Codeword Cromwell 1940 part 2 Battle of Rotherfield – Pre-Invasion preparation and first contact for the locals

Posted: January 16, 2015 in rotherfield, wargames
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Vigilant Home Guard Volunteer J. Walker was the first to spot the first German units approaching the village.

Vigilant Home Guard Volunteer J. Walker. First to spot German paratroopers approaching the village.

As news reached the Home Guard of an imminent invasion the church bells of St Deny’s church began to peel.  Local residents were warned to be extra vigilant especially for anything suspicious such as German paratroopers disguised as nuns. Capt. Mainwaring took on the role of organising the village defence. A temporary sandbagged pillbox style defence was erected covering the western approaches from the village side of the bridge. Small arms equipment stockpiled in the church crypt began to be issued until it was discovered that some of the weapons had apparently been tampered with rendering a large amount unfit for use.  With the added complication of the possibility of a Fifth Columnist at large in the Parish, tension reached fever pitch.

IMG_3373 (800x600)At 0600 hours, LDV Pte J.Walker patrolling the bridge noticed movement by the North stream.  Studying the area closely he spotted what were later identified as 4 German Paratroopers about to attempt to cross the stream. Walker fired a warning shot over their heads and challenged them but there was no reply except for an increased urgency in their actions. At this point Walker decided that they were indeed enemy troops and he began lay down a suppressing fire in their general direction. The first shots in the battle of Rotherfield had been fired.

IMG_3370 (800x600)Meanwhile, nearby in the Kings Arms and Catts Inn pubs, a motley group of pub regulars who had been sleeping soundly within from the previous nights lock-ins (celebrating or commiserating themselves on what could be the last hours of freedom for the village) were galvanised into action. Arming themselves with an assortment of improvised weapons and still full of dutch courage from the previous nights drinking they made their way down Station road before recklessly charging over the stream taking the German troops by surprise thanks to the ferocity of their attack. Within seconds, 4 German paratroopers lay dead or dying. Checking their papers, they were identified as reconnaissance paratroopers from an Aufklärer unit of the 7th Falschirmjäger Regt.

The war had arrived in Rotherfield.


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