The defending British Battalion was suffering under successive rounds of artillery bombardment. The good news (for the British) was that the German XXX assets were now expended, but the German XX assets were still making his life hell. The British Battalion HQ was suppressed and an already suppressed rifle platoon died under a second suppression (see below). This death would trigger a British "status check" so the emphasis for the German now was to 'get in' and add to the dead tally to break the battalion's "fighting will to continue" (see below):
The Germans now switched to laying a "Smoke Screen" to restrict British incoming fire and isolate the British middle (see below, good plan but it all depends if the smoke screen actually "takes"):
Meanwhile the British unilaterally started to pull back (nay retreat) from their "middle" operational sector. This was to avoid their linear defence being outflanked and perhaps allow their regimental commander time to allocate a new defensive objective and form a second line of defence. However the British player was caught between the horns of a nasty dilemma; by concentrating on making a new defence line the first line would inevitably crumble quicker; but bolstering the beleaguered battalion with command emphasis would leave the other British battalions without new (relevant) orders and effectively become dead sticks stuck in the mud. The Brish commander chose the latter option, to concentrate in fighting on with the front line (which made the best sense).
The German infantry moved in for the attack under cover of the "smoke" (see below).
Note: I had made a mistake here as the lower smoke screen (see photograph below, bottom middle) was rendered useless by my troops attacking through it (it does obscure movement behind it but it did not count as cover, as in it does not stop bullets). I wanted to attack as opposed to just move into position behind it. I should have used these artillery battery as either in straight forward indirect fire mode or by doubling my chances for an effective smoke screen at the top (see photograph below, top middle)
The Germans pick up a couple more suppressions in the fire-fight, but manage to kill another British rifle platoon (and make that "status check" for the British harder to pass, see below):
However the "smoke screen" does not fully develop (in fact fails pitifully) and the extra incoming British fire takes out another German rifle platoon, thus making the German formation take a "status check" (see below):
The British take a morale check (rolling low when high was desperately needed) and the Tommies "falter". This means no forward motion allowed (which saves a German FOO from being 'close assaulted by a British rifle stand) and leaves the battalion's morale just to say 'hanging on' to their 'confidence' in its original orders. The Germans pass comfortably and stand ready to exploit their gains (see below):
Until that is the British FOO bring the 25 pounders back into play suppressing another two stands in the German assault battalion. Now it has taken one third casualties and has another third suppressed (see below). Perhaps it is time to play "tag you're up" with the Veteran Panzer Grenadiers in the Hanomag 251 half tracks "supporting" the lead battalion.
Next: Close quarters infantry combat