Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Credits for the various WWII histories in this blog. 

            “Hitler’s Legions” by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr.  Stein And Day Publishing.
             “Red Army Order of Battle” by A.Z. Conner  & R.G. Poirer.  Presidio Press.

Published by George F Nafziger:
“German Order of Battle World War II”, Volumes 1-7, by George F. Nafziger
“Soviet Order of Battle World War II”, Volumes 1-12, by Charles C. Sharp
“Italian Order of  Battle World War II”, Volumes 1-3, by George F. Nafziger
"The British Armies in World War Two An Organizational History", Volumes 1-3 by David Hughes, James Broshot and Alan Philson.

Plus numerous other Orders of Battles for various scenarios, published by George Nafziger.

            By Schiffer Publishing;
            “The German Infantry Handbook 1939-1945”, by Alex Buchner. Particular interest to page 65, about killing T-34’s with “pieces of wood, stone, clumps of earth, into gun barrels in order to make the barrels burst.”
            “Panzer-Grenadier, Motorcycle & Panzer Reconnaissance Units”, by Horst Scheibert.
            “Germany’s Panther Tank”, by Thomas L. Jentz

            By Men-At-Arms;
            “The Panzer Divisions”, by Martin Windrow and Richard Hook.
            “The Romanian Army Of World War 2”, by Mark Axworthy and Horia Serbanescu.

            “The Luftwaffe War Diaries”, by Cajus Bekker.
“Handbook on German Military Forces”, by the U.S. War Department, published by Louisiana State University Press.
            “War in the East”, by the staff of Strategy & Tactics Magazine, Simulations Publications, Inc.
            “Who’s Who in World War II”, edited by John Keegan, Oxford University Press.           

            “Third Axis, Fourth Ally”, by Mark Axworthy, Cornel Scafes, Cristian Craciunoiu, published by Arms and Armor Press

  “Kursk 1943”, by Mark Healy, DAG Publications Ltd. for Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1993.
   "There's a War to Be Won: The United States Army in World War", by Geoffrey Perret.  This is an absolute must read if you are a student of the US Army history.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fighting in Another Hedgerow Nightmare.

A Headless Body Production
Location: Ice House, Newark Delaware.
Players: Phil Gardocki, American Armored Company (attacker)
              Ed Bernhardt German I/501st Schwere Panzer Kompanie (attacker)

Game: Flames of War, Mid War, 1750 points
The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Currently TAD, Temporarily Assigned Duty, to the American 4th Armored Division.
7 Shermans, 2 with command and 5 in a single Platoon. 1 Recon Platoon of 3 Stuarts, 1 section of 2 M-10 Tank Destroyers, one Recon Platoon of 4 teams. 2 Batteries of 3 Priests.   Led by Major General Harmon.

German (Confident, Veteran) 1st Kompanie, 501st Schwere Panzerabteilung. 
3 Tigers, 2 Panzer III(n)’s in two Platoons, 1 Platoon 5 of Fallschirmjagers (Fearless Veteran), Air Support.

Mission: Cauldron. Delayed Reserves, German side places two objectives.  Winner is declared when any objective is held by the opposing side after turn 6.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet.   Bocage all over the place.  Roads running to nowhere, and a few copse's of trees.  It's deja vu all over again.  Take a quick trip to the "Clash Near Politico" (http://philonworldwartwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/clash-near-policoro.html)  and see what you think.  Similar field, same opponent, same army.
The Board.  The only saving grace is that the gaps in the bocage are actual gaps.

      There are two objectives, on on one of the road segments, and the other near a copse of trees in the center area.  The Germans placed their Company Commander riding a Tiger on 1, and had the Platoon of Fallschirmjagers hiding in the woods contesting the other.  The attacker has random deployment and rolled 2,2,4.  So one battery of Priests started on the far "right" edge, the other on on the long side board left.  The Reconnaissance Troop of Stuarts started near the center of the board.
Germans visible.  One Priest battery is off to the right, while the other is off the bottom of the frame.
"Right!' began Captain Palin, "Does anyone here know where we are?"
"I don't even know who we are, with the transfer and all that." replied Lieutenant Idle.
"I stopped in a cheese shop a while back and asked for some cheese, Cheddar,  Gouda, Wensleydale, and what have you, but the shop owner didn't have any, so I shot him." monologged Lieutenant Cleese.
"I wonder if monologged is an actual word, since the spellchecker underlined it?" pondered Lieutenant Jones.
"Well, since we are all scattered in this maze of hedges, Lieutenant Idle, take your minstrels and go around the corner and ask those gentlemen hiding in the woods where we are."
"What if they are Germans, Sir?" asked Lieutenant Idle.
"Tell them you are looking for a shrubbery." offered Captain Palin.
Reconnaissance move.  I decided Fallschirmjagers were a softer target than the Tiger and headed for a spot where I could see them through the bocage.  I didn't think the Tiger was going to go far from his objective, and his main advantage of a 40" range gun was limited to only firing up and down the road.

