Ron Bingham (known as SFC Retired 'round the FOW forum) put on an excellent EW game at FTW Games in Midlothian. Rob Eubanks and I ran the French, with Hugh, Dan and Kevin commanding the Germans. Ron wrote up an excellent AAR and I've reprinted it here for posterity. Read on!
Last EW france 1940 Play-test AAR Hurrah for Blitzkrieg
3DCR vs 5th PzD Armor Encounter near Sedan 22 May 1940
A group of Richmond VA gamers met at our local game shop (FTW Games) Saturday to promote the arrival of “Blitzkrieg” early war book. We played our LAST France 1940 game using the EW play-test OB’s that have served us well for many years.
The game fought was a modified Armor Encounter scenario using a 1965pt Panzer Co vs. a 1850pt Fr Armor Co. Victory conditions started on turn 5; whichever force starts turn 5 owning an uncontested OBJ or destroying the enemy company or forcing a failed co morale is the winner. The game was fought with 5 commanders; Steve and Rob commanding the 3DCR and Dan, Kevin and later joined by Hugh commanding the 5PzD.
German Commanders (starting the fight)
One of the house rules I used in this play test allowed each side to roll for reserves staring on turn one. Number of dice rolled is equal to platoons in their company but the max number of reserve platoons allowed to arrive cannot be higher than the current turn.
Battlefield with Deployment quads and OBJ's
Pz Co (5PzD) (8 PLTs) 1965pt, Confident Veterans
HQ and 2iC PzIIC, PzI w/recovery SdKfz9
1st Plt: 4ea PzIIC
2nd Plt: 4ea PzIIID
3rd Plt: 3ea PzIVA
Pioneer Plt: HQ, 4ea Pio R/Mg tm, Trucks, Pio Supply Truck
Lt AA: 2ea Kfz 15 w/ twin AA MG34s
AT Plt: HQ, 2ea Pak 36 At Guns, Kfz 15 and M/C
PzSchutzen Plt: Cmd MG Tm, SdKfz 251/10, 6ea MG Tm, 3ea SdKfz 251
Recon Plt: 1ea 223 radio, 2ea SdKfz 221
Air Support: Lomited Stuka w/bombs
Fr Ar Co (3DCR) (10Plts) 1950pt, Confident Trained
HQ: 1ea H39 37L
1st Plt: 1ea H39 37L, 2ea H39 37mm
2nd Plt: 1ea H39 37L, 4ea H39 37mm
3rd Plt: 1ea H39 37L, 4ea H39 37mm
4thPlt: 3ea S-35 Souma
Deep Recon Plt: 5ea Panhard AMD 175
1st Fusilier Plt: HQ, 1ea VB tm, 6ea MG tm, Trucks
2nd Fusilier Plt: HQ, 1ea VB tm, 4ea MG tm, Trucks
AAA Plt: HQ, 2ea 25mm AA
Recon Plt: 5ea Panhard AMD
Art Plt: HQ, Staff Tm, 4ea 75mm, 2ea obv
Art Plt: HQ, staff Tm 2ea 105 howitzers, 1ea obv
The Germans won both the deployment roll and Recon/move first roll. They chose to enter from the heavily wooded hills and forced the French to enter from the corner near the bombed out church. The Germans moved their Recon AFV up alongside the Château while the French pushed their Panhards very aggressively into the middle of the battlefield. (Side note: The Germans were two FoWarriors with limited FoW experience. The faced off against two very experienced FoWarriors. Luckily for them they were joined on turn 3 by Hugh. Hugh is an experienced FoWarrior and ex-US Army Tanker and Company Commander.
German OBJ: Destroyed CHAR B
French OBJ: Destroyed 105mm gun
Turn 1: German: decided to NOT roll for air Support as few targets: PzIII Plt arrives and pushes towards the Château. The Recon stay put..
French: Roll for reserves and rec’d the 105 howitzers. Panhards move towards the château in hopes to stopping the German recon force.
German recon near cheateau
Panhards cross French countryside
Turn 2: German. Roll for A/S but is intercepted by the FR Air Force. Only the Pioneers arrive and they move forward to defend the OBJ. the PzIII’s move up between the château and rail depot. They take a shot and kill one Panhard and bail another.
PzIII makes a kill
French: 75mm Art and first H-39 Plt arrive. Panhards pull back behind the rail depot to reorganize leaving the bailed AFV to its own fate.
German Pioneers arrive
Fr 105mm Howitzer
Turn 3: A/S arrives and targets Panhards…hitting but only bailing one AFV! Hauptman Hugh takes command and orders the arrival of the PzSchutzen and PzIVs. The PzIII’s and recon Plt advance past the château.
Only Stuka attack in the battle!
