Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Bridge at Trudeau-sur-Tabernac - Bolt Action AAR Part Two

On 8 June 1944 during a local counter-attack, No. 10 platoon of the Canadian Scottish, led by one of the divisional recce cars and reinforced with additional elements, found a gap in the positions of II. Battalion of the 26th SS Panzergrenadier regiment. With their blood up and confident that the rest of the Scots would be quickly following up, they raced towards a stone bridge in one of the many small hamlets that dot the countryside of Normandy.

They were spotted, however, by an enemy forward observer hidden in an old church tower nearby. All that could be spared was quickly dispatched, a platoon under Untersturmführer Strausser from 2. Kompanie with a Panther in support. Their orders were simple: contest the crossing and hold it until relieved.

The hamlet of Trudeau-sur-Tabernac.

The lead German section was nearly at the bridge when the Canadian scout car roared up across the way and let loose with its 20mm gun. Casualties were suffered and they were forced to go to ground to escape the accurate fire.

The Canadian recce scout car with a Cromwell as back-up. Truck loads of Canadian Scottish followed in their wake.

At the sounds of gunfire ahead, the Canadian Scottish dismounted and began to deploy for action.

The remainder of Strausser's platoon arrived on scene.

Bolstered by the presence of the Panther, Strausser wasted no time in ordering his young men forwards into contact with the enemy.

As it turned the corner, the Panther spotted the Canadian recce car but was unable to bring its main gun to bear due to the men to its immediate front. The armoured car took this opportunity to quickly reverse out of the line of fire.

The Canadian Scottish continued their advance towards the bridge and a Bren carrier brought forward a towed 6-pounder antitank gun.


The panzerschreck team that was up front with the lead section spotted the Cromwell and bravely dashed forward to the bridge under a hail of fire to engage it. For the veteran team leader Scharführer Dorsch this sort of thing was old hat to him.


Under a fusilade from every weapon that could be brought to bear onto him and his young loader, Dorsch calmly took aim and with his first shot immobilized the Cromwell.


Ominously, a spotter round landed amidst the Canadians...


The scout car darted out of cover and and mortally wounded Dorsch's loader. In reply, the Panther caught the Cromwell in its sights and with one deadly shot brewed it.


On the right flank, the other two sections advanced through fields towards the cover of the tall hedge.


Figuring enough excitement was had for one day, Scharführer Dorsch removed himself from the bridge.


An accurate mortar barrage landed among the Canadian Scottish and caused terrible casualties.


The Hitlerjugend advanced with deadly intent on the now much weakened Canadian flank.


On the left, the lead section hurried to catch up with the Panther whose commander, in a fit of youthful exuberance over his kill, charged up to the bridge. Spotting rounds landed among the Germans here but the delivered barrage that followed had little effect.


The Panther continued its mad charge over the the bridge and started shooting the place up with its coaxial machinegun.


Spurred on by Untersturmführer Strausser, the young SS men waded though waist deep water and a rain of 2" mortar bombs in an effort to support the Panther.


Lying in wait as the Panther turned the corner was the 6-pounder antitank gun. Courageously crewed, the Canadians held their ground and traded point-blank shots with the raging tank.


Back on the right, the 2nd and 3rd sections prepared to assault across the stream.


The recce car continued to pop in out of cover to take the Germans still trying to cross the stream under fire. Then from up the road a truck load of Canadian Scottish barrelled in and scrambled out within meters of the Panther...


...and bravely assaulted the enemy tank! All were vying for Victoria Crosses this day but unfortunately for the Canadians, the Panther withstood their assault. With the Germans now over the water and approaching fast, the Canucks withdrew back to the cover of their truck.


A lucky shot from the 6-pounder penetrated the Panthers armour but caused only a small fire that was quickly extinguished but not without rattling the crew inside.


The assault begins!


The Canadian Scottish in the end were unable to break the determined defence of the Hitlerjugend and withdrew back to their regiment's lines lest they be cut off and encircled by the German counter-attack that was sure to soon follow.


Another fun game of Bolt Action on a great looking table. The Canadian forces and all terrain seen here except the hedges and telephone poles are courtesy of our local terrain guru Pattus Magnus. May your brushes always be pointy!

This was another victory for the Hitlerjugend but marred, however, by a rule error we made regarding the barrage on the Canadians. It should not have been nearly so deadly and it likely ended up costing them the game.

Battlegroup: Overlord  is due to arrive in my sweaty hands sometime next week. Look for the next AAR to be using those rules.