platoons of three squads each (Lieutenants Renoir and Gagne, respectively)
-A weapons section of a single machine gun and a 25mm anti-tank gun (I gave them bonus MG fire and a bonus ATG fire)
-A single Char B commanded by Sgt Guillaume.

The troops are 10mm, a mix of Pendraken and Minifigs.  Basically it breaks out to most of the infantry are Minifigs and most of the vehicles are Pendraken.

Overview, looking north to south, Germans on the left (east) and French on the right (west), everyone on blinds.  The French have a blind for each rifle platoon, weapons platoon, the Char B, and four dummy blinds.  The Germans have a blind for all three rifle platoons, both tank platoons, the recon platoon, and the weapons platoon (mortars), plus three dummy blinds.

Looking east to west from behind the Germans.  I'm playing the Germans; I've got my infantry on the left, intend on getting my mortars set up around the Chateau (bottom left), got Recon and Panzer IVs on the road, Pz IIIs at bottom right.

Looking west to east from behind the French: the boy is playing the French, so I had no idea at the time, but it turns out he put the tank at bottom left with two dummy blinds, two dummy blinds in the center, and then the two rifle platoons and the MG/ATG at bottom right.

The Germans move first, pushing their blinds west and trying to spot the dastardly French.

A French blind creeps up to the Granary (center, with the ville at bottom center/right) and peers east (top)...

Spotting Lt Weidner's two Sdkfz 221 armored cars moving west on main street.

A French blind move up to the crossroads near the Granary (center right) and looks to the northeast (top left)...

Where it's able to pick out Lt Loeb's platoon of Panzer Mk IIIs moving up.

More French blinds in the center (bottom center) get in on the action, looking southeast (top right)...

Where they see Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon.

And then French blinds in the ville (bottom center) look towards the Farm (top center, with the German 1st Platoon just to its right)...

And they see SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon (center, with 1st Platoon at left) AND the Sgt Osswald's mortar section (bottom right)!

The recon armored cars hold on for a minute (top right) as Lt Loeb's Pz IIIs move up in the north (bottom center, with the two German rifle platoons at top center left).

Hearing the reassuring roar of Panzer III engines coming up on his right (off camera to bottom right), Lt Weidner and Cpl Edst cautiously advance their armored cars up main street, almost reaching the Granary (top left).  Lt Weidner spots something up ahead and calls a halt...

"Contact, enemy tank at the crossroads!!!"

Just so we're all on the same page, I told my boy he's only got one tank, but the Germans can't harm it from the front, that he needed to protect it's flanks and rear, though the Germans could pin/suppress the crew with fire from the front.

Lt Klugmann (top left) and SSgt Mader (center) push their rifle platoons forward, near the farm (center), with Lt Weidner's recon vehicles at top right.

And as the German infantry continue to push west, Sgt Osswald's mortars get set up (bottom left, nest to the Chateau), and he takes off on his motorcycle to see if he can spot some targets (center top right, just left of the Farm and right of SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon.

Sgt Osswald seems a bit too comfy in the lee of the Farm as the blind for 3rd Platoon moves up (top center).

Lt Weidner's armored cars (bottom left) star down the French Char B (top right)...

And decide they'd be best served by going off road, looking to round the Granary to the south and move closer to the ville.

With the armored cars pulling up on the east side of the Granary (top right), the blinds for 4th Platoon (right center) and SSgt Mangold's Pz IVs (bottom right) move up.

Near the farm, SSgt Mader leads Sgt Imhofe's 1st Squad forward (center, from bottom left) to get a better look at the ville (off camera to top right).

They (center bottom, with Lt Klugmann's 1st Plt at left and Sgt Osswald (as the FO) just visible at bottom right) take a look at the ville (top center left), but detect no enemy activity amongst the buildings.

Back in the west, Sgt Guillaume has patiently waited in his Char B heavy tank (bottom right).  But, having seen enemy tanks break out across the fields (top left) in the northeast, and having seen enemy reconnaissance vehicles move up the main street, halt suddenly, then dash behind the Granary (center right), he figures the jig is up...

So he orders his drive forward...

Where they pivot left and fire their 47mm gun at SSgt Grossman's Pz III (top left)...

BAM!!!!  SSgt Grossman, groggy from shock and bleeding from his forehead and his loader are the only crew members able to bail out of the disabled Panzer III.

