Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just north of Caen . . .

After Action Report: Somewhere north of Caen . . .

A reinforced British Company from the 3rd Infantry Division is attempting to push south towards Caen on D+1. Unfortunately for them, a Panzergrenadier Company from the 21st panzer is heading in the opposite direction . . .

Encounter Battle. Both sides used “Across the Volga” for their artillery.

Brits: (all Confident Trained)
Company HQ (3rd Infantry Division, 8th Brigade, 1st Suffolks)
3 Infantry Platoons Full Strength
Engineer Platoon
Recon Section with 3 Bren gun Carriers
1 Armored Platoon (27th Armored Brigade, 13/18 Hussars, C Squadron)
MG platoon with a PIAT section (2nd Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment)
Attached AVRE section with 2 AVsRE (77th Assault Regiment, RE)
Battery of Priests with 8 Priests with FOs attached to the infantry platoons. (76th Filed Regiment, RA)

Not the most balanced force, but it was all of the LW Brits that I had painted so far. . .

Germans: (all Confident Veterans)
Company HQ
3 PG Platoons (all with SMG Panzerfaust Platoon Command and without their trucks)
Panzer platoon with 4 Panzer Mk IV H
AT Platoon with 3 Pak 40
MG Platoon
Nebelwerfer section with 3 Nebelwerfers

Deployment: We are using the bocage rules from D-Day, so we shortened the board to a ~4’ x 4’ table. That still gives a lot of terrain/cover to make life miserable or great, depending upon your die rolls.

The Brits deployed the MG platoon behind the hedgerow in front of one objective, while the two infantry platoons deployed on the left flank with the two FOs. The CC was with the second infantry platoon in the middle, while the 2nd in command deployed with the MGs. No one starts the game entrenched.

The Germans placed one PG platoon and the CC on their right flank, another PG platoon in the center, and the Panzer platoon on the left in the bocage.

Turn 1:

Brits: The British left hand infantry moves across the road into the other hedgerow. The MGs try to dig in and fail. Nothing to shoot at, yet.

Germans: The German PG platoon also goes over the hedgerow and starts to move toward the left hand British infantry platoon. This will turn out to be a bad idea. They shoot at the Brits in the hedgerow and kill a team. Amazing. . . The center PG platoon moves down the road. They shoot at the British infantry platoon in the center of town with Nebelwerfers and don’t do any damage, but then shoot with normal infantry fire and kill a team in a house. It isn’t fair! This platoon will go far, literally! The panzer platoon moves over the hedgerow without any bogs.

Turn 2:

Brits: This is my first game with an 8 gun battery of Priests. I have read a lot about the need for British CT infantry to have lots of artillery, so I was willing to try. Plus, with the “Across the Volga” rule, they don’t have to be on the table so I could field my otherwise incomplete force. Anyway, the first rounds on the exposed German PG platoon on the left justified my selection. The PGs lost two teams to the artillery and pinned. The massed rifle fire killed another. Life is better. . . The CC joins the center platoon and they unpin with his motivational speech. The center platoon starts trading shot with the rushing PGs, killing a team. The MGs try to dig in and succeed.

Germans: The pinned PG platoon attempts to unpin and fails. Uh –oh . . . The center PG platoon is getting jammed up in the center of town, and trades shots with the Brits there, killing a team. The Nebelwerfers fail to range in. The Panzer platoon attempts to go over the next hedgerow, and bogs down 3 of the 4 tanks. One makes it over and shoots at the MGs, doing no damage.

Turn 3:

Brits: Reinforcements! I take my armored platoon which luckily arrives in the same area as the incoming Mk IVs, or so I think. They rush up to the hedgerow and shoot at the Panzers, but do no damage. Still, 4:1 odds will eventually pay off, right? If some artillery is good, some more must be better. The combined Mike Target fire and valiant British rifle fire kills another team. The Germans pass their morale check though. More rifle fire in the center pins the Germans, but little else.

Germans: No reinforcements. Achtung! Ve must press ze angriff! The PGs unpin and continue towards their destruction. They shoot at the Brits in the hedgerows but don’t do much. Trading fire with the Brits in the town center does little either. One MK IV unbogs and joins his kamerad at the roadside. They shoot at and kill a Sherman. Not a problem, I have three left. . .

Turn 4:

Brits: Reinforcements. I bring in an infantry platoon and man the hedgerow right behind the other objective. The left infantry platoon shoots at the German PGs in the open and kill all but the command team! Yea! The center platoon and now artillery fire on the center PG platoon and pin them, but little else. The Shermans fire at the panzers and DO NO DAMAGE. This is not good.

The third British infantry platoon mans the hedgerows next to an objective that seems to have taken a wrong turn at El Alamein . . .

Germans: No reinforcements. Another MK IV unbogs and makes it to the firing line. They shoot at the Shermans and kill two and bail out the other. Another fine example of British armored fighting prowess . . . Jeez! The center PG platoon unpins and kills another team of the second British infantry platoon. I can feel the momentum starting to shift. . . The now almost annihilated PG platoon continues to rush my infantry in the hedgerows, probably in the desire to earn the iron cross or something. They even conduct a storm trooper move, which will just make the range even closer . . .

Another fine day for the 13/18 Hussars. . . three in flames and one bailed out.

Turn 5:

Brits: No reinforcements. I fire at the PG platoon’s platoon leader and kill him. One platoon down, a lot more to go. Combined artillery and rifle fire do little to the PG platoon in the center. I begin to really look hard at where my remaining PIAT teams are, as my force has little in the way of AT power, and what little I had is now burning. The Armored platoon passes a morale check, but fails to man their tank and will remain bailed out for the rest of the game. I guess he saw what happened to his mates.

