The prize awaits !
The Sealowe planners have allocated the task to a combination of the 6th Mountain Division, reflecting the complex and often steep nature of the ground to be fought over, and Fallschirmjager from the 19th Regiment. The Paratroopers have landed both west and East of the town by Glider and Parachutes, all forces will attempt over the next few days to advance into the town and capture the Harbour. (I have realised in my over ambitious way that the battle for Dover could take about five years to actually game as there are so many interesting potential scenarios and games we could play, sadly even I will have to limit my ambition, but I am definitely going to be playing some games around the Harbour and at least one in the castle itself)
The map below outlines the broad situation at the start of the campaign, the 143rd Mountain Regiment is moving inland whilst the 141st has the more onerous task of assaulting the heavily defended Western Heights or Citadel complex. There are three key objectives for the Germans to control the Harbour, the Citadel at the Western Heights, the Castle and the Langdon Battery to the east (the big red dots) there are also numerous smaller gun battery's protecting the Harbour (small red dots). There are a mix of troops in the vicinity, some experienced others less so and plenty of Home Guard. A protective ring of defences including pillboxes is in place (blue dots).
But for our first battle we are not even at Dover the 143rd Mtn Rgt have scaled the low cliffs and bluffs around Lydden Spout cutting the A20 just south of Hougham. Here they have met up with the first wave of Fallschirmjager, but attempting to move East towards to open a route along the A20 into Dover they have been met by troops hurriedly deployed from the 50th Royal West Kent, not expecting a direct assault from the cliffs, they have rushed west and called for reserves from the Citadel. Some armoured support is on the way but if it is delayed they will be in trouble.
Gebirgsjager from the 143rd Mtn Rgt deploy along the A20 their hearts are pounding having climbed up from the beach, of course at this stage they have no heavy support so will have to fight with only the weapons they have carried with them.
Infantry and an MG34 run down the road, which looks open all the way to Dover ? The ground rises uphill to their left to the village of Hougham itself.
Closer to the village Fallschirmjager have deployed again aware that speed is everything they have little in the way of heavy support only mortars which they have been able to carry with them and a single antitank rifle.
Awaiting the word to go ! The Germans can see British troops in the distance, the mortars start firing smoke to provide cover. (we are playing a fairly straightforward envelopment scenario, so the Germans just need to get across the table and into the British deployment zone)
Overview of the battlefield, the A20 running east to west across the table the ground then rises upto the village of Hougham in the distance, all British troops have to enter along one of the two roads
As veterans the Gebirgsjager know they need cover so advance through the scrap yard behind the houses.
The British are not content to sit back and let the Germans advance, one unit has moved upto the corn field whilst another has run into the Church and is now able to fire down on the attackers......the Veteran Germans buoyed by propaganda weren't expecting such a spirited defence!
Both MG34's have deployed and fire on the troops by the corn field ......but this immediately feels too static and the infantry is ordered forward at the run
All the Gebirgsjager are moving forward at the double, those on the road have just assaulted the Bren Gun Carrier with grenades but somehow failed to knock it out ?
In the village itself the Fallschirmjager have also been ordered forward, but to their dismay another Bren Carrier trundles onto the road a few hundred yards ahead, the smoke screen which their mortar teams have laid down is not protecting them from the front and they immediately start to get pinned down !
Bravely or foolishly they charge forward but come under heavy fire form all directions, veterans or not they can only take so much punishment, pinned down they try to take cover but are knocked out of the battle outside the church. (Oh if only they hadn't failed a leadership test😩)
The Lanchester is moving again and bravely trying to block the road, behind the swirling smoke the Gebirgsjager are desperately trying to get forward.
Looking up the hill towards the village you can see all the smoke drifting about but it isn't stopping all the bullets getting through.
Gebirgsjager on the main road are still unable to get themselves moving despite the urgent shouts from their commanding officer, perhaps it is the smoke causing communication problems ?
But too little too late the Bren Gun Carriers have pushed forward into the village itself, not sufficient for them to hold their defensive position, they want to chase the Germans back into the sea, even at this range the antitank rifle struggles to cause any damage
At this point with all chance of a break through eliminated the Germans chose to withdraw. A resounding victory for the British defenders Hougham will remain under British control for a few more hours at least.....let's just hope these guys realise that behind them the 141st Mountian Regiment is moving in to attack defensive positions behind them, they may even be cut off ?
A very enjoyable game, the Germans just never got themselves moving and clever (underhand) playing from the British kept them pinned down till it was too late.