Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Operation Sealion - Game 1 - Die Brücke

Campaign Background*
With the 'Miracle of Dunkirk' just finished and troops still fighting in France, Britain was in a very weak position, with limited resources with which to resist any German invasion. Hitler had been persuaded that to strike as soon as possible would give the German forces the best opportunity to defeat Britan and take here out of the war. Afterall he had said he didn't want to fight a war on two fronts, so with his mind turning towards Russia, this seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

With the usual superb German planning, Operation Seelowe soon became a reality, albeit  a plan without significant risks. To land successfully they would have to gain air superiority as well as limiting the Royal Navy's ability to intervene as the landings were underway. Targeting the airfields and mining the shipping lanes got under way almost at once. With the invasion set fo 13th July, the efforts were ramped up, starting on 8th July with Adlertag, which saw the Luftwaffe concentrate their attacks on the South East of England.

The British High command still thought the invasion would come in Eastern England with it's good beaches and excellent tank country. As a result their forces were thinly spread with a central reserve to the North of London, with the aim of using it to deliver a counter-attack once the actual invasion place was known.

Monitoring of German communications, along with air surveillance, led the British High Command to give the 'Cromwell' warning on the 12th July, meaning invasion was imminent. Troops all along the South East and East coast stood to, awaiting developments. In the early hours of the 13th, Fallschirmjager were seen landing as well as shipping crossing the channel. Church bells were rung to give warning that the invasion was underway.

* For a plausible background read, I highly recommend Kenneth Macksey's 'Invasion'.

GHQ Green Line Diversionary Attacks
With Heeresgruppe 'A' leading the main assault, Heeresgruppe 'C' was tasked with leading diversionary attacks on the West country, by land, sea and air. Their target was Bristol and to break through the GHQ Green Line that was part of General Ironsides defence in depth strategy. Unfortunately the Green Line had only started being constructed less than a month ago and was a defensive line more in name than practice.

On 'S-Day' +1, the 1st Fallschirmjager Division lead the way, with landings across the West Country, supported by elements of the 22nd Luftlande Division, with the 6th Infantry Division and 10th Pz Division arriving by sea on 'S-Day' +2.

Background Fluff for Scenario
A & B Company's of the 1st Battalion Somerset LDV have been tasked with guarding bridge. A Company is deployed in trenches by the bridge with B Company in reserve in the nearby village. As dawn breaks, they can hear planes flying overhead towards Bristol, but these don't sound like bombers and they are flying too low. They stand to in their trenches and peer through the mist that is rising from the river, but can't see anything.

The 1st & 3rd Kompanies of the II Battalion, 3rd Fallschirmjager Regiment have been tasked with taking the bridge by assault. Their plan is to land either side of the bridge and take the defenders by surprise, securing the bridge before re-inforcements can arrive.
1st Battalion Somerset LDV OOB
1 x HQ (CV 7)
3 x Green Infantry (dug in)
1 x MG (dug in)
1 x HQ off table in reserve (CV 7)
3 x Green infantry off table in reserve

II Battalion, 3rd Fallschirmjager Regt, 1st Fallschirmjager Division OOB
1 x CO (CV 10)
2 x HQ (CV 9)
6 x Fallschirmjager
2 x MG's
2 x Mortars 

  • The early morning mist is 10cm either side of the river. Units are only visible if they are on the edge of the mist. The mist will lift at the start of Turn 2 on a 4+, Turn 3 on a 3+ etc.
  • The Fallschirmjager start with one Kompanie to the South of the river. The other Kompanie will arrive on Turn 2 on a 4+, Turn 3 on a 3+ etc. They arrive on the North side of the river and randomly roll with table edge they will arrive on.
  • The LDV reserve company will arrive on Turn 3 on a 4+, Turn 4 on a 3+ etc. They arrive via their own table edge along the road.

'A' Company, Somerset LDV are deployed North of the river in their trenches, covering the approaches to the bridge. The 1st Kompanie, II Battalion is along the Southern table edge and will arrive using mobile deployment.

An overview of the 2' x 2' table.

A view from the German side towards the bridge shrouded in mist.

'A' Company dug-in.

A view along the river from the East.

The view from the LDV trenches.

Turn 1
The 1st Kompanie arrived and moved swiftly towards the river bank, with the mortar deploying and the MG moving into the top of the barn to get a good field of fire once the mist lifted.

'A' Company could hear muffled movement across the river and the mooing of cows, but could not see the enemy, if indeed it was them. So they simply held their positions and listened intently for any sounds of the enemy.

The end of Turn 1.

The 1st Kompanie along the river bank, hidden by the mist.

A view along the road towards the bridge and the LDV positions.

Turn 2
The mist failed to lift and the 3rd Kompanie arrived on the right flank of the LDV and quietly moved into position and set up fire positions ready to attack the enemy. The 1st Kompanie moved to either side of the bridge to aid the 3rd Kompanie's attacks when the mist lifted.

