Blitzkrieg Cover

Early War Battle Report:
German Czech Panzerkompanie vs. French Escadron de Combat

Mark’s Czech Panzerkompanie collides with Blake’s Escadron de Combat in the first of our Early-war battle reports.

Situation Report
With the German army successful in its conquest of Poland, it now turns it's attention to France and some unfinished business from the First World War. With the bulk of the Allied forces distracted by the attacks in the Low Countries, the majority of the German armour slices thorough the heavily forested region of the Ardennes. What opposition faced the Germans barely slowed them down but can Blake’s Escadron de Combat change history and slow Mark’s Czech Panzerkompanie in Encounter?

The Battlefield
The Battlefield
Blake’s Plan

I know that Mark was keen to try out his Czech Panzerkompanie and since I also have a Czech Panzerkompanie for Early-war I decided to field the French Escadron de Combat. The tough as nails Somua should be able to deal with the masses of Panzer 38(t)s and Panzer II C (early) that make up Mark’s army (fingers crossed, touch wood etc.). Since I’m defending, I plan to deploy in concealing positions and force Mark to come to me. Of my six platoons, I plan to hold a Light Combat Platoon, the Deep Reconnaissance Platoon and the British Infantry in reserve. Encounter is my favourite mission due to the randomness of the Scattered Reserves rule.

Scattered Reserves
The Scattered Reserves special rules operates in the same way as the Reserves special rule, however, before deploying any platoons held in reserve a die is rolled to determine what section of the table edge they arrive on.  See page 200 of the main rule book for more details.

I plan to engage Mark in a battle of attrition, in which I hope to win against his lightly armoured tanks. My downfall could be Mark’s ability to out manoeuvre me, his air power and my Achilles ’ heel in Flames Of War, passing Firepower tests. I’m bad enough with 3+ Firepower let alone 4+ Firepower. As long as don’t roll unlucky on my armour saves I hope Somuas can carry the day.
The Command HQ Somua S-35 Blake's Escadron de Combat
Company HQ

Headquarters (Confident Trained)
1x Somua S-35 - 105 points.

Left: The Company HQ Somua S-35.
Combat Platoons

Medium Combat Platoon
(Confident Trained)
4x Somua S-35 - 415 points.

The Somua S-35 platoon.
The Somua S-35 Platoon
The Hotchkiss Platoon Light Combat Platoon (Confident Trained)
4x Hotchkiss H-35/H-39 - 205 points.
1 long and 3 short guns.

Left: The Hotchkiss H-35/H39 platoon.
Light Combat Platoon (Confident Trained)
4x Hotchkiss H-35/H-39 - 205 points
1 long and 3 short guns.

 The second Hotchkiss H-35/H39 platoon.
The Hotchkiss Platoon
The Hotchkiss Platoon Light Combat Platoon (Confident Trained)
3x Hotchkiss H-35/H-39 - 160 points.
1 long and 2 short guns.

Left: The third Hotchkiss H-35/H39 platoon.
Divisional Support Platoons

Deep Reconnaissance Platoon (Confident Trained)
5x Panhard AMD-35 - 165 points.

Right: The Panhard AMD-35 platoon.

Below: The British Rifle Platoon.
The Deep Reconnaissance Platoon
The British Rifle Platoon British Rifle Platoon (Confident Veteran)
3 Rifle Squads - 185 points.

Air Support *
Sporadic Air Support - 25 points.

* = Can only be used for Fighter Interception and cannot be used for Ground Attack.

Total Points = 1465 points.
Mark’s Plan

With only a couple of Early-war games under my belt and none of those games against a French tank army I was a little worried that my Panzer 38(t)s wouldn’t be up to the task of taking out Blake’s Somuas. As the attacker in this mission I knew that I had to try and out manoeuvre Blake, hopefully forcing him to move and reposition his tanks which would stop him shooting at me. If I can survive a couple of turns of shooting as I cross the table I should be able to outflank Blake’s Somuas and have a slightly better chance of taking them out before there are a pile of smoking German Panzers on the table.

