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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

"Operation Sea Lion" 10mm Battle Report: Britain Verses Germany

Updated: Aug 12, 2023


GERMAN ANTI-TANK GUNS ATTEMPT A LANDING ON THE SOUTHERN ENGLISH COAST

This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) so as to allow us to quickly play through a campaign utilising my painted 10mm World War Two Early War models by "Pendraken Miniatures", and took place upon a 48" x 48" "Deep Cut Studio" playmat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of pre-painted "Escenografia Epsilon" scenic pieces previously sold through the Middlesbrough-based company at Warfare 2021, but now sadly out of production.


“The story so far… It is September 1940 and having defeated France, the German Army have launched an amphibious assault upon Britain. Deployed from Le Havre, a small Axis strike force has reached the shore of Portsmouth, and begun disembarking its armoured vehicles. Stung into action, a hastily-assembled contingent of British tanks has been ordered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to halt the invaders - The Battle for Southsea has begun..."

THE TABLETOP - SOUTHSEA IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND

The Germans started in the water, just before the southern shoreline. Consisting of a unit of three Panzerjägers, three Panzer II tanks, and a Command unit comprising of a single Panzer III with two escorting Panzers, the Axis spearhead was poised to strike as far north as it could. In response, the British had a trio of Vickers VI tanks just north of Clarence, two Crusader II tanks travelling towards Southsea, and two Matilda II tanks near Eastney. All these armoured vehicles would wind south, picking off any enemy targets as they travelled.


The tabletop was split in half with a line of unoccupied fortifications dominating the seaside resort's esplanade. To the north were the suburbs of Clarence, Southsea and Eastney. Whilst to the south was just the beach and shoreline. To win the German army had to cross the line of fortifications by the end of the game's eight turn. Furthermore, no enemy tanks were allowed to come within an inch of an opponent's armoured vehicle. This was to ensure we played a 'shooting game' as opposed to just having all the tanks pile into one another.

CRUSADER II TANKS ARE ORDERED INTO ACTION AS THE GERMANS APPROACH

With little to do at the beginning except move, due to the considerable distances between the two forces, the Germans essentially raced north as best they could. The Panzer II tanks however, decided to initially disregard the Vickers VI vehicles approaching them and swung slightly northeast in favour of adding their firepower to the centre of the battlefield where the Crusader II tanks were presumably heading. Realising that the heavily outdated Panzers were a little slower than the sole Panzer III, the medium tank was forced to maintain a speed consistent with its escorts.


Worried by the German anti-tank guns, the Matilda tanks decided to seek the shelter of Eastney, whilst the fast-moving Vickers VI vehicles hurried through Clarence. The Crusader II tanks took up a firing position just north of the gap between Clarence and Southsea, and awaited the Panzer III and Panzers.

BRITISH TANKS RACE SOUTH AS THE PANZER II TANKS HIT THE ENGLISH SHORELINE

Adapting their positions in response to the British movement, the Germans continued north. But had the Command unit shy away from direct contact with the Crusader II tanks. Meanwhile, the Vickers continued travelling south as fast as their Meadows 6-cylinder petrol engine would permit. Furthermore, both the Matilda II tanks and Crusaders opened up their guns with some ranging shots = all of which fell short of their targets.


Having finally seized the initiative, the Vickers VI tanks swung east by the southern end of Clarence to assault the Panzer II tanks, and teach them a lesson to ignore one of Vickers-Armstrongs' finest productions. Likewise, the Crusaders also pushed south towards the German Command unit, trusting in their armour and longer range weapons. The Matilda II tanks began infiltrating Eastney, using its buildings as cover from the German anti-tank guns.

THE GERMANS TRUNDLE UP THE BRITISH BEACH JUST AS THE VICKERS VI TANKS ARRIVE

Realising the potential threat the Vickers might pose, the Panzer II tanks turned to face their attackers, using one of the esplanade's forts to protect their exposed flank from the Crusaders. The Panzerjägers simply repositioned their "Forward Firing" guns to sweep the centre of the battlefield, and provide any supporting fire where possible. The Panzer III decided to strike out at the Crusaders. But missed.


Slightly confused at the non-appearance of the Matilda II tanks and no other prospective targets, the Panzerjägers decided to put the mission goal first, so pressed further north towards the line of fortifications. The Panzer II tanks opened up upon the Vickers VI vehicles in something akin to an old Wild West shoot-out. Shockingly though, it suddenly became clear that the German's auto-cannons were still out of range. Sadly for the British, this wasn't the case with the lone Panzer III, which blew up one of the approaching Crusader II tanks. First blood to the Third Reich.

THE BRITISH ATTEMPT TO ENCIRCLE THE PANZER II TANKS FROM TWO DIRECTIONS

Possibly reeling from the news that one of their fellow tanks had been destroyed, the Matilda II tanks continued to get themselves well and truly snarled up inside Eastney, essentially nullifying any threat the Infantry tank had. The Vickers VI vehicles closed the gap with the Panzer II tanks, and with a cheer, the surviving Crusader II tank lethally struck one of the Panzers escorting the Panzer III.


