Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Battle of Villers Bocage - Part II

      On to the main event!

The first Cromwell continues to burn from Part I.

Tigers on the northern road poke cautiously around the corner, wary of the Firefly down the road. 

Panzer Lehr panzer IV Hs trade shots with the British Armour and get a barrage from the Sextons in reply. 

A Panzer Mk IV H burns following the barrage, proving that even 25 pdrs can kill a tank every so often. 

The first Tiger kill by a Firefly down the road.  This has me concerned as I have yet to kill much of anything and have already lost three tanks, including a FV Tiger and my panzer Lehr Company Commander.  On the other hand the Tigers in the upper portion of the photo are about to make a sharp turn . . .

 . . . and drive through an unsuspecting townhouse! 

Meanwhile the 2iC finally unbogs and drives through a line of houses with 2 other Panzer Mk IV Hs.  Another Panzer Mk IV H is bogged down on the other side. 
The southern panzer zug is still getting stuck on hedgerows. 

One over and two bogged down is not a good sign. 

The housewarming Tigers manage to smoke another Cromwell at very short range. 

The Stuarts are fired upon by the Panzer Lehr 2iC and friends.  Little damage beyond bailing one Stuart out is achieved. 

SS Panzergrenadiers move house to house to cover the Tigers and move closer to the objective. 
The Panzer Lehr motorcycle troops dismounted and occupied the southern string of houses. 

The Brits unleash their two platoons in ambush.  The first is an armoured platoon that fires at the Panzer Mk IV Hs hung up on the hedgerow. 

A closer view. 

Three Cromwells and a Firefly blast away. 
Two Panzer Mk IV Hs are brweed up forcing a morale check which the Germans lose.  Scratch one zug!

The second platoon comes out and blasts away at the Tigers in the house but cause no damage. 
The other British Armoured platoon lights up another Panzer Mk IV H platoon leaving no survivors.  Two zugs gone! 

With two Panzer Mk IV H zugs toast and my Company Commander also in flames, the German southern attack is thwarted.  Things are looking serious. . .

The Tigers blast the northern Firefly.  This is good!

The other Tigers sneak around the line of houses and with their Panzer Lehr kamerades, shoot up a British Armoured platoon, destroying two Cromwells and a Firefly and bailing out two other Cromwells, including the Company Commander.  This is also good!  The tide is shifting. .  .

The motorcycle troops redeploy towards the undefended destroyed Cromwell objective.  The Panzer Lehr Panzer Mk IV H panzer that bogged down earlier unbogs and takes station in the square. 
The Tigers mass to shoot at the Tommies near Herr Wittman's objective. 

The British Commander withdraws one armoured platoon back down the road to the last objective. 

An infantry platoon repositions to menace the Tigers with their trusty PIAT. 

The SS Panzergrenadiers continue to move up, house by house.

The center force of Panzer Mk IV Hs turn to the Stuarts but only manage to bail them out. 

The British tanks fire at the Tigers but to no avail.  Even with PIAT and artillery fire the British are only able to bail out three Tigers.  It will not be enough. 
The Stuarts are disposed of. 
The British throw more reinforcements in to stop the Tigers. 
The Tigers kill another Cromwell and Firefly, destroying another British Armoured platoon.  The British pass their moral check despite being under half strength. 
Panzer Lehr motorcycle troops and the repositioned halftrack park move to defend the last objective. 
The Tigers pound the defending British infantry. 
The Panzer Lehr 2iC and friends move past the burning Stuarts to assist the Tigers. 

A lone Panzer Mk IV H guards the village square. 

The last remaining British armoured platoon attempts to vault the hedgerows to menace the remaining objective and light up the German halftracks.  Will they get there in time? 

The valiant British Company Commander regains his tank and fights on!

 . . . only to be killed by the German tank horde.  With their Company Commander gone, the remaining British armour routs, leaving the poor Tommies to fend for themselves. 

This is not enough!  The Tigers assault the infantry at the objective and kill a stand despite defensive PIAT fire.  The Tommies fail their morale check and run away!  Discouraged, the British concede the game. 

Whew!  I thought the Brits were going to win after I had lost two Panzer Mk IV H platoons and my Panzer Lehr Company Commander, but the very next turn superior German gunnery (aka dice) wiped out two British armoured platoons in kind, shifting the initiative to the Germans.  There were certainly chances for both sides to win, evidence of a well crafted scenario.  I think the British could have saved the 6 pdrs for the infantry dug in at the one objective to make it more challenging for the Germans.  Smoke from the Sextons may have helped, though with the narrow roads their are only so many places to go.  The tank density IS high, but not insurmountable.  Infantry did very little here, which may be poor tactics on our part. 