My secret weapon is what just finished painting a Stuka! And with the removal of one Panzer II, one Panzer 38(t) and the Famo I have enough points to include Priority Air Support and utilise the Stuka Schwerpunkt rule.  Hopefully this will give me an added edge over Blake’s toughly armoured tanks. I was happy that we had rolled up encounter as this meant that Blake would have fewer tanks on the table in the first turn to shoot at me! With only four platoons, three of which are tanks I’ve decided that I’ll do a standard split deployment with a Panzer 38(t) platoon on each objective, the smaller Panzer 38(t) platoon would be placed on the objective on the right hand side and strengthened by support from the Company commander and the 2iC while the larger Panzer 38(t) platoon will be placed on the centre left. The 8-Rads and lighter armoured Panzer II will wait in reserve.

Read more about Mark’s Czech Panzer Company here…

Mark's Czech Panzerkompanie
Company HQ

(Confident Veteran)
2x Panzer 38(t) B - 175 points.

Right: The Company HQ Panzer 38(t) Bs.

The Company HQ Panzer 38(t) Bs
The Panzer 38(t) B platoon Combat Platoons

Czech Panzer Platoon (Confident Veteran)
5x Panzer 38(t) B - 440 points.

Left: The Panzer 38(t) platoon.
Czech Panzer Platoon (Confident Veteran)
4x Panzer 38(t) B - 350 points.

The second Panzer 38(t) platoon.
The Panzer 38(t) B platoon
The Panzer II Platoon Panzer II Platoon (Confident Veteran)
4x Panzer II C (early) - 180 points.

Left: The Panzer II platoon.
Divisional Support Platoons

Heavy Panzerspäh Platoon (Confident Veteran)
4x Sd Kfz 231 (8-rad) - 190 points.

Right: The Heavy Panzerspäh Platoon.

Below: The dreaded Stuka Dive Bomber.
The Heavy Panzerspäh Platoon
The Panzer II Platoon

Air Support
Priority Air Support - 175 points*

* = Upgraded to establish a Stuka Schwerpunkt for +25 points.

Total Points = 1510 points.

Stuka Schwerpunkt
Although the Luftwaffe was outnumbered by the RAF and the French Air Force, it focused its efforts at the breakthrough points and totally dominated the air space above the battle. If you decide to establish a Stuka Schwerpunkt (see page 102 of Blitzkrieg for more details) you can roll two aircraft dice and take the best results.

Turn One


Having thus far pressed forward without much resistance, the head of the 7. Panzerdivision (minus Rommel) spot several platoons of French tanks near the edge of a village. Wanting to maintain their aggression, the Company HQ orders the nearest Panzer 38(t) platoon to advance towards the French position across the river.

Below: The German Panzers advance across the river.
The German Panzers advance across the river
The German Panzers advance across the river In attempt to quickly neutralise any French resistance and maintain the momentum of their advance, the German tankers pour fire into the French formations. However, the thick hide’s of the French tanks are able to withstand the barrage of 3.7cm shells. The only casualty is the crew of one Hotchkiss who are sufficiently shaken up enough to temporally abandon their vehicle.

Left: Panzer 38(t) B advance up the road.

Below: A Hotchkiss is bailed out.
The German Panzers advance across the river

With both sides having collided so unexpectedly, the French forces need time to organise its defence. With every tank commander barking out orders to form up in an effective defensive line, the tank commanders are unable to return fire at the Germans. Having to direct their crews, find potential targets and load and fire the gun is too much to ask of one man. Therefore, the French concentrate on taking up concealing, defensive positions to oppose the German thrust.

The German Panzers advance across the river
Above Right: The Hotchkiss platoon take up position around the objective; Below: The Somua platoon form up in the wheat ffield.
The Somua platoon form up in the wheatfields
Turn Two


Facing this unexpected enemy, the Luftwaffe is called in to help disperse the French tank formations. Maintaining a safe distance from the incoming air strike, the Panzers in the centre take up firing positions to continue to pound the French armour. With having successfully crossed the river, the Company HQ flanked by a Panzer 38(t) platoon continues their advance towards the objective surrounded by the buildings. The tactic of firing on the move is successful for the Germans, as a weak spot is found in the frontal armour of one of the Somua’s. Despite this, the air strike proves a disappointment as does the fire from the Panzer 38(t) main armament.

Right: The German air power proves ineffective.
The German air power proves ineffective
The burning Somua French

With the Germans applying intense pressure across the entire front and with the French tanks are now in position, the order is given to open fire.  The firepower from the Somua’s is able to put a small dent in the German advance approaching from the left, destroying a single Panzer 38(t). Meanwhile the effective of the short barrel gun of the Hotchkiss is called into question as the beginnings of a gun duels develops between French tanks hold up in the wheat field and the Panzer 38(t) platoon located near the woods.

