This battle, part of my Play-By-Email campaign of Operation Sealion, was fought using the “Great War” game board with terrain tiles from Memoir 44 and Battle Cry, with some home-produced sea hex tiles.
Units were 13mm plastic game counters topped with 3mm models.
The rules used were my home-grown experimental fast play set.
This is the map at 06:45 on 17th September. Lettered locations are referred to in the text below.
The initial assault force landed at 06:00 and have made little progress. The first wave of reinforcements was due at 06:45.
At 06:46 the two 88mm guns on the Siebel Ferry (location A) opened fire on the pill-box in map square D3, but with no effect. The barge at E (square F3) with the pioneers (tasked with destroying the pill-box) continued towards the beach, and two more barges with infantry reinforcements from 98th Mountain Battalion began their run in to the shore.
Two rifle platoons from 3rd Company, 98th Battalion, dug in at C (square D3), made an assault on the pill-box supported by machine gun fire from D (square D3). The British MG in the pill-box opened up and they ran back to their trenches, fortunately with no casualties. The British maintained the machine gun fire and kept the Germans’ heads down.
At 06:52 the engineers’ barge beached at B (square E3/E4) and two platoons of pioneers and a machine gun platoon began to disembark onto the mined beach. The 88mm guns kept up their fire from the ferry, which started to move closer to the target. The exchange of fire continued between the entrenched German infantry and the British in the pill-box.
The pioneers began to work their way through the minefield at B but 2nd Platoon 54th Pioneer Company suffered two casualties and withdrew with them to the barge for evacuation. Firing continued against the pill-box and there was confusion and congestion offshore as more barges, struggling to manoeuvre in the wind and tide, ended up off the same beach area.
The remaining engineers continued to clear the minefield at B, which they reported safe by 07:20. Infantry units that had moved off the beach began consolidating for an attack on the British-held pill-box, where the defenders were still keeping all-comers at bay.
At 07:13 the ferry with the two 88mm guns drifted onto a sandbank in map square E3, but was able to free itself after a few minutes and attempt to close the range on the pill-box.
At the same time the 98th Mountain Infantry Battalion HQ with its attendant MG and pioneer platoons landed north of point E (square F3). This part of the beach was unmined. They immediately began to move west with the intention of the engineers dealing with the pill-box under covering fire from the machine guns. Meanwhile elements of 6th Company, 99th Mountain Infantry Regiment, part of the initial assault force, began to cross the stream towards the minor road leading to Winchelsea.
At 07:21 two more barges beached in map square F3, north and west of point G. One contained elements of 1st and 2nd Company, 98th Regiment, and the other a platoon of infantry from 5th Company, 99th Regiment with more engineers and a 75mm Infantry Gun.
Offshore there were still several barges jostling for position and the next wave of reinforcements was scheduled to land at 07:30. Formation “Sauhaufen” had been established. Onshore the lone British machine gun crew and the minefields on the beach were holding up this operation considerably, although casualties since the 06:00 assault had been fairly light, amounting to one tank, six dead and two wounded.
The tactical situation at Winchelsea at 07:29 is shown below. Note that lettered locations are not the same as the map above. Sharp-eyed readers will also note that the entrenchment shown in square F4 seems to have a wandering nature!
To be continued…