Syria, 18th June 1941
As 5th Indian Brigade advanced towards Mezze, they moved away from the road to avoid a series of well defended Vichy road blocks. The next obstacle was the fortified village of Mouadammiye (Mouad from here onwards), as the column tried to move past it in the pre-dawn darkness, heavy fire from the defenders caused casualties and confusion! So it was decided the village had to be silenced and whilst the main column moved on towards Mezze “A” Company 3/1st Punjabs were detached to do just that.
Clear or at least supress the Vichy forces in the village
HQ: CO, Subalten, Indian officer, NCO, RTO team, medic
4 infantry platoons with:
10 men each inc Bren team *
Officer, NCO, 3 ammo bearers, AT rifle team, 2” mortar team
* Special rule - grenades, usually in our games only figures actually posed throwing grenades may do so, but in this action the Punjabi are noted for using lots of grenades so allow any infantry figure to do so.
Any time after turn 6 (to be selected in advance by the Allied player) a single Hurricane fighter-bomber arrives over the village and can attack targets of opportunity – one bombing attack, followed by a strafing run the next turn.
HQ + MMG team
2 platoons 24th Mixte Colonial Regiment
1 x 75mm mle 1897
1 x R35
1 x Renault UE “coloniale”
A smaller scenario than I`ve been running of late just for a change of pace. Now this game is smaller than the ones I`ve played recently which requires a slightly different approach particularly to spotting & observation and command and control. I decided to apply rolls for spotting/observation 5-6 (1D6) and allow officers/NCOs to give commands on a similar roll.
The game started with the French occupying most of the forward buildings, they held their two pieces of armour in reserve. The `75 was positioned in the centre, though this effectively masked it for the track leading into the village because of the palm grove!
The Punjabi advanced in a rough line L-R: No4 platoon, No3 platoon (with the Boyes AT rifle team); No1 platoon + Coy. HQ and No2 platoon on the right with the 2” mortar team. The basic plan was for No3 platoon to advance up the track flanked by No4 to their left and No2 plus the Coy HQ to the right. While this was keeping the Vichy busy, No2 platoon would move up on the right setting up the 2” mortar to support the companies advance.
No4 platoon on the left
No3 platoon on the track
No2 platoon on the right
Turn 1 the Vichy note the Punjabi advance and the `75 fires an opening shot causing casualties amongst No1 platoon!
Turn 4 No1 platoon now joined by the company HQ is pinned in the palm grove by rifle rife and VB grenades, luckily the French shooting is at long range and casualties are light. The French order forward their R-35 in an attempt to flush out No 3 platoon by the track.
No 4 platoon move into a gully which masks them from the Vichy LMG, though they lose another man in the move; their Bren gunner kills the Vichy LMG No2, which leave the gunner on his own.
No2 platoon on the right starts climbing over the wall into the goat filed, they come under long range LMG fire losing one man. The French `75 causes two casualties among members of No1 platoon who are trying to link up with No2 platoon. The Punjabi 2” mortar drops a bomb smack onto the `75 killing 3 out the 4 crew – the last man abandons the gun and runs for the nearest cover.
Turn 6 No1 platoon still pinned, the R-35 closes on No3 platoon firing at point blank range taking the platoons Bren team. But the platoon officer makes a “heroic command” roll (6 on 1D6) and orders his men to close assault the French tank with grenades – which they do and a magnificent 11 on 2D6 was enough to knock it out!!
No 4 platoon find themselves unopposed and begin to move into the village
No2 platoon continue their cautious advance across the goat field, they move into position to assault the red roofed cottage next turn.
The 2” mortar drops a bomb onto the open rooftop occupied by Vichy troops firing on No1 platoon, shrapnel causes casualties among the defenders including their officer!
The French commander orders the UE Coloniale forward to protect his now vunerable left.
No 4 platoon moves towards the house with the MMG (from behind)
No 2 platoon close assaults the red roofed cottage with grenades wiping out the defenders
The 2” mortar land another bomb on the same roof killing all but one defender who breaks and abandons his position.
The UE Coloniale moves towards the red roofed cottage
No1 & No3 platoons were still being targeted this turn and neither can move.
The company RSM makes and heroic command roll and leads some men to close assault the UE Coloniale, they successfully knock that out also!!
With his armour all gone, most of his men killed or captured the French commander decides to live to fight another day and orders the last few defenders to slip away. The battle ended with the Punjabi advancing on the village from three sides unopposed.
Historically after a stiff fight, the Punjabi eventually cleared the village.
This game has been set-up for a couple of weeks ready to run, we got busy with revising for our end of term Spanish exam. In the mean time I had as is my nature tinkered with the scenario, but today in my excitement you will note I forgot to allow the Punjabi to get their air support - d`oh! I must next time remmber to re-read my scenario notes before actually starting to play.