And with that, Lt Loeb orders his and Sgt Mayer's panzers forward at top speed (center right, from bottom left, where SSgt Grossman's tank is burning).

Lt Weidner (top center), continuously scanning 360 degrees like a good recon guy, sees SSgt Grossman's panzer go up in flames and the other two dash ahead (bottom left), mutters a curse under his breath.

Then he tells Cpl Edst (bottom right) to keep their gun trained on the ville (top left) as he orders his driver to creep forward (center)...

"Contact!!!"  Again Lt Weidner has found the enemy, which appears to be a rifle platoon in the ville (squads at ground level, 2nd floor, and 3rd floor, with their platoon commander also on the 3rd floor).

Sgt Guillaume (bottom right), still smiling to himself about knocking out SSgt Grossman's tank (top left), orders his gunner to fire on Lt Loeb's Panzer III (just below the knocked out tank)...

The shell misses, but is close enough to rock the tank and shower it with fragments and earth.

And then the French 2nd Rifle Platoon, just spotted in the ville, opens fire on Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon (top center, with SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon just to their left and Lt Weidner's vehicles at top left)...

And the French fusillade is furious, knocking out SSgt Aust's 1st Squad and suppressing Lt Klugmann and Sgt Kamphaus' 2nd Squad (red bead, Lt Klugmann has a white bead but it should be red, too, I just screwed up).

Sgt Osswald (bottom center) chills, having a smoke and a pancake while Lt Klugmann's platoon (far left) is being mauled.  SSgt Mader pushes 4th Platoon forward (center and top center, Lt Weidner's Sdkfz 221 at top right).

Meanwhile, SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon and SSgt Mangold's Pz IVs (center right) sneak forward to the Granary, still on blinds.

1st Platoon tries to get organized: Sgt Lehmkuhl moves his 3rd Squad up to try and help Lt Klugmann get back in the fight, but he's still too shook up, while Sgt Kamphaus rallies his 2nd Squad back into the fight (red bead).

Back in the north, Lt Loeb and Sgt Mayer (bottom left) are still facing off against the damn Char B (top right) and wondering when SSgt Mangold is going to get his Pz IVs (on blind at top center left) into the fight!

Lt Loeb (yellow bead) orders his gunner to engage the Char B (top right), and they quickly begin bouncing 37mm shells off the bow of the French heavy tank.

While Sgt Mayer pushes his tank west at speed (bottom center), looking to get on the enemy tank's flank.

But there is good news for the Germans: all that fire from Lt Loeb is beginning to tell, shocking the hell out of Sgt Guillaume and his crew!

And when Lt Loeb's tank (bottom left, Sgt Mayer's at far right) is able to continue to pound the French tank (top right)...

Sgt Guillaume orders his driver to fall back (far right, from far left)!!!

But that is when Major Renaut, the overall French commander, decides to step in (bottom left).

Similarly, with 1st Platoon getting beat up in the south, the German infantry company commander, Captain Freitag, moves up (top left) to help Lt Klugmann (top center) and SSgt Mader (bottom right, with the rest of his platoon at bottom left) get organized and press home the attack.

Back in the west, Major Renaut moves over and rallies Sgt Guillaume's crew back into the fight...

Though they're not able to completely shake off the effects of the German gunfire.

The German infantry slowly manage to get into the fight, with Sgt Lehmkuhl and Sgt Kamphaus' squads (bottom left) opening fire on the ville (top center left)...

And somehow managing to suppress the French rifle squad on the 3rd floor!

*I had some pretty damn hot shooting dice this game.

With 1st Platoon in on the action (bottom left), SSgt Mader directs Sgt Imhofe's squad (bottom center right) to fire as well, as Lt Weidner (far right) looks on from his Sdkfz 221.

While Sgt Imhofe's squad doesn't manage to hit anything, they do lay down enough cover fire for Sgt Kandler and Cpl Rishel's squads to double time up to the treeline, joining them.

But just as SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon (top center left) finally links back up, Major Renaut orders Sgt Guillaume's tank (bottom center) to engage the German infantry.  They immediately load up an HE round in the bow 75mm gun and fire...

Suppressing 1st Squad and pinning 3rd Squad.

Lt Weidner can't see (bottom right), but hears the enemy tank gun (top center).  He hopes it's the same tank he spotted earlier and not another vehicle, and decides his best course of action is to sit tight and pound the ville (top left).  He lets rip with his 20mm automatic cannon...

