The Albert Bridgehead Campaign
3: Bourg leopold
The third battle of the Welsh Campaign took place at the club last night. The battle was fought using 15mm troops and "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum" rules from Too Fat Lardies. The campaign is from the Welsh Guards supplement for the rules: Cymru Am Blyth.
The Germans forces had retreated to the town of Bourg Leopold after being pushed down the road in the two previous battles. The German force was a reduced infantry company with 50mm anti-tank guns in support. The Welsh Guards had pulled the Prince of Wales company out of the line to re-organize and re-supply after fighting two engagements. 2nd Company came forward after crossing the Albert Canal and linked up with the Cromwell Squadron. This combined arms force then moved on to liberate Bourg Leopold from the Germans.
The Germans were very short of men and heavy weapons. They deployed the two 50mm AT guns on the flanks of the town and placed the two infantry platoons in the center. There were also a couple of squads of stragglers mixed in the line. A single MG-42 tripod held a position on the second floor of a stone building. Two 8cm mortars were deployed to the rear in support linked with a forward observer with a phone line. Everything was on the line with nothing in reserve. They just didn't have the troops.
The Welsh Guards deployed with the Cromwell squadron in the center and provide direct fire support for the line infantry. The three rifle companies were deployed on the left flank in half-tracks. The company HQ section took up a position by the tanks.
At 10am, the tanks and infantry advanced towards the German line. The approach was going to be difficult for the Guards. Open fields with no cover until the first line of buildings. If they could break the thin German front, they could deploy around them, but getting in was the trick.
The Welsh used the speed of the half-tracks to advance across the kill zone. The Germans 50mm guns opened fire and scored a hit on a Cromwell that jammed its turret and the second shot destroyed a loaded half-track. The Guardsmen inside were lucky and suffered minor losses. This fire lead to the infantry dismounting and advancing on foot towards the German held buildings.
Losses began to mount as the Welsh were caught in the open fields by German small arms fire. The German AT guns and a Panzerschreck rocket destroyed two more half-tracks. Another Cromwell was damaged to AT fire and pulled back. Losses to the dug in Germans were minor.
The Welsh Guards had a series of moves that closed on the building on the German right flank, but luck was against them in this battle. The MG-42 card was turned as they advanced into close range in the open. The result was one squad completely wiped out and another with 6 of 8 castings hit.
The Guards had had enough this day and ordered retreat. They were able to extract themselves without too great a loss. Two Guardsmen were taken prisoner by the Germans. The liberation would have to wait for another day, so put those Belgium flags back inside before they are seen.
One side note, the Germans were never able to fire their mortars, as the FO card never came up. We assumed this was due to the phone line being cut early in the battle. Also, the Cromwell Squadron was firing away early in the battle, but then nothing for the rest of the engagement. Smoke must have obscured the targets. Also, the RAF was not to be scene anywhere. This left the poor bloody infantry with little to no support as they advanced across the fields. One of the many things I like about this rules set, you don't know what is going to happen or when.
Welsh: thirty-two infantry (two were POW's) and three M-3 halftracks
Germans: six infantry