Thursday 7 April 2022

French counter attacks at Port Lyautey - the Lighthouse

French counter attacks at Port Lyautey, November 9th 1942

The light house

On November 8th 2nd BLT (Battalion Landing Team) of the US 60th Infantry advanced eastward inland. They skirted the Kasbah and occupied a native settlement before they faced a concerted French counter-attack supported by three old tanks, two of which were knocked out. But during the action 2nd BLT became confused and disorientated as this was their first combat experience, kept falling back and regrouping piecemeal. This left men behind, abandoned, without orders or command and faced with a determined enemy (whom they had been led to believe wouldn`t even put up a fight in the first place), the French took a number of prisoners.

The next morning the French advance continued towards along the southern bank of the Sebou River towards the Kasbah against 2nd BLT positions in the native settlement and the lighthouse beyond. Their objective was the reoccupy the gun positions near the Kasbah and bring fire down onto the landing beaches.

The scenario

This simulates the French counter-attack on November 9th against 2nd BLT.

US deployment (see special rule 1* below)

Picket line east of the native village

HQ – CO, NCO, 2 runners, .30cal team

2 platoons of "E" company 60th infantry each with:

10 figs (inc BAR)

Native village

Elements "F" coy, 60th infantry

HQ - CO, NCO, 2 runners, RTO (on battalion net - can call mortar fire from “H” company near the lighthouse only)

2 platoons each with

10 figs (inc BAR)

Elements "H" Coy

1 x MMG team, 37mm AT gun with tow plus crew, bazooka team (3 rockets)


Dug in along the ridge and lighthouse

Composite Battalion HQ

CO, 2IC, Senior NCO, 2 RTO plus 10 men (this represents battalion HQ personnel)

Naval spotter & RTO

Artillery FOO + RTO

Medical unit

Elements "G" Coy 60th Infantry

HQ - CO, NCO, RTO, runner

2 platoons each with

10 figs (inc BAR)

.30cal team

Elements "H" Coy

2 x 81mm mortar teams, Bazooka team (3 rockets)

Note this photo also includes "G" companies .30cal team 

Off table support

1. 1 battery of 105mm artillery which is set-up on the beach (call on 5-6 on 1D6, fires for 1D3 turns, then must be called again - this is to simulate the confused situation)

2. 120mm naval support fire (call on 5-6, fires for 1D3 turns, then must be called again (as above) - this is to simulate the confused situation! [see special scenario rule 2* below]

1 x strafing attack by a F4F (arrives any time after turn 6 on 5-6) carries out 2 x 20" strafing runs against visible targets [can only occur twice in the game] – see special scenario rule 3* below


Special scenario rules

1* The Kasbah is still occupied by Vichy defenders so no American unit can be deployed within 18” (Heavy machine gun range) of this structure, if US troops move within range they can be fired upon by the defenders!

2* Once called there is a 1 in 6 chance (roll 1 on D6) that the guns will land on American positions near the intended French targets!!

Even if this does not occur US units must make a morale check the following turn to simulate the panic caused by incoming naval fire on the inexperienced troops!!

3* There is a 2 in 6 chance (1-2 on D6) the plane will attack US troops in error! This simulates the confusion and inexperience of all concerned on the Allied side.

French attackers

Attack Groupe A

2 x Ft17  

1 x Ft17 75BS

Note this photo also includes the R-35s

2 x Colonial rifle companies with

HQ - CO, 2IC, 2 runners (one company HQ has a MMG team attached)

3 platoons each with

10 men (FM24/29, VB launcher)

Attack Groupe B

2 x R35

2 Senegalese companies with

HQ - CO, 2IC, 2 runners, VB launcher

3 platoons each with:

10 men (FM24/29)


Reinforcements and support:

On turn 1D6 + 2 a single D.520 arrives over the table and can spend 2 turns strafing targets of opportunity

Once the native village is occupied the French can bring forward a mixed support battery with:

1 x 75mle1897 + crew + tow

2 x 80mm mortars + crews carried in a truck



The French overwhelmed the 2nd BLT outposts, but were stopped by fire from the positions around the ridge with the lighthouse. The French brought up some 75mm guns and mortars and forced the Americans to withdraw, but due to naval support fire, US artillery and air-support they were unable to take advantage of the American withdrawal. Similarly 2nd BLT even with all this support was unable to mount a coordinated attack and the day ended in stalemate.

