At the same time as the recent action, Volkstuurm Vorwarts!, was taking place, the main British attack went in with the aim of securing Pemba, the objective of the campaign. Both sides had taken losses in the build up to this, but the British certainly had the numerical and materiel superiority. However the Germans were in Pemba and taking a BUA without artillery or air support would be challenge for sure.
German Kampfgruppe OOB
1 x CO (CV 8)
2 x HQ (CV 8)
1 x FAO (CV 7)
2 x Heer Infantry (one unit with 3 hits)
1 x 81mm Mortar (with 2 hits)
1 x Stug III
1 x 105mm Artillery Support Unit
1 x Nebelwerfer
1 x CO (CV 9)
1 x Churchill Crocodile
1 x Churchill SBG
1 x HQ (CV 8)
2 x Infantry
1 x HQ (CV 8)
2 x Shermans
1 x HQ (CV 8)
3 x Infantry
1 x HQ (CV 8)
3 x Shermans
1 x Firefly
1 x HQ (CV 8)
1 x Infantry
1 x 3" Mortar
1 x 6 pdr ATG + Tow
2 x Humber Armoured Cars
Quite simply to take Pemba as quickly and with minimal casualties as possible for the British. For the Germans, to hold on as long as possible and to inflict maximum casualties on the British.
Mist -1CV & 50cm Visibilty
|An overview of the table, with the British entering via the Southern and Easter table edges. The Germans are in Pemba itself.|
|A close up of Pemba, with infantry to the fore and the FAO in the building at the entrance to Pemba, in the attic to gain the best view of the British attack.|
|The second line of defence, with the Stug III and Infantry Gun covering the road.|
|The 105mm artillery piece deployed in a direct fire role (note I had to use a 75mm ATG as my 105mm is not even based. Oh the shame!).|
|'B' Coy & 'B' Sqdn on the left flank.|
|'C' Sqdn on the right flank.|
|'C' Coy on the right flank.|
|3rd Recce ready to enter to try and quickly unhinge the German defences in Pemba by attacking from the rear.|
The British plan was to use the left flank to help pin the Germans in Pemba, whilst the right flank formed the main attack, with the 3rd Recce coming in from the rear.
|'C' Sqdn get a little welcome barrage from the 'Moaning Minnies'.|
|3rd Recce arrive and push forward to the first hedgerow.|
|'B' Coy are suppressed by well aimed mortar fire, but at least armoured support has begun to arrive.|
|'C' Sqdn pushes forward.|
|'B' Coy have taken a pasting from the 'Moaning Minnies'.|
|'C' Sqdn advance as the AVRE's arrive and not a moment too soon.|
|'C' Coy move through the woods, out of sight of the Germans.|
|3rd Recce close up with the German positions and have not been spotted yet.|
|'B' Sqdn begin to hose down the houses with MG and 75mm fire.|
|'C' Sqdn did the same, allowing the Churchill AVRE's to close to within effective range of Pemba.|
|The Churchills prepare for action.|
|3rd Recce dpeloy for action.|
|The Armoured Cars begin a firefight with the Stug III.|
|'C' Coy in the woods.|
|'B' Sqdn fail to move or fire.|
|'C' Sqdn come under fire from the 'Moaning Minnies'.|
|The Churchill AVRE's make short work of the buildings and their defenders in front of them.|
|The Stug III brews up.|
|'C' Coy enters Pemba as the burning buildings cover their advance.|
|The 3rd Recce Armoured Cars happy to survice their encounter with the Stug III.|
|'B' Sqdn attacks the German mortar that had contributed to the demise of 'B' Coy.|
|'C' sqdn moves forward.|
|The Churchill AVRE's continue to wreak death and destruction.|
|'C' Coy begin to occupy Pemba.|
|The German defenders have little option other than to surrender.|
End of Game
In the end, the defeat came about more quickly than expected, with the AVRE's being the real game changer. So victory to the British!
British - 2 x Infantry and 1 x Sherman all but done for.
German - 1 x Stug III,1 x Infantry, 1 x 105mm Artillery, 1 x FAO, 1 x HQ and 1 x Mortar all but done for.
Post Game Thoughts
Well that was an interesting game and one in which the British could have taken more casualties than they did, had the German Nebelwerfer been a tad more effective on the die rolls. The game changer was the AVRE's, which were sorely needed in the absence of Artillery or Air Support. Also taking BUA's really requires a lot of infantry, of which the British was somewhat short of, due to campaign losses and the Nebelwerfer and Mortar fire. Anyway, enough waffle and onto some post-game thoughts:
- Nebelwerfers are nasty! There was only one in this game, but with 8D6 and a 30cm diameter template, they can inflict a lot of damage. This can be seen in how quickly 'B' Coy were rendered hors de combat, with supporting mortar fire. Frankly the Shermans got away quite lightly given the amount of dice rolled against them. If the Dice Gods had favoured the Germans more, then it could have been quite a different game.
- Hosing down the houses. Well that's the phrase I came up with to try and replicate the suppressive fire that the British used that I've so often read about, when attacking bocage, woods and BUA's etc, even if they didn't have any view of the enemy. This wokred OK for me in the game and felt right, but others might disagree, as it's not normally something you can do in BKC. My trial required a 6+ to hit, then there was the building save, with any unsaved hits ending in suppression only. A work in progess but something I want to work up for future use.
- The British got off to a slow start, with the Mist -1CV causing trouble once again. The speedy advance by the AVRE's and the flanking attack by the 3rd Recce won the game for them.
- The Germans faced an uphill battle from the start, given that they had som few units with which to play with. Had they not taken so many losses in the previous battle for the bridge, then the British might have had to wait for clear skies to allow for Air Support to help take Pemba. As it was their Nebelwerfers helped keep them in the game with the British losses slowly mounting from early on.
- The British certainly missed having some Artillery Support, whether it be HE or Smoke to cover their advance.
- Taking BUA's is a tough ask. With limited Line of Sight and the terrain favouring the Defender, then you require at least a 3:1 advantage in Infantry, plus a materiel advantage too, such as the AVRE's.
So there we have it, a British victory in the campaign! I will do an update soon of the final map positions, thoughts on what units were left and where, as well as some general thoughts on the campaign.
Until then, stay safe and keep healthy.