Pinning the enemy squad on the 2nd floor (yellow bead).

Lt Loeb (bottom left) is frantically calling for help on the radio: "we've forced the enemy monster back, all panzers need to push west with all possible speed!"  He is not happy at all that SSgt Mangold's Pz IVs (on blind at center left, as is SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon) seem to be milling about near the Granary.

Lt Loeb (bottom left) and Sgt Mayer (bottom right) push forward, though not making as much speed as they'd have wished...

Lt Wiedner's 20mm gun keeps pounding the ville...

And is soon joined by Cpl Edst's vehicle, adding it's 20mm cannon to the fight.

And the French 2nd Platoon quickly finds itself in trouble, with all three rifle squads hunkered down, out of the fight.

The German infantry is alive (1st Platoon and the Company Commander at bottom left, 4th Platoon at center, 3rd Platoon on blind at right), but not really accomplishing much and nowhere near closing with and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver...

Captain Freitag moves up during the lull and talks to his friend, Lt Klugmann, getting him back in the fight.

With his 2nd Platoon temporarily hors de combat, Major Renaut commits his Weapons Platoon: the tripod-mounted Hotchkiss on the 2nd floor in the far south (2nd Platoon is in the building at bottom left), and the 25mm anti-tank gun at ground level, below.

*I told the boy he needed to put the ATG in the spot where he expected the most tanks to be, and he understood, but he just wasn't able as neither one of us had any success getting our blinds to move once we got troops on the table.

For those not familiar with IABSM, when you start the game every unit is on 'blinds,' which we are using poker cards for, and you draw cards to move blinds/units/dummy blinds.  At the beginning of the game you only have three cards in the activation deck: Allied Blinds, Axis Blinds, and Tea Break.  But as units get spotted and/or the owning player decides he needs to get them on the table, cards for the units and their leaders (or "Big Men," as the Lardies call them) go into the action deck.

So right now the deck has the following cards:
-German 1st Rifle Platoon activation
-German 1st Rifle Platoon Commander
-German 4th Rifle Platoon activation
-German 4th Rifle Platoon Commander
-German Rifle Company Commander
-German Weapons Platoon activation
-German Recon Platoon activation
-German Recon Platoon Commander
-German 2nd Tank Platoon activation
-German 2nd Tank Platoon commander
-Axis Blinds
-French 1st Tank Platoon activation
-French 2nd Rifle Platoon activation
-French 2nd Rifle Platoon Commander
-French Company Commander
-French Weapons Platoon acrivation
-French MG Bonus Fire
-French ATG Fire
-Allied Blinds
-Tea Break

When the Tea Break card pops out the turn is over and the deck gets re-shuffled.  So we've had a number of turns since we added troops to the table (and their cards to the deck) where the blinds haven't gotten to do anything, and it's really frustrating and doesn't make a lot of sense, and, as I recall, was part of the reason I gave up on the rules.

If you're not familiar, it is supposed to be a huge bonus to still have troops on blinds.  These are your guys that have yet to be detected by the enemy, so they can't be shot at and they don't have to deal with terrain when they're moving.  But I think the fix is simple, and can't believe it didn't occur to me earlier: there are some set actions units that did not activate are allowed to undertake as part of the end-of turn sequence.  Frankly, I just ignore these as I figure if the unit(s) didn't get to activate, well, that's the whole point of friction in rules.  But I feel like blinds not being able to activate doesn't make sense, so I think the answer is to allow blinds to activate automatically as part of the end of turn sequence.  I'll try it out next game and let you know.

Back to the regularly scheduled action.

Captain Freitag (left) has managed to get the understrength 1st Platoon back into fighting shape, though SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon is beat up (top center), while Sgt Osswald, the mortar FO, has managed to get into position in the Farm (far right).

*yeah, that's right, the mortars have yet to speak this game.  Don't misunderstand, I'm not complaining.  I was complaining about blinds not activating because it's supposed to be a big advantage to be on blinds, but it doesn't bother me at all that units actually on the table don't activate, that's the point of friction!

I hope my commentary isn't ruining the narrative: it probably would have been better if I'd simply typed something like "the mortar section got their tubes set up and began cracking open ammo crates, only to discover the rounds were supplied without the fuses!  Sgt Osswald quickly dispatched a team back to the rear to find some fuses for their 80mm HE rounds."

Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon (bottom center, with 4th Platoon at right and Lt Weidner's Recon Plt above them, the enemy Char B at top center) gets back in the fight, firing on the ville (top left), targeting the enemy machine gun team...

And managing to suppress them!

While in the next building east of the French MG team, Lt Gagne rallies the rifle squad on the 3rd floor.

Then moves downstairs to help the squad on the 2nd floor.

SSgt Mangold'd Pz IVs and SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon continue to chill just east of the Granary (blinds at far left), while Lt Loeb and Sgt Mayer push their Pz IIIs (center right and top right) to flank the Char B (behind building at top center).

Sgt Mayer thinks he's going to get on the flank but his tank bottoms out in a rut in the field (bottom right), significantly slowing it down, while Lt Loeb's driver (left) appears to be having problems manipulating the transmission, as they don't move very far either...

*the beauty of dicing for movement! It's awesome!

At this point, Major Renaut (bottom left, next to the pinned Char B) decides it's time to get Lt Renoir's 1st Platoon in on the action, so it comes in just north (center, remember, north is down) of Lt Gagne's 2nd Platoon (top center).  You can just see the 25mm ATG at top right, and the MG is in the building just off camera to top right.

Lt Renoir's 1st Squad takes up station on the 2nd floor (bottom center right) and begins firing on the German 1st Platoon (top center) as he leads two squads over the stone wall (bottom center)...

*The boy is, like his father, pretty aggressive.  We both have a flair for the dramatic and loving nothing more than charging into close assault.  He also knows that his 25mm ATG is out of position and the only way for his infantry to take on armored vehicles is to close assault them, so this move, while a bit aggressive, actually was met by me with approval ;)

The French rifle fire manages to suppress Sgt Kamphaus' 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon...

And while 1st Squad is laying down covering fire (bottom right), Lt Renoir, quite amazingly, is able to double-time his other two squads into position near the Granary (center left, just below Lt Weidner's Sdkfz 221)!

In the west, the French machine gun team is able to rally itself back into the fight.

The situation: Lt Loeb's two Pz IIIs are circling at top right, SSgt Mangold's Pz IVs and SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon (on blinds at bottom right) are chilling, Lt Weidner's armored cars are at center with SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon beat up just below them, Captain Freitag is with Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon at bottom left, and Sgt Osswald, the mortar FO, has taken shelter in the Farm (bottom center, with his mortars off camera to bottom center).  The French MG is in the building at top left, his ATG between the yellow and red buildings at top left.  All of 2nd Platoon is in the red building, as is one squad from 1st Platoon.  Lt Renoir has led the other two squds to the Granary (center, just above the two German armored cars), and the French commander and Char B heavy tank is at top center.

In the south, Lt Klugmann moves back and rallies Sgt Kamphaus' squad (red bead).

While Sgt Lehmkuh'ls squad (bottom left) fires on the enemy machine gun position (top left, in yellow building).

In the west, Major Renaut rallies Sgt Guillaume's Char B...

Then moves further west (center, from far left) in order to be in position to help his Weapons Platoon (top center and right) and 2nd Platoon (top center).

Lt Weidner (center, with Cpl Edst's vehicle to his right) continues to watch the ville (off camera to top right) and, every now and again, pump 20mm rounds into it.  But suddenly he spots movement directly in front of him, just on the other side of the Granary (far right)!!!

Lt Weidner rolls his vehicle up a bit (bottom left) and runs smack into Lt Renoir and two rifle squads!!!  The 20mm cannon roars...

But manages to suppress only the lead rifle squad!

But then Cpl Edst, seeing  his platoon commander in trouble, rolls his vehicle forward and engages too!

And the French 1st Platoon is chopped to bits!  Lt Renoir despondently looks about as both rifle squads he lead forward are shot to pieces and eliminated!

*I think that was a key sequence in the fight: my Recon Plt Commander card came out, I rolled Lt Weidner up and he fired, hardly accomplishing anything.  If the French could have gotten a card to come out they could have rushed Lt Weidner's vehicle and likely would have overwhelmed it.  But instead, the German Recon Plt activation card came out immediately and Cpl Edst was able to move up and blast the French infantry in the open at point blank range.  C'est la guerre...

SSgt Mader (center) hears the sound of two 20mm auto-cannons hammering away furiously (bottom right) and looks up to see two French rifle squads get mowed down.

He then gets to work, getting his platoon back in fighting shape.