French: 2 reserve Plt’s arrives the French choose one Inf Plt and the Souma. The Inf moves up to support the artillery and defend the OBJ. The S-35 tanks head off behind the woods. Both artillery batteries fire; the 105s miss and the 75s hit but with no effect.
Fr 75mm battery defends the OBJ
Turn 4: A/S Arrives and is intercepted by the French. The Luftwaffe played had no more effect on the battle. It only arrived once more and was intercepted too. The French ended to battle with 2 out of its 5 A/S dice left.
Germans: AT and AAA Plt arrive and both move towards the château to support the attack in the center. The Pioneers dig in to defend the OBJ s. The PzSchutzen move up to near the rail depot and the PLT leader fires but misses an H-39 tank. The PzIII’s and recon move to within a turn of their OBJ. and kill one 75mm gun and one Hotchkiss AAA team.
PzSchutzen on the march
French: More Fusiliers, AAA and a H-39 Plt arrives. The Fusiliers’ and AAA defend while the H-39s move towards the rail depot. The S-35 tanks move into the woods on the PzIII flank. The Panhards hit and kill one PzIII.
Turn 5: No A/Stuka’s arrive. PaK 36 and PZIIs arrive and move towards the rail head to defend alongside the PzSchutzen. The PzIVs move to the left of the château so it may support ether flank. The PaK 36 moves to the right of the château and protect that flank. The PzIII’s and Recon feeling threatened decide to live up to the Panzer code advance in to what will soon become “hell!” The PzIII kill all but one Panhard and it bails the survivor who in turn passes his Plt morale.
PzIIs advance through an orchard
Farthest Panzer advance
French: Seeing that he now threatened the PzIII’s and recon AFVs on three sides’ attacks. They unleash an awesome combined arms volley with S-35s, Panhards and 75mm direct fire. When the smoke cleared the 3 PzIII’s and all the Recon AFVs were destroyed leaving only the 2iC bailed! The little PzI passed his morale.
FR 75mm view of the battle
S-35s attack PzIIIs
Bad day for the Panzers
Panzer attack halted
FR 2iC looks over the battlefield
Turn 6: Stuka’s arrived but are intercepted!
Germans: seeing the destruction of the advance party Hauptman Hugh orders his force to go into the defense in hopes to stop the French. The PzSchutzen’s jump out of their tracks and settle in behind the railroad tracks. The Co Cmdr takes charge of the PzII Plt and advance out to meet the oncoming H-39s. They fire and bail on tank. The PzIV’s move towards the railhead while the PaK 36 fires a flank shot that bounces off an S-35 tank.
PaK36 view of the battle
French: The last H-39s (Polish) Plt arrives. With no further threat in the center the French order an all out advance. The S-35s fire and hit both PaK 36’s who amazingly pass their 3 saving rolls. The two H-39s tank Plt’s fire. They killed two PzII one was the Company Commander who is killed! They also bail out two tracks and killing one INF tm. Both French artillery batteries fire pinning the PzSchutzen but missing the PzIVs.
H-39s on the attack
FR combined arms attack
Turn 7: Germans No A/S; The Pz IV move up to support the PzII’s. All fire and miss! The PaK 36 fires and misses.
French: With the enemies attack faltered and the dice cold the French go for the coup de tat’ (pardon my French) The H-39’s along with a awesome artillery barrage of 105s and 75mm guns killing two more PzII and a PzIV. The last PzII breaks morale and departs. The French Inf continues to advance and is now in almost striking distance too. The S-35s fire and kill the two PaK 36 AT guns. The surviving Plt Ldr breaks morale and runs.
FR inf advances across plowed field
PZIVs pass burning Co Cmdrs tank
Turn 8: Once again No A/S! Where is the Luftwaffe?
German; Hauptman Hugh wants to order a withdrawal but is talked into one more turn? He moves up the two surviving PzIV’s along with the dismounted PzSchutzen to defend the OBJ with the Pioneers. The PzIVs fire and finally kill a French tank!
French: Feeling the sting of a 75 tank gun the H-39s stay put and let the Infantry advance. % H-39s then fire and kill the last two PzIVs. This kill put the German army under 50% and with no Co Cmdr they decide to concede the battle!
The Commanders in battle
GM Observations: I was glad to see a solid French victory. I have GM’d this scenario 7 times and in at least 4 of the games it ended in a bloody draw with both sides pounding on each other. The others were victories but not as one sided as this one. Steve and rob played the French excellently. And kudos goes to the inexperienced Panzer commanders. They both said they learned many lessons from this tank fight and look forward to a re-match soon. BIG thanks to Hugh for taking charge of a desperate fight and doing the best with the conditions handed to him.
I look forward to soon starting to convert my 15+ EW OB’s (Germans, French and BEF) from the play-test to conform to “Blitzkrieg” and fighting the good fight....
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