One platoon of 'A' company spotted enemy movement to their right flank and raised the alarm. One platoon turned about face in their trenches but couldn't see the enemy due to the mist. Another platoon left their trench to move into the gardens of the house, but opportunity fire from the 3rd Kompanie suppressed them before they could reach safety.

The end of Turn 2.

The 1st Kompanie move to the left of the bridge, ready to support the 3rd Kompanie.

The 3rd Kompanie arrive and attack the LDV as they leave their trenches.

Turn 3
As the mist finally cleared, the 3rd Kompanie continued with their attacks on the two platoons from the pervious Turn. As the attacks were going in, one platoon moved towards the farmhouse to secure the 3rd Kompanie flank as well as putting pressure on the LDV positions. The 1st Kompanie joined in the attack, leading to the LDV losing one platoon and another close to breaking. The rest of 'A' Company opportunity fired back but missed. In response the 'A' Company MG came under intense fire, but although being hit was not suppressed.

With 'A' Company under heavy attack, 'B' Company failed to materialise, leaving 'A' company in a precarious position, who proceeded to fail their command roll.

The end of Turn 3.

1st Kompanie in a strong position by the bridge.

The LDV right flank has all but disappeared.

3rd Kompanie in a strong psotion and their is little to stop them moving to take the Northern end of the bridge.

'A' Company, somerset LDV are under extreme pressure and could do with 'B' Company coming to their aid.

Turn 4
3rd Kompanie continued to maintain their attacks, leading to the loss of another LDV platoon and to them securing the farmouse position. In combination with 1st Kompanie, combined fire saw the loss of the 'A' Company MG.

With little hope of halting the German advance, even with the arrival of 'B' Company, the remaining 'A' Company platoon beat a hasty retreat leaving the Fallschirmjager on control of the bridge.

The end of Turn 4.

The way across the bridge is open.

The last LDV platoon wisely retreats to fight another day.

End of Game
With an emphtatic victory, the 1st & 3rd Kompanies set about securing the bridge and preparing for follow up attacks on the retreating LDV. The LDV is some disarray would have to quickly sort things out before more attacks come their way.

Post Game Thoughts
Well a quick and exciting game of BKCII. I really enjoyed that and it was nice to be able to kick the campaign off. As always, some post game thoughts:
  • The Fallschirmjager pretty much had a perfect game. Their higher CV's and firepower really showed and they were on the front foot from the start and simply didn't let up. You could say it was too one sided but for me, it felt historically right, with elite well armed troops up against poorly armed reservists. Also being part of a campaign, it didn't matter in terms of this result as it's all about the narrative and the campaign as a whole.
  • The arrival of the 3rd Kompanie at the earlist opportunity and the non-arrival of 'B' Company contributed to the emphatic win for the Germans. If 'B' Company had arrived, I think the result would have been the same but maybe they could have inflicted important losses on the Fallschirmjager.
  • The early morning mist rules worked nicely and I have used them before and will certainly do so again where appropriate.
  • It was nice to have a small infantry only action and on a 2' x 2' table. I love having armour on the table but this sort of action gives a new set of challenges. Also being part of a campaign you are painfully aware of  the impact of each infantry platoon that is lost, especially for the Germans hwo may struggle to get re-inforcements.
I have a rough idea of what the next scenario will be, but need to have a bit of a think as well as finish off painting up some extra units and command bases. With my wife back at work and the weather a bit iffy the next few days, I should hopefully get these done soon, if I maintain my focus and drive. So until next time...


  1. Steve, you cram a lot of action, terrain, and playing pieces into a very smaller footprint. I continue to be amazed at what you fit into a 2'x2' square. The FJ have a good foothold now. Good stuff!

    1. Thanks Jonathan! 2' x 2' with 10mm figures doesn't seem that small when you have terrain such as this. You can still move as per a bigger table, as long as you don't have too many units. The FJ are certainly in a good position.

  2. Fantastic- I’m moving to smaller tables and battles

    1. Thankyou! Small tables such as this give a good game, which is nice as it doesn't take up much room. I find a 4' x 4' table is more than ample these days for a 'big' game.

  3. Great looking game Steve. The FJ certainly lived up to expectations.

    1. Thanks Stu! The FJ perforemed as I had hoped.

  4. Lovely sized game and a nice infantry focus highlighting the versatility of BKC. I agree that this scenario is all about narrative rather than game balance and it still leaves some openings to the imaginations of an earlier clearing of the mist and early intervention of the reserve. Good start.

    1. Thanks Norm. I agree with the versatility of BKC and I don't think there are many rulesets that work equally well with small actions like this, or much larger ones with several Battalions per side on a 6' x 4' table.