All in all a very satisfying game, particularly since I won.  I am sure we missed a couple of things here, which is why we will try again next weekend, though changing sides this time.  Stay tuned!

Battle of Villers Bocage - Part I

     Many years and too many dollars later, we finally played the Battlefront Villers Bocage scenario.  I am sure we did a couple of things incorrectly, but I think it played out pretty well, all things considered.  Since I set up the village a few months ago, I had received a couple more Battlefront houses which I used instead of the Miniature Building Authority ones.  I don't think it made much of a difference either aesthetically or in the course of the game.  Anyway, I didn't record every move but this is a pretty good play-by-play account.  I played the Germans and my son the British as those were the sides each of us had painted the most of.  The game swayed back and forth a couple of times so it kept us focused even more than the anticipation of playing after years of preparation. 

   There's a fair number of pictures so I will do this report in two parts. 

The setup.  Pretty much like the last time with a couple of additional Battlefront houses. 

Looking across the town.  I moved the houses back around an inch from each side of the road in order to have more room for the tank shoot out and limit the space in the middle. 

Looking from the west side of town. 

German photographers qeue up for the obligatory Signal photo shoot. 
The British deploy first from the first three feet of the edge.  There are a LOT of tanks to deploy though.

A British infantry platoon deploys near Herr Wittman's deserted Tiger towards the center of the table. 

Another infantry platoon occupies a hedgerow and a house.  I wanted to penalize the side that did not use as many of the houses as possible, but my opponent thought that wasn't fair. 

A Sexton half battery lines up to provide support to the embattlaed Desert Rats in the town. 
Tanks from the 4 CLY line up to defend the town. 

Other platoons guard the western objective. 

The Germans set up second.  My Tigers will motor down the northern road while two others hop the hedgerows to threathen the British flank.  Or so I hope. 

SS Panzergrenadiers mass with the Tigers to provide support and keep the Tommies from close assaulting any bailed out Tigers. 

Panzer Lehr Panzer Mk IV Hs and some recce motorcycle stands will threaten the British southern line. 
One Panzer Mk IV H platoon will go over the hedgerow and pressure the British.  I think the Panzer Lehr troops will pressure the British while the FV Tigers seize the middle objective. 

Both sides conduct a recce move.  British Stuarts move into the center of the open area. 

Panzer Lehr motorcycle troops motor down the southern road expecting to be shot up quickly, but at least keep the British units in ambush (a 6 pdr platoon and an armoured platoon) at bay.  Plus, I didn't like painting these guys and hope they will be hammered quickly. 

Looking down the road at the massed British armour I think I will get my wish . . .

Another shot of the CV Panzer Lehr recce charge.  British MG fire from the tanks drives them back to their starting point, though without any casualties.  Drats!

The Tigers move out.  The first two get across the hedgerows without an issue. 

The SS Panzergrenadiers double time it up to the houses.  Meanwhile, the Panzer Lehr Company Commander and his 2iC attempt to drive through the houses to get into the center of the town the hard way.  The Company Commander makes it through somewhat surprisingly, but the 2iC bogs down. 
The 2iC wonders how he can catch up with the Company Commander. 

Alone and unafraid, the Company Commander faces a platoon of Stuarts.  No problem!

Panzer Lehr Panzer Mk IV Hs create a traffic jam on the southern road.  The last platoon struggles to get over the hedgerow, bogging two panzers in the process. 

Tigers move up to the next hedgerow. 

Stuarts gang up on the Panzer Lehr Company Commander and destroy him.  First blood to the British.  This was an ill-considered move that went poorly for the Germans. 
Traffic jam as the Panzer Lehr troops get in each other's way on the narrow streets. I had dismounted the SS Panzergrenadiers from their Sdkfz 251/1C halftracks as I thought that the British tanks would make short work of these and that all they would do is clog up the roads.  Hence the halftrack parking lot near the church. 

Another view of the traffic jam.  Luckily the British only had artillery.  This barrage didn't affect the massed German tanks though it did take out a motorcycle team (Yea!). 

No Typhoons were available for the British or the haltrack parking lot would have been in trouble.

Tigers trade rounds with the Firefly but at this range little damage is done by either side.  Meanwhile the northernmost Tigers move along against no resistence. 

First bllod for the Germans!  A Cromwell is hit and destroyed by a Panzer Lehr Panzer Mk IV H. 
 So far, so good with both sides probing the other and shakingout their forces for the big bash that they know HAS to come.  And it will!  In Part II!  Stay tuned!