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Nathaniel Weber

I played another firefight on the Oosterbeek Perimeter this evening.  An earlier German attack had managed to seize a brick workshop, where they placed a tripod-mounted MG42 that has a lovely sight line into the British perimeter.  An assault party of paras have snuck forward to storm the workshop and take out the MG42. Prattle follows; pictures below.

The British had two squads of eight men each, with a mix of rifles, Stens, and 1 Bren each.  They were led by a junior officer and his adjutant, who brought along a 2″ mortar team for support.  The Germans around the workshop had the MG42 team and two weak squads–one with small arms only, one including an LMG.  A German senior NCO led their force.

The British went for a risky double envelopment, to hit the workshop from two directions.  The British were fortunate and the squads successfully coordinated their attack (before the game began, I rolled 1D6–on a 1 the flanking squad was a turn late; on a 2-3 they only got 1 action in turn 1; on a 4+ they were on time and in position). The British had no preparatory barrage, but enjoyed the element of surprise, so the Germans got to start the game on overwatch (able to react to enemy movement) but if the British stuck to concealment they had a chance of moving into position without being spotted.

The attack started flat-footed for the British.  A few of their  men were pinned down by German fire as they approached, and the first blasts of paratrooper small arms fire were ineffectual—one man even ran out of ammo.  The only real firepower possessed by the two sides were the German MG-42s (one of which was static, sited on the road) and the British 2″ mortar, so at range most of the fire only had suppressing effects.  The British were able to use a smoke grenade to help some men get into a decent firing position, and a Bren team was able to vertically enfilade (a made up term? perhaps, but it sounds cool!) when they occupied an attic and fired down into the workshop.

A few paras made an end run around the warehouse and came up behind it, and were involved in a back-and-forth grenade tossing contest.   Meanwhile, the first squad took a risk and rushed across the street against the Germans opposite them—and Mars did smile upon them and they hurled their grenades and fired point-blank SMG fire into the stunned Germans, who were pushed back.

By this point both sides had suffered heavy casualties, but the fight continued as squads passed their morale tests and kept going.  In turn 4 I thought the British had it in the bag, but the defenders of the workshop pushed hard and by the beginning of turn 5, it looked like the British had had it. But then the para officer rushed through a gap in the German defenses and got a grenade into the workshop; two riflemen, one from each para squad, followed his example and rushed forward, also grenading the workshop.  The German HMG team fell in a hail of fragmentation and the remaining German troops surrendered or ran.

By the end of the game the Germans had suffered 6 casualties and about 5 prisoners; the British had taken 9 casualties.  Yet again the game turned several times between turns 4-6.  Casualties were low until the men had pushed in to SMG and grenade range—of the 15 casualties I think 12 were suffered in the last three turns.

The minis are 20mm; same buildings as before, but the new workshop is by Novus Design Studio, and the resin heaps of rubble are by Frontline Games out of Texas.  The rubble scatter is fine gravel stained red with paint, bits of thin balsa scraps stained with thin brown paint, and small strips of the sprue from laser-cut MDF terrain.