Turn 1:
The Stuarts took up firing positions with Main Guns, MG's and .50 cals.  I didn't count on anything happening because the percentages of a kill are real low.    

The Americans succeed in rolling reserves, and bring on the Tank Destroyers.  The Jeeps start on the right side of the board and move under cover of the bocage towards the Tiger.

Near the center of the board, Sir Robin and his minstrels peek through the bocage.  The German Company Commander can be seen in the upper right.

But the Germans are not without teeth, as the Luftwaffe make an appearance.  In this case one plane was shot down by 4 .50 cals.
 Turn 2:
The Stuarts do a little maneuvering and one gets through a break in the bocage and into the center field.  The 2IC's Sherman is also almost there as well to shoot things up.  Both batteries of Priests  open up.  One smoking the Tiger, just in case, and other takes out two teams of Fallschirmjagers.

The tank destroyer teams continue to race forward towards the Tiger and sidle up to the bocage.  Captain Palin in his Sherman drive up to the edge of the road to complicate the German decision tree.

The Stuarts, 2IC, and General Harmon close around the Fallschirmjagers.

The Luftwaffe make another appearance.
Turn 3:
The Stuarts and their Priests continue to harass the Fallschirmjagers, tagging another team.  But I see a victory coming, with not even a little luck required.  Ed sees it as well, and kills one of the Security Team's jeeps.
 Lieutenant Chapman pulled over Patsy and shouted, "Old woman!"
"Man!" replied the bundle rags stacking mud near the hedge.
Lieutenant Chapman corrected himself, "Man.  I'm sorry.  Old man, do you know where I am?"
"I'm thirty-seven," added the bundle of rags.
"What," asked Lieutenant Chapman?
"I'm thirty-seven ... I'm not old,"answered the bundle of rags.
"Well - I can't just say:  "Hey, Man," retorted Lieutenant Chapman!
"Well you could say: "Dennis"", answered Dennis.
"I didn't know you were called Dennis," replied Lieutenant Chapman.
"You didn't bother to find out, did you?" asked Dennis.
 "I've said I'm sorry about the old woman, but from the behind you looked ..." explained Lieutenant Chapman.
 "What I object to is that you automatically treat me like an inferior ..." interrupted Dennis.

 At this point General Harmon drove up and shouted to move the column along.

"I know the author feels a pressing need to compensate for his inadequacies of writing by adding more out of context Monty Python dialog here,  but we know where this script is going, and while it was funny 37 years ago, the joke didn't age well, so on with the AAR!"

His jeep puffed a belch of black smoke and General Harmon drove on to his destiny!  (about two turns later.)

One Jeep killed, now where is the other?

Time again for the Nazi Air Show.

The Tank Destroyers pop on the through the bocage.

And roll 5 hits in the flank.  The white dice were Captain Palin's tank firing on the other flank.
Turn 4:
All that is required is a drive up to the objective and take it.  Even if reserves do come on they can't contest the situation soon enough.

Since the Tank Destroyers provided such a convenient flare for the Luftwaffe to guide in on, might as well take advantage of it.

Same time, side view.  Once again the Luftwaffe whiffs.
Turn 5:
German reserves failed to come in.  The game was over but there was an hour left on the clock, so we continued to fight it out for the other objective.  The last of the American reserves came on, 5 Shermans, moving double time down the road.

Between two Priest Batteries, a Tank Platoon, and an advancing Recon Platoon, the Fallschirmjagers knew their number was up if they stayed, so they attacked. Killing 2 teams, forcing the recon unit to flee, AND captured the 2IC, but after that, they were caught in the open and killed to a man.

Once again with the Nazi Air show.

