First Armor Clash
Fall of France #6
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||France (Attacker)|
|France||3e Division Légère Mécanique|
|Germany||35th Panzer Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 20 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 98 of 566|
|Parent Game||Fall of France|
|Maps||2: 28, 31|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 28 cm
34 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Fall of France||maps + counters|
In the early hours of May 12, 4th Panzer Division advanced quickly through the Belgian plains and up to the Hannut-Huy road. Meanwhile in the village of Crehen, elements of 3rd Division Légère Méchanique had taken up positions but were unaware that the Germans had gotten so close so fast. The first tank battle on the Western Front began in a mildly-undulating landscape seemingly made for AFV's.
Within a few minutes, the quiet village became an inferno when about 50 panzers charged its streets. Relying on outdated tactics, Capt. Ste-Marie Perin kept his 20 Hotchkiss tanks in fixed positions, from which they took out a few light panzers. But then the heavier panzers attacked them frontally while the remaining light panzers attacked from the flanks at very close range. the Dragoons broke and ran around 11:00, leaving the tanks alone. Ste-Marie Perrin was killed in his tank and 11 out of the 20 Hotchkiss tanks were put out of action, with a total German losses at five panzers destroyed. In the afternoon, both sides abandon Crehen and its smoking streets full of relics.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|1 Errata Item|
Add a German LT to spot for artillery.
(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
|One good turn.....|
Played against Alan Sawyer in one session this si a cracking well balanced exciting scenario. A German all armour force (saving one OBA spotter) has to take on a combined arms force of French who hold a line of small villages. The German player has to get more VPs (Step losses only) and control more town hexes for victory, the French player has to get 5 more VPs than the German for victory. The Germans advance with caution and soon spot a hidden A/T guns which promptly fires and misses the German artillery spotter then promptly calls down an accurate barrage which demoralizes said A/T platoon. The German commander then orders a general advance on the left flank thus avoiding the French tanks who were clustered around the western village. In the next 30 mins the A/T guns are destroyed and the Germans continue the advance the French tanks move out to engage but think better of it and retire again. A French motorcycle unit capture the German artillery spotter as the motor around the countryside trying to avoid the numerous German tanks. Over the next hour though German pressure start to pay dividends and a French H39 is destroyed by the PZIV platoon but it is the PZIIIF's which cause the French commander the most problems, speedy,well armored and with a decent gun, they run around the battlefield making a darn nuisance and by 1030 they have hemmed the French armour into the western side of the battlefield and the light tanks and armoured cars are speeding to the rear nabbing town hexes at will. The French DRG are trying to copy this by retaking hexes when they can but it is looking like a German victory, the French guns seem unable to hit a barn door and their morale is crumbling. The French commander then realises he has to break out of the stranglehold the PZIV and PZIII's have on his movement and try to counterattack the German light tanks, this moves cost another step in losses for the French but works in a limited way as pressure is now put on the PZI's and PZII's. Now came the crucial turn, as Alan advanced into close combat tank v tank, disaster for the Boche as there were no French step losses to one German loss and worse all three German units were demoralized. The game had been saved, could it now be won? The French then counterattacked and tried desperately to get some flanking shots on the PZ111 and though another German tank was scrapped so was another H39. and with the chance of a French victory, in the final turns both side withdrew a little and it was obvious that both side had settled for the draw. *This was a very exciting,tense game as small armour games often are. I has some rotten luck at the start and by GT4 would have taken a draw, Alan's move into assault seemed to be the right one but there I had all the luck (rolled a six on the nine assault column and then all three tanks demoralizing with 8 morale amazing!). Alan the though he would lose but I needed another German tank loss I went for it but instead lost a step myself. Hey ho a draw was more than a fair result. Note that a sneaky French player could always get a draw as he is allowed to vacate the southern edge at any time so technically he could line up all his units on board edge and move off this preventing a German win. But then what would be the point of playing? *
|Mine to lose, yours to win|
I believe title became the theme for this scenario. Both Wayne Baumber and I both felt this way throughout the battle and it did come down to the end to decide the game. I felt quite confident as his troops were slowly dislodged from their defensive positions by the speedy German tanks, only to be dashed by a horrible assault. But I was able to come back and end it with a draw. Let me give the details...
The German tanks setup in the major town on board 31 with a plan to drive right through the French defense. There is too many towns for the French to defend and they will have to split them up, which will make them vulnerable. The only question was there deadly AT guns lurking in one of the towns or possible woods.
