The Greatest Raid of All
By Chris Maes
Date: 28 March, 1942
Location: St. Nazaire, France
Operation: CHARIOT was a joint Royal Navy and Army Commando raid on the harbor facilities at the French port of St. Nazaire. Loss of the dry dock facilities there would force any large German warships, namely the Tirpitz, to return to home waters for repair rather than take shelter along the Atlantic coast. The obsolete destroyer Campbeltown (disguised to look Ã¬more GermanÃ®, and packed with explosives) accompanied by 18 shallow-draft boats, rammed the St. Nazaire lock gates and was blown-up, ending use of the dock. Commandos landed on the docks and destroyed other important targets before attempting to fight their way out. The British taskforce began taking casualties before they even landed, as German harbor defenses and Flak units quickly responded to the intruders. Several small craft were hit and set on fire and many Commandos were killed before they even set foot on land. Those that did make it ashore only had a short time to accomplish their assigned tasks before German Stosstruppen (mostly from Flak and Works battalions) began to close in on them in ever increasing numbers, eventually including regular infantry and armored cars from 679th Motorized Infantry Brigade.
The British have the Initiative for the first 3 turns; roll for Initiative on subsequent turns.
WeÃve finally made it ashore, now all we have to do is make our way to our targets, set the charges and get out. No problem. Any questions? Right. Move out! Oh, one more thingÃ– DonÃt be late; the boats wonÃt wait around for ever.
Destroy the assigned targets and escape.
Commandos of Combined Operations Taskforce
(All Commandos are considered Veteran, TQ: d10; Morale: d12; Very Confident with Adequate Supplies. All are considered to be Stealthy units without suppressed weapons)
Demolitions Squad (x4)
1d4+2 Commandos armed with pistols and carrying explosives, axes, sledgehammers and other demolitions/breaching equipment. They are carrying enough explosives for three (3) demo attacks. They are heavily laden with equipment and cannot move at the Fast movement rate. They gain a bonus in any breaching or House-Clearing tasks.
Assault Squad (x4)
1 Squad Leader w/ Thompson SMG
1 Gunner w/ BREN LMG
1d4 Commandos w/ Thompson SMG*
(If a 3 or 4 is rolled, add a 2-inch mortar to the group. The mortar has 3 turns of fir, including up to 1 turn of smoke ammo). They gain a bonus (+1 die) in any Close Assault situations.
Englander Kommandos have landed and are attacking the port facilities. We must prevent them from carrying out their mission. Reinforcements are on the way! In the mean time, we need to slow them down and keep them away from vital facilities.
Defend vital port facilities; make the English pay for their arrogance!
Elements of Flak, Works and Naval units assigned to St. Nazaire garrison.
1 Leader armed with MP-38 SMG
(Trained, TQ: d8; with a Morale of d10. He is Very Confident and has Adequate Supplies. Any Sentry unit he is with will use his Morale and Confidence ratings)
4d6 Sentries armed with Kar-98k Rifles
(Green, TQ: d6; with a Morale of d8. They are Confident and have Adequate supplies)
Treat these units as Ã¬IrregularsÃ® regarding actions and morale checks.