Which blows up 2 Shermans, along with General Harmon, stone dead. ("I'm getting better").  Lets see, how many mistakes can we find here, moving double time, (double shots, no AA), compressed formation, and the enemy has air?  Not smart.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fight For Montesano sulla Marcellana

A Headless Body Production
Location: Ice House, Newark Delaware.
Players: Phil Gardocki, American Armored Company (attacker)
              Jesse Sheaffer, Battaglione Fucilieri

Game: Flames of War, Mid War, 1750 points
The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Currently TAD, Temporarily Assigned Duty, to the American 4th Armored Division.
7 Sherman’s, 2 with command and 5 in a single Platoon. 1 Recon Platoon of 3 Stuarts, 1 section of 2 M-10 Tank Destroyers, one Recon Platoon of 4 teams. 2 Batteries of 3 Priests.   Led by Major General Harmon.

Italian (mostly confident, trained) Battaglione Fucilieri
2 Fucillieri Companies, 1 Machine-Gun Platoon, 1 Mortar Platoon, 1 Carri Platoon of 5 M-14’s, 4 PAK-40’s in one Platoon, sporadic air support, + 3 platoons that never made it on the board.
Mission: Pincer. Italians are receiving.  3 objectives are placed, one is removed by the attacker after deployment.  Attacker wins if the objective is taken, defender wins after turn 6 if there are no attackers on the defensive side of the board.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet.   Woods and fields and rivers and hills all over the place.  Piece is dominated by a burned out church on a large hill.

The right side of the board from the base of the short edge from where the Americans will be attacking.
Both objectives are on the right side of the board.  Jesse questioned my judgement after the game, and considering the outcome he was right.  I didn't want to have to fight for the ruined church to get to the objective.
Two Batteries of Priests hiding in the vineyards.  Recon and Tank Destroyers by the river.
Two companies of Italians guarding the objectives.

All Tanks ready to attack.

Captain Palin began the briefing, "Men, as you know we have been temporarily assigned to the American Army, to show them how we do things in Canada.  Since then, they have removed our tank supply wagons, placed these gyro thingies in our turrets, issued a bunch of jeeps and M-10's and have promised greater artillery support."
He continued, "We have been assigned the job giving the Fish-Slapping Dance to an Italian Battalion near Montesano sulla Marcellana that had refused their country's orders to surrender." 
Reconnaissance Move:
The Stuarts didn't get far.

But the other two recon teams did.

Turn 1:
Since the Italians did not seem to have any serious antitank assets, I went for the a couple of bombardments and a generous amount of direct fire.  Followed up with some direct fire smoke for their mortars.
Captain Palin debarked his tank and shouted to the Italians, "I have come to ask for your surrender, so that no good Italians need die this day.  Go and tell your captain that we have been charged by his government with a sacred trust to preserve your lives. If he will give give up this pointless fight, he can join us in our holy quest to eradicate the Nazi's."
A black helmeted head peaked from the trenches, "You don't frighten us, Canadian pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person! Ah blow my nose at you, so-called "Captain Palinnnnn"! You and all your silly American Tanks!!!"
"What a strange person," commented Sergeant Galahad.
Captain Palin turned several shades of red, "Now look here, my good ma--"
 But was interrupted by the shout from the trenches, "Ah don' wanna talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food-trough wiper! Ah fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"
Sergent Galahad gave it one last try, "Is there someone else up there we can talk to?"
"No. Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time."
"Right," Captain Palin mounting his tank, "CHARGE!"

The Tank Destroyers are going to run up the left flank.  Not so much to accomplish anything but as a distraction.

General advance by the Amercans.
Turn 2:
I continued to bombard the Italian front lines, killing a few teams.  Then an assault with the Shermans plus the Company Commander.  The Italians held and counterattacked, losing one team to rolling a 1 with improvised antitank weapons.  But also causing a bail.  The Shermans failed their motivation and retreated, leaving a Sherman to be captured.
"Run Away, Run Away," ordered Captain Palin.
From the Italian lines was heard cat calls and jeering.

With about the same result as King Arthurs on the French Fort.  The Shermans have failed, the Stuarts are next.
 I then ordered the Lieutenant Idle, (mounted on "Sir Robin") and is Minstrel's into the fray. 
"Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot. He was not afraid to die, oh brave Sir Robin. He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways, brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin. He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp, or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken. To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away, and his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin. His head smashed in and heart cut out, and his liver removed, and his bowels unplugged, and his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off and his penis..."
 Sir Robin: That's, uh, that's enough music for now, lads... looks like there's dirty work afoot.
Though the Stuarts were repulsed, the Italian Company also fled the field

Turn 3:
The Italian unveiled his ambush, His choices of location were limited due to all the Recon I had on the board.  It was a unit of 4, German manned, PAK 40's.  They managed to kill one Sherman on arrival. I responded by dropping artillery on them, and direct fire smoking.

