Piercing the Iron Line
Fall of France #17
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||France (Defender)|
|France||1re Division d'infanterie Motorisée|
|Germany||3rd Panzer Division|
|Overall Rating, 10 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 16 of 573|
|Parent Game||Fall of France|
|Maps||2: 31, 32|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 28 cm
34 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Fall of France||maps + counters|
The soldiers of 1st Division d'Infantrie Motorisée had spent and uneasy night in Perbais, a village north of Gembloux. Though well dug in and fortified, they could sense German troops crawling toward them in the dark and cutting through their barbed wire barricades. When day dawned, the Stukas came and German troops attacked all along the line. Meanwhile south of Ernage, the main French strongpoint was the Sart-Ernage farm which bristled with mortars, machineguns and antitank guns (including the powerful 47mm APX). The test of strength began.
The Germans had underestimated French strength at Perbais due to insufficient reconnaissance the previous day. The infantry of 3rd Panzer Division attacked at 0915 hours, but without armor support they became bogged down under heavy French artillery fire. The arrival of armored reinforcements plus more air support finally opened a gap in the French lines, and as the Germans reached the railway line most of the French units in Ernage were forced to fall back. This left the flanks of the neighboring French units exposed, and Perbais fell somewhat later. But German casualties were mounting, and the frustrated and exhausted assault troops were eventually halted by rumors of counterattacking French tanks. They even began to retreat from Perbais, causing German commanders to send more reinforcements there. Meanwhile back in Ernage, a lone French company was still holding out, causing the Germans to send more tanks and infantry across the railway and deep towards the already burning Sart farm and the village of Cortil-Noirmont. But a final French counterattack restored their lines, forcing the German spearhead to fall back beyond the railway. The French First Army had held its own against all odds.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|4 Errata Items|
This scenario asks for 8 German Captains to be selected. There are only 7 German Captains in the whole of the Fall of France box-set mix.
(vince hughes on 2013 Mar 06)
In 1940: Fall of France, the units show Direct Fire. All units are Indirect Fire.
(rerathbun on 2015 Jun 06)
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
|Six months hard slog leads to stalemate. Shades of Verdun and Flanders Field|
Played against Alan Sawyer using Skype, this was a real marathon effort which went down to the final turn. A large German combined arms force has to attack on a narrow frontage against elite French units with massive OBDA support. Although with less urban cover than my previous "Iron Line" experience this was still going to be a slugfest. I was the heroic French and went for a forward defense using minefields to channel the German attack direct on to the line of town hexes on board 32. For the first hour this worked as German INF took heavy casualties and the initial advance faltered, however using his excellent leaders to direct HMG's the German commander started to make inroads in the French line, however this was slow going and the call came for the German Panzer's to join the fray. Although there seemed to be some delay in getting the message to the Boche tank commander eventually the ominous sounds of clanking tank treads was heard up and down the French line. They were not committed to the fray straight away, as the German sent his artillery observers forwards to find and bring down devastating barrages on any hidden A/T gun. This took some time but the German INF/ENG/HMG platoons were still making steady progress in the centre of the French line. At midday the tanks were released to swarm through the gaps in the line. The final two hours of battle were more mobile as more units spilled out to the Green Fields Beyond a German victory looked there for the taking. The French COL then personally led reinforcements to the centre and although heavily outnumbered managed to halt the German attack and stop the breakthrough. The Germans made one further effort to drive a wedge between the two French flanks but to no avail and the attack was called off. French losses had been too high though and they would have to withdraw during the night. Really great scenario though not for the faint hearted Alan was very unlucky not to win in that last turn, but I would have felt hard done to if I had lost so perhaps the draw was the fair result
|Hard fight for little ground|
Played with Wayne Baumber over the course of four 5-6 hour sessions in six months. As Wayne had stated in his AAR, this one is not for the faint of heart. Both sides will need to commit troops to attacks that they will not want to do and wither fire that is murderous. But it was very enjoyable as Wayne's troops always gives my troops a tough fight. Casualties will be high we had a total of over 80 step losses between the two of us. The French taking the majority, but were able to dish out punishment too.
From the German perspective, they took a broad approach with there advance. Knowing that the French having the ability to deliver multiple 30+ OBA fire on the Germans try advance to take the minimal loses. But French OBA is able to inflict five INF step losses in the first two turns. The Germans are able to close on the nearest town as well as get there numerous HMG's inplace to fire on the town with a 10-2-1 Captain supported by the German 10-1-2 Colonel. This gives the Germans the edge to disrupt and demoralize the defending French units. Closing for assaults, the Germans get into the town in the center of their advance. The assaults grid down the French and make it hard for their artillery to fire on the Germans without a threat of hitting their own troops.
The French shift troops to try to hold the line while German ENG's try to work into the town from the south. But working through a minefield the ENG is hit with both DF and BF and is destroyed. But this gives the other Germans troops time to push to the west side of the town. German OBA targets AT guns and gets some success with knocking out a 25mm. German assaults are still the main weapon in the center. Some units move to try to push on the south side of the town but the heavily defended rail cut puts down fire that stops them at a road block. Soon a company of assault troops are reduced to a platoon holding a captured roadblock. But this continue to keep the French stretched out on their defense.
Finally, armored reinforcements appear along with a second batch of aircraft. Taking advantage of limbered guns German Stuka's and He111's strike the 155mm guns destroying them followed by an attack on the powerful French 47mm AT gun that is also destroyed. This gives the German armor a little less to worry about. But French OBA continues to reduce German assault INF's with two or more being reduced every turn.
German armor moves up to the town to combined with the assault troops. Driving through the lines they move forward to threaten the breach. French AT guns are spotted and the tanks take evasive maneuvers. German OBA targets the guns and reduces two more. But the French 75mm scores a hit on the German PzIVD before it is reduced by OBA. This leaves just two AT's left and only one is in a good defensive position. The other tries for position south of the northern town but OBA soon reduces it. One to go, more on that later.
In the north the German INF reinforcements look to push toward the town, but the French have HMG's and INF's in position and dish out quite a bit of fire before slowly being reduced and blocked into the town. Infantry fire groups and armor fire groups pour fire into the town and roadblock before the town. Eventually the roadblock is reduced and the INF and move forward. They are able to get into the town while the armor closes for point blank fire. This attack is reinforced by PzII and PzI that take several town hexes before the end of the game.
In the center the final push is made. Several initial German attempts to close on the farmhouses to the west of the German breach are thwarted by French OBA, but a big multi-unit push strung out the French OBA and the Germans are able to assault the farmhouses. This is important as the last AT gun is in the western buildings. Initially a couple of squads get in and disrupt units and tie up the AT gun. The French maneuver reinforcements into the town to force the Germans to move more reinforcements up. Eventually the Germans get a major force into an assault but run out of time to destroy the three French steps holding the town. The French did get the AT out of town, but not before it is shot up and demoralized by a roving German armored car. The Germans have one chance to win a Major victory by destroying a French INF stuck on the edge of German corridor to the west. Heavy German fire on the unit cannot kill or demoralized it before time runs out. This left both sides with a minor victory and a draw for the final outcome.