Tuesday, 20 December 2011

3 RTR at Calais

Light tanks of 3RTR go train spotting.
This game was run by Martin a couple of weeks ago and used his (and some of John's) 15mm toys.  Leaving aside the fact that this is a scale which will clearly never catch on for WW2 it was a very enjoyable game.  The rules used were John's home-grown 'Battlegroup' and individual toys generally represented platoon-sized units.  John commanded 3RTR and Steve led the German recce forces while our man in the sinister black panzer overalls was none other than your humble correspondent...

Martin very kindly sent me the briefings used - here are the essential points:
After crossing the Meuse on 13th May, three entire Panzer Corps drove westwards 100 miles towards the coast at Boulogne and Calais, threatening to encircle all the Allied armies in Belgium and Holland. Whatever slender Allied reserves were available were rushed to defend the Channel Ports, as the Panzer Divisions came ever closer.

Allied Briefing
3RTR arrived in France on the 22nd May equipped with a mix of familiar Vickers light tanks and brand new A13 cruisers, expecting to work up to combat readiness at a nearby French tank training ground. On arrival the Germans were discovered to be  closer than expected and the regiment was hastily formed up and dispatched with conflicting orders heading first south west from Calais then south responding to reports of German forces on the St. Omer Road.
Engage and destroy the enemy forces on the St Omer Road. If substantial German armoured forces are encountered, assume a delay/defensive posture and prevent German forces from advancing on Calais from the south and south west
3rd RTR (around 50 runners available)
Regimental HQ – one Vickers Light platoon, liaison troop in Dingos.
2 x Light squadrons with 2 x Vickers each (one troop with 15mm BESA)
2 x Cruiser squadrons with 2 x A13 each.
Axis Briefing
1st Panzer Div is approaching the coast, enemy forces are reported to occupy Calais to the north. Corps command is reluctant to assault the town with panzer formations although it seems likely that the town will at least be invested. Earlier in the day before the mist descended there were reports of an enemy tank column manoeuvring to the south of the town directly across your axis of advance.
Continue to advance northwards. In the event of encountering enemy armour, destroy as many tanks as possible.
KG Kruger (1st Panzer Div),
1st Recce Abt
2 x Amd Car companies each: 2 x AC (one with auto cannon)
1 x M/cycle inf company: 3 x platoons plus CHQ
1 x Hvy Co: 1 x mot engineer platoon, 1 x mot 37mm AT gun
Deploy on the high ground to the south, one company must be in column on the road a maximum of 2 feet in.
Available reinforcements
2 x Light Tank C: 1 x Pz IIIe, 1 x Pz II, 1 x Pz I ea
1 x Med Tank Co: 2 x Pz IVd, 1 x Pz II
3 x Mot rifle Co: 3 x Inf, 1 x HQ, 1 x lorry each
3 x 105mm arty bty: 1 x 105mm howitzer plus tow ea
One coy/bty per turn may arrive on the southern road edge, roll 3+ for it to enter.
The Brits also had 'proper' tanks!
The first Panzer Kp arrives to beef up the recce troops.
Panzers (heavy ones by 1940 standards!) trundle forwards.
The two armoured car squadrons probe the right.  The dodgy looking things which clearly aren't Sdkfz222s are in fact Spanish Civil War toys standing in for '221s.
Panzers pass the recce troops on the road.
Panzers swarm forward in true Blitzkrieg style!  The DPM-clad British commander can be seen lurking at the far end of the table.
Bugger (in German).  More British tanks.
Not to worry - we've got more of them - and all in a rather fetching shade of grey.
The second cruiser squadron as viewed from the Brit commander's very own windmill.
Lots of panzers - as viewed from the same vantage point!
Some British tanks try the devious ploy of sneaking round the flank.  What could go wrong?
By now most of the German artillery battalion has arrived and is being offered plenty of work.
The panzers continue to swarm forward.  They like swarming.
The cards represent the possible locations of yet more Brits.
The British flanking move (on the German right) is spotted!
Soon the German gunners join in!
It seems that the big tanks burn just as nicely as the little ones.
Meanwhile the panzers push on.
The sneaky British flanking force in in real bother now.
Overview - the panzers can be seen swarming forward while on the right the recce and the flanking squadron trade long range fire.
I seem to have taken several shots of the tommy cookers...
The panzers all nicely lined up for an assault on the British positions.
More swarming.
The nasty Brits blow up a Panzer III troop....
...but are soon made to suffer.  More.
The Brits withdraw towards the illusory safety of Calais.
Martin says of the game:  I was rather pleased with how it went. As I mentioned, historically the engagement lasted around two hours (1500 to 1700), 3RTR inflicted heavy casualties on the leading elements of KG Kruger but as more Germans rolled up it became a general firefight and eventually the British withdrew when Brigadier Nicolson recalled them to Calais Which is pretty much what happened on the night!


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Very pretty toys. The Brits should have some sort of award for having the prettiest or at least most interesting looking tanks.

So just 1 Panzer slightly scratched then?

Tim Gow said...

Ross Mac
I think two platoons of panzers copped it, along with at least one armoured car and several motorcycle troopers.

Peter Douglas said...


Very nice shots. I know that 15mm is an evolutionary dead end, but it looks nice on the table!


Martin Rapier said...

German armoured losses were fairly light, one platoon of Panzer IIIs and one of armoured cars written off although some of their platoons were still in a disordered state at game end so consider some other losses 'factored in'.

The best part of the motorcycle recce company was wiped out though.

The German artillery distinguised itself by disabling an entire squadron of tanks on its own.

Ray Rousell said...

A great looking game, with some very nice looking photos too!!

Al said...

Nice game, agree on the scale comments, 15mm, too small for these old eyes

Don M said...

A quite nice looking game, well painted figs particularly the Brits!

Tim Gow said...

Peter Douglas
The toys do look nice - even if they lack the personality of the real (20mm) thing!

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier
Thanks for the reminder! The artillery were rather good as I recall.

Tim Gow said...

Ray Rousell
We aim to please Ray.

Tim Gow said...

Just sit nearer the screen. You'll be fine.

Tim Gow said...

Don M
Being well painted is no substitute for the steely determination and inspired leadership of the Germans.

Chris Kemp said...

Nice game. It's the usual fate of motorcycle companies to be almost wiped out :O)

They can sometimes be heard shouting Mensch! as they expire.

By the way, 15mm is a splendid scale, but scale creep is hitting the heads turning them into the old Airfix 1/87s

Paul said...

Nice AAR with lots of beaut pic's.

The poor Tommies, I like how the actual result seemed to tally with the game, unlike when Al and I gamed it.

Good post

Don M said...

Well certainly didn't improve the British armour or gunnery.....)

Stephen Thomas said...

Re - "steely determination and inspired leadership of the Germans". My recce officer -
Leutnant Bernhardt Himmler ( Does the name mean anything to you? ) says :-

"Ich bin eine Hotdog!!! Jawohl! vee reely gib it to doh's Tommies. Und zer armored car. . . . It vas nothink, just a scratch.
Keine problem".

Awfully nice chap - Seems very keen.

Tim Gow said...

Chris Kemp
I knew the motorcyclists were on to a loser - that's why I gave them to Steve!

Tim Gow said...

It's always nice when a game produces a more or less historical result.

Tim Gow said...

Stephen Thomas
The steely determination was all yours. The inspired leadership, on the other hand....

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Great looking game

Tim Gow said...

It's always impressive when an enjoyable two hour club night game can be so photogenic!