"Operation Sea Lion" 10mm Battle Report II: Britain Verses Germany
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 have already successfully taken the shores of Portsmouth, and now the Fuhrer has turned his attention to the nearby shingle beach of Gosport. Desperate to fend off the invasion, General Sir Alan Brooke has flooded the area of Stoke's Bay with Crusader II tanks - The Battle for Alverstoke has begun..."
The Germans started in the water, just before the southern shoreline. Consisting of a unit of four Panzers, a mixture of Panzer III and IV tanks, three Panzer IIs and four Panzerjägers, the Axis spearhead was poised to strike as far north as it could. In response, the British assembled three Crusader II tanks (west), a trio of Vickers VI tanks, two Matilda II tanks, and three (more) Crusader II tanks (east). All these armoured vehicles would rush south, destroying any enemy targets they encountered.
The tabletop was populated with a small number of bunkers to represent Browndown, and a collection of buildings and houses to portray Alverstoke and Anglesey. There were five strategic objectives evenly located across the battlefield. These were randomly valued from one to five points and would not be revealed until after the battle had ended. To win an objective an army must have at least one unopposed tank alongside it by the end of the eighth turn. In addition, no enemy tanks were allowed to come within an inch of an opponent's armoured vehicle - except to contest an objective. This was to ensure we played a 'shooting game' as opposed to just having all the tanks pile into one another.
The opening turns saw both forces attempt to outmanoeuvre one another and 'snatch' as many objectives as they could. The Panzers trundled their way to 'capture' Objective Four, whilst the Panzer II, III and IV tanks all moved towards the central objective in Alverstoke. The Panzerjägers rumbled past Objective Five, fixing their anti=tank guns upon anything which emerged from the direction of Anglesey.
Determined to keep the Axis Forces as close to the shoreline as possible, the British forces swept south, The Crusader II tanks (west) took Objective One, and began firing upon the oncoming Panzer III and Panzer IVs. The Vickers VI tanks sought the cover of Alverstoke's buildings, waiting for the much slower Matilda IIs to catch them up. Lastly, the Crusader II tanks (east) decided to bravely pass through Anglesey and rely upon their armour to outfight the Panzerjäger line.
Unfortunately, the German invaders decided now was the time to open fire with their guns. The whole Abteilung of Panzerjägers blazed away with their PaK 38(t) guns and left just a single Crusader II (east) standing south of Anglesey. The Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks took aim at the Crusader II tanks (west) which had previously fired upon them and blew one Cruiser up. It was disconcertingly first blood to the Third Reich.
Holding their nerve the sole-surviving Crusader II tank (east) returned fire upon the Panzerjägers, but without any result. Happily however, the same could not be said for the survivability of the Panzer II tanks approaching Alverstoke - two of which were blown up by the Matilda II tanks. Furthermore, the Crusader II tanks (west) managed to knock out the Panzer III, clearly blunting the Axis invasion's spearhead.
Realising that their front line was in danger of irreparably breaking, the Panzers moved north past Objective Four to give the Crusader II tanks (west) something else to shoot at than the Panzer IVs. The lone Panzer II managed to secure Objective Two, and took shelter behind a building, effectively giving the Germans the centre of the battlefield. This 'advantage' was built upon by the Panzerjägers destroying the last of the Crusader II tanks (east) and the Panzer IVs blowing up another Crusader II tank (west).
It was clear that the British would need to reorganise to take account of their increasing losses, so the sole Crusader II tank (west) moved further west to take up a position overlooking the highly vulnerable Panzers. The Vickers VI tanks and Matilda IIs trundled south-east towards the Panzerjägers.
Confident they already held a strong line of offence, and relying upon their armour, the Panzer IVs sped north, whilst the Panzerjägers opened up upon the Matilda II tanks. This time though the King's armoured vehicles took the beating and continued onwards. Such an awesome display of 'Dunkirk spirit' clearly inspired the Crusader II (west) to annihilate one of the four Panzers south of Browndown. Whilst the Matilda IIs returned fire and destroyed a pair of Panzerjägers. Adding insult to injury, the Vickers VI light tanks' Besa machine guns somehow managed to score a couple of hits on one of the Panzer IVs.
With the battle heading towards it final phase the Germans decided to take what land they could and resultantly the Panzers retreated back south to hold Objective Four. Providing plenty of covering fire, the Panzer IV tanks blazed away at both the Crusader II tank (west) and the impudent Vickers VI armoured vehicles. But not a single shot penetrated the British. Indeed, the Matilda II tanks also remained untouched following another salvo from the usually deadly Panzerjägers.
Perhaps feeling the tide of the confrontation might be turning in the Allies favour, the Crusader II tank (west) trundled south using Browndown's fortifications as cover so it could keep the Panzers in sight. Meanwhile, another burst of Besa machine guns sensationally saw a Panzer IV go out of action, and the Matilda II tanks destroyed a third Panzerjäger. The Axis forces might have the positions, but their losses were now close to being unsustainable.
Seizing the initiative for the first time, the Crusader II tank (west) grabbed Objective One, and stoically watched as both the Vickers VI and Matilda II tanks swung about to challenge the Panzer II holding Objective Two. In direct response the Panzer IV headed north-west to contest Objective One, and the Panzer II tank unsuccessfully fired upon the approaching Vickers VI tanks. Finally, the Panzerjäger managed to strike one of the Matilda IIs. But such was the thickness of the Infantry Tank Mark II's 78mm front glacis, that no actual damage was caused.
In a last burst of action, the Panzer IV contested Objective One and the single Panzerjäger withdrew to seize Objective Five. Astoundingly, the Panzer II tank managed to use its 2 cm cannon to destroy a Vickers VI tank. This meant that although the British armoured unit still contested Objective Two, the building between them and the Panzer II thwarted any line of sight to attack. In desperation therefore, the Matilda II tanks fired a last salvo at the Panzerjäger holding Objective Five and stunningly blew it up.
This meant that just a single objective was neither contested or void, and saw the somewhat mauled Panzers obtain a single Victory Point for holding Objective Four. The Battle for Alverstoke belonged to the Germans, and the Axis forces now had two footholds on the English mainland...