But while the French 2nd Platoon (bottom center) has been pretty roughly handled, they still have one squad in fighting shape, and it's the one on the 3rd floor, which has an excellent view of SSgt Mader running around, rallying his troops (top center, with Lt Weidner's vehicles at left, mowing down Lt Renoir's two rifle squads, and Capt Freitag with Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon at top right).  The French riflemen sight in and cut loose on the German 4th Platoon...

And the fire is vicious!  Sgt Imhofe's squad is eliminated, while Sgt Kandler and Cpl Rishel's squads are both suppressed!

*Ouch!  Good dice, but helped by the fact the French were firing down on the Germans, who were essentially in the open because of the elevated line of fire.

The Char B (top center) sits menacingly near the ville as Lt Loeb (bottom center) and Sgt Mayer (bottom right) continue to struggle to get on the enemy tank's flank.

And as they do, Sgt Guillaume pivots his tank left and fires on Lt Loeb's Panzer III (top center)...

Again the German vehicle is rocked by a near miss, but they continue pushing forward.

SSgt Mader (center) is frantic, and furious: "where is our damn mortar support!!!???  And what of our panzers!!!???  We're getting eaten alive here!"  He sets about rallying his troops again...

And he's successful.  Successful enough that 2nd Squad (bottom left) is able to get back to firing immediately.  They target the enemy machine gun position (top left)...

But it's immediately apparent their fire is ineffective when the Hotchkiss (bottom center) rips off a long burst at 1st Platoon (top center right)...

Suppressing 3rd Squad and pinning 2nd Squad!

And then the enemy ATG (bottom left, with the French 2nd Platoon in the building at left and at ground level, above them) gets into the fight.  The enemy gun captain cranks the weapon over, lines up on Lt Weidner's armored car (top right), and fires...

Lt Weidner grabs his driver and pulls him away from the wrecked vehicle.

At this point the German commander can't take it anymore and kicks SSgt Janke and SSgt Mangold in their asses, screaming at them to get into the fight!  They quickly stub out their cigarettes and head off to their waiting men and vehicles.

*I belatedly make the decision to pull 3rd Platoon and 2nd Tank Platoon off of blinds and get their cards into the deck so I might get some use out of them.  Something else is, I never did put the Kampfgruppe Commander on the table!  I was wracked with indecision: do I put him in the south to help the two beat up infantry platoons?  Do I put him in the west with Lt Loeb's two panzers?  Do I put him in the center to get these two platoons moving on the objective?  I couldn't make up my mind and ultimately got overtaken by events.  Now that's some serious friction and fog of war! ;)

Lt Loeb (right) and Sgt Mayer (top right) are very happy to see SSgt Mangold's two Pz IVs finally getting into the fight (far left), and even happier when SSgt Mangold's tank went zooming straight up main street, all the way to the Granary (on the road at top center)!

SSgt Mangold's tank goes clanking up the road (bottom left), nearing the French Char B (top right).

With Lt Weidner's armored car burning at center and the two infantry platoon beat up in the east (far left and top left), Cpl Edst pushes his Sdkfz 221 onto the road (center right), nearing the ville (off camera to top right).

"Enemy tank!!!" the young Corporal (bottom center left, with Lt Renoir skulking about in the remains of his two slaughtered rifle squads just to his right) screams into the radio.  The vehicle halts and Cpl Edst begins bouncing 20mm rounds off the flank armor of the Char B (top center).

The enemy  machine gun (bottom center) continues pounding Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon (top right) as Major Renaut (bottom left) hears the 20mm auto-cannon fire...

And pushes closer (left) to his heavy tank (far left, with Cpl Edst's armored car at top left).

Back in the north, happy to see SSgt Mangold in the fight (just visible on road at far left), Lt Loeb (bottom center) again begins unloading 37mm rounds at Sgt Guillaume's Char B (top center)...

And again the 37mm shells bounce off harmlessly, but the rain of anti-tank fire is enough to shock the hell out of the French tank crew!  Major Renaut (far right) looks on anxiously.

From the ville, the French 2nd Platoon (bottom center) continues to pour fire into SSgt Mader's 4th Platoon (top center)...

Again suppressing 2nd and 3rd Squads.  Lt Weidner and his crew are bailed out at top right.

The last remaining squad from the French 1st Platoon (bottom center, with 2nd Platoon in the building at far right) adds its fire to the mix, also targeting 4th Platoon (top center)...