Left: The burning Somua.

Below: The burning Panzer 38(t) B.
A burning Panzer 38(t) B
Turn Three


The first of the German Delayed Reserves arrive in the form of the 8-rad platoon.
Along with the arrival of the 8-rads, another wave of Stukas screams down towards the French positions in the wheat field.  This time the Stuka Schwerpunkt proves it worth destroying the French Company Commander.

Right: The 8-rad platoon arrives on the battlefield.
The 8-rad platoon arrives
Delayed Reserves
Delayed Reserves special rule works like normal Reserves special rule except that the player does not start to roll for reserves until turn three (see page 200 of the main rulebook for more details).
The success of the Luftwaffe bolsters the forces on the ground as the Panzer 38(t)s on the left flank use their superior mobility to flank and destroy yet another Somua. The make matters worse for the French, the gun duel claims its first casualty as a Hotchkiss is eliminated.

Below: The Germans outflank to French position.
The Germans outflank to French position

To counter the arrival of the German reserves, the Deep Reconnaissance platoon appears and use the road to their advantage, outflanking the German unit who just outflanked their comrades near the village! Despite having the drop on the Panzer 38(t), the Panhards are only able to bail three vehicles (Blake’s Note: Curse the 5+ Firepower!) despite being able to easily penetrate the side armour of the Panzer 38(t). The French strike back in the gun duel and claim a Panzer 38(t).

Below: The Panhards outflank the Panzer 38(t)s.
The Panhards outflank the Panzer 38(t)s
The Panzer II C (early) platoon take the field Turn Four


More German reserves arrive on the battlefield as the Panzer II C (early) platoon takes to field. The Protected Ammo of the Panzer 38(t) proves vital for the German as the tank crews confidently remount their vehicles.

Left: The Panzer II C (early) platoon take the field.
Protected Ammo
Since many tanks are not destroyed by the actual enemy shells but rather the white-hot splinters setting off the ammunition stored inside the vehicle. Providing the protection for the ammunition became imperative, this meant tank crews felt safer re-manning a vehicle with protected ammunition. In Flames Of War, tanks with Protected Ammo may re-roll all failed motivation test to remount Bailed Out vehicles (see page 80 of the main rulebook for more details).

The French Air Force continues to ignore the plight of the French tankers as the bombs continue to rain down. But luck is on the French side in this instance, as the bombs fall harmlessly around the French tanks.

The Germans now gather themselves to make a serious push toward the objective on the French right flank with the aid of refresh reinforcements and continue to pre-empt their advance by softening up the French positions. The Panzer 38(t)s having survived being outflanked, now begin to work their way further up the flank of the French positions. The game of cat and mouse continues as the 8-rad platoon advance towards Panhard platoon who are unable to disengage from the incoming fire from the German armoured cars. Rattled, the remaining Panhard are forced to disengage and seek the safely of a nearby woods.

The 8-rad platoon take on the Panhards
The Panzer 38(t)s work their way further up the flank


Above: The 8-rad platoon take on the Panhards.

The flanking movement of the Panzer 38(t) succeeds, as the Panzer 38(t) destroys another Somua.

Left: The Panzer 38(t)s work their way further up the flank.

Reece platoons can attempt to disengage when fired on in the enemy Shooting Step as long as they did not move At the Double, shoot or assault in their previous turn (see page 150 of the main rulebook for more details).

Forced To Disengage
Since the Panhards failed an armour save, the platoon had to pass a motivation test to stand and fight. If the motivation test fails, the platoon is force to disengage by moving away from all enemy teams shooting at it. It can move up to it normal movement distance (see page 151 of the main rulebook for more information).


The beleaguered French are bolstered by the arrival their British allies as the Rifle platoon arrive and are ordered to take up defensive positions in the buildings surrounding the objective on the French left flank. 

Right: The British lend a helping hand.

