My men and I had been ordered to go to the outskirts of the village Neunkirchen and assist the engineers there in setting up defences along the new Siegfried line. With all the going on in poland it didn’t feel like winning the lottery.
So far a minefield had been laid and two bunkers had been set up. For some reason the trees in front of one of the bunkers hadn’t been cleared yet, so there was a very limited use for it. The mines had been laid in large parts of the open area west of us and only the road was kept free so far.
A small hilltop in the near of the first bunker had been designated by the engineers as the best place to build the next bunker. I had ordered two sections out to help assist in clearing the hill. Another section was helping out by the first two bunkers in loading ammo and setting up MMG’s. Rest of the company had been sent to Neunkichen town on other duties or leave.
At 8.40 AM out of the blue shells started landing on our bunkers. I didn’t last long, and caused no real damaged. We had all fallen flat to the hill not knowing what had been happening.
At 9 AM – 2 hours into our work – a body of enemy troops were spotted in front of the hill top. This came quite unexpected and again we fell flat on the hill, not knowing whether we had been spotted or not. After trying to grasp the size of the enemy force – concluding that it was no more than a section at best – we opened fire hoping to scare them off. My iniatial thought was that a scouting party was trying to get the whereabouts of our new defences.
This soon turned out to be a griveous misunderstating. The ”scouts” opened fire with at least 3 machineguns inflicting many casualties. These guys didn’t shoot to wound…
Wild panic spread through the two sections on the hilltop, and strangely no counterfire was coming from our own MG’s. I tried to get the men to their senses but I wasn’t easy.
I got hold of my communicationsofficer and tried to make contact with Neunkirchen. I requested that the whole garrison be sent immediatly. Further more I inquiered about the three 75mm infantry guns I knew was there. Thankfully they were able to support us without further ado.
It was obvious now that my platoon was facing at least two enemy platoons. A third enemy platoon gave notice of itself when it waltzed directly into our freshly laid mines. Somehow this must have woken up our MG’s as they started – at last – to pour some lead over the frenchies.
A ranging shot from the artillery was way off mark and the hauptmann directing it was furious. Meanwhile it didn’t matter much as the enemy forces had left the area originally designated. We discussed it briefly and decided to land the artillery about 75 yards from the hill denying the enemy an easy advance towards us from at least one direction.
Soon afterwards the ranging shot landed again, this time spot on! A barrage commenced and to our surprise the enemy was already there. They must have been taking heavy tolls as only little or no protection was at hand some the shelling. A short halt in the firing let through the echoes of soldiers screaming their lungs out in pain. Then the barrage continued and nothing more could be heard.
On the hill things looked bad. The french shooters hardly caused anything but straight out kills. Morale was in free fall. Still we held our position in hope that reinforcements would soon reach us.
When the reinforcements actually got to us it turned out rather disappointing. Instead of the expected two platoons, and that turned up was a scouting vehicle and a single infantry section. ”Madness” I thought. While the 20mm gun of the scout car would definently come in handy it just wasn’t enough. Especially not as the appeared to have a tiny little tank with them! I’m no expert on french armour but I believe it to have been a Hotchkiss H-39.
Suddenly things went very fast. The hauptmann directing the artillery took a bullet in the head, causing a minor lapse in the barrage, which again was enough for the french platoon to get on their feet and storm the hill. We were sorrounded. I myself must have taken a bullet too, as the last thing I remember is lying on the ground watching our Sd.Kfz 222 firing relentlessly at the french tank.
When I woke up a few hours later I was told that I had been taken for dead and that we had managed to beat off the french. But just barely. The rest of the reinforcements had indeed arrived and the french had seemed to stop going for it. Just as if their near breakthrough had been unexpected.
1 Sd Kfz 222 in reserve, 4 Infantry sections (All german line. 1 in reserve), 3 MMG’s, 1 50mm mortar, 1 Anti tank rifle, 4 big men (all d4), 1 forward observer and 3 infantry guns off table. Two bunkers were available.
1 H-39, 1 HQ squad (Good+), 3 platoons (good), 4 81mm mortars (off table), 3 MMG’s, 5 big men.
French had orders to take the bunkers. Both players were promised large amounts of reinforcements that never turned up.