The fourth game of the Martlet Campaign for Chain of Command resulted into another defeat of the British forces, the third in a row. After a very promising start, the truth is that the offensive bogged down and is becoming crucial to break the deadlock if we want to have a minimum chance to win the campaign.
After the disaster of the previous game, we introduced a couple of changes: first, we decided to take the initiative despite being on the defensive, and not wait for the Germans to deploy their units; and second, we reinforced the artillery component of our force by adding a Churchill AVRE with its powerful petard mortar gun. This was necessary as the Germans had already fortified three buildings and converted into mini-fortress.
Our first activations brought a Sherman in overwatch covering the main road and protecting the flank of our main line of attack (north of the road); the Churchill and few infantry sections together with the artillery observer.
The German reaction was not unexpected, occupying the fortified house in its frontline and bringing a Pz IV and a Pak to deal with the Churchill. Actually, the latter was useful as a bait to lure the German cats in. My Firefly emerged at the right moment and knocked-out the Pz IV, while the hard-skin Churchill responded to the Pak attack, whose crew saw a shell the size of a large garbage bin falling over them, disabling the piece for the rest of the game.
The next target was now to be the house, whose defenders were first to be soften up with a couple of petard shots... but plans are plans and disaster stroke that very moment , when the German artillery observer put a deadly mortar barrage in the orchard where the British infantry was taking shelter before attacking.
These had two effects: smoke blocked the Churchill´s line of sight to its target and heavy infantry casualties mounted in a short time span (helped by several consecutive activations of the German player). The moral of the British player sank to below 4 and to all effects the game was lost.