In the midst of this fight, an single Italian airplane showed up, he lined up 3 under the template, scored one, and another Sherman went up in flames.
One PAK 40 down, two smoked, all pinned.

Turn 4:
I don't have the forces for another assault, so I am staying in the rear and using my artillery to work him over.  Unfilmed was the tank destroyers running around to the rear, to be stopped by infantry holding the bridge.  The tank destroyers were then taken in the rear by the Italian Carris arriving from reserves.  One TD managed to escape the trap.

Two PAK -40's down, and the remaining Infantry Company is taking hits, but so are the Shermans.

Turn 5
Another turn of bombardments on the PAK-40's which in turn took out another Sherman.  The Italians brought in a unit of mortars.  I gave them a bombardment before they could dig in, killing a couple.  But time was running out, so with a few minutes left on the clock I conceded.
"Perhaps if we build a large wooden badger?"


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monty's Pythons Meet The Russians

A Headless Body Production
Location: The Ice House, Newark Delaware.
Players:    Phil Gardocki, American Armored Company (attacker)
                 Marcus Abraitis, Soviet Mechanized Company (defender)

Game: Flames of War, Mid War, 1750 points
The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Currently TAD, Temporarily Assigned Duty, to the American 4th Armored Division.
7 Sherman’s, 2 with command and 5 in a single Platoon. 1 Recon Platoon of 3 Stuarts, 1 section of 2 M-10 Tank Destroyers, one Recon Platoon of 4 teams. 2 Batteries of 3 Priests.   Led by Major General Harmon.

Soviet (Fearless, Trained) Mechanized Company  
5 T-34/76’s, 4 SU-85’s, 1 Motorized Heavy Mortar Company of 6 12cm mortars,  2 Razvedki Platoons, sporadic air support

Mission: Hasty Attack, Soviets are receiving.  3 objectives are placed, one is removed by the attacker after deployment.  Attacker wins if the objective is taken, defender wins after turn 6 if there are no attackers on the defensive side of the board.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet.    A large hill (slow going) dominates the "left" side of the board.  There is road running connecting the long edges of the board running along the hill, with several buildings along it.  While a long creek runs almost center line from right side for about 3.5 feet.  Woods are liberally scattered over the playing field.  In addition, the two main tree lines visible are also sitting on large hills and classified as slow going.  
From the perspective of the "Left" side of the board.  The bottom of the picture is one large hill that is all "slow going

The Deployment:
The Soviets start with half their forces on the board.  He placed the T-34 Platoon in a woods between two objectives.  A single Razvedki Platoon covered two objectives as well.  The Platoon of SU-85’s was on the reverse side of a ridge in immediate ambush awaiting orders to move out.   

The Americans started with one Battery of Priests, deployed reverse side of a ridge of a hill.  The Stuarts were set up to run along the large left side hill, while the Reconnaissance Platoon was deployed on the road.
American Deployment, 3 Stuarts followed by General Harmon.  Two staff tanks.  Priest battery in the upper frame.  The infantry teams are actually embarked on the jeeps and half-tracks obscured by the trees.
Soviet Razvedki Platoon deployed covering 2 objectives, one of which was removed.
While the T-34's hide in the woods near the other objective.  The SU-85's were in immediate ambush and haven't deployed yet.

Up to now, I have tried to have the Monty’s Python’s Battle Reports have a reasonably accurate historical reference to write against.  That is not going to happen here.  I could invent some contrivance of an accidental encounter in Mid-1945, or claiming some odd German unit with captured Soviet equipment.  But that would be boring and tedious.  We’ll go with the George Orwell concept of, the enemy is Russia, the enemy has always been Russia.  

Also, for this tournament I have opted to play the Americans vice the Canadians.  I have found that the main advantages of the Canadian armor, that of Semi Indirect Fire, is not conducive to tournament play.  It just takes too long.  While the Stabilizers of the American Army are conducive to tournament play.  So Monty’s Pythons have been temporarily assigned (TAD) to the American 4th Armored division.

Captain Palen began the briefing, "And now for something completely different.  Our scouts have just hit a Soviet blocking force, and we need to remove it before they get a chance at reinforcements."

 “Lieutenant Idle, you will take your Reconnaissance Platoon to the side of Hill 617, and take up enfilade firing positions by that copse of trees and throw their line out of joint.”