And SSgt Mader goes down in a hail of bullets, seriously wounded (center casualty, just below the casualty figure for Sgt Imhofe's 1st Squad)!!!

And with that, Lt Renoir, seething at the death of his men, charges Cpl Edst's Sdkfz 221, running and jumping onto the back deck of the armored car!

But Cpl Edst pulls his sidearm and unceremoniously ends the French Lieutenant's quest for revenge...

German panzers (SSgt Mangold's Pz IV at center top, Lt Loeb's Pz III at center right, and Sgt Mayer's Pz III at far right) begin to tighten the noose on the Char B (top center right), but the German infantry is beat to crap at top left (and one platoon still chilling at far left, with Cpl Rausch's Pz IV), and their mortars remain dormant, waiting on those fuzes...  Cpl Edst and his armored car crew find themselves in the vanguard of the German advance, beating back marauding French infantry, tanks, and the lone charging officer.  Meanwhile, the French tank is still in the fight, and their infantry, though beat up, remain in strong defensive positions in the ville (top right).

The French 2nd Platoon (right center) continues to fire on the German 4th Platoon (top left), but they're already so beat up I'm not sure how you'd tell if the fire is effective or not...

There's a whole German infantry company sitting there, having not moved much past their staring positions.  Captain Freitag is on the far left with Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon, which is down a squad and suppressed.  4th Platoon is at center, leaderless, down a squad, and suppressed.  SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon is at far right, untouched, but so far unwilling or unable to get into the fight.  As is Sgt Osswald and his mortars (bottom center)...

Captain Freitag and Lt Klugmann again set about rallying 1st Platoon...

But that damn enemy machine gun (bottom right) opens up again, ripping them (top center) a new one...

Suppressing 3rd Squad and pinning Captain Freitag and 2nd Squad.

Major Renaut (top left) decides he no longer is satisfied with the position of his 25mm anti-tank gun and orders the crew to begin dragging it north, and the crew very impressively gets it to center left from far right very quickly!

*I told the boy it would be tough to move the gun, and what does he do?  He rolls 6" on the move.  Incredible!

With the German 4th Platoon decimated (top right), the French 2nd Platoon (bottom center) now turns its attention to the German 3rd Platoon, sheltering behind the Granary (top center).

And suddenly SSgt Janke's men find themselves in the fight: Sgt Hauer's 1st Squad is suppressed and Sgt Nader's 2nd Squad is pinned!

In the southwest the enemy machine gun (bottom center, with the French 2nd Platoon at left, pounding SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon at top center left) continues to bark at Lt Klugmann's 1st Platoon (top right)...

2nd Squad is eliminated in a hail of fire that suppresses Captain Freitag (red bead at top center, with Lt Klugmann lookin on at top left) and forces Sgt Lehmkuhl's 3rd Squad to fall back (bottom right, from center left)!

Captain Freitag manages to rally his command group as he and Lt Klugmann suddenly find themselves with no troops to lead.

Major Renaut (bottom right) looks on as the German infantry are pounded (top left).  2nd Platoon and the machine gun (top right) are holding strong, the anti-tank gun (behind the buildings at right) is being re-posititioned; I just need to get Sgt Guillaume's crew (bottom left) rallied, and we may just hold, he thinks to himself.

*My boy is complaining aloud about his chances of holding the village, but I'm not feeling so confident myself...

Major Renaut quickly gets to the Char B and gets the crew back into the fight.

With the Char B rallied (top center right) AND looking their way, the German tanks (SSgt Mangold's Pz IV at far left, Lt Loeb's Pz III at bottom center, and Sgt Mayer's Pz III at bottom right) are a bit worried, but know they absolutely must close the distance in order to have any hope of penetrating the French beast's armor.

But then SSgt Mangold has a eureka moment!  Lt Loeb (far right, with Sgt Mayer's tank above him) curses aloud when he sees SSgt Mangold's Pz IV suddenly pivot left and turn off the road.  "Damn you, Mangold, get in the fight!"  He receives only a "stand by" in response, but then smiles to himself when he hears "contact, 12 o'clock, point blank range!"  SSgt Mangold has maneuvered his Pz IV between the buildings of the Granary, shooting through to the south side (far left), coming up on the Char B's (top center left) flank!!!

"Driver, forward!" screams Lt Loeb.  With SSgt Mangold (just visible at far left) on the Char B's (top center right) flank, Lt Loeb pushes his Pz III (bottom right) straight at the enemy behemoth, squeezing him in a vice.