Germans: Reinforcements! Another PG platoon show up in the center and double times it down the road to help their pinned friends. This causes a big traffic jam and makes a lucrative artillery target. The pinned PG platoon doesn’t unpin (of course). The CC, having witnessed the destruction of a third of his infantry, jumps in his staff car and tries to speed to the schwerpunkt with his remaining force, only to get stuck when he realizes that cars can’t cross hedgerows. Gott in Himmel! The Panzers fire at the MGs and cause no damage.

Turn 6:

Brits: Reinforcements. I take the engineers, AVsRE and Bren Gun Carriers and reinforce the objective behind the burning hulks of the 13/18 Hussar Shermans. I keep them behind the hedgerows, as I am not impressed with the AVRE/MK IV matchup. My other troops sit tight and don’t do much damage to anyone.

Germans: Reinforcements from der Fuehrer. The Pak 40 AT guns come in, but are off in a bad corner surrounded by hedgerows and will be able to do little other than guard an objective. The MGs come in and add to the center lane traffic jam, as do the CC and second in command, now both on foot. The Panzer IVs see that the British objective has been heavily reinforced and decide to redeploy. The last bogged down tank unbogs and crosses the hedgerow, where it joins the other three and runs into the traffic jam in the middle of the town.
The second PG platoon now earns its Assault Badges. The PGs are down to 4 stands, but are ready to attack. They unpin, and assault the wavering Brits in the center of the town. They kill two teams and the company commander. The British platoon is now at half strength, and of course fails its morale check. Even though the remainder are in great positions in the houses, they all run away. The PGs continue on, killing my sniper that I poorly positioned. He did nothing other than look neat and get killed.

I’m neat looking and I’m dead. I am also not worth the 50 points.

Turn 6:

Brits: Another chance for well aimed rifle fire. The Brits in the hedgerow behind the objective fire at the PGs and kill two teams. The jerries pass their morale check though and remain to contest the objective. A remaining FO calls in fire on the traffic jam in the town and bails out two MK IVs and pins the last PG platoon. The 2iC moves over to the road to encourage the MG platoon PIAT team and call in artillery fire if things get nasty. The other British teams sit tight.

Germans: The remaining PGs fire at the Brits behind the hedgerow and kill a team. Now, the lack of the Nebelwerfer FO is becoming a big problem, as the CC is stuck back in a traffic jam and the PGs just don’t have the firepower to overwhelm the Brits. The Panzers bail in and try to move out of the town toward the left hand British platoon. The last PG platoon continues up the road.

Turn 7:

Brits: The left hand platoon sees that the German objective has been left unguarded. This is a very ungermanic slip by the jerries, so they go over the hedgerow where they have been sheltered since turn one an double time it across the very field where the PGs got slaughtered earlier in the game. Since there is no opposition, this can be done somewhat safely.

The Brits approach an unguarded objective.

The Brits in the hedgerows pour in a lot of rifle fire in the PGs and kill the remaining teams. It is sometimes easier to kill the Germans than make their morale break. I hit the cross roads with artillery fire, but only kill one team and bail a MK IV. This may be enough to delay them and attain victory as the Germans really have nothing to stop the Brits from gaining and holding the objective and don’t have the combat power to take either of mine. My MG PIAT shoots at and bails a MK IV, which is more than an entire British Armored platoon had managed to accomplish. The other PIAT team shoots at the MK IVs and misses.

Germans: The German commander is in a pickle as he realizes he can’t do much to recover. He vows to try and do as much damage as possible, and manages to extricate the panzers from the cross roads and get his last PG platoon unpinned and moving out of the traffic jam. The CC does too, and the MGs move toward the uncontested objective, but it is too late. Shooting off his last few rounds at the valiant British in the hedgerows, he concedes the game.

German panzers and panzergrenadiers finally clear the traffic jam and move out of the village,
but too late . . .

German MG teams move to contest the objective, but too many buildings and hedgerows are in the way.

Lessons Learned:

This was my first game with the LW British and my first FOW game in a LONG time. I paint really slow. Anyway, while I am sure we missed a bunch of the salient points of the rules, a few particularly glaring deficiencies were noted:

- Position the sniper where he can do some good. When the 3rd British infantry deployed within 4” of the sniper position, he couldn’t fire. The PGs mowed him down in an assault with nothing to show for it.

- FO positions are equally important. If you don’t have a stand to call down fire in the LOS of the enemy, your 8 gun battery is pretty much useless.

- Guard the objective, even with a token force. It is too easy to pick off an unguarded one.

- Confident Veteran tanks are bad to fight against, especially if you only have CT ones to oppose them. I thought that the Shermans would at least be able to hold their own, firing from the hedgerows. Not quite.
- Teams in the open make great targets for rampaging Panzergrenadiers. If you have cover, get your teams in it. The houses were not all occupied, and my CC, Platoon Commander and a PIAT team got waxed accordingly. The stupid shall be punished . . .

Overall, a fun game (especially since I won!). The LW Brits have other cross roads to take and the Germans will recover from this failed counterattack. Monty demands we do our best, and after lounging for three years in England, I expect we might have to.


Jokull said...

C/T - trained tanks, the bane of British armour, will loose you a shooting match against Jerry any day, unless you have at least 2x the numbers and Jerry doesn't smoke too much.

Private FC Jökull USMC

PanzerCDR said...

I have enough models to build up a pretty large advantage oveer the Germans, but my productivity is slow. I hope to have three armored platoons and a HQ platoon of the 13/18th Hussars eventually done, but it may be a while.