One of Rob’s favorite periods is Early War Europe and his collection of French, Germans, British, and Belgians is impressive. Using the fighting around Bulson as inspiration for our game we featured the Germans battling with the French using our go to rules set, Battlegroup. For those of you who are not familiar with Battlegroup; these are a comprehensive set of written by Warwick Kinrade covering World War Two. The Blitzkrieg book focuses on the very earliest part of the war and adds a few special rules, scenario conditions and vehicles to capture the look and feel of 1940.
To keep things interesting the scenario was designed around a German airborne drop around a collections of bridges with German reinforcements attempting to relieve the paratroops before they were overwhelmed by the French. This was the second scenario we’ve played using a Fallschrimjager drop onto bridges, but the first by parachute; the previous drop used gliders.
Early Game: With flights of JU-52’s roaring overhead the battle began and the paratroopers dropped into open field. Their position was good, they were close to the bridges and away from the French, who were dug into a small village, but the landings were rough. Almost half of the Germans were wounded on landing and critical resources like the Air Spotter were killed. In addition to the air drops, German recon advanced up into blocking positions along key roads.
JU-52s after the drop.
A sharp firefight developed in the field where the elite paratroopers landed. Despite the losses on landing they did their job; keeping the French infantry from reinforcing the bridges. French reserves moved in from off table, an armored car and Char B’s taking the lead. As the French moved across the bridges to engage the Germans vehicles began to break down after their long road march. The French armored counter attack was halted and they were forced to engage the paratrooper at long range while they waiting for engineers to clear the bridge with demolition charges.
The Paratrooper drop.
Mid Game: The mid games didn’t go well for the Germans, their flanking forces got lost on the winding roads of the battle rural France.
The lost flanking forces.
The slog in the center continued and the paratroopers were forced back into a row of cafés to avoid the antique 155mm French artillery firing directly onto their positions. The French were unable to exploit their gains due because the bridges were still blocked.
Char B’s bombard the cafe.
On the left a firefight between French anti-tank guns and German armored cars holding the entrance to the village didn’t go well for the Germans with three vehicles lost. No reserves were forthcoming due to mine strikes along the road, which was now jammed.
A second firefight, on the far right between French tanks and another recon platoon developed and also didn’t go in the Germans favor, end with the loss of three vehicles.
The firefight on the right.
Late Game: The Germans were starting to run out of steam but the French were exhausted too. The remaining paratroopers would not budge and the French, fresh out of infantry in the town and with the bridges still blocked were in no position to do anything other than bombard them.
German tank push on the right.
On the left the German artillery finally showed up and smashed the road block but the German armor had all gone right and found themselves fighting up a narrow road and against a half dozen H39’s. The battle was swinging in the Germans favor but with a heavy cost.
As both sides surveyed what was left and the positions of the reaming troops we called the game. The Germans made a great effort but with the bad paratrooper drop, the flanking forces getting lost and the artillery coming in at all the wrong time we called the game. We had a good time, Rob as always, adds great flavor to the game with key primary objectives, smaller secondary objectives, flanking forces and special conditions. This time, to reflect the French situations some tank were out of ammo, and others were out of fuel.
Fallschrimjagers hold the cafe despite the odds.
Mr. Allen Smith’s video of the game.