The decimated section of 1 Zug reaches the barricade at the crossroads. These would have been a 19 man section at the beginning of the attack and it looks like about 8 have made it to the town. They had the hardest job as they were advancing directly in the line of fire of the Vickers team. By this time however, the Vickers was only being manned by two of the team and thus the rate of fire had been halved.
It was time for the cold steel. The British had the advantage of fighting from behind cover but the Germans in most places were able to put 2 men onto 1, which made it difficult for the British to survive as they had to win two fights. I am very sad to report that it was here that Colour Sergeant Neddy Snapcase and Lance Corporal Spankhurst went to glory, refusing to give an inch of ground as a ‘Die Hard’ should.
No. 1 Section of the ‘Die Hards’ was under the command of Corporal Bunter and had spent three turns in a row not firing at the advancing German column led by Oberleutnant von Vagabund.
The other section of 1 Zug on the German left flank had arrived at Le Cateau relatively unscathed. Flashheart had been hustled to the rear at point of bayonet and Oberleutnant von Emvier can be seen here brandishing the family sword and ordering his men into the attack.
Helmut von Vagabund’s double column now split into two sections, one attacking the centre and the other heading to the Boucherie on the German right flank to see why no fire was coming from there!
My dice throwing suddenly took a turn for the better and the British were able to do very well at the hand-to-hand fighting but the odds were just too great. If a ‘Die Hard’ won a fight, then two more Germans would move into position immediately.
One by one, the valiant defenders were picked off by the advancing Magdeburg infantry.
Now the jubilant survivors of 1 Zug were into the town. Here we see the remaining five survivors, three more having gone down in the bitter bayonet fighting at the barricades.
The German soldiers now concentrate on mopping up the last remaining resistance from the Middlesex rearguard.
Just when they thought it was all over, a Belgian Minerva armoured car, commanded by 1.eme Lieutenant Charles Henkart appears from the town. Once again, a special event at the commencement of turn 5 and its location determined at random by a D6.
The Belgians open up with Hotchkiss MG but it looks to their eyes as if it is too little, too late. As the Minerva begins to engage the German soldiers, they can see that the rearguard have died to a man, buying vital time for their comrades to retire from the town and take up their positions ready for the day’s epic events to unfold.
The Minerva bursts through the barricades and turns north on the disputed road, firing the Hotchkiss as they drive.
1.eme Lieutenant Henkart decides that discretion is the better part of valour and decides to make a hasty exit from the town. A section of von Vagabund’s men is blocking the road but with great Belgian verve, Chaffeur Hergé drives straight through them, running two of them down as they leave the town of Le Cateau.
There, unfortunately for the British, the game came to an end. The British needed to defend the town until turn 7 but by turn 5, most of the rearguard were dead and the Minerva was unable to turn back the triumphant advance of the 26th Magdeburg. The scoring looked like this at the end.
All 32 of the Middlesex Regiment were killed. The 26th Magdeburg took 26 casualties. Lord Flashheart became a PoW but I’m sure he will escape shortly!
So, all in all I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Silent Invader’s scenery, rules, figures, Sopwith and Minerva really made it a visually delightful game. My friends, Doug and John made the game a pleasure to play. A fantastic weekend hosted by John and I am looking forward to seeing their game reports. I have absolutely no shame in reposting the photo of the Three Musketeers at the end of my game. Thanks, gentlemen!