Stosstruppen (Ã¬Thrust TroopsÃ®)
(Green, TQ: d6; with a Morale of d8. They are Confident and have Adequate supplies)
Reinforcements rushed to the area were a mixed bag. At the start of each turn, roll 1d6 on the table below to determine what arrives:
1= 1d6 armed with Rifles & ROLL AGAIN
2= 1d6 w/ Rifles + Leader w/ SMG
3= 1d6 armed with Rifles
4= 1d6+2 armed with Rifles
5= 1d6 w/ Rifle + Leader w/ SMG + 1 w/ MG-34 (does not count as Weapon Team)
6= 2d6 w/ Rifle + Leader w/ SMG & ROLL
Elements of 679th Motorized Infantry Brigade
(All are considered Trained, TQ: d8; with a Morale of d10. They are Confident and have Adequate Supplies)
1 Gunner w/ MG-34 HMG
1 A. Gunner w/ Kar-98k
1 Ammo Bearer w/ Kar-98k
(counts as Weapon Team, +2 with Hvy. Spt Wpn., +3)
Spotter w/ Kar-98k
Gunner w/ 5cm Light Mortar
A. Gunner w/ Kar-98k
(counts as Weapons Team, +2, with Med. Spt Wpn., +2; cannot Move & Fire same turn)
Motorized Rifle Squad
1 Squad Leader w/ MP-38 SMG
1 Gunner w/ MG-34
1 A. Gunner w/ Kar-98k
2 Riflemen w/ Kar-98k
(MG-34 counts as Weapons Team, +2 with a Med. Spt. Wpn, +2)
1 ASL w/ Kar-98k
4 Riflemen w/ Kar-98k
Sd.Kfz. 231 (8-Rad) Heavy Armored Car with 4 crew
The battle took place in the early morning darkness. Night rules apply- all units have their Optimum Range reduced by half and lose 1 die of Firepower (unless target is illuminated by searchlight, see below).
The British Commandos are considered to be Stealthy. A successful TQ check is required to spot these units.
The searchlights sweeping the harbor entrance can also be used to illuminate land areas. Any unit with a clear Line of Sight (LOS) to the center of the south board edge may be illuminated. The German player may designate 1 unit to be illuminated per turn, and will successfully do so on a d6 roll of 4+. Illuminated units are not hidden by darkness; lose 1 cover die and 1 die of firepower as their night vision is ruined for the turn. If the Power Station is damaged or destroyed, the Germans lose the ability to use the searchlight.
German Harbor Defense Boats-
Moored just inside the Ã¬NewÃ® Harbor Entrance were a group of harbor defense boats. ANY unit moving in the vicinity of the RR Tracks will be subject to a 2d Machinegun attack from these boats. German units may avoid this by passing a TQ check. British units may avoid this by using their Stealth. Any British unit north of the RR Tracks, however, will have their Stealth negated for the purpose of this fire. The boats cannot be directly attacked; they are, however, withdrawn at the beginning of Turn 6.
Damage to the Power Station will knock out power to the port, and prevent the German use of searchlights to illuminate certain harbor areas.
To demolish a target, a Commando Demolition Squad must first Emplace Charges. To do so, they must first roll a d6 less than or equal to the number of figures in the unit. If successful, they spend the rest of the turn emplacing the charges. This task can only be performed by a Demo Squad.
Any Commando unit may set-off charges successfully emplaced on a previous turn. This will count as a Ã¬FireÃ® action; the unit must then move at least 6 inches away. The success or failure of the demolition attempt is determined at the end of that turn. To successfully set off the charges a TQ check (4+) must be passed. If, at any time the enemy occupied the target once the charges were emplaced, the TQ check will be opposed; roll 1 TQ die for each side; The British must roll a 4+ and roll higher than their opponent to succeed, then roll 1d6 below to determine the results:
1-2= No Effect
3= Target Damaged (-1 to next attempt)
4-6= Target Destroyed
Apply the following die roll modifiers:
+1 Engineer Demolition Squad
+1 Target previously damaged
-1 Failed TQ check above
All Commando units may exit the board via any of the designated Entry/Exit points (Hot Spots). Note the turn and point of exit for later. At the end of the game, roll 1d12 for each group exited. To successfully escape, roll less than the exit turn number. Apply the following die roll modifiers to the above roll:
+1 if group has Dependants
+1 if Exit Point Ã«3Ã or Ã«5Ã
-1 if no Wounded in group
Escape and Evasion-
Any Commando not exited by end of game still has a chance to escape and evade capture. Roll 1d6:
1-3= Killed In Action (KIA)
1-4= escaped to England
5-6= escaped to Spain- no VP
Sentries- The German player may assign his Sentries and Leader to whichever facilities he wishes as long as there is a minimum of two (2) sentries per facility. Do not place any figures on the board until enemy forces come within 10 inches of their positions. They are considered to have some improved cover available.