“Say no more.” replied Lieutenant Idle.

“Sergeant Gumby, you will run your Reconnaissance platoon up the road and not be seen.  Just salute your acknowledgement, BBC rules for extras state that if you speak, we have to pay you 200 pounds, but if you just salute, it’s only 50.”

Sergeant Gumby throws a proper salute and shouts, “Yes Sir. Understood Sir!”

The officers all groan, “Oh no, now we’re 150 pounds over budget!”

Reconnaissance Move:
My thought here was to go for a quick win.  Take advantage of the high speed of the Stuarts, and the jeeps on the road, and use General Harmon’s ability to push another 4 inches of movement, to take the left most objective, while bombarding the T-34’s with smoke to keep their shots at minimal effectiveness.

Part of the plan went bad immediately, as I realized that the General Harmon didn’t move during the Reconnaissance move and so was too far behind to lend aid to the Reconnaissance teams.  The other Reconnaissance team, moved at full speed up to the buildings.
Recon Teams pull out.

Turn 1:

And so it was, the Stuarts were about 2 inches short of the objective at the end of turn 1.  The other Reconnaissance team, dismounted, and entered the buildings.  General Harmon raced up the same road in case he was needed.

Lieutenant Jones, "Who's that then?"
Lieutenant Cleese, "Must be a General."
Lieutenant Jones, "Why?"
Lieutenant Cleese, "He hasn't got crap all over him."

This was where my plan fell apart.  The Soviet player was not coming out of the woods.  So could only be spotted from 6 inches away.  My platoon leaders were both within 6”, but both had moved, and so couldn’t spot for the artillery.  So much for smoking the T-34’s in.

What’s that buzzing noise?  Is it a bird? is it a plane?  Oh, it’s a plane.  A Soviet biplane, used mainly for night time harassment.  It didn’t so much as attack as hovered over the Priest Battery.  Moving so slow, that the AA gunners, used to leading the target, all missed.  The pilot drifted by, flipping both the bird and a Molotov cocktail out of the cockpit, setting fire to the Priest Gun #1.  
First Stuart flamed.  Sergeant Gumby's Recon team is dismounted in the buildings.
Priest Gun Number 1, killed by air strike.

Turn 2:

I successfully rolled reserves, and decided to bring in the other battery of priests.  When my Shemans charge up the road, I want plenty of support.  The only visible target for the artillery at this point is the Soviet Infantry, so I gave them a barrage and pinned them.
Command Shermans gingerly step out.  Soviet T-34's come to edge of the woods and destroy the recon Stuarts.
Once again, Lieutenant Idle is faced with the choice of death or dishonor, and chooses dishonor, taking General Harmon with him.
Turn 3:
 Americans rolled reserves and brought in the platoon of 5 Shermans.

Poorly photographed, but revealing the SU-85's have taken some artillery fire, killing one, bailing another, this was then followed up by direct fire smoke from the command team.
While the short Priest Battery smokes the T-34's.
Turn 4:
The Shermans roared up the road, firing with stabilizers and picked up the SU-85's.  The reserve Tank Destroyer Platoons also rolled in with their jeeps roaring 24 inches up the road.  In response the Soviets retreat their T-34's into the woods where they can't be seen.  This is novel, after fighting Tigers and Panthers, to have tanks actually retreating from my Shermans. 

"Karl Marx, you may know your proletariat from your bourgeoisie, but do you know who won the cup final in 1939?" screamed Lieutenant Gilliam.

Off in the distance, between the explosions of the guns, was heard a faint, "The workers' control of the means of production? The struggle of the urban proletariat?"

"No you stupid git, it was Portsmouth over Wembley 4-1!"

Fire Mrs Nesbeth!
Firing Mrs Nesbeth!
The Shermans could not be seen by the T-34's
Soviet reserves rolled on, near the objective I planned to take.  Its the Mortar Platoon.
Turn 5:
With the SU-85's gone, I am going to switch my Shermans to the left most objective.  To that end I gave the mortars a barrage, killing 2 teams.  I sneaked the Recon Platoon commander from one building to the one closest to the woods for a spotting effort.

Now what was I thinking?  To put the a single spotter 6 inches away from no less than 3 tanks that could shoot him.  21 dice later and all I could think of was he had a lucky cigarette case that could stop 7.6cm rounds, because every shot missed!
Command Teams charging on the left, 1st Tank Platoon on the right.
Turn 6:
The Shermans shift targets to the center objective, approach, shoot and charge, but are repulsed on the counterattack.  Next turn would be 4 tanks verses 2 infantry teams for the objective, but the game was called on time.  Making this a Soviet victory.

