Search This Blog

Friday, 12 November 2010

VBCW - Battle of Broadwater

War came to the area north of Basingstoke yesterday with a British Union of Fascist Legion motorised column out of Reading attempting to capture a vital bridge over the River Loddon around the area of Broadwater just south of Stratfield Saye.

The Basingstoke defence committee were well informed of the threat and were in the process of gathering their forces to resist the BUF attack. The 1st Local Defence Company was the core of the defence supported by a company from the Territorial Army. The terrain was typical of this area of Hampshire with lots of fields and hedges, along with some woodland and the village/hamlet on the river itself. The river could be crossed by infantry at half speed and as well as a bridge, there was a ford over the river.

The local defence force deployed one platoon of local militia to their left flank in a small barn in a series of plowed fields. The remaining platoon deployed in a building close to the bridge with one of the TA platoons deployed in the other building to the right of the bridge. A TA HMG was deloyed slightly back in the village with a reasonable view of the bridge and able to redeploy to the left side of the building to cover the left flank fields (in hindsight a poor location, but located to try and cover the weak left flank as well as the bridge). The remaining TA platoon, and the HQ for the TA and militia were deployed in other buildings in the village as a second line. The Battalion HQ deployed further back still where the Colonel's morale could help bolster the morale of the defenders. The few defence forces were therefore deployed mainly in the village and centralised, with just one platoon holding the left flank and the small force of landlord and his retainers, holding his manor house on the right flank. The defence was designed to hold the core village and hope that reinforcements would arrive soon enough to support the flanks if the BUF attacked heavily that way.

The BUF Legion arrived pushing aggressively in two columns down the two roads into the area. The right column was led by an armoured car (see the picture above - note the infantry are not deployed as they are in the lorries!). The defenders looked on in horror as the armoured car spend down the road, crossing the ford over the River Loddon without incident and at speed. Meanwhile several of the trucks in the centre, also swung towards the right flank apparently indicating that the Fascists were planning to rush the lone militia platoon on that flank and get across the river at speed.

However, the fascist luck changed, with Colonel Brown losing the initiative and in effect giving the defenders a double move. Turn 2 and the New Massagainians arrived on trucks and immediately deployed its AT gun on the left flank.

The 'double' turn allowed the gunners to unlimber and fire before the AC could react and bang there went the fascist car in a ball of smoke. One platoon of New Massagainians debused from their truck and deployed on the left flank to support the lone militia platoon (see the picture left), the remaining platoon (see below) and the HQ headed over to the centre of the table and into the village to support the defenders there.

So by turn three the fascists had lost their lone armoured car - meaning they could only achieve a minor victory at best according to the scenario victory conditions. Also a platoon of the legion had been hit by accurate rifle fire from the river defenders and lost half their numbers forcing them to fall back.

But soon the BUF superior firepower started to take effect.
The BUF seeing their prize car burning swung back towards the centre of the table using their lorries to great effect. In the centre the BUF scouts debused from their lorry (see below - the scouts are hidden by the building and the defenders are actually in that building!) and stormed across the river to the left of the bridge supported by the machine guns mounted on their truck. They survived the largely ineffective fire from the TA platoon in the building opposite them and stormed into the building in a blaze of fire and bayonets. But their luck failed, despite outnumbering the TA platoon, the melee was inconclusive.
Next turn the 2nd TA formation moved forward at the double and moved into the contested building containing their comrades and in the melee the TA numbers swung the battle wiping out the fascist scouts. (Picture below left sees them waiting for the inevitable counterattack having destroyed the scouts and their MG mounted truck)

The fascist response was devastating with fire from several platoons over the river destroying the militia platoon covering the river from the other building and the BUF HMG and light mortar deploying to support a crossing.

Over the next couple of turns the BUF platoons started to move across the river using their trucks and the now empty building on the river as cover from much of the defensive fire. The mortar, using the battalion HQ as an observer, was making it increasingly dangerous for the defenders to leave their defensive positions and attempt to deploy elsewhere.
The BUF firebase across the river destroyed the TA platoon by the bridge and that allowed the fascists to move across the bridge without fear. By now much of the defenders were dead and the second line was composed of a couple of platoons down to 25% strength and the various HQ formations. The HMG was still intact, but couldn't get a clear line of fire of the fascists to be very effective.
(Picture right - the BUF having cleared the red roofed building begin to cross the river using it as cover. Meanwhile two trucks loaded with men, head towards the now undefended bridge.)
Now it was only a matter of time for the defenders and sure enough a platoon of fascists (see here)
finished off the remaining TA and the buildings to the right of the bridge had all fallen.
Next they cleared the remaining building on the left side of the bridge assaulting the building and wiping out the HQ sections and locking the defender's HMG in combat (see below).
With that, the defenders decided the game was up, they only had remaining the battalion HQ; a platoon of militia who had been holding the left flank all game; the landlord's 'forces' who hadn't been engaged at all; and a number of trucks and the anti-tank gun and crew. The rest were dead, surrendered, or in the case of the HMG were locked in hand to hand combat.
But the fascist forces had paid a heavy price for the bridge. They had lost the armoured car; armed truck; two platoons and the scouts and another platoon was at half strength. So it was a minor fascist victory but Colonel Brown had found a new respect for the defenders of Basingstoke.

No comments:

Post a Comment