The Game

For this battle a created a new configuration and the table is now approximately 9x7 feet

Our table

Looking towards the beaches

The native village

The lighthouse

Looking towards the Kasbah

The Kasbah

French deployment

Across the table width right to left:

Ft17s plus 1st colonial company along the road

2nd colonial company

1st Senegalese company supported by an R-35

2nd Senegalese company also supported by an R-35

Turn 1 saw US mortars straddle the road, the picket platoons realised making a stand would be suicide began to pull back towards the native huts.

Turn 2 French small arms and the tanks machine guns cause casualties among the retreating picket platoons. The US mortars bracket the Ft17 75BS on the road and knock it out (yet another case of a new model dying on its first outing)

Turns 3-4 saw a steady French advance, the picket platoons either evade of are over run. During these turns the US fails to call in either artillery of naval support fire and can only harass the oncoming French with their mortars.

Turn 5 sees the arrival to a single Vichy Dewoitine D-520 which dived in to strafe US targets

Turn 6 the D-520 strafes the native huts causing casualties among the defenders including the company RTO on his perch up on a rooftop!

The Senegalese and the colonial infantry are now engaged with the defenders of the village outskirts supported by the tanks.

The FT17 with 37mm moves up the road is ambushed and knocked out by the US 37mm AT gun

Turn 7 sees the US finally call in artillery which causes casualties among the French for next few turns, still no help from the navy however! The D-506 targets the lighthouse and by pure luck kills the naval spotter and wrecks his radio (not that it has been much help up to now anyway).

Turn 8 Most of the forward US positions are finally over-whelmed but a singularly brave Bazooka gunner stands his ground and knocks out an R-35 before he and his loader are both killed.

Turn 9 Starts with a run a great rolls for the US (three consecutive 5s) meaning they contact the artillery, naval off shore support and a lone F4F arrives over the table!!

The surviving defenders in the native village launch a spirted counter attack against the French too.

The naval gun fire wipes out nearly an entire Senegalese platoon!

The artillery devastates the Senegalese 1st company HQ platoon

The F4F inflicts heavy casualties on a platoon from the 2nd colonial company

 Turn 10 The artillery inflicts more casualties on the Senegalese causing morale checks! The naval gun fire effectively wipes out half of what was left of the 2nd company



The F4F strafes the colonial infantry again claiming the 2nd company commander among its victims (more morale checks)

Turn 11 saw most of the Senegalese and colonial infantry cowering among whatever cover they could find! 1st colonial company was fighting among the village huts, 2nd company now leaderless just went to ground. The Senegalese were in worse shape with only two platoons (one from each company) now combat effective and 1st company had no command elements left either. So at this point I called a US victory.

Colonial infantry hiding outside the village

The remaining Senegalese

Frankly considering the loses there was little more the French could do, maybe I allowed the Yanks to be more organised than was historically correct? Maybe too I should have not allowed them access to the naval support fire once the spotter was killed (I just allowed the battalion CO to take over the role). Ah well c`est la guerre!!


  1. Looks great Richard- I always enjoy these reports of yours.



    1. Cheers Pete

      This may need a re-fight once I`ve had time to ponder the events of this first game. The French just couldn`t move quickly enough??

  2. What an exciting and interesting battle. I’m intrigued by this theatre. Well done sir. You’ve motivated me to finally build Vichy forces!

    1. Very kind, I don`t tend to walk the much used pathways of wargaming :)

  3. A good looking scenario and enjoyed reading the the battle report.

    1. Thanks, it takes quite a bit of work to photograph and document these battles - comments always appreciated :)

    2. I do appreciate all the time spent going into the scenario description and the battle report. It is partly why I have posted less reports myself over the few years - they take a lot of time!

      Just so you know I do read all the scenarios and battle reports you post. Sometimes I am behind by a few weeks but they do get read!

    3. That is much appreciated - it does sometimes feel as if I`m just wasting my time :)

  4. Richard, it’s not a waste a of time at all! Your thorough reports and detailed OOB’s is what makes your site and AAR’s top shelf sir! It really shows that your research and gaming are a labor of love.