Sunday, September 12, 2010

Calais: Day Two, the first ten hours

14 out of 24 turns played so far, the rest in a couple of weeks or so. All of the kit is a mixture of mine and Paul's. Here is the German point of view...

Extreme right of the German line, here are some of the British start positions near the railway station.

Extreme left, the village of Nielles les Calais defended by elements of the Queen Victoria's Rifles.

Early German moves against this village by SS Motorised Infantry came up against some very determined defence, and suffered unusually heavy casualties in the process.

Paul rushed his MkVI company into the fray to help the defenders who were outnumbered by about 5-1. This unit enjoyed an outstanding game , moving from one position to another plugging gaps and offering armoured support for the stretched infantry.

Me110 on a spotting flight during the opening moves. This is an old Revell kit.

In attempting to locate British positions, German recon units moved a bit deeper into the outer suburbs than they should have and quickly found themselves cut off and way out gunned.

Back on the left the SS get organised and the British begin start to take hits.

This flanking of the village by a second battalion of SS comes to a grinding halt when they are attacked in the rear by MkVIs.

Despite being cut off and taking fire the German recon units continue to locate the defenders main areas of resistance.

Two companies of infantry and one of tanks mount a rescue attempt on the recon units in deep trouble in the outer suburbs. To no avail however, the recon company is destroyed just as the cavalry was getting into position.

The attack on the far right flank went well until it ran up against the defenders of the railway station area. The fighting here went on for several hours before the British and French platoons were eventually forced to retire, in reasonably good order too it has to be said.

A9 Cruisers make the most of the lack of armoured support for the SS. The battle for this village became a small game in itself as both commanders committed ever greater numbers for its control.

Two turns later the A9s were on the other side of the village mixing it up with two companies of panzers. The SS infantry close-assaulted the village and house to house fighting went on here for several turns. German figures here are by Pegasus.

The A9s were confronted with superior numbers of German armour. The Germans always had more units to spare, and the British too much ground to cover for the numbers they had.

The infantry regiment's gun battery firing in support of the assault on the railway station area.

German infantry platoons in the streets of Calais. The Matilda at the end of road kept these units at bay for several turns, their own armoured support delayed in a fight with another A9 company.

Air support for both sides was fairly consistent. Here an Airfix Ju87b attacks British platoons holding the centre approach to Calais.

Still the British hold out on the left and attack aircraft made their presence felt, adding to the German woes.

The British did everything they could to prevent the village being outflanked and cut off. This is one of several sorties by LMG armed carrier platoons, who made a nuisance of themselves for several turns before they were eventually destroyed.

This is a company of search-light troops that were part of the flank defence. Despite being repeatedly attacked by SS troops and on occasion aircraft, they held they positions throughout the whole days fighting in this area - VCs all round.

This is from about turn 9 or ten, in the early afternoon. A large German attack slams into the British centre, with the panzers passing through the British infantry line leaving the motorcycle troops to take care of them. Again the versatile carrier platoons provided invaluable support.

Broken British tank company forced out of the fighting with its morale in tatters. Several times British units with shaky morale were forced back into the fighting. Airfix and SHQ Matildas.

Casualties building up inside the citadel.

Part of the harbour area continues the evacuation. Royal Navy troops along the dockside, one of which is a naval artillery observer.

Here the British 25lb battery goes into anti-tank mode out of desperation. They actually enjoyed some success, destroying a panzer platoon at long range.

After finally securing the railway station German infantry began moving against the last of the British positions guarding the the approaches to the citadel and the inner harbour area.

Only to be foiled once again by the ever present carrier platoons, obliging the Germans to fight yet another pitched battle before they could continue to secure good field position for the final assault.

British aircraft strafe the point elements of the German assault in front of the railway station.

Late in the afternoon the British centre finally began to seriously bend as the last of their tank companies in this area is forced from the fight with broken morale. Only the timely intervention of bomber aircraft prevented them from being destroyed outright.

Pressure mounts on the British positions, and without infantry support the tanks have no choice but to retreat deeper into Calais to the next line of resistance. Paul's most excellent French 25mm in the right of the picture.

Undamaged German infantry in numbers. The British would liked to have held this position but simply lacked the numbers to do so.

SS units finally secure control of Nielles les Calais.

A pretty hard fought game thus far. The next phase will almost certainly see a lot of house to house fighting as the Germans move to secure their objectives. Both sides will need to spend some time rallying and regrouping broken and depleted units. Next installment in a couple of weeks.


  1., what a game! Sounds brutal on both sides. How long did it take to play out (how many hours to play)?
    Beautiful looking scenery, AFV and I'd expect from you two.


    I am envious of the Fairey Battle and Duo of Defiant Fighters. The former is top of my Airfix list when it comes back out later this year

    The hard fought battle seems to reflect history. Those crazy carrier platoons reflected in the German commentary of British counter-attacks taking "suicidal" chances.

    Is the Matilda presence accurate (or a case of just using a in period force) as I thought they were all done on the retreat from Arras?

    A long awaited game and I look forward to its conclusion (for Brigadier Neilson?)

  3. Thanks very much boys. Hours played so far? We started about 8pm and stopped at 4.30am; I actually felt a bit jaded the next day! Geordie, yep my favourite aircraft mate, get some. The carriers actions were as on the day, and the MkVIs the stand out performers. Matildas were out of necessity, only x3 on the board in total, did find a couple of references to single vehicle presence though, thought them possibly recovered from previous engagements.

    I'm looking forward to the British version too:)

  4. Another really excellent battle report with great photos!


  5. Nice report, very atmospheric Al...