1940: Fall of France Scenario 18: The Iron Line: South
Division Marocaine #1
|France||1re Division Marocaine|
|Germany||4th Panzer Division|
|Overall Rating, 1 vote|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 573|
|Parent Game||Division Marocaine|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Fall of France||maps + counters|
The Germans had launched two attacks on the railway line at Gembloux on May 14, and both times the Moroccans holding the line had rebuffed the Master Race with ease. So the next morning, the Germans ruined a magnificent sunrise by sending in a flight of Stukas to pour loads of bombs into the Moroccan lines. Soon afterward, the tanks and infantry of the 4th Panzer Division attacked in much greater numbers than they had the day before. But the French artillery got the jump on their German counterparts, silencing the enemy guns and depriving the pioneers of the covering fire they'd need to push through the railway obstacle.
The German tanks joined the fray far too soon and French heavy artillery, minefields and well-situated anti-tank guns wreaked havoc in their ranks. Squad leader Louis Brindejonc commanding one of the 25mm AT guns claimed seven German tanks that morning. More brilliant commanders and simple soldiers lost their lives near the terrible sunken railway before the tanks retreated and another wave of Stukas was called in at 1030 hours. The German infantry continued to assault alone, and at a high price in men and machines they successfully infiltrated the railway station at Gembloux, once the Germans figured out there was no way they could dislodge the Moroccans from there. By noon the French forces had lost seven entire sections in numerous close assaults, but the counterattack to restore their line was ready for launch.
The Division Marocaine counterset replaces the French INF with Moroccan ESC. The Moroccan Division was at the peak of its fighting prowess.
(Special note: Marocain HMG units have a Movement factor of 2.)
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The unit label on the counter is 25mm, but should be 20mm. No effect on play.
(plloyd1010 on 2016 Apr 01)
|Tirailleurs Too Tough|
Early on the morning of May 15, 1940, units from the German 4th Panzer Division advanced west near Gembloux, Belgium to confront the 1re Division Marocaine. The Moroccan troops were well positioned behind minefields and roadblocks east of the city, and also took full advantage of the sunken section of the railroad line for protection. The Germans advanced on all fronts with combined armor/infantry on the north flank. Intense Allied OBA and intense fighting around the roadblock at the northern crossroads slowed the German advance. The northern roadblock was cleared by 1015 hours, but the tirailleurs, with considerable support from their AT platoons, continued to hold against the German combined forces. German tank units moved into the southern end of the sunken railroad around 1130, but their advance was slowed for another ¾ hour by the 47 APX platoon that was situated in eastern Gembloux. After the panzer units broke through into the northeast section of town, they were further delayed by Allied assaults. The German combined forces finally established a position northeast of town following destruction of the remaining two 25mm AT platoons in the east central section of town. By 1400 hours, all able-bodied German officers had been called to the front lines to initiate a final push to capture the town, and a gap was opened in the south end of the Moroccan line through which a single Panzer II platoon entered Gembloux. Three other panzer platoons pushed into town from the north gap, but they were unable to secure the town. Capitaine Jean-Guy Fontenot was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his brave leadership of the 75mm AA platoon, which held off repeated assaults from three German infantry units for over four hours on the front line. The German surge ultimately failed, as the Moroccan troops held most of the town and still contested sections of the eastern front line. The battle ended at 1445 hours with a major Allied victory.
This scenario is played on roughly 2/3 of a map with many units, which makes for extensive engagement. The objectives involve town hex control and step loss. The red Division Marocaine ESC units were used in place of French infantry. The Allied setup with a strong front line of minefields, roadblocks and interlaced fire zones from the Moroccan units made it extremely difficult for the German troops to penetrate. Couple this with the heavy French OBA and this becomes a tough win for the Germans. Withering fire compromises the German ability to put together undisrupted assault groups to break through the lines. There is also a benefit to the Allies in terms on VP’s from assaults, since tank steps lost count double; it behooves the French/Moroccan player to identify assaults where parity can be achieved to take advantage of this edge. In the end, this scenario wasn’t even close for the Allies, who had a total of 109 VP’s to 52 for the Germans. Step loss was 69 for the Germans versus 32 for the Allies.