In By The Back Door
Just played the In By The Back Door scenario: the seventh scenario from the excellent Sea Lion scenario pack, and not a reference to my sexual habits. Play was enhanced by being set against an audio backdrop of the fireworks being set off in the vicinity!
It's Folkestone, two days after the German invasion began, and a platoon of Kiwis are holding the station and vital Dover Road. From the wrong end of town, an entire company of FJ's descend on them. On the sixth turn, two Maori re-inforcement platoons are expected to arrive.
The battle opened with the FJ's moving smartly though the town. The Kiwis were a bit spread out, and the Germans managed to pin two sections of infantry and a Vickers (isolated by the heavy "town" terrain) with 2 platoon, and then close assault them one by one with 3 platoon from the flank.
The close assaulting FJ's of 3 platoon realised they were on a roll, and immediately followed up with another assault on the single Kiwi section guarding the station itself. This was forced out of the station buildings straight into the field of fire of the other FJ platoon, and regrettably ceased to exist. Lt Oskar Felther was awarded an Iron Cross for three consecutive successful close assaults, and settled down with his men to barricade themselves into the station.
The final section of Kiwis currently on the table (the re- inforcements had obviously got lost, not being from round 'ere, and were nowhere to be seen) was skulking in a small cottage at the edge of the table, exchanging long range fire with a couple of FJ MMG's, but was soon rendered ineffective by the combined fire of everything the Germans had available!
At this moment the Maori's arrived.
Faced with fighting their way onto the table, one platoon entered the terraced housing at the bottom left of the table, opposite the station, with the other outside in the gardens exclaiming at the sophistication of the loos.
Lt Felther's 3 platoon, in the station, suddenly found themselves under heavy fire: with Felther himself being killed by a sniper almost immediately. Casualties mounted rapidly, and the station buildings were soon empty of effective FJ's.
Meanwhile the so far untouched FJ 2 platoon and the second Maori platoon had both moved forward so that only a thin partition wall separated them. The Maori card came up first, and they decided to shoot house-to-house through loop holes etc.
Little damage was done to the FJ's, however, so when their card came up next, two sections offered the Maori's a taste of their own medicine but, being German, didn't play fair and blasted them with "a plethora of automatic weapons". With china ducks literally flying everywhere, the Maori's were supressed: a tad unfortunate as the other two FJ sections now close assaulted them.
The FJ's, being used to fighting Kiwis, expected another easy victory, and were somewhat surprised to come up against tattooed tribal warriors screaming haka at them and counting as elite troops in hand to hand! A brutal combat erupted, with good dice from the Maori's meaning they lost by only one '6'. Being elite's, the combat continued immediately for another round. The Maori's lost again, but again only by one dice, so the combat continued for a THIRD round. This time the Maori's were properly duffed up (there were only a few of them left!) and were ejected from the house not to advance again until a Big Man inspired them.
The FJ's were so battered, however, that they couldn't hold what was left of the house. With what remained of one section sacrificed to cover their retreat, the others blitzkrieged in reverse back to their start point.
This left one Maori platoon holed up in the bottom corner of the table, with the Germans in a loose ring around them. Big Men had been dying all over the place as well, so neither side felt like doing much: with the Germans currently in victory position as they held the station (1 platoon had advanced, delayed by the death of the CinC Major Stenzler, up the blind side and occupied the station, but, in a fairly obvious bit of gamesmanship, refused to show their faces and be shot at, content to be "in control" of the station building whilst hiding out of sight behind a wall of British Rail sandwiches.
Deadlock was broken by the arrival in spotting position (finally) of the FJ Forward Observer. He got into a position where he could see the houses the Maori's were in, but couldn't really be shot at, and then directed the loving attentions of the 4 81mm FJ mortars.
This was too much for the Maori's. Their final Big Man was killed (as I said, they were dropping like flies: the Empire troops lost all four of theirs, the Germans 4 out of 6!) and the battle conceded.
This took, believe it or not, only 2¾ hours of gameplay! I played the FJ's, with the Kiwis and Maori's commanded by my friend Dave: suffering from having had "the snip" four days before but ably supported (figuratively I hasten to add) by his 12 year old son.
The boy had only ever played Evil Empire games before...but I'm pleased to say that he declared that IABSM was far superior in every respect. I shall be bringing him to the next TFL Games Day, I hasten to add, as his ability to roll good dice was supernatural enough for me to check his hairline for the sixes he kept rolling!