Panzer Grenadier Battles on December 14th:
Arctic Front Deluxe #5 - Across the Lake
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Race to the Meuse
Fall of France #7
(Attacker) Germany vs France (Defender)
Formations Involved
Germany 7th Panzer Division
Display
Balance:



Overall balance chart for FaoF007
Total
Side 1 6
Draw 1
Side 2 0
Overall Rating, 7 votes
5
4
3
2
1
4.43
Scenario Rank: 8 of 588
Parent Game Fall of France
Historicity Historical
Date 1940-05-12
Start Time 08:30
Turn Count 52
Visibility Day
Counters 207
Net Morale 0
Net Initiative 3
Maps 7: 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33
Layout Dimensions 196 x 43 cm
77 x 17 in
Play Bounty 169
AAR Bounty 156
Total Plays 7
Total AARs 2
Battle Types
Covering Action
Delaying Action
Conditions
Off-board Artillery
Randomly-drawn Aircraft
Terrain Mods
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Fall of France maps + counters
Introduction

On the evening on May 11, General Corap ordered the vanguard elements of the Division Legeres de Cavalerie in the Ardennes to fall back to the Meuse. The size and power of the enemy was simply too much for the French light cavalry divisions, and they were in danger of being encircled. The withdrawal was carried out early on May 12, with mobile elements covering the retreat of the slower units.

Conclusion

The French infantry divisions on the Meuse were far from ready to hold the line at this stage, so the retreating units had to make a fighting withdrawal. Taking every possible advantage of terrain, the dragoons and chasseurs succeeded in slowing down the Germans so that the less-mobile French units could cross the Meuse in safety. Quite a few panzers were destroyed all along the different retreat routes, and a sole 25mm French anti-tank gun claimed no less than 12 German tanks destroyed in one day. Around 1600 the bridges at Dinant and Bouvignes were blown within view of the first approaching panzers, just after the last French elements had crossed to safety.


Display Relevant AFV Rules

AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle
  • Vulnerable to results on the Assault Combat Chart (7.25, 7.63, ACC), and may be attacked by Anti-Tank fire (11.2, DFT). Anti-Tank fire only affects the individual unit fired upon (7.62, 11.0).
  • AFV's are activated by tank leaders (3.2, 3.3, 5.42, 6.8). They may also be activated as part of an initial activating stack, but if activated in this way would need a tank leader in order to carry out combat movement.
  • AFV's do not block Direct Fire (10.1).
  • Full-strength AFV's with "armor efficiency" may make two anti-tank (AT) fire attacks per turn (either in their action segment or during opportunity fire) if they have AT fire values of 0 or more (11.2).
  • Each unit with an AT fire value of 2 or more may fire at targets at a distance of between 100% and 150% of its printed AT range. It does so at half its AT fire value. (11.3)
  • Efficient and non-efficient AFV's may conduct two opportunity fires per turn if using direct fire (7.44, 7.64). Units with both Direct and AT Fire values may use either type of fire in the same turn as their opportunity fire, but not both (7.22, 13.0). Units which can take opportunity fire twice per turn do not have to target the same unit both times (13.0).
  • Demoralized AFV's are not required to flee from units that do not have AT fire values (14.3).
  • Place a Wreck marker when an AFV is eliminated in a bridge or town hex (16.3).
  • AFV's do not benefit from Entrenchments (16.42).
  • AFV's may Dig In (16.2).
  • Open-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables, but DO take step losses from X and #X results (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT). If a "2X" or "3X" result is rolled, at least one of the step losses must be taken by an open-top AFV if present.
  • Closed-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables. Do not take step losses from Direct or Bombardment Fire. If X or #X result on Fire Table, make M morale check instead (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Provide the +1 modifier on the Assault Table when combined with infantry. (Modifier only applies to Germans in all scenarios; Soviet Guards in scenarios taking place after 1942; Polish, US and Commonwealth in scenarios taking place after 1943.) (ACC)
  • Tank: all are closed-top and provide the +1 Assault bonus, when applicable
  • Armored Cars: These are Combat Units. They are motorized instead of mechanized. All have their own armored car leaders, who can only activate armored cars (6.85). Do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).
  • Reconnaissance Vehicle: 8.23 Special Spotting Powers Both foot and vehicle mounted recce units (1.2) possess two special spotting abilities. The first ability is that they can spot enemy in limiting terrain at one hex further than the TEC specifies for other units and leaders. For example, an enemy unit in town can normally be spotted at three hexes or less, but a recce unit can spot them at four hexes.Their second ability is that they can place a Spotted marker on any one enemy unit they can spot per turn, just as if the enemy unit had "blown its cover" by firing. Such Spotted markers are removed as described earlier.
  • Portees: Trucks with mounted Anti-Tank guns, Anti-Aircraft weapons, or artillery. Stack as combat units. Move like trucks, but fire like guns. Do not limber or unlimber. Have the truck's -1 armor value. Truck and gun are treated as a single unit, and do not transport other units. (SB)