Below: The French attempt to thin the German numbers.
The British lend a hand
The French attempt to thin the German numbers
Anti-tank 4 vs. Front Armour 2 With the Germans forming up in front of them, the French try to thin the German numbers or otherwise be overwhelmed by the German firepower that is soon to approach. The desperate French defenders are able to pick off three more German Panzers as the long barrel 37mm gun punches though the armour of a Panzer II and in an even more impressive display a short barrel Hotchkiss destroys the German Company Commander with a frontal shot! The final tank is claimed by the shattered remnants of the Somua platoon.

Left: Anti-tank 4 vs. Front Armour 2.
Turn Five


With yet more Stukas approaching, the French Air Force finally makes a rare appearance and drives off the incoming Dive Bombers (Blake’s Note: Only roll of 6 with one die!). With the British reinforcements now securing the objective on the left flank, the remaining Panzer 38(t)s swing towards the objective to the right. Attempting to execute a classic pincer movement against the severely weaken French forces holding that objective. The Panzer 38(t)s eliminates the last serious obstacle to German victory as the destruction of yet another Somua causes the platoon morale to crumble.

Below: The Germans push towards the objective.
The Germans push towards the objective

With a miracle needed, the next best thing occurs for the French. The last platoon of Hotchkiss tanks arrive on the side of the table with an undefended objective. With this the only chance of victory, the platoon races toward its goal. In the knowledge that victory still could be achieved, the French dig in their heels in an attempt to hold off the German attackers. Despite their heroic attempts, the French can only inflict a single casualty on the Germans, disposing of another Panzer II C (early).

Below: The race for the uncontested objective.
The race for the uncontested objective
Turn Six


 With victory near, the Germans move in for the kill. Showing no mercy, they unleash a hail of shells in an attempt to blast the remnants of the French tanks off the objective. The 8-rads are sent towards the uncontested objective just to be sure. This proves unnecessary as the shear amount of firepower is simply too much for the French. The game ends on a humiliating double bail which upon failing causes the platoon morale to collapse and leaving the objective for the Germans and a 6-1 victory.


Unable to contest the objective on the right flank or get any unit within contesting range, the French concede victory to the Germans.

The Aftermath
The Aftermath
Blake’s Thoughts

I have to say that it was a very enjoyable yet frustrating game. Very different from Mid or Late-war game. Mark is an enjoyable opponent to play against and his was able to out manoeuvre me with his tanks. I was able to get into the defensive position I was after but I was unable to inflict enough causalities as they approached. While my shooting dice were average, I struggled with the 4+ Firepower. This, with Mark’s Protected Ammo meant next turn the crew just remounted their tanks. Well played Mark!

Mark’s Thoughts

This was a great game. I always like playing Blake as he’s always calm (even if the dice are not going his way) and never gives up.  Although I managed to pull off a victory this could have been a very different outcome if I hadn’t of been very lucky with my shots into Blake’s Somuas side armour. At best I was hoping I would just keep them bailed out but managing to destroy four of them outright increased the odds of my survival drastically.  Although my Stuka’s managed to turn up almost every turn of the game, Blake’s great positioning of his tanks meant that I could only try to destroy at most one tank a turn and this really impeded their usefulness in the game. (In retrospect my original 1500pt list may have been more useful. I really thought if I was going to win it would be on the right flank in the village but Blake’s infantry turning up and occupying the village laid that plan to rest as I knew I couldn’t dig out infantry from within buildings. I was forced to move all my Panzers towards the (German) left flank and just kept laying into the remaining French tanks till only one was left and the tankers nerve broke allowing me to claim the objective. Protected ammo really saved my bacon as I had to roll a lot of bail checks!
Blake’s Platoon of the Day

My unit of the day would have to be the Hotchkiss platoons; these little tanks demonstrated a great deal of toughness. The front and side armour is 3 so you have no concerns about exposing side armour. This mean I was able to turn the turrets and let rip with the mighty Anti-tank 4 guns!

~ Blake.
Blake's Platoon of the Day
Mark's Platoon of the Day Mark’s Platoon of the Day

My unit of the day would have to be the smaller 38(t) platoon; it took a massive amount of fire during the game and although it was a bit bloodied by the end of the game it had managed to wipe out Blake’s Somuas.

~ Mark.
Want To Know More About Blitzkrieg?
Over the past few months we have added a massive range of articles about Blitzkrieg to the website, to make it easier for people to find a specific article we have put together this handy place.

Find out more about Blitzkrieg and Early-war here...

Last Updated On Saturday, October 2, 2010 by Chris at Battlefront