Tuesday, 29 May 2018

1940: Panzer Leader - Gembloux Gap Scenario

The Panzer Leader 1940 Gembloux Gap Scenario: A "meeting engagement" which was not quite historical as the Germans probed a hasty French defence.

Nevertheless we played it as per the scenario. I worked back from the maximum first moves (as per the scenario instructions to see that the columns would hit each other in the middle of the board. So in effect apart from deciding on the "order of march" the game will start on Turn 2 for the French (see below): 

Note: Please see this link for Panzer Leader Scenarios: http://gregpanzerblitz.com/scenarios.htm
The parent Web-Site contains lots of good stuff too: http://www.gregpanzerblitz.com/

This scenario is Scenario 21: Belgium Clash of Armour

Game Turn One: The march to contact (see below):

Game Turn Two: The collision of the two juggernauts. With their slight advantage in speed the French have taken the opportunity to gain the "Forrest" and lower "Hill" whereas the Germans start with a couple of "Town Hexes" (see below):

The Germans taking a page from the Biltzkrieg manual plug the "Town" as a defensive backstop with some troops and then try to outflank the French above the "Forrest" and gain possession of the larger hill (see below):

The battle fragments into two separate engagements. The French armour assaults the "Town" and manages to nick an unoccupied hex - which means they will be hard to extract. However the French troops outside the town are being "chipped" away and it looks a 'score draw' in this sector with the Germans 'pinned' and the French 'frustrated' unable to exploit their gains. Meanwhile behind the "Forest" the Germans have tried a bold outflanking move and overrun attack on the French motorised infantry column of transports (see below):

However before the overrun attacks are conducted (which would mean goodbye to a third of the French force) we need to consult the rules. In the basic game the overrun would go in despite the Germans being in clear sight of the French .. which seems unrealistic. We go with the advanced rule which allows the French to fire before they reach the overrun targets but the forgo their fire/move for the next go - although there are no modifiers for trying to hit a fast moving target. The result is a lot of burning German tanks .. definitely a French win in this sector. Overall the French have it and as the German Commander I glumly look at my wrecked Panzer Regiment (see below, not much grey left above the wood, I have infiltrated my motorised infantry to attack the French artillery in the enemy rear though):

Summary: The Germans made a beginners mistake in trying to "run through the gun". To be fair it was the first time the advanced "opportunity fire" rule really came into effect. A replay could well be on the cards although the encounter scenario seems to far away from the historical battle it was rather an opportunity (or rather only opportunity) to play with the French S35 Somua kit. A review of the Order of Battle for the scenario (see below):

The French had the better kit and some nice artillery. The Germans were faster and had more tanks but in this era (apart from moving cross country) armoured cars and tanks had comparable armament and in some cases armour! A more historical scenario would be with the French defensively deployed on the first board.

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