The Germans send a PzIIIF down the road to spot the AT and they quickly find it in the first small town on board 28. With this spotted the other tanks begin to advance toward the guns position. This looked easier to attack with the French H39's located in the major town on board 28 to the west. Several PzII join the PzIIIF up the road will the PzIVA and other PzIIIF advances to cutoff any support by the H39's. PzI's and SK222's advance around to the east to try to cutoff the other French DRG's holding the eastern town on board 28. The French react trying to hit the PzIVA, positioned to fire on it as well as the approaches to its town. They miss and the German FO calls in 105mm OBA with success of demoralizing the DRG and disrupting the AT. More PzII's advance to the town and open fire on the AT. This demoralize the gun, who at this point decide they have had enough and spike there guns. Meanwhile the demoralized DRG flees back to center town on board 28.
The French try to bring their company of H39s to the rescue, but soon realize that they will be in German cross fire if they stay near the evacuated town. As the same time PzI's threaten the major town to the west of board 28. This retreat allows the other German tanks to advance and threaten the major town in the center of board 28. German armored cars race past the town to try to capture hexes before the French can get there. They succeed to getting to farthest south town as well as the southern hexes of the center town. But the French still have troops in the area and they play musical chairs with the town hexes as well as trade DF shots with the German tanks in the town.
In the major town to the west the German PzI's play cat and mouse with the H39's. But there are too many town hexes and not enough French tanks. Eventually the Germans get the PzIIIF to cut the road between the center major town and the western major town and the French look to reopen it. But the PzI threaten the town and the French look for some easy points chasing them. This allows the PzIVA to advance on a lone H39 guarding the northern part of the western town. The PzIVa scores two kills on the H39 and the Germans close on the northern side. But a rogue French DRG, that was sent to destroy the German FO, now comes to threaten the town hexes. More cat and mouse, this time the French the mice and the Germans the cat.
Meanwhile in the center town the PzII and PzIIIF look to wipe out the French HMG and DRG, but the French have other plans. The French mount an assault on the southern part of the center town and score a step loss on a PzI. The German armored cars and the reduced PzI need to get out of town to recover. They successfully extract themselves before reposition H39's advance on the assault hex.
The H39's look to close on the lighter German tanks and score some quick kills, but the PzII's have a different idea. Mounting a rare AFV v. AFV assault a company of PzIII take on two platoons of H39. With a good chance for a kill, they fail and only disrupt one H39. In the return assault the H39's score a step loss and demoralize the other German tanks. Disaster for the Germans, the French mount and infantry-tank assault that kills three more PzII steps. This swings the battle from a German victory to a French victory, but there is more turns and the Germans now need to fight for a comeback.
The other H39's begin to come toward the center town to make there stand, while the Germans look to consolidate lighter tanks against the infantry and the PzIV and PzIII against the French tanks. More positioning gets German and French tanks in position, but the PzIVA gets the drop on an advancing H39 and scores a step loss, bringing the game back to a draw. After a few more repositioning and DF shots, the game comes to a close when both sides realize they cannot kill any more steps.
As stated an enjoyable game and a usual FtF where you never know until the end. Even after the game, you second guess your moves and continue to be amazed by some of the better scenarios.
|Flank the Tank|
This is a good quick armour battle where both sides have a decent chance on winning. Although in this case it was a draw at 20 French VPs to 17 German VPs.
The Germans, in order to penetrate the tough Hotchkiss armour need to get in flanking attacks. The French need to stay mobile and get in as many shots as possible to take out the weaker armoured panzers, but at the same time avoid getting too surrounded.
This is worth a replay.
Scenario Rating: 4/5 Good quick balanced yet asymetrical tank battle.
Battle Breakdown as follows:
Note: Score will be denoted by (x-y), where x=German casualties, y=French casualties.
Errata: Germans have OBA, but no non-tank leaders. Germans add one Lt to OOB as artillery spotter.
Optional Rule: I’ve allowed the French 25mm AT Gun to have armour efficiency. (2 attacks per activation)
German armour advances. The opening French salvo misses.
French AT Gun gets first fire and misses. The crew is subsequently disrupted by German artillery.
French Hotchkiss tanks fire to no avail as the light panzers literally swarm around them!
Germans get flanking fire on the Hotchkiss, but it pulls back. Two Pz IIs are reduced by the H39s. (4-0)
Armoured Car reduces a Hotchkiss with flanking fire and the French AT Gun is eliminated. (4-3)
French armour misses and the Pz I race behind French lines and are assaulted by French motorcycles. 1 Pz I is demoralized.
French armour continues to manoeuvre to avoid being hit by flanking fire. Motorcycles reduce a Pz I (6-3)
A Pz II is reduced by an H39 attack. (8-3) But the Hotchkiss is in turn hit by a Panzer IIIF (8-5).
The Pz IVA reduces a French DRG. (8-6)
In the west, the German armour takes out the French Captain with his Dragoons while the HMG reduced flees. (8-8)
In the centre, the Dragoons fare just as poorly losing both half a platoon and their Lieutenant. (8-9)
The French infantry are now leaderless!
