Monday, 1 October 2018

Spearhead: Lebisey, 7 June 1944

Another day, another Spearhead battle report - this time the battle at Lebisey on 7 June 1944 where 3rd Division tries to break through  21st Panzer's defences in the Lebisey woods to reach Caen. This was based on Scenario 2 of the Rapid Fire Normandy Battlegames/Battlegroups books, available via Wargames Vault. They are well worth a purchase, as they are balanced games with objectives that are achievable by either side.

British OOB

Regimental HQ (Regular)
1 - HQ Stand

1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
1 - HQ Stand
1 - 6pdr ATG/Truck
1 - 3" Mortar/Truck
1 - Carrier Platoon (Rifle if Dismounted)
4 - Companys (of 3 Rifle Stands)
1 - MG Platoon

2nd Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment
1 - HQ Stand
1 - 6pdr ATG/Truck
1 - 3" Mortar/Truck
1 - Carrier Platoon
4 - Companys (of 3 Rifle Stands)
1 - MG Platoon

East Lancashire Regiment
1 - HQ Stand
1 - 3" Mortar/Truck*
1 - 4.2" Mortar/Truck*
3 - Companys (of 3 Rifle Stands)

7th Field Regiment
4-Priest (2 batteries) - off table
2 - OP Team

Staffordshire Yeomanry
2 - Sherman 75
1 - Sherman Firefly

41st AT Battery (Regular)
1 - Achilles (17pdr)

German OOB

Regimental HQ (Regular)
1 - HQ Stand

1st Battalion, 125th Panzergrenadiers
1 - HQ Stand
3 - Companys (of 3 Rifle Stands)
1-Sdkfz 251 37mm ATG
1 - Marder III
1- Grille 150mm SP Gun
1-SP AA Gun 20mm

2nd Battalion 915th Grenadiers (Regular)
1 - HQ Stand
3 - Companys (of 3 Rifle Stands)
3 - HMG
1 - Marder III (AT only at upper range at -1)
1-SP AA Gun 20mm
1-Sdkfz 251/2 Mortar Halftrack

352nd AT Battalion (Regular)
2-Panzer IVH 75mm  (AT only at upper range at -1)
1-Panzer IIIF

At the start of the game, only one German Battalion was on-table...they deployed in line with the intention being that when the reinforcements turned up, they could form a second line and plug the holes!
It was the weakest British Battalion that came on first, and they focussed their attention on the(ir) right hand side, hoping to force the Germans to reveal all of their positions.
It is tricky for the British, as until the Germans fire, they needed to get within 300 Yards to spot them (i.e., 3"). As the gaps between terrain was more than that, it meant sending a squad across open ground. Fortunately, they had already spotted a German half-track, so didn't have to carry on the 6" per turn mandatory advance for being under attack orders.
Mind you, a change of orders would have been difficult to say the least, as the British Commander chose to walk directly up the road (never but your command arrow up the road!!!) shouting in a loud voice I'm here, shoot me....well it seemed like that, 'cos the Germans promptly did!

By the time the British reserves arrived, there were several holes in the German line.

Both sides deployed their indirect support, the British some 4.2" and 3" mortars, whilst the Germans had a 150mm Infantry Gun.
Unfortunately, that was it for the Jerries, the British, however, had access to 4 x Priest 105mm guns off table.

With both sides reserves finally on the table, the British worked on stretching the German defences where they could.
The Germans, on the other hand, advanced as far as the Chateau and Orchards. 

Casualties on both sides began to mount up, and the German reinforcements took the fateful decision to counterattack on one flank, rather than wait for the British to break through.
The British first Battalion broke, but unfortunately for the Germans, so did their front was a rather inopportune moment for the Germans, and their counterattack found itself out on a limb.
One of the two remaining British Battalions was able to advance unopposed towards their objective.

It is very difficult to undertake a retreating action in Spearhead, so that was it! Game over!


Another excellent game, though I (as German C-in-C) felt I played like a muppet, underestimating how long the front line could hold for, and how long it would take me to redeploy if things went wrong.
Spearhead rally lends itself to this kind of "smaller" game - there is a different type of cautiousness as you try to protect your support assets. The British players did this particularly well.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent battle report

    Take care