LnL; Heroes of the Blitzkrieg – Poker Trick in Martelange

This scenario from Lock ‘n Load’s Heroes of the Blitzkrieg features the 1st Panzer Division’s attempt to cross the border from Luxembourg to Belgium on May 10th, 1940.  The German player has to try and get as many units as possible across a river  while the Belgian player has to stop them.  Things are complicated by a Panic! rule whereby Belgian units might be forced to retreat every time a German unit successfully crosses over to the western bank.

The Belgians set up on the west side of the river behind lots of barbed wire and mines.  There’s an old WWI-era machine gun in the center of the town on the upper floor of a church.

The Belgians wait for the 1st Panzer Division.

The Germans have an impressive array of forces with them.  They’ve got mobile units that include motorcycles with side cars and some of the newer German scout vehicles.  They’ve also got a mortar team for support.

The Germans wait, ready in the east, ready to strike across the Belgian border.

The Germans split their forces in two.  Although the bridges across the Sure River have been destroyed, there are three places where they can try and ford across.  Lt. Wurtz takes his men up to the northern crossing while Lt. Von Martial goes for the south.  The ford in the middle has no cover nearby from which to make a crossing attempt so neither team will use it, unless things get desperate.

Motorcycles attempt a crossing in the south.

The Germans start off sending small teams forward near the river crossing, drawing Belgian fire.  With the major points of resistance identified and located, the German scout cars hammer away on the Belgian positions.  Meanwhile, German motorcycles with side cars attempt to zoom across the ford but come under heavy fire and are forced to retreat.

Eventually, the Germans start finding some success in the south.    Lt. Von Martial’s force sends a squad across the river.  It comes under heavy fire but somehow manages to keep going.  Gefrieter Steiner makes his way to the west of the river bank and although the Belgians are worried, they hold firm and keep fighting.  The Germans try to follow up this success with more units but Lt. Von Martial has trouble convincing the men in his squads to make a rapid advance.

The southern ford:  German infantry units spawn a hero.

Lt. Wurtz finally starts getting his act together up north.  Although the scout cars have not helped him suppress the Belgian infantry immediately across the river, luck has enabled some of his men to get over to the western bank.

The northern ford:  Lt. Wurtz gets some men across.  Belgians retreat.

Some of the Belgians realize the Germans might just accomplish their task and panic.  Sgt Merckx and his men fall back in full retreat.

Sgt. Merckx pulls his forces back to the edge of town after the Germans start arriving.
One of the German heroes across the river rallies his squad and they pull free of the wire.  As they march west into the town, they encounter Sgt. Merckx and his men coming back to re-engage the Germans.  Firing wildly, they pin the Belgians and another German hero single-handedly takes him and his squad out in a fierce melee!  The German northern flank seems to be enjoying great success now that they have gotten a handful of units across to the ford.
The demise of Sgt. Merckx and his squad.

Lt. Von Martial, seeing that time is running out to take Martelange, rushes across the southern ford with his men but Capt. Lambic and his team of Belgian machine-gunners put a stop to that.  Lt. Von Martial’s men are bogged down out in the open and under heavy withering fire.

The southern flank is saved.  Cpt. Lambic stops Lt. von Martial’s rash attempt to charge over the river.

As time ticks on and the Belgian reinforcements arrive on the horizon, the Germans on the northern flank are exhausted.  There is simply not enough of them to make a real difference in the fight.  The Germans try to send the remnants of their motorcycle units across but machine gun fire from the Maxim 08 up in the town church steeple prevents their crossing.  The two German scout cars try for an attempt to get over.  The Belgian T13 B3 light tank completely destroys one German vehicle as it attempts to ford while a squad of Belgians pours fire on the other scout car while it crosses in the middle.  The Germans are exhausted.

Some success in the north but it’s just not enough and the Belgians hold the town.

The final tally:  The Germans get 5 units across while the Belgians have 9 units in the town.  I would consider this a significant victory for Belgium.

This is a real tough one for the Germans.  They have only three crossing points to get over to the west while the Belgians can just sort of wait patiently and blast the Germans while they attempt to ford.  The lack of cover and the relatively low firepower of the German units makes it tough to crack open the defense.  I probably could have done better as the German player by focusing my firepower and efforts on one particular crossing while sending a smaller force to keep the other units occupies.  Two equal forces putting pressure on two points just doesn’t seem enough to get much done.  The Germans did get lucky, though, with some units rolling spectacularly for their defense rolls while on the ford or even spawning heroes.


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