THE RED GAMBIT SERIES

Author Colin Gee

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gee_colin@yahoo.co.uk
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I have posted pictures in the graphics section that compliment this post. I hope you enjoy.



Hi, we created a simple scenario, with a German mixed force counter-attacking against recently lost ground, occupied by a British defence.

The Germans employed two tank companies [one of Panthers, one of Panzer IVs, an aufklarungs company, a reduced assault pioneer battalion, and two grenadier battalions, one lorried and one armoured. The hasty defence consisted of a single British infantry battalion, an ad hoc company of headquarters troops, an AT battery [2 6-pdr, 1 17pdr], and the remnants of heavily engaged British armoured units, consisting of 2 M4A3 76mm Shermans, a Challenger, a Centaur, and an AEC armoured car. Sharp-eyed people will see the mysterious arrival of some hedges. We purchased a pack to see how they fitted, and simply left them in place in a redundant area of the table.

[1] looks from the southeast corner, prior to laying the river [he was still painting it!]

[2] looks from the southwest.

[3] looks from the northeast, and finally has the new river sections in place, showing you the precise nature of the German problem. In three, you can see the initial stages of the battle, where one of my Shermans and a 6-pdr are engaging the advancing Aufklarungs troops and a mainly Panther spearhead.

One of his Panthers broke down immediately it came on board, which caused some merriment :-)

[4] the leading Aufklarungs vehicle took a shell in the wheel and slewed off the road. A second hit destroyed the vehicle, wounding one and killing one crewmember. Fearing that the bridge may disappear before his eyes, as he thought he saw some activity at the end of it on my side [I fight as the Allies], my friend surged at top speed [5], intent on getting over the water and finding some cover out of the line of sight of the defence.

[6] On the western flank, he quickly realised that there was nothing to obstruct a run to the ford, but out his assault pioneers in to move over the water and take a small height in the centre of the battlefield.

[7] A single 6-pdr, firing from the flank, disrupted the following Panzer IVs and disabled a lorry, killing two of the occupants, but the lead echelon put the pedal to the metal and plunged on.

[8] The Pioneers quickly deployed out of their lorries, realising they were in the field of fire of the AT gun and a heavy Vickers. Losing a lorry, and subsequently a few men and two boats, they crossed the small river and took the height. How I wished I'd put a small force on it, but I simply felt it was too exposed, and too easily isolated.

[9][9a] Back to the southeast, the aufklarungs surged over the bridge, into the face of a PIAT secreted on the riverbank. Despite having all the advantages, the shot was missed and the recon troopers were very unforgiving. AT and tank shells also missed, and all of a sudden I was in trouble, especially as [10] one Panther put the 6-pdr out of action.

[11] the Panzers backing up the Aufklarungs headed for the bridge and came into range of my Challenger, who took them under fire from a hastily prepared defensive position. A Vickers MG position on the escarpment behind the 6-pdr position managed one burst before being flayed by the MG42s on the recon halftracks.

[12] the Aufklarungs successfully assaulted the fortified ruin next to the 6-pdr, after some nasty hand-to-hand fighting, leaving one half-track to press on into the village, where it ran into the second M4, which missed... and a captured panzerfaust... which also missed.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of what happened next, but the halftrack crew debussed to assault the building from where the Vickers was engaging the pioneers, only to run into a three-sided firebox, from which there was not return. Although their flamethrower did set fire the MG's house, and a panzerschreck took out the 6-pdr that had been troubling the Panzer IVs across the river, the advance group was either killed or wounded and captured in very short order.[I have listed a photo 12 in anticipation of taking one soon]

The first Panther over the bridge took the surviving M4 under fire, but hit the stone wall in front of it. My reply hit but bounced off the angled armour [much to my vocal dischuffment!]

We fired again, his shell neatly slipping through the hole he had just created and immolating my Sherman; my shot equally wrecked the Panther.

Given the clear strength I had in the village, and needing to engage the Challenger with superior numbers, the panzer force on the southeast drive switched to move around the high ground at the village, and strike forward more centrally.

Which brought them into range of a 17-pdr hidden on a height with simply the most gorgeous field of fire.

[13]The Challenger finally scored, and thumped the rearmost Panther in the side, bring about its spectacular demise.

[14] I took this picture of the surviving southeast Panther in the turn before the Challenger and 17-pdr both put metal on target, knocking it out.

I failed to take a picture of the Panzer IV that suffered the same fate next phase.

As matters now stand, his southeastern thrust is all but over, but he has huge manpower advantages on the southwestern side, and a nice inviting wood in which to hide away from y Challenger and 17-pdr. What he doesn't know is that the Centaur is also in the wood, waiting his arrival. As most of my infantry are in the eastern village, I will have to do a quick move with at least a platoon, to back up the handful of soldiers in the ruined village across the way.

The observant will also notice that we started with dice as markers, something of a carryover from our days gaming on the floor. Now that we have the excellent Kallistra terrain, we've decided to invest all our time and money in terrain, rather than forces. Simply put, we have simply huge armies that will keep us going for a century, so make the surface we play on the best it can be. I can tell you now, it really does make one heck of a difference. You can see the old playing area [20cms x 20cms squares on a painted chipboard floor that was roughly 6.5m x 5m]. The roads are card that has been flocked, and date back to the seventies and eighties. They are being replaced and I will post some pics in time. We are also using the hexons to create insertable tableaus. I've created a bamboo and banyan one, which will start us off on a project to create a pacific island. [We enjoy our pacific fighting, if for no other reason than it is always intense and high casualty warfare.] I also plan to produce hexons pre-drilled with trees and dressed with shrubs and leaf litter, so it will be simply easier to do set-ups, lifting out a board and replacing it with the appropriate tableau. When I have a few, I will post pics.

Anyway, back to the battle.

He has lost three Panthers to direct fire, one to breakdown, One Panzer IV to direct fire, and the best part of an Aufklarungs company.

His two grenadier battalions are still intact and opposed by a rag tag adhoc unit in the destroyed village. I have lost two 6-pdrs and two M4 Shermans. My infantry battalion has been blooded but is still intact. My adhoc infantry unit is presently untroubled. I still control the centre ground with the Challenger and 17-pdr, although the Challenger is running low on AP/APDS ammunition. I have a Centaur and an AEC armoured car in the woods area. Personally, I think I’ve got him beat, but his troops are a better quality than mine, and the Panzer IVs can kill anything I possess, so maybe I shall still err on the side of caution. Much depends on what happens between the woods and the destroyed village methinks.

I add pic [15] just to show some detail from inside the intact village. [The Germans are coming from the left.]

To be continued.

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October 19, 2015 at 5:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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