Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Battle for Horn Street : Operation Sealion

To recap the Germans are pushing inland from the coast their objective to capture and hold the main road A20 into Cheriton and Folkestone. The detials can be found here   The Battle for Horn Street. (Hopefully I have learnt how to do links now? ) We are still on S day (invasion day) 14th July but by now moving into the afternoon. Initial beach heads have been secured and a strong Element of German infantry supported by Panzers are joining up with a Fallschirmjager company who have already advanced to St Martin's church. The scene is set.......

The Germans advance straight up Horn Street having scouted the area they have not found significant resistance, presumably this is why the German Oberleutnant has sent the Fallschirmjager down the road in advance ? They are followed by the might of newly arrived Panzers
A better shot of the full scale german advance, an armoured Sdkfz 222 and a PanzerJager I have taken up a position on the hill to provide covering fire whilst the infantry and armour negotiates the railway cutting.
The Germans have placed an observer unit in the church to call in Stuka support if needed
The plucky Brits aren't going to let the Germans have it all their own way ! Infantry from the 8th and 9th Royal Fusiliers is rushing up to defend the road, they are supported by the 113th Field Artillery who even at this early stage have managed to bring two 25lbrs and a 2lbr anti tank gun to the area, these have been hooked up to Bren Gun Carriers who will also hopefully get stuck in.....
The field artillery are entering the battle from the north driving past Danton Farm the A20 in the distance
With church bells being rung all over the area the Home Guard are out in force, squds from both the Folkestone and Cheriton Home Guard have rushed to the area in delivery vans, they jump out and immediately run into the cafe ? Hopefully not for tea and scones !
Seeing the advancing field artillery from their vantage point the German air observer calls in a bombing run, hearing the wailing from the Stuka the crew jump for cover but the leading Bren Gun carrier is blown to pieces, the gun is ok but the road is now effectively blocked and it will take some time before the field artillery can deploy.....if only they had used the main roads !
Meanwhile in the south the German blitzkrieg trundles on....in the foreground they have a Fallschirmjager 80mm mortar crew who begin to lay down smoke to support the attack........textbook stuff...but will it work ?
More Fallschirmjager have made it into the railway cutting, whilst vehicles clearly can't cross other than the bridge infantry appear to be able to advance through, the steep sides giving plenty of cover but preventing them from running.
Finally the artillery is getting itself sorted but the farmer has parked a van in the way so it takes a turn for one of the crew to move this out the way
The cavalry arrive.......we'll some of it the 8th Royal Tank Regiment have entered from the west down the A20 and immediately engage the advancing enemy, their tanks are dated compared to the German Panzer IV but the 2lbr guns they carry pack enough punch. The Matilda is virtually immune to anything the Germans have but the A9 is made of fairly thin tin !
The Germans have wheeled artillery up to the hill as well Pak 36 and a 75mm light Gun, when they see the Home Guard taking up defensive positions these start to shoot into the buildings of the right (the edge of Cheriton) 
Why the allies didn't blow the bridge I don't know the Panzer II is the first armour across, whilst the leading Fallschirmjager make a heroic charge up Horn Street itself.
Some of the British infantry seem slow to get in place more bothered about the farmers livestock....whilst the Germans start shooting into the town !!
The road block cleared the final antitank gun can be moved up and deployed
A welcome sight over head a Gloster Gladiator from Biggin Hill mainly on a reconnaissance flight over the beaches ensures at least some of the German infantry keep their heads down, whilst the machine guns it carries are very noisy they have little real impact.
The Germans are laying down smoke across the fields to limit visibility, but the British have managed to knock out the Panzer II which can be seen running by the bridge the PzIV has simply pushed it out the way and driven straight down the street. The smoke is hampering the artillery getting a clean shot.
Fallschirmjager are now pushing into the fields....across the cutting 
Having stayed too long over enemy lines eventually the Gladitor takes a hit and has to head away from the battlefield hopefully he can make it to Hawkinge  or Lympne airfields ?
Surrounded by smoke the Fallschirmjager are dug in but pinned down to the west
There has been fierce hand to hand fighting in the terraced houses on the right, not surprisingly the Fallschirmjager forced the home guard to flee, but at a critical strategical location the British have also sent in troops to take the house back......the house changes hands about four times in the battle.
The view down Horn Street the 38(t) which has held back starts to move up to the bridge 
The allied artillery which now has a great position is hampered by smoke......shaken but the early morning rush, the Stuka attack and the prospect of the German invasion being a real event not just a rumour they are almost unable to hit a single target !!!!
Whilst hand to hand fighting takes place in the buildings the PzIV has made it to the cross roads looking now for more targets....the armoured 222 has turned down the A20
With a flank attack the A20 repeatedly fires at the Pz but is unable to score a knock out hit
More infantry across the railway cutting
Not quite sure of their orders the Matilda pushes forward to try to secure the bridge
The German artillery 'park' on the hill is relentless firing into the town, luckily the Panzerjager is not on form and as the most power unit on the battlefield it has limited success....no medals for them.
The German infantry are right up to the town and assault one of the Bren Gun Carriers luckily they are repulsed but things are looking grim for the allies
The A20 is blocked by German armour, the Matilda in the fields is finally able to knock a track off the PzIV immobilising it, but it is still able to fire and I am sure german enginees will soon have it fixed. The Bren Gun carrier has nothing powerful enough to impact the armour so is holding back.
The 38(t) and the Matilda fight it out in the fields but German numbers are building up around the road junction, the German Oberleutnant can be seen in the distance, by the washing line, setting up a german road block.

A final shot of the battle from the church roof. The Germans have achieved their objective to cut the road, their is still resistance in the west where the British infantry have the Fallschirmjager pinned down, the Matilda and the A9 are still fighting, but it is only a matter of time before they will be outflanked and forced to retire. The Germans can now turn their attention to Cheriton and Folkestone itself the prize being the Harbour.

A couple of notes about the battle. Firstly it was tremendous fun so thanks Martin for a great day, a game played in perfect spirit. The British artillery was utterly useless all game but then so was the German ? Barely a hit between them this was reflected in the fact that only one tank the Pz II was actually knocked out. Medals on the German side go to the heroic Fallschirmjager who charged alone down the road to take the objective, at this stage they were unsupported and were eventually killed to a man but it took a lot of British resources to get them out. On the allied side the Homeguard on the far side on the battlefield, were under repeated attack throughout the battle but held on and held on, until they were forced by a random event to retire from the field....this is what made Britain great and bodes well for future battles 'B' company  from the Folkestone Home guard will from now on play as veterans. We had many memorable moments one which sticks with me being the British Mortar team running into the cafe only to find it had already been taken by veteran  Fallschirmjager......mistake ! We also learnt a few things about big battles and 20 plus dice each is a little too big....but I just kept adding units. More to come and I am running a Sealion Demo game at Dumfries so a bit of planning to be done ๐Ÿ˜€

24 comments:

  1. The bumbling Brits really seem to be on the back foot...the invasion really took them by surprise! Let's hope they get it together before the Germans psuh too far inland! Great to see the planes in action...looking forward to seeing the Spit and ME109 in action, too!

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    1. Outgunned by superior german technology. We'll have to see how far pluck can get them. No helping hand from the yanks for a couple of years yet.

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  2. Thanks for a great day Matt. The most fun I've had in a battle ever I think. I was a fantastic battle full of heroism and stupidity. Shame all the 6s had been removed from the dice for both of us. Never seen rolling like it.

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    1. The only sixes rolled were the Fubar blunders !

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  3. Inspirational looking game.As one about to venture out upon the Boltaction sea there is much to think about here...
    Alan

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    1. Bolt action not for everybody, but for me it is less about hyper accurate rules and complex charts more about the game. We often make small amendments as we go along as to what feels right. The benefit in BA is once you have the basics the rest is fairly easy to remember. What period were you looking at ?

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  4. Cracking good stuff. Excellent photos and table!

    Not sure if I'm going to Dumfries, now. Definitely at York, next Sunday, however.

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    1. Thanks Roy, all being well we'll be at York so will look out for you ๐Ÿ˜€

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  5. Great game report- makes me want to try something similar myself.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Thanks for your support and feedback. Sealion works for me with a strong element of factual historical background. But we can play what every games and styles we want.......and there is something pleasing about early war British tanks outgunned by the early german Panzers.

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    1. Thanks Simon a fun battle and worth the effort ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Another brilliant instalment Matt.

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    1. Thanks Michael, just trying to work out a scenario for Dumfries now.

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  8. Gorgeous looking game, love the early armour, bit desperate if all the RAF have got is a Gloucester gladiator!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain, a little poetic licence, it is after all only S day. Day 1 of the invasion. I think we can assume any Hurricanes or spitfires are dogfighting above the battlefield at 10,000 feet with BF 109's. They don't have time to support the infantry on the ground. I think we can assume that given a day or two the RAF would move more planes into the Area from further afield (this of course relying on their manufacture literally๐Ÿ™‚ !)

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  9. Another splendid instalment of the ongoing campaign, a joy to read and view as usual.

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  10. Dear me, things are looking sticky indeed; time for that chap Mainwairing perhaps...

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    1. Funny you should say that ...if you look very closely the retired Captain M is in shot talking to a certain warden !

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  11. beautiful set up Matt.. and a great game to boot. Worth playing again to see if it changes a lot if either of you can roll decent dice!

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    1. Thanks Dave.......I rarely play the same game twice, just in my nature I guess, the campaign will move on but with plenty more chances for the Brits to fight back ๐Ÿ˜€

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  12. Good AAR!
    Great looking game as usual...
    Nice to see your campaign developing well.
    The Jerries should enjoy it while the goings good they won't be laughing when the RN cuts off the invasion forces supplies hehehe ๐Ÿ˜Š...

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    1. Thanks Captain......campaign feels like it is progressing well. It has some longevity as we are only day one so far and I have several more ideas for battles before I can more to day 2 !

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