And Lt Loeb isn't he only one happy that SSgt Mangold pushed his panzer (bottom center) to the south side of the Granary; Cpl Edst (bottom left) is supremely happy that something larger has arrived to deal with the French tank (just off camera to right, with the French ATG at top right, between the buildings).  With that, Cpl Edst attempts to relieve some of the pressure on Captain Freitag's landers (off camera to bottom left); he turns the 20mm gun on the building occupied by the French 2nd Platoon (top center) and begins hammering away...

And the German fire, at point blank range, is brutal: the French squad on the 2nd floor and Lt Gagne, who was with them, are wiped out, while the squad's at ground level (left) and on the 3rd floor are both pinned!

While his 2nd Platoon brothers (center) are being pounded by the German armored car, the French machine gun (bottom center) turns its fire on the German 4th Platoon (top center)...

Suppressing the remaining two rifle squads.

And while that is happening, the French anti-tank gun crew manages to wheel the piece into position at the wall (center) and prep it for action!

Lt Klugmann (bottom left, left of the Sdkfz 7) is in shock at the loss of his platoon, while 4th Platoon (right) is shattered and leaderless.  Captain Freitag (bottom left, right of the Sdkfz 7) looks on in fury, screaming into his radio for Sgt Osswald, but getting no answer.  Quickly the Captain rolls the freq over to talk straight to the mortar tubes which, luckily, are monitoring (no sure thing with the way Sgt Osswald runs his unit).  They relay that they have found fuzes for their rounds but have been unable to establish comms with Sgt Osswald.  Captain Freitag quickly calls in a fire mission, targeting the French machine gun position (yellow building at top left).  The German mortar crews begin preparing their weapons to execute the fire mission.

At top center right, Cpl Edst's Sdkfz 221 is pounding the enemy buildings with its 20mm gun, and SSgt Mangold's Pz IV is almost on top of the enemy Char B.

And just as the enemy ATG gets into position (top left), SSgt Mangold's tank fires at the flank of the Char B...

The low velocity 75mm round slams into the enemy tank, the explosion suppressing Major Renaut and his command group.  Sgt Guillaume, inside the stricken tank, searches about, thankful to be alive.  The Char B is immobilized, but the crew has not only stayed in the vehicle, they remain prepared to fight!

*Some incredible dice rolling by the boy saw the crew stay in the immobilized tank AND not become suppressed, each with a 33% chance of occurring (I think he rolled back to back 6s)...

Sgt Guillaume ordered his gunner to return fire, and within seconds a 47mm round was slamming into SSgt Mangold's Pz IV...

The round skips off the frontal armor of the German tank, shocking the crew.

The French 2nd Platoon squad on the 3rd floor (bottom center) sights in and fires on SSgt Janke's 3rd Platoon, behind the Granary (top center)...

And now 3rd Platoon has two squads suppressed and one pinned, without having fired a shot!

When the French tank round skipped off of SSgt Mangold's Pz IV (top center) it made a hell of a CLANG!, drawing Cpl Edsts's attention (center top right, on the road), distracting him long enough for the French 2nd Platoon squad at ground level to hop the wall and dash to a nearby stand of trees (center right, from center left).

*The boy knows his troops have a good chance of close assaulting and winning against the Sdkfz 221 armored car, and if they can beat that it will be a cinch to take out SSgt Mangold's shaken up panzer crew.

In the center, Cpl Rausch maneuvers his Pz IV to the south side of the Granary, between 4th Platoon (top left) and 3rd Platoon (center).

Then immediately the tank fires a 75mm high explosive round at the ville...

Suppressing the French squad on the 3rd floor (bottom right).

SSgt Mangold and his crew begin to come out of their stupor.

The French machine gun crew (bottom center), oblivious to the carnage being visited upon their comrades, simply slap a fresh belt of ammo into the gun and continue their slaughter of the German infantry company, traversing back onto the remains of 1st Platoon (top center right)...

Lt Klugmann is suppressed as Captain Freitag falls, seriously wounded!

In the center, under the cover of the tank fire from Cpl Rausch's vehicle, SSgt Janke manages to get 3rd Platoon back ready for action.

The situation in the north: SSgt Mangold's Pz IV crew (far left) is still a bit woozy from their near miss, Sgt Mayer's Pz III is off in Wunderland (far right), and Lt Loeb's Pz III is charging for glory (center left), straight at the enemy tank (center top left).