With both sides now tasting blood, the Germans continued to press their opponents with the Panzer II tanks finally finding their targets to be in range and demolishing two of the Matilda II tanks. Sensing that they were on the verge of a breakthrough, the Panzer III fired at the remaining (partially-hidden) Crusader II. It was a difficult shot, yet was successful. Incredibly though, the British vehicle's armour saved it from destruction.

THE MATILDA II TANKS FINALLY START TO ZERO IN ON THE GERMAN PANZERJAGERS

Having finally moved themselves in a position to spot the Panzerjägers, the Matilda II tanks watched as both the Crusader II and Vickers VI tanks failed to strike their targets. The wind of this particular small war was definitely flying in the favour of the Germans.


Realising that it was now time for an all or nothing assault, the British sat and opened fire upon their shoreline's invaders. The Vickers VI managed to pepper one of the Panzer II tanks with enough bullets to put the vehicle out of action. Whilst the Matilda II tanks quite surprisingly made their first impact upon the battle by destroying a Panzerjäger. However, the Crusader II was unable to hit the German Command unit.

THE PANZER II TANKS START MAKING LIGHT WORK OF THE MATILDA II TANKS

With time growing somewhat short, the two Panzerjägers reached the fortification line, ignoring any threat from the Matilda II tanks. The Panzer II tanks also wiped out the sole-surviving Vickers VI tank, leaving Clarence wide open for invasion. Despite there still being another turn to play, it was clear the Germans had caused enough damage to breach the British defences and won, so the game was ended early...


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planetmut
Aug 12, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent battle rep, Simon, and what a fantastic board! I do wonder if, had the Battle of Britain failed, what would have happened if the Germans had attempted a seaborne landing... Hopefully we could have held them off better than this LOL!!

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Aug 12, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Matt. The Deep Cut Studio mat is one of my favourites. I just wish I could still buy more "Escenografia Epsilon" scenery to help populate it. I do keep my eye out for it on "eBay" and bring'n'buy sales but haven't seen any yet.


I'm eagerly painting up more German forces for the second wave so once finished will pit a larger invasion army up against more British Forces further along the coast. Perhaps some additional Crusader II tanks will help the English fend them off..?

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undercoat2670
Aug 12, 2023

Another great battle report. Not a close one though and shows that sometimes you can lose a game with your deployment!

Firstly what a spectacular battlefield. The combination of the mat, scenery and models made it look amazing. I can see why it would enthuse you to paint more.

Secondly, great write up. I like all the details you are in like type of engine etc. Lovely little touches, you geek! Lol.

I enjoyed that enormously.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Aug 12, 2023
Replying to

Cheers Undercoat. Yeah, mistakes were definitely made with in the deployment phase - perhaps some overthinking. It was great to use the full size of the mat tbh, and I was even tempted afterwards to consider painting some German armoured vehicles with a sea basing to actually show them trundling through the waves. LOL!!


I do like to throw a few tit-bits about the forces at play into my BatReps, so expect more as the campaign progresses. I've already got some additional German forces finished, and once I have enough done expect a second Axis wave to emerge upon the British beaches. 😉

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Dai Dead
Dai Dead
Aug 11, 2023

I think if those matildas had been brought to bear earlier that they may well have made the difference in this. Good report Simon. Where will those pesky krauts head from here I wonder?


In all reality, operation seelöwe was a bust even at the planning stage. The German navy at the time was a fraction of what it would have needed to be to fend off the Royal navy; they didn't have any actual landing craft to shuffle invasion forces across the channel; and the infighting of the German highcommand (Vermacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine) meant they just weren't coordinated to narrow down on a realistic plan to get the job started, much less done. Fun idea though in hindsight…

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Aug 11, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Dai. The Matildas' deployment was a thing of beauty. LOL!! I realise the fear was that the Panzerjagers would blow them up before they got close. But skulking through Eastney was a big waste of time, imho.


I'm currently painting up some more German Early War finds from the loft, which will see the Panzerjager unit expanded, a Panzer I unit established and the Panzer III being added to two Panzer IV tanks. In addition, though perhaps after the next battle, I'm hoping to add a contingent of BMW & sidecars too. In return, the British will simply be able to deploy more of the Crusader II tanks I've previously painted.

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Michał Kucharski
Michał Kucharski
Aug 11, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

What a great report sir!

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Aug 11, 2023
Replying to

Cheers Michal. I do find getting games in really helps with the painting mojo. 😀

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wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
Aug 11, 2023

Great BatRep Simon, a game of cat and mouse throughout, good job the Germans never made it to England by the sounds of this ! LOL

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Aug 11, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Dave. This was just a small game to see how the earlier tanks worked out, so there was a lot of manoeuvring earlier on, as most were armed with just machine-guns and would explode with a single successful hit - unlike the later war tanks being used for the Battle Of The Bulge campaign.


There were also some deployment issues, with the Matildas getting bogged down in Eastney. LOL!! The game definitely needs some more units/squadrons - which I'm already painting up. But as a start it was a lot of fun.

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