Display Order of Battle

France Order of Battle
Armée de Terre
Germany Order of Battle
Heer
  • Towed
Luftwaffe
  • Towed

Display Errata (3)

3 Errata Items
Overall balance chart for 623

In 1940: Fall of France, the units show Direct Fire. All units are Indirect Fire.

(rerathbun on 2015 Jun 06)
Overall balance chart for 20

The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Overall balance chart for 63

The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)

Display AARs (2)

French hold back the Germans, but not quite long enough!
Author GeneSteeler
Method Solo
Victor Germany
Play Date 2010-09-16
Language English
Scenario FaoF007

Note: Score will be denoted by (x-y), where x=French casualties, y=German casualties.

THE RACE

The French block the bridges with their armoured cars. The lead German PzII platoon is reduced by fire from the French (0-2)

German panzers unload into the French armoured cars filling the bridges with wrecks, making them impassable to mechanized and motorized platoons. The Germans begin to cross the river aided by their engineers (7-2)

The French attempt to hold the Germans up at the river. Fighting breaks out on the western shore in the wooded hills. (8-5)

French are overrun by the river and suffer severe casualties. The Germans break through the wooded hills in the north and the French (artillery and anti-tank guns) fire lanes open in the fields beyond. (15-5)

2 hours have passed, 11 hours to go.

Lead panzers are hit by anti-tank fire. German infantry advances against the French as the Trucks wait for passage across the river. In the far distance the retreating French are getting smaller and smaller… (20-8)

An armour battle develops as the Panzers encounter the French H35s supported by some AT-Guns.

Both sides lose a number of tanks. (32-14)

The majority of French troops near the river are lost. They bought as much time as they could with their lives. Did they buy enough?

3 hours have passed, 10 hours to go.

The French need to be careful that they don’t concede too many casualties. Their commander is worried that he committed too many forces at the river and that too many losses have already been sustained.

The armour battle continues and soon the two easternmost sectors (boards) are almost completely French Free. (38–20)

German armour is held up versus a large artillery and anti-tank gun line. (38-22)

German motorcycles are sent to lead the charge against the gun positions.

German trucks begin to head down the roads. Most of the Germans have now reached the second sector (map).

The French lose the first of their anti-tank guns. As the German motorcycles begin to break through the French lines, most of the French guns limber up and fall back to avoid being encircled.

German panzers charge and are hit by anti-tank fire as they try to overwhelm the remaining guns with combined arms. (41-24)

Germans continue to advance as the French engineers reach the Meuse in the far distance. (42-26)

5 hours have passed, 8 hours to go.

French AT Guns destroy more Panzers as the French Cavalry retreats down the wooded roads. One AT Gun battery remains on the French front line, which eliminates a PzI platoon! (44-32)

At the Meuse, the first bridge is blown, as the front of the German column approaches the halfway point.

Another Panzer is hit by the French AT-Gun before it is finally silenced by German artillery. German motorcycles and armoured cars intercept the French AT Guns in transport as the second bridge is blown at the Meuse. (45-34)

German Armoured Cars eliminated by unlimbered AT-Guns. The last remaining H35s are destroyed in the woods by Pz38ts.

French motorcycles are caught behind enemy lines. There is little in the German’s way now to the Meuse. (55-36)

Two more bridges are blown as the Germans advance in the 4th sector.

