This was yet another of those “France 1940” battles were Joe and Bill get to gang up on Chris Snell and his “Frenchies”! That Chris is a good sport! thanks Chris!
The battle was loosely based on the battles around “Sedan” were elements of two soon to be famous German Divisions “Grossdeutschland” and SS “Totenkoph” fought side by side.
Chris’s forces were a mixed bag of Frenchmen representative of falling back units making a stand in defense of the attempted German river crossing. There morale was rolled on an as checked basis so you never knew if they were a dependable group or not. Several artillery pieces completed his group. The French started the battle entrench in positions on there side of the river.
Joe commanded the SS and I took my much loved “40-41” GD troops both of us used recon in force tactics with “GD” providing several “Stugs” with short 75mm guns. Historically these were from the newly formed independent “Sturmgeshutz” battery “640” and attached to “Grossdeutschland” as a 16th company for the French campaign. The Germans drove on to the map from two roads at both far corners and were under fire almost immediately.
The “Totenkoph” recon units roll down to the main bridge and a re immediately brought under fire by French guns on the opposite bank. the French score an hit on one of the SS armored cars. This causes the SS to think better of their plan to boldly blast cross the bridge. They crew of the AC bail out and take cover with some near by Infantry units.The power of the French guns when manned and used properly is a rude awakening for the Germans! They will have to used sound tactics for this operation.
The thin armor of German vehicles at this time gives this AT crew something to write home about, well if they make it home! Their gun will penetrate almost any German armor from any angle if they can hit it.
The French also brought a 75mm infantry gun to bear firing over open sights. Both sides did a bit of impromptu use of weapons at this time trying to make any weapon at hand do the job. The French officer seen here at the “75mm” calls back to headquarters on the phone (French did not use radios much at this time, they relied on the regular public phone lines and runners!) he is met with the reply that all staff and officers are away for their scheduled lunch at this time and asked if he would care to call back later or leave a message!
“Grossdeutschland” rolls down to the river. They also come under heavy fire from the far bank and begin to deploy and return fire. The grenadiers spot a foot bridge left up by retreating French units and call back to bring up more units quickly to secure it and force a crossing. Several of “GDs” armored units try to swing around to the main bridge were Joe’s “Totenkoph” units are engaged in a hot firefight at the rivers edge with Chris’s “French” on the other side. The “French” guns succeed in knocking out a PZII and disabling some of “TKs” armored cars. The “Stug” is forced to take cover as several rounds from the “75mm” infantry gun bounce of its armor. The attack at the main bridge stalls.
“Grossdeutschland” continues the pressure on the left flank and with the support of two “Stugs” and another armored car bring enough fire power to push the “French” out of the buildings at the rivers edge. Platoon leader “Willy von Witthans” quickly pushes his first squad over the footbridge. The Germans mortar comes into action at this point and after only a few lucky rounds silences its “French” Counterpart. the “French” left flank is crumbling. With no reinforcements and the “Bosh” across the river “Chris” and his “French” think about retiring to study their cookbooks and practice up because the “German” tourist are big eaters!
“Hey Hans Which way is that cute little bistro I saw in the travel brochure?