Monday, April 8, 2013

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.

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 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 pitch 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. Blimey, Al - great stuff! What a busy battle...nice one ;)

  2. This is great! I've often thought of having a bash at Calais myself, but I'll just ogle this instead. 10 years ago I took my son to Calais to walk the battle. Although the town was badly bashed in 1940, and, again, in 1944, the key bits are still identifiable, especially the massive ramparts of the Vauban fortifications and, of course, the harbour area. There is, of course, Airey Neave's excellent memoir of the battle, Flames of Calais - well worth a read.

  3. Nice to see so much early war kit - even a Defiant!

  4. Two Defiants Tim, one each from Al and I. Al gave me one to build especially for the game.

    Al's Battle gave me good service as well, but I am now looking at building my own Battle fleet!

    This was one of those games where everything went pear shaped for poor Al. Not only was he pushed around by forces that he vastly outnumbered but this dice he threw constantly failed him, which was lucky for me.

    That being said Al put on a really good table and was in fine form all night.

    Is this a repeat post Al?

  5. Brilliant scenary and pictures, can't wait for the next installment.

    Best wishes, Brian

  6. Really well and in detail of all the models, the soldiers of the buildings, the installation, and in particular a detailed description of the text.
    Photos deserves a lot of extra points.
    I like what I see.