Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Battle for Botolphs Bridge : Operation Sealion

We played another Operation Sealion game this weekend. Part of what attracts me to the open ended narrative campaign is it gives me a structure into which I can plan and play lots of different scenarios. As well as some bigger battles I want to be able to play some smaller games where time is tight or where I can introduce new or different people to the campaign.

Anyway onto the battle........ Whilst the Battle for Hythe raged and the Germans sought to establish a bridgehead around Hythe other elements of the 17th Infantry Division have landed slightly further west. They are heading inland from Dymchurch to secure the left flank of the Bridgehead. Their ultimate aim once the Birgdehead is secured is to push towards Lympne airfield and to knock out gun emplacements along the escarpment which forms the northern edge of the Romney Marsh. One key crossing is Botolphs Bridge and a small reconnaissance force has been sent to capture the bridge intact. They are hoping to be supported by paratroopers landed earlier in the day but it is not clear if this support will arrive or from where. The British defenders  have blocked the bridge and are rushing any available reserves to the area.
Botolph's Bridge with the pub at the crossing, the British have heavy machine guns in both pillboxes German recon forces enter from the basline, paratroopers will enter as reserves from turn 3 from a random corner the other side of the bridge.
Small infantry squads break cover and attempt to rush towards the bridge under cover from MG34's, scattering the sheep. But the defenders are waiting and prepared immediately slowing the German advance.
Despite this one group are able, with some luck and " courage" to reach the first bunker, they are able to dispatch the occupants quickly but when they look around their are not many of their comrades remaining.
Oberleutnant Crumptz....has moved into the open ground to encourage the infantry to get moving, they are in danger of getting pinned down in the open
The British have managed to bring up some reserves including a small unit of bicycle riding infantry who have taken up a defensive position along the hedges hoping to hold the Germans back.
The situation for the attackers is getting desparate the infantry on the hill despite the Oberleutnant's encouragement are either pinned down or out of the battle. The unit at the pillbox are ok but casualties mean they are not really and effective strike force. But suddenly shouts in German can be heard coming from the other side of the river, and gun fire the Fallschirmjager have arrived. If he had more time the Oberleutnant would undoubtedly have muttered "about time"
Fallschirmjager who have dropped inland make it to the battlefield, their key objective to link up with regular forces moving inland and secure key bridges and crossings before they are blown.
The fire fight at the bridge continues.......the German Infantry don't have the strength to storm the bridge or the time to remove the barrier. The armoured car adds heavy support and machine gun fire but the British infantry squad has rushed onto the bridge.
The German paratroopers can be seen closing in at the back of the pub although they are partially hidden by drifting smoke laid down earlier in the battle.
(Missed a photo here with all the excitement) the British squad on the bridge has come under devastating fire from all the German troops those not killed have been forced to flee by the Germans by the pillbox finally pushing forward onto the bridge (mindful of the time pressure to capture the bridge 6 turns !) The Germans similarly come under intense fire when they make it on to the bridge, and although they take cover they are wiped out. Luckily Oberleutnant Crumptz is on hand to single handedly rush the bridge in the final turn.
Sadly this was to prove a suicid mission ...........What Herr Crumptz hadn't realised was the bag still contained one last order dice for the Morris Armoured car, this was the final dice to be pulled and allowed it to fire directly at him, and even though he was a lone figure in hard cover they managed a single hit. So with the final roll of a single dice the fate of the battle was resolved he was killed and the British were able to blow the bridge. This would give the Germans considerable delay moving forward. There are other bridges they can capture and they can bring up pontoons (further scenarios for the future๐Ÿ˜€) but for now the pace of the advance has been slowed.

A fantastic game literally decided on the last roll of the dice. I am going to write some more scenarios some hopefully slightly smaller still than this one which I can pick up and play......

25 comments:

  1. Quite a scrap! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks AJ a battle in the balance right to the end

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  2. Nice. Are you sure this was not Stamford Bridge?

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    1. Thanks P. Yes you might have spotted the river but we did chance the wooden bridge for something slightly more in keeping. Will contact you separately about catching up sometime.๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. A hard fought battle...and whay a close thing. Really loving these!

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    1. Cheers Gordon....it was whay close. Hopefully more soon but VBCW at the weekend.

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  4. cracking battle, although all battles end with the last dice sometimes it is a vital one. Great stuff. see you on Saturday

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    1. Thanks Martin.....the closeness was we had two coloured order dice in the bag one from each side.....but I pulled the German one first allowing the Brits to go last and have a shot. Which they nearly missed๐Ÿ˜€ All good for Saturday.

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  5. That's a cracking looking game!

    I wonder if jackboots can be used as wellington boots? With the river now to cross, I suppose they'll soon find out :))

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    1. Thanks Roy.........we may find out although I suspect the Germans may be bringing in pontoons for just such eventualities.

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  6. Another splendid little action in your on going campaign.

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  7. Lovely game - and I love the setting. As a very young child my family had friends who lived just behind the 'Great Redoubt' on the sea wall between Hythe and Dymchurch - and I can still remember my Dad going out to that pub in the evenings!

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    1. Thanks Ian, you are the second person to mention a connection to the area. Part of my fascination having read a number of the books on Sealion was the fact that I was brought up in Folkestone so I know the area really well. I am planning to build a Martello tower soon ๐Ÿ˜€

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  8. I would love to see that when it is finished. If you know the Martello tower in Dymchurch, my Dad took me to see it on the day it opened to the Public (Ministry of Works, in those days!) - Trafalgar day 1965 - I can just remember it. By sheer happenstance, I went down there a few years ago and visited the same Martello tower - on Trafalgar day 2005! The world is full of strange coincidences....

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    1. Yes i do know Dymchurch fairly well and the tower, as it is slightly more isolated I might even plumb for a scenario at that one. I need to find a flower pot just the right size !

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  9. I'm not unfamiliar with the Dymchurch area, too. (just to add to how popular the place is.)

    Back in 1996 the family holidayed at a holiday site around that area, so I could visit Dover Castle's 50th Anniversary of D-Day event. I can remember seeing the Martello Towers, and I'm sure it was on that visit that we also went to Walmer Castle - Where the Queen Mum stayed at regularly, and I believe the Duke of Wellington might have visited often (but I'm not sure if my memory is correct, there).

    Yes, English Heritage - Dover Castle celebrated the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1996. Brilliant! Somebody in the office probably didn't receive a Xmas bonus that year :))

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    1. Wellington I think (without checking) was Lord warden of the cinque ports or some such and hence the links to Walmer.

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  10. Great AAR Matt, I could seriously be tempted back into WW2 on the strengt of this.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Thanks Stu......WW2 of a kind๐Ÿ˜€

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  11. Good game and narrative.
    Champion effort nice when a scenario design plays out well.
    Cheers!

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    1. Thanks for viewing, hopefully a long term project so more battles to come

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