Stosstruppen- Roll at the beginning of each turn (including Turn 1) to determine what arrives. All Stosstruppen arrive using Hot Spots; roll a d6 to determine where they arrive.
679th MIB- These forces may enter anywhere along the west board edge. Beginning Turn 6 one vehicle (and passengers) may be brought on to the board per turn. Troops may enter on foot or mounted in their vehicle.
Commando Squads- The British player will roll 1d6 for each Commando Squad to determine when they arrive:
1-3= Arrives Turn 1
4-5= Arrives Turn 2
6= Lost! Roll 1d6 (beginning Turn 2); if number rolled is less than turn number, unit arrives.; if not, try again next turn.
Mixed Units- The Stosstruppen in this scenario are treated as Ã¬Irregular UnitsÃ® for the purposes of actions and morale. See the appropriate rules for use of these troops.
Asset and Fog of War cards-
not used in this scenario.
Sentries- Hold your position. Prevent the enemy from damaging vital port facilities. Do not quit your post unless properly relieved or ordered to do so by an Officer or NCO.
Stosstruppen- Contain the enemy and keep them from important port facilities.
679th MIB Forces- Seek out the enemy. Kill them or force them to retreat. Conduct a house-to-house search for any stragglers or anything left behind by the enemy Commandos.
British Commandos- Any units entering on Turn 1 may enter at any Entry/Exit Point (Hot Spot) of their choosing. Any units arriving Turn 2 or later will appear at a random entry point as per the rules for Hot Spots. Units may exit the board at any time using these same Hot Spots (Note which one used and what turned exited for later VP determination).
Demolition Squads- Each of these must be assigned a Primary Target (A-D, 1 per target) before the start of the game. They may freely attack other targets once they have destroyed their primary or if they cannot reach their primary
Assault Squads- These enter the board in the same manner as the demo squads and are tasked with providing security for them.
+5 per Target Destroyed
+3 per Target Damaged
+2 per Commando escaping to England
+5 per target not Destroyed or Damaged
+3 per target not Destroyed
+1 per Commando WIA (not captured)
+2 per Commando KIA
+3 per Commando Captured
Recommended map size is 3Ãx3Ã for 15mm, 4.5Ãx4.5Ã for 20mm and 6Ãx6Ã for 25/28mm. The map area represents the area around Ã¬New EntranceÃ® and the Ã¬Old TownÃ®. The area at the time was relatively intact. However, an air raid was scheduled to soften up the target and provide some distraction as cover for the Commando attack, therefore, some buildings may have various levels of damage. All of the CommandoÃs targets were untouched by the largely ineffectual air attacks. The Ã¬Old TownÃ® area consisted of closely packed multi-storied, brick and stone business and residences with narrow, winding alleys. There are also a few grassy, park areas dotted with trees and bushes. The broad areas lining the harbor entrance provides little cover and targets should be considered Exposed in these areas unless they are in prepared defensive positions or lucky enough to find some piece of harbor machinery, etcÃ– to shelter behind. The Rail Road tracks have no effect on movement, but do offer an excuse to use some rail stock or a trolley as a scenic piece.
The raid was considered a success as most of the targets were damaged or destroyed. Success, however, came at a cost; all but 27 of the Commandos were killed or captured; 22 made it back to England and five escaped on foot to Spain. Most of the small craft used in the raid were also lost: destroyed by enemy action, or abandoned as too damaged to make the return trip. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded in what has been called Ã¬the Greatest Raid of AllÃ®.
Sd.Kfz. 231 (8-Rad) Heavy Armored Car
FIREPOWER: 20mm L/55: 3d
Coax MG: 3d
DEFENSE:(Class1) Front 2d6,Side/rear1d6
SURVIVABILITY: 4+ / d6
NOTES: Rear DriverÃs position allows Ã¬shoot & scootÃ® at full speed