HALFWAY: 6.5 hours have passed, 6.5 hours to go.

French are all but eliminated east of the Meuse except for some Cavalry with a French portee holding up about 2 km east of the river in a small village. (60-37)

The French position themselves on the far shore.

French portee is lost. (62-37)

The Germans approach the river as the final bridge is blown. 2 French Cavalry and half a motorcycle platoon are stranded on the east side.

8 hours have passed, 5 hours to go.

Some panzers are lost to a cavalry ambush in the woods as the majority of the Germans move around to the south. (63-39)

Germans eliminate the French cavalry and approach the Meuse en masse. German engineers enter the river and get ready to assist the crossing. (68-39)

More German engineers enter the river and they come under both HMG and artillery fire. The first German troops make it across the Meuse and are immediately reduced in assault with the French! (70-40)

10 hours have passed, 3 hours to go.

Additional Germans cross the Meuse and are also reduced. The Germans continue to be hit trying to cross. Eventually 2 more platoons reach the west shore and the French manoeuvre to cut them off. (70-42)

Victory is still in the air. I suspect it is near a draw at the moment, but can the French stem the approaching German tide?

German casualties increase as they continue to cross the Meuse under fire. German armour begins firing across the river into the west shore and the French fall back. (71-46)

11 hours have passed, 2 hours to go.

The final two hours sees the outgunned French troops begin to lose further numbers with only one more German casualty sustained. They are simply overwhelmed and unable to stem the flood. (79-47)

The Race is Over!!!

Aftermath

So, who won? The significant French casualties and only a few platoons left suggests that the Germans have won. But by how much?

French VPs:

Germans Eliminated: 47

French on West Shore: 24

Total: 71

German VPs:

French Eliminated: 79

Germans on West Shore: 31

Total:110

GERMAN MAJOR VICTORY!!!

I have probably missed a few steps of casualties, but a victory by 39 VPs doesn’t seem to warrant a recount. I’m pretty convinced of the German Major Victory.

So, what went right/wrong? I believe the French should not have tried to make a stand on the eastern river/town. A few pot shots, and fall back. Generally, I believe the French tried to hold ground too long, and therefore took such heavy casualties. If they had more forces at the Meuse they could have possible held the Germans back, particularly some AT Guns.

With this said, they still needed to delay the Germans a bit longer. The German advance was at a crawl at some times and a sprint at others. Had the French been more spaced out, they may have been a tad more effective executing a fighting withdrawal and slowed the Germans to fast walk.

This was truly a “Race to the Meuse”, and the Germans were too fast for the French. Had the scenario ended after 11 hours, I think it may have been a draw, or even a French victory. So it was close.

Scenario Rating: 4/5 It is quite long, and in this reply got a bit bogged down at the end. But otherwise a great scenario. Well done fighting withdrawals are fairly rare, and this is a good one.

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Whew!
Author scrane
Method Solo
Victor Draw
Play Date 2011-05-17
Language English
Scenario FaoF007

This scenario is a marathon, both in duration (50 turns is pretty long) and distance (7 mapboards laid side-to-side). Its a nice tactical puzzle as well. The French need to retreat as many units across the river on the farthest board, and prevent the Germans from crossing the same river.

In my replay, the French cavalry and motorcycles, stiffened by a/t guns, artillery and a few tanks, did a good job of stalling the German onslaught at the wooded ridge at the eastern end of the map. The French decimated the light Panzer 1s and 2s as they struggled through the difficult ground in a futile flanking attack on the French defense. German infantry bogged down trying to root out the French defenders, forcing the follow-on German forces to deploy on the north flank and sweep around behind the French. Mopping-up took an additional few hours as valiant French kept rallying pockets of troops in positions to disrupt the advance of German trucks loaded with troops and artillery.

After many delays, the Germans got their forces organized for an advance again and motored up the road to the Meuse, where the French had blown all the bridges (there were essentially no survivors of the delaying force worth holding a bridge open for). By this point, German losses had been so heavy that they were unable to cross enough troops to claim a victory. Both sides were battered and the countryside was strewn with bodies and wrecks.

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