Friday, January 3, 2014

Gravelines 29 May 1940

As part of this year's games week, me and Phil decided to play another scenario from the Dunkirk Campaign, this time following the fortunes of some of the French units defending Gravelines. Phil played the French, I, the Germans. The German mission was simply to breakthrough in as many different positions along the line as they could, and which they did do historically

This action took place on the second day of the battle (28/29), after German tanks had crossed the Aa Canal and were actually moving against Gravelines itself; well, just a few kilometers north heading from the area of Watten

Positions of the French, historically 2nd Battalion 137RI, supported by some loosely grouped artillery units and additional infantry from a reinforced motorized company of Reserve B troops

Extreme French left in the Reserve B positions

The only real anti tank units the French could muster at this time. The 75s' were actually firing in support of other French units in this sector, until the arrival of infantry from Grossdeutschland supported by tanks and Stug IIIb platoons

Early small arms exchanges went the way of the French as most of their positions were dug in

This is the start of Turn 3, a PzI platoon and a company of infantry advance against the Reserve B positions

A mixed company of German armour is moved against the French left flank creating all sorts of panic (a lucky die roll saw them enter the field three turns before schedule)  

Just outside the main French perimeter one company holds up all German advances until the arrival of a StugIIIb platoon

Heavy infantry weapons platoons firing in support of advances against the main French positions

The 75mm battery goes into anti tank mode in an attempt to support the soon-to-be over run French left (guns by HaT)

With some minor success

Turn 5 saw the Reserve B forces reduced by one third, but still they held on

The French right flank also suffered considerable losses this turn

And the outer perimeter positions were then abandoned (actually over run but Phil insists they were going to withdraw that turn anyway)

The Stug platoon (Dragon) and its supporting infantry pause to allow German reserves to catch up

Turn 6 is a lucky one for the French left. Their morale holds good while the attacking Germans fail theirs and go 'pinned', which allowed Phil to use a 'Disengage' order and evacuate the position without further losses (figures here are mostly Caesar, trucks are scratch builds by my friend Gerard Davey)


The main French defensive area continued to try and disrupt the forward movement of German infantry. This 25mm was the only dedicated anti tank unit on the French side, and despite it scoring several hits throughout the game it couldn't destroy anything outright, and was eventually over run with its supporting infantry platoon

Turn 7 saw a couple more hits on the German armour

And, casualties to the 75s', still firing over open-sights

Turn 8. German motorised infantry reinforce the assault on the French left

Where they quickly added their weight to the fighting. Figures here are mostly Pegasus

Turn 9. The main French position is outflanked, which led to several platoons being enfiladed 

With predictable results. This became the beginning of the end

The 75s' scored their last hit of the game but were themselves destroyed before they could be withdrawn

French command units supervising the withdrawal of units still in good fighting order and morale. Its commandant R. Miquel later received the Croix de Guerre

Really just another attacker/defender type scenario with little room or need for manoeuvre. Phil now has a pretty good understanding of the basics of CD3, which has certainly made for better gaming. 

Historically, this French battalion suffered around 250 casualties in only a few hours fighting, but still managed to later withdraw in good order towards the Saint Georges area, where it was again committed to the fighting. 


  1. Nice AAR. I haven't played a France '40 game in a long time. I have a couple of bns of French infantry somewhere

  2. Thanks Mike, get some of the Pegasus French if you haven't already

  3. Great to see another of your excellent game reports!

  4. Its always good to get a AAR from you Al. Damned jealous I was not there!

    The buildings look good in the setting mate.

  5. Very interessting battle-report and good pictures that gives a lot of inspiration.