Sgt Mayer brings his Pz III (far right) around, but still can't get a shot...

*That damned variable movement again!

Lt Loeb throws caution to the wind, charging his tank almost nose to nose with the Char B!  The French turret begins to swivel towards the German panzer as Lt Loeb's gunner pumps round after round at the enemy tank's gun barrels and vision slits...

When suddenly the massive French tank explodes!!!  And with that, the fight is over.  The French put up quite the spirited defense, but when their tank exploded it snatched the wind from their sails.

The final situation...

Major Renaut's command group and Sgt Guillaume's tank crew surrender to the advancing Germans...

As does the squad from the French 2nd Platoon that hopped the wall and moved up to charge Cpl Edst's armored car.

While the French anti-tank gunners spiked their gun and fell back, joining the machine gun team and last remaining squads from 1st and 2nd Platoons.

Man, what a fight!  I was a bit worried about the disparity in size between the attacking German force and the defending French force; my experience is that most wargame rules struggle with games that have substantial differences in the size of the opposing forces.  But the friction/fog of war brought about by the use of the cards meant that the fight was extraordinarily tense and the outcome hung in the balance until the very end.  The fight was very enjoyable for both of us and we will definitely play again, the only change being our house rule of allowing blinds to activate at the end of the turn if their cards don't come out.

KG Klink accomplished its mission of taking the village, but it was a real meat grinder.  Here are the casualties for the battle:

-55 KIA/WIA/MIA (including the rifle company commander, a platoon commander, and two squad leaders!)
-One Pz III knocked out
-One Sdkfz 221 knocked out

-20 Captured
-One Char B destroyed
-One 25mm ATG destroyed

Character casualties:
-Sgt Hauer, Leader, 1st Squad, 4th Platoon, Grenadier Company, holder of the Iron Cross 2nd Class, was killed in action.
-Captain Freitag, Grenadier Company Commander, was severely wounded, ending his campaign in France.
-SSgt Mader, Leader, 4th Platoon, Grenadier Company, was severely wounded, ending his campaign in France.
-SSgt Aust, Leader, 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Grenadier Company, was severely wounded, ending his campaign in France.
-SSgt Grossman, Vehicle Commander, 2nd Platoon, Panzer Company, was wounded but is able to return to action immediately.

With Captain Freitag out for the duration of the campaign in France, the Grenadier Company needs an interim commander.  Col Klink was going to push Lt Klugmann into the spot, but had second thoughts following the action at Riqueville.  Following his platoon being shot to pieces and his commander being severely wounded right next to him, Lt Klugmann had fallen into a funk, and so the 2nd Platoon commander, Lt Tausch, was given the company.

Colonel Klink never showed up; I guess his vehicle broke down on the way to the battlefield, or maybe he went to the rear to help find those 80mm mortar fuzes.  For the mortars that never fired...  Which reminds the good Colonel, something needs to be done about that slacker, Sgt Osswald.

In terms of heroics, two members of KG Klink were recognized for their personal bravery on the field of battle:

-1st Lieutenant Loeb, commander of the 2nd Platoon, KG Klink's Panzer Company, holder of the Iron Cross 2nd Class and two Wound Badges, was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class for heroism in leading his tank platoon through heavy fire against a qualitatively superior enemy dominating a key crossroads adjacent KG Klink's objective.  Lt Loeb maneuvered his platoon in a flanking maneuver, then personally pushed his vehicle nose to nose with enemy tank, blasting the enemy tank to destruction at point blank range (his crew members were also decorated).  This kill was Lt Loeb's fifth tank kill of the war.

-Cpl Edst, Vehicle Commander, Reconnaissance Platoon, was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class for bravery.  When his platoon commander engaged at point blank range by enemy infantry, Cpl Edst placed his vehicle in the line of fire, eliminating the threat.  When his platoon commander's vehicle was destroyed by enemy anti-tank fire, Cpl Esdst pushed his vehicle forward to cover his platoon commander's evacuation.  Cpl Edst then engaged an enemy tank with auto-cannon fire in order to distract it from maneuvers by friendly panzers to outflank the enemy tank, engaged an enemy strongpoint in a building in the village to relieve pressure on KG Klink's pinned infantry company, and then Cpl Edst fought off a charging enemy officer attempting to disable his vehicle in close combat.

Hope you had as much fun as we did!