End Game called on time.  Shermans shift targets to the center objective, as I can move faster,  off the hills.  This should have been an easy fight against 3 infantry teams.  Tank Destroyers covering the T-34's should they show themselves.

Lessons learned:
Know your enemy.  This was the first time I faced a Soviet Army, and while I knew some of the restrictions on them I was not aware of them all.  Also, my play has been influenced by playing against Tigers and Panthers.  To have an opponent that was retreating before my Shermans was a novelty.

Don't use a high command to save a 1 element platoon unless there is an overriding imperative to do so.  It's not worth a 50/50 shot.  Had the last tank in the recon platoon been sitting on the objective, then it would have been worth while.

Plus, The Soviet Commander, Marcus wound up coming in second in the tournament,  so having a close loss against the next best player of the day isn't to bad.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Clash Near Policoro

A Headless Body production.

Location: Phils Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armoured Squadron (defender)
Ed Bernhardt German I/501st Schwere Panzer Kompanie (attacker)
Game: Flames of War Mid War 1750 points
Mission: Cauldron

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade
10 Shermans, in 2 Troops of 3 tanks each. 1 recon Troop of 3 Stuarts, One battery of 4 Priests, lead by Brigadier “Pip” Roberts <queue fanfare>.

German (Confident, Veteran) 1st Kompanie, 501st Schwere Panzerabteilung. 
3 Tigers, 2 Panzer III(n)’s in two Platoons, 1 Platoon 5 of Fallschirmjagers (Fearless Veteran), Air Support.

Mission: Cauldron. Delayed Reserves, German side places two objectives.  Winner is declared when any objective is held by the opposing side after turn 6.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. 
The main road is Jonica Highway, near the shoreline in the arch of the boot of Italy.  A tree lined dirt road leads to scenic Canna.  Winter seems to have come early here as the snow covered forest dominates the center of the map.

The Larch
Both sides started with half of their platoons on the board.  I opted for the Priest Battery deployed in a large vineyard, and a Troop of Shermans near the center woods.  The German started with ony 1 Platoon, and deployed a Tiger and a Panzer III on the dirt road leading to Canna. His CIC Tiger was deployed in the combined piece of terrain pictured below, on the edge of the board.

General, “Pip” Roberts started the briefing.
“Gentlemen, we are in the final leg of this dash to save our boys trapped in Taranto.  We have faced heavy resistance, equipment breakdowns, and misleading road signs.”
Lieutenant Cleese interrupted, “They’re all posted in Italian, bloody wogs, how is anyone supposed to find their way around here.”
General Roberts continued, “Be that as it may, we are now on the correct road, with the Mediterranean on our right, it will be hard to get lost again.  We have experienced heavy losses, but I have managed to replace our lost reconnaissance troop with Dennis Moore’s Troop.”
Catcalls erupted from the company, interjected with shouts of, “That Commie!” and “Lupins.”
“Calm down men, he may be a godless-pinko-card-carrying-communist, but he is OUR godless-pinko-card-carrying-communist and I am confident he will do well.”
“Now thanks to the efforts of Bicycle Repairman."
"Our hero!" chorused the company.
"Troops ‘A’ and ‘B’ are now fully operational, but only at the expense of Troop ‘C’, which sadly remains in a shamble.  Troop ‘D’, is still engaged with in a hard fight at the Anthrax wine bottling plant.  Their last letter was barely legible and looked soaked in blood, but our mission is paramount, we have to connect with our paratroopers in Taranto.  If Lieutenant Gillian’s troop survives, I see the Victoria Cross on them all.”
 “Lastly, I also managed to transfer a battery of Priests to our company, I am sure they will give what for to Jerry.”
“Now, I yield the floor to Captain Palen.”
Captain Palin stood up, “Now you may be asking yourselves why you have been issued these tank recognition flash cards.  This is because the boffins at High Command has decided that we have not in fact been trading shots with a company of Tiger Tanks."  He continued, "I quote.  The unit you claim to have fought on September 12 and 13, 1943, cannot be the elements of the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion, as that unit was destroyed in Tunisia.  Intelligence assures us that there are no Tiger Tanks anywhere in the Italian Peninsula. The presented evidence of prisoners from that unit were simply escapees from the 501st that managed to swim across Mