Thursday, 24 November 2022

Lillehammer : Gateway to the Valley April 1940

Some shuffling of battles at the weekend meant that a planned refight of the Battle of Plataea didn’t happen, only postponed though. Instead I set up a Norwegian 1940 scenario from Scott Fisher and Nathan Forney’s Skirmish Campaign book. As it happens George was also coming this week for a battle so rather than tidy stuff away we played the scenario a second time.

A very useful source for some smaller battles in Norway, providing excellent background information maps etc. 
In our scenario the Germans are attacking, across the stream, their objectives are to secure the two bridges (1 VP each) and if possible the cross roads (2VP) as well. The stream is only crossable on foot, the woods provide cover. They don’t really show in the snow but the two hills block line of sight.
To really bring the scenario to life the Norwegians can deploy a single roadblock effective against wheeled vehicles. All the Norwegian/allied units deploy in Ambush and are hidden form the Germans until they are activated, this provided a real sense of uncertainty for the Germans in both battles as they approached. We gave the Germans 10 turns to secure victory. I don’t get a wide shot from the second game but the above picture shows the hidden Norwegian deploy for battle one ? With me playing the Germans in battle one and a ‘bridge crossing’ scenario what could possibly go wrong ?

Battle One
German infantry advance on the left towards the stream looking to outflank the Norwegian position. For this first battle I had written orders as well for the Germans before knowing even where the enemy were located.
Medium mortar set up and ready to start laying down smoke
I chose to split the German armour a PzII leads the way with the armoured car and a single truck carried infantry squad
Turns out the Norwegians have left a unit of troops in the stream to act as a roadblock. The ski troops can move quicker than Normal troops in the snow and don’t suffer move/shoot penalty
From the trees a British ATR opens up catching the 222 in the rear and blowing it up 
Meanwhile the PzI has moved left to attempt the clear the woods on the Norwegian right.
My Germans on my left get pinned down when they cross the stream
Turns out there was a Norwegian sniper on the second hill who narrowly misses the German Captain
The Kubel wagon is then hit by a British Antitank gun from the back of the village, the Germans seek to mop up the Norwegians in the stream not wanting to have them in their rear
When the Germans turn back to the advance they are assaulted from the trees
and pushed back the Norwegian regroup
We also randomised which Norwegian units had antitank weapons. More ski troops heroically assault the PzI which was trying to wipe out the units in the woods
Norwegians are starting to fall back
An overview at this stage
Somehow the ski troops managed to blow the Pz
But as they regroup back down the hill a fresh German unit advances to the top of the hill
They are almost eliminated in a single volley
The PzII has tracked right through into the village but isn’t proving to be very  effective agains the infantry, and the Norwegians managed to get a grenade on the tank’s tracks and it is immobilised 
All looking good for the Germans and the Fubar the leading unit on the hill is forced to retreat
Things are very tight now the Norwegians are clinging on, but the Germans have few troops to drive for the cross roads
They are closing in, but the Norwegians fight a robust defense
The final turn/position, pretty much all the Norwegians have been killed and the cross roads is empty but the Germans can only manage to get their final squad upto the barn. Having secured the bridges we gave this as a draw, although the Germans were perhaps getting the better of it at the end.

Battle Two

So onto the second run through swapping sides I played Norwegians with George attacking. I missed taking a setup photo but the essential changes were, the sniper in the barn. I put the Antitank gun on my right in the woods. The roadblock was further back and manned this time.
The Germans advance again perhaps more cautious than before, notably the armour is held back slightly
A machine gun and antitank gun reveal themselves on the hill in the woods hoping to get effective side shots when the German armour crosses the stream
Sniper in the barn opens up as soon as the Germans hit the stone bridge, killing a LM gunner with first shot
The ATG immobilises the 222 but it can still fire
German infantry mass down the centre
But after focussing their long range fire at the sniper and Madsen Machine gun, the unit on their right flank are forced to break cover and move into an exposed position on the small hill. The dice gods are with me and the unit is almost wiped out in one volley.
The Pz II has now edged towards the bridge to support the advance
The Germans are still strong in the centre and with three or so turns they have a chance. They haven’t cleared the unit from the roadblock yet
Argh!!!!!! Almost in the same place the Germans Fubar and instead of running back, in the confusion they friendly fire on the unit in front of them killing about 4 of their comrades 
The German infantry is struggling now and Norwegian ski troops are moving in from their left. The German mortar manages to wipe out the defenders at the roadblock and the way is open
But they have run out of time
The lead Germans make it to almost the same position as the previous battle. Another draw but again the Germans probably have the advantage and are still going forward.

So two excellent battles, both very close right up to the final turn, almost all infantry units wiped out in both battles, the Germans have slightly move mobile armour int he second battle and at least their captain is still alive to reorder the advance. Thanks to both Jon and George for two excellent battles.

Finally I am putting on a small participation game at Battleground at the weekend. If you are visiting come and say hello. It will be a LOTR battle and I needed a different Boromir so he got painted up one evening.

Thanks as always for visiting and taking interest in what is going on in the dungeon.

Matt ๐Ÿ‘


24 comments:

  1. A fun AAR and nice work on the Boromir figure. Do you think your bad luck might be confined to just playing British in AWI bridge-crossing scenarios Matt?

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    1. Thanks Lawrence, lady luck a fickle mistress. I certainly rolled a bucket load of hits on a couple of volleys

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  2. A cracking couple of games. Nice to see a different theatre on the tabletop.

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    1. Thank you, Norway has provided a fine distraction for my early war Germans ๐Ÿ‘

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  3. Lovely battles, the ski troops are very cool. So we're we to fight Palatea. That would have been cool. See you Saturday

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    1. Thanks Martin, only one of yours has been painted up so far to make up the numbers. I need a plan for the other 4. Plataea wasn’t for us yet aLthough keen to give it a go perhaps in the shed next spring ?

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  4. Thanks for an exciting game and I shall pinch the idea. Beautiful table and troops.

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    1. Thank you George, I do think the hidden deployment worked quite well giving the Germans lots to think about when they advance

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  5. That was a challenging game. Despite knocking out all of the German armor, the Norwegians still barely scraped out a draw in Game #1. Good fun and a very close contest. Interesting to see a draw in Game #2 too with very similar results. Superb table and troops.

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    1. Thanks Jon both battles provided a very tense contest going right to the last turn. I think to take the cross roads the Germans need a flying start. The Germans in the second battle expended a lot of time attempting to knock out the sniper whose lucky first shot may have spooked them ? The Norwegians were also very lucky with one particular volley.

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  6. A couple of lovely looking and close fought games Matt…
    I do like the early war period… it gets more tempting every time I see games like this.

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thanks Aly….my fondness for the early war is obvious, the beauty of Norway is the chance to expand the collection gradually and I am looking at some french and polish ๐Ÿ˜€

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  7. Superb stuff again there Matt you sure do set some challenging scenarios and some practical and at the same time aesthetic table topping too. Will you indulge in some of the Great Escape Games Norwegians when they appear?

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    1. Thanks so much Phil. Once I heard of the great escape game Norwegians I was really excited…..but now I have had a look at them, I am to be honest a little disappointed with the sculpts. I just don’t like them especially the heads ? I may wait to see what they are like in the flesh.

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  8. Another cracking game there Matt and for once not a one sided bridge based scenario! The figures look great and the snow fleece (or whatever it is) works a treat. When clicking on the images the hills show up OK, which is cool.

    Have fun at Battleground and look foward to pics of the show in and when time allows.

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    1. Thanks Steve , the snow is actually the back of one of my desert mats but I am thinking of making/ purchasing a different one to give a bit more texture. Will blog the show tomorrow ๐Ÿ‘

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  9. Two super games played out on practical but pleasing on the eye terrain. Enjoyed following through the action.

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  10. A fantastic book with some great scenarios. Nice to see it on the table.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Thanks stu I am enjoying the book plenty of ideas ๐Ÿ‘

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  11. Very nice scenario Matt and looked like the Germans won on points, despite the official result if a draw in both games! Tightly fought though, the Germans would certainly have needed fresh troops to continue the advance! Assuming these are based on a real action, what occurred in actuality?

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    1. Thanks Keith, the Germans were on the advance at the end in both battles so yes I think they had the better of it. Historically the Germans did take the town, but the British then counter attacked so more to come.๐Ÿ‘

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