The hard working British artillery crews manning the RHA 25 pounders paused and looked up. High above them a distracting sound came looming and booming, becoming louder and louder. The noise turned into a high pitched wail as the gunners recognised their foe to be the deadly German aerial artillery, "Stukas"! (see below):
The first attack of cannon was sufficient to disrupt and suppress both of the guns (see below):
Then the bombs landed with pinpoint accuracy and blew the 25 pounders, limbers, trucks and crews apart. There would be no more friendly artillery support for the British commander (see below):
On the front-line the morale of the beleaguered British infantry battalion collapsed and as the situation had threatened it would do. The battalion ceased to exist as an effective fighting force. The German formation, supported in its attack with a battalion behind it, suffering only minor causalities and having no suppressions, having a regimental commander screaming for immediate exploitation of these favourable developments, not to mention the battalion's own veteran status 'passed' its status check with flying colours. The British linear defensive position had been completely turned. The only British stand in camera shot below is the British FOO who had just lost his artillery and was about to be removed from play (see below, top middle [white based counter]):
The German third infantry formation advanced with the intention of becoming the support battalion to the veteran Panzer Grenadiers, while the 'spent' German battalion would recover its suppressions and push on to the enemy baseline to secure the off table bridges (see below):
The German 'veteran' battalion mounted back up into their half tracks and pushed on into the British defensive vacuum (see below):
The game was called at this point as a major German "strategic victory".
Technically the Germans still had to clear a wood in the middle of the table that overlooked a portion of the "road to the sea", however the British forces were now: out of artillery support, had also started taking "regimental status checks", were outflanked, out numbered [at best 2:1 but possibly as bad as 3:1 depending on the tactical situation], were fighting with a 'green' battalion [as in the 'weak' battalion in the woods] versus 'veteran' Germans, were also facing the prospect of receiving Stuka dive bombing attacks now the British artillery had been taken out (and their low/crumbling morale would certainly not like that), they (the British) would be hit by a divisional concentration of German artillery and at last, at very last, the German regimental infantry gun should get a chance to fire at them (something I had attached to the third battalion as opposed to what I should have done, namely having it being called in to fire indirect all game as a regimental asset).
It was a 'very good' (if not frightening) game to play, certainty having the feel of France 1940. It lasted some three and a half hours and was the most 'conclusive game' of WWII combat using the Battle Group Commander rules I have yet played. There were two players and an umpire. I have to thanks the BGC lads at Hartlepool for putting on a great little scenario.
And I am looking forward to the next one!