Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Battle Lost? Part 2 - les Allemands sont arrivés

Prior to the game the French C in C sent out a briefing to his generals.  I reproduce it below with the kind permission of John Bassett.


1. Objective
Our orders are to form a defensive line and throw back the invaders.

2. Forces
1st Army Group under command of General Billotte (me!) consists of elements of:
- 1 Army (sector north: Mauberge-Avesnes)
Chris Agar and James Cotgrave:
18, 22 Infantry Divs
- 6 Army (sector south: Hirson-Guise)
Rob Cooper and Bob Cordery:
7 North African Infantry, 30 Mountain, 53 Infantry Divs
- 7 Army (sector west: Cambrai-St Quentin) 
Charles Singleton and Patrick Wingfield: 
5, 9, 13 Infantry Divs
- Reserve:
two armoured divisions (1, 4 DCR), one motorised division (5 Motorised Infantry Div).
We are supported to our south by 2 Army and to our north by Lord Gort's BEF.

3. Area of Operations
1st Army Group holds a sector of the frontier with Belgium, opposite the Ardennes forest. The sector is mostly open country, with the Sambre to the east and the Somme to the south. 

4. Intelligence
Intelligence indicates that the Germans are preparing a major offensive involving seven Panzer divisions, one motorised division and at least three infantry divisions.
The Germans are believed to be organised in three or four Korps. Enemy commanders include von Rundstedt, Kleist, Manstein, Guderian and Rommel. I doubt they're any good...
Any further intelligence will be gratefully received!

5. Armee de l’Air
We can be proud that France has the most sophisticated air tasking system in the world. All requests for air support must be made in writing by Div HQ and passed to Army, then Army Group. 
Requests must make reference to terrain features and include date/time (game time) of issue.

6. Communications
I have established Army Group HQ in a well-provided chateau some way to the rear... In practice I'll be in the same room as you, but not at the game table.
Communication to and from Army Group HQ must be made in writing via the Game Director.
I need Army HQs to be my eyes and ears. Send me regular sitreps, covering the state of your own forces, intelligence on the enemy in your sector, requests for air support, reinforcements etc. Please make sure these are all timed/dated (game time).

The scanty nature of the above reflects the rather fluid nature of the situation.  To say nothing of the panic and disbelief prevailing at the time in the real French HQ - likened by one of it's inmates to 'a submarine without a periscope.'
 A French infantry division defends Avesnes
 Douai in the central sector.  French Bloch 210 bombers have just taken 
off on a trainng flight - escorted by Hawk 75 fighters.
 23 Panzer Division on the march
Early in the day the German CO's labels fell into French hands and were dispatched to HQ.
 French troops at St. Quentin.  Well to the rear - for now...
 The shape of things to come?  The panzers bypass French positions.
 A dramatic view of 23PD.
 Avesnes.  The garrison wonders when the Germans will attack.  
Meanwhile Armee de l'Air ground crew abandons the airfield.
 The increasingly busy aerodrome at St. Quentin.


Al said...

Cool mix of kit on display

Tim Gow said...

You ain't seen nothin' yet....

Archduke Piccolo said...

I do like the way you have done the airfield. Without worrying overmuch about scale, the thing seems to work. You may well have provided me with some ideas, there...

Otherwise, I rather like the style of game and the terrain. Id probably be inclined to add more in the way of elevated ground and forest, but much depends upon the extent to which they are held to play a role in the scale of game (Army level) you are looking at.


Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
The Airfields are a heady mix of 6mm buildings, 1/144 aircraft and 20mm figures. That it doesn't look much like a company-level skirmish game means players are less likely to approach it in the wrong way.
The Germans came this way because it was quite flat - so major battle-influencing terrain features are rare. The key thing for me is that the game proceeds swiftly, and having players asking 'does this hill affect my strength, movement etc?' would slow things down. I did include a major forested area and a stretch of hard to cross river.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Yum, yum

Very tasty indeed
I have already said it ... but it is worth saying again, "EPIC!"


Tim Gow said...

There were 22 divisions involved in the game!

Paul Foster said...

The truth of this brief cuts close to the bone!

Tim Gow said...

Paul Foster
Stranger than fact? Oh yes.