Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Tussle for Tessel

Following on from the first game of our Operation Epsom mini-campaign, the probing attack in and around Fontenay -le-Pesnel , we were ready for next game, this time using BKCII. The background fluff was as follows:

With the discovery of a gap in the German defences at Fontenay-le-Pesnel, the 147th Infantry Brigade of the 49th (West Riding) Division were tasked with pushing forwards to Tessel and then onto Rauray, with the objective of seizing the village and taking control of the ridge in and around the village.

Brigadier E.R. Mahony chose the 1/7th Duke of Wellingtons Regiment as the lead battalion, with limited artillery, air and armoured support in attendance. Their objective was to take control of the crossroads near to Tessel as the jump off point for the main attack on Rauray.

The Germans, taken by suprise at the gap in their defensive line, assembled a scratch Kampfgruppe with the task of delaying the British attack for as long as possible, thereby allowing Rauray to be fortified against the expected main British attack.

Scenario Details
After the Chain of Command game and the ease of the British 'victory', we both felt that Scenario 6. Exploitation would be the scenario for our game. As usual we used our standard 'house' rules which are:
  • Hidden Deployment as per CWC.
  • Auto Suppression from Artillery, Mortars and Infantry Guns.
  • Hits Stay On.
  • Random Points Modifier.
We modified the objective rules so that the British couldn't simply deploy on the flank with an HQ and 3 infantry units, thereby more or less winning the game in the first turn. Instead we gave the British the objective of being in control of the crossroads to win the game, or to break the German Kampfgruppe.

British Battlegroup 1,500 pts
1 x CO
2 x HQ (CV8)
1 x FAO
1 x Daimler Scout Recce
12 x Infantry Regulars
1 x PIAT upgrade
2 x Vickers MG
1 x 3" Mortar
1 x 6pdr AT Gun and tow
1 x 25pdr Battery
1 x 4.2" Mortar
2 x Shermans

On the random points modifier, the British were able to get the following:

1 x FAC
1 x Typhoon with bombs
Table Layout

The view towards Tessel, with the Germans deploying on the elft up to the centre of the table. The British would deploy on the right using mobile deployment.
The view from the German side of the table.
The view from the British side looking towards Tessel.
Turn 1
The British being the Attackers got the first turn and things did not go exactly to plan. In the initiative phase using Hidden Deployment, 4 blunders revealed a blank marker, the Recce unit, an HQ with infantry and tank support and the CO with the reserves who didn't even make it onto the table. After such a fiasco the Germans just sat there laughing quietly to themselves...

The British start their attack, unsure of where the Germans are...

Turn 2
Another less than spectacular performance saw the British move the Recce unit forward to try and spot the hidden markers next turn, whilst the CO moved on his reserves. At least one German unit was revealed, but were unable to attack them this turn. The rest of the units sat there unsure of where the Germans were exactly.
Once again German optics proved to be markedly superior, revealing the FAO and FAC as well as another blank marker. Not wishing to reveal themselves, the Germans just sat there watching and waiting for the British to reveal their schwerpunkt

Turn 3
The British really should have gone to Specsavers as again the fail to spot any of the German hidden markers! The Recce unit and both the FAO anf FAC move to better positions for spotting and calling in their support.

With a unit having been revealed, the Germans took the attack to the British, suppressing one infantry unit. Taking things too far the German HQ blundered with a double 12, leaving him on a CV 6 for the rest of the game! Just what the Germans didn't need.

Turn 4
Finally British patience paid off as the German CO and Panzer IV were revealed, in full view of the FAO and FAC. With such a tempting target, both were successful in calling in strikes on the spotted units, leaving them suppressed. The Shermans then opened fire, finishing off the beleagured Panxer IV, the only German armoured unit in the kampfgruppe. By the farmhouse, the German units were shot up by a mass of combined infantry, MG and mortar fire, losing 2 bases.

With the CO supressed, the German HQ unit attempted to fight back but unsuprisingly failed due to his low CV. Things were not looking good for the Germans, which had a tough job to start with.

The air support arrives after the artillery have supresses the Panzer IV and CO.
The Shermans finish off the Panzer IV after more damage inflicted by the air strike.
The German right flank under severe pressure.
The British right flank with little opposition to its front.
The Shermans see the chance to advance unopposed...

Turn 5
On the right flank the British advanced from the farmhouse on a broad front towards the weak German units in the cornfield. On the left the Shermans moved off towards the Germans and assaulted the German CO, which could not withstand the assault (there's a suprise) and was destroyed.  With the CO gone the Germans lost any chance they might have had of delaying the British and Craig conceded the game.

The Shermans overrun the German CO...
... destroying it in the process.
The British advance on all fronts virtually unopposed.
The only German units between the British and Tessel.

After a somewhat shakey start by the British, things turned in their favour on Turn 4 with the combined artillery and air strike, along with the Shermans shooting, finishing off any chance the Germans had of winning the game. It was always going to tough for the Germans, but this was one of those turns where everything just came together perfectly.

As always an enjoyable game with Craig, who despite the one sided nature of the game, enjoyed himself. After all this is a narrative mini-campaign so all is not lost and it just adds another chapter to the story.

Next game info
So after a post game chat, we agreed that the next game would be a Scenario 4. Deliberate Attack, with the British pushing on towards Rauray. This time we would play down the length of the table to simulate a Battalion wide frontage and with the Germans able to field a defence in depth set up.

Points wise we used the campaign rules from the original BKC book. As a base line the Germans would start with 1,500 pts and the British 2,250 pts. When we rolled for reinforcements, the Germans got 10% and the British a whopping 50%!. So this means:

Germans 1,650 pts
British 3,375 pts

Given that the Germans would be dug-in and defending the village of Rauray on a hill, with the British having more ground to cover, we felt this shouldn't be too one sided on the points front, famous last words. Only time will tell...


  1. Really nice looking setup there. Great battle report as well! Thank you!

  2. Interesting report Steve. I'm thinking it's time I reminded myself of those hidden deployment rules - they add an additional flavour to the game. And I guess keeping the hits on is useful to speed things up.

    Cheers, Keith.

    1. The Hidden deployment makes for a much more interesting game with certain scenarios and can be used solo with a bit of thought.

      Keeping hits on does speed things up but it also stops the issue of dug-in infantry being virtually impervious to all forms of attack. Ditto tanks like Tiger Is etc.