The French armour moves it up a notch taking out some more Pz IIs and Armoured Cars! (12-9) But flanking fire retaliation from the IIIF eliminated the Hotchkiss in the centre village (12-11)
Battle Casualties continue to be close! Germans control most of the town hexes, but the French need to inflict more than 5 steps to win and therefore must continue to fight!
The armour continue to trade blows as a Panzer II is hit and flees in the east as the IVA hits the Hotchkiss in the north with flanking fire. (14-13)
Pz I are holding the French DRG at bay. Without leadership, the DRG can do little.
Pz IVA overruns the demoralized H39, and another PzII is hit. (16-15)
The Germans surround the H39s in the east and west!
Pz IVA trades fire with the H39 and both are reduced! (18-17)
H39 heads back into the centre village and is surrounded.
Pz IVA eliminates the H39 in the west town. (18-19)
Flanking fire on the H39 in the centre village has no effect.
Germans win the initiative and try to eliminate the H39 with flanking fire but fail. Return salvo from the French tanks eliminates some armoured cars! (20-19)
The battle is over.
|Blunting the Panzers|
The French have reinforced company of H39s and Company of Motorcycle cavalry to try to stop two companies of PZ Is, two companies of Pz MK IIs, a company of PZ IIIs supported by a platoon of Mk IVAs and two Sdkfz 222 Armored cars. The Germans tried to attack on both flanks with the Main attack on the left (Pz II & III Companies and support) with the Pz Is on the right flank. The main attack is doing well by pushing back the French on that Flank, but the Pz I company got Mauled. I was originally going to just hold the Pz Is back in limiting terrain on that flank as a threat and in hind-sight, should have. The Pz IVA platoon got destroyed by H39 and anti-tank fire too. By 1030 the Germans were making progress but taking losses. The losses would mount as the Panzer IIs tried to enter the town from the east. By 1100 the Germans pulled back the Pz Is and sent them back to the east to support the main effort. They would not arrive in time. French fire continued to strike home and the German attack stalled. Two platoons of H39 counterattacked and put a German Pz III unit in cross fire. This had no deadly effect but the German were in a pickle running up against resistance in the town hexes and H39s operating in their rear. By 1200 the German commander tried one more attempt to weaken the defenders in the city then pulled back to assess what happened.
|First Armor Clash|
|Une Victoire Eclatant|
Played solo. It took the scenario duration to finish..
It initially looked like a piece of cake for the Germans, but three hours later 10 steps of German armor lay as smoking hulks spread over the battlefield. Had they known that the in-town setup French H39's were almost invulnerable to the pathetic German AFV guns (excluding the PzIV), their commander would surely've chosen another plan of approach.
I decided to setup 3 H39's in the western town and the other 2 in the east, placed the 25mm in between together with some motor cycled cover. For the German Panzers I chose a frontal attack with the best armored AFV's. Trying to bind the H39's to give the weak (what ever did they do in the battlefields of France) PzI's the chance to deploy and swallow the French 'soft' units. The German artillery was very accurate and suppressed the French 25mm for quite a while. The break through worked pretty well, albeit with a tremendous loss of AFV's. In quick succession 4 steps of PzII were knocked out by the H39's, the rest were immediately assaulted by the French cyclists, which worked out quite well. Because both sides wanted to take advantage of the cross-fire bonus, the units spread over the battlefield looked like the black squares of a checker board..
As it is, in the end the Germans managed to control more than half the town hexes but in the interrim they had to give away 23 VP (6 PzI, 10 PzII, 2 PzIII, 2 Pz IV and 3 Sk222's). The French lost 9 VP of which (only) 4 VP worth of H39. French victory. Graded it a 3; had it been a more balanced scenario it certainly would've deserved a 4.
|1940 The Fall of France, scenario #6, First Armor Clash|
I was in the mood to play a quick scenario from 1940 before I went to bed with a low unit count and with only a few turns and this was it. The Germans are on the attack with a strong armored force and no infantry support, the French have armor but not much punch in the fire power but they do have some infantry and one small AT gun as well. The problem is, they have too much to defend and the Germans can just group the correct combinations of armor at whatever the French setup in this scenario. I had a total German victory in this scenario and feel it favors the Germans. Usually an all armor force will never take town hexes from Infantry, but the French motorcycle Infantry is too weak and too spread-out, when the Germans can just stack three armor units parked adjacent and pound away. Also the Germans have armor efficiency and a higher morale. But all is not lost if you choose to play this scenario, as it’s a good scenario to fine-tone your early war attack skills with German units and getting the correct combinations and solving the puzzle on how to best win this scenario, makes it worth a play or two. I believe it’s a much better solo scenario then a face to face. It’s a nice quick playing scenario as well.