Although I had unintentionally ended my own mortar barrage in the middle of that run of seven phases, the devastating effect it had already had on Rich's position was beginning to weigh heavily on the Paras. Repeated activations had left his 2" mortar team dead, his section next to the gun routed due to shock and the gun abandoned by it's remaining crew who were running for the board edge.
|Heavy and accurate mortar fire devastated the paras on the hill.|
Rich re-crewed the rallied gun and added his remaining infantry sections in the as yet un-deployed trenches on the front of the hill. Needless to say, at his first opportunity he ended the barrage again by surrendering another CoC dice. I wouldn't manage to get it back for the rest of the game, but with it having left his sections encumbered with shock and cowering in the bottom of their slit trenches, it would be a blow from which he would struggle to recover. With his FM now at only TWO(!) he'd lost another command dice and the effect had again spilled over to reduce Paul's to five.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, Paul had introduced his remaining infantry sections and senior leader, deploying at nine inches within the garden from their jump off point hidden in the orchard (which I'd forgotten about). Obviously with the scent of blood in his nostrils, he wasted no time in assaulting my remaining weak force who were licking their own wounds in the house. The result was a bloody affair. The ground left littered with dead as the Germans were wiped out to a man and the paras taking another twelve casualties in the process.
|Paul's sections advance to a VERY bloody second close quarters affair at the farmhouse.|
Now it was my turn to teeter as my FM had fallen to only five also. Luckily for us, a second random event had seen Bob's FM recover to seven as his grateful troops downed bottle after bottle of Chateau Neuf de Pape they'd discovered in the factory cellar. How Rich howled! To think that their task had just been made harder by the GERMANS getting the booze! :^D
With the remaining Panzer IV's pumping HE round after HE round unchecked into the house and trenches on the hill, it was only a matter of time until Rich's FM dropped again. This time it was to demonstrate the catastrophic effect when supporting troops' morale cascades taking down each other in turn. First Rich lost another command dice, the resulting effect was to reduce Paul's by one, which in turn took that last remaining point from Rich.
In conclusion, although we had won in game terms we would have found it impossible to hold the ground as my foolhardy infantry assault had left us with insufficient forces to consolidate the gains.
In reality, this particular German attack was ended when concentrated defensive artillery barrages from Third Infantry Division west of the Orne and the guns of HMS Arethusa in The Channel broke up the assaulting force, leaving Panzer IV's knocked out as close as just THIRTY YARDS in front of the paras positions! According to both Werner Kortenhaus (in his book Combat History of 21st Panzer Division) and Hans von Luck (in his book Panzer Commander) it was this defeat that so heavily demoralised the officer cadre of the division and bought about wide belief that the war was indeed lost.
|To the victors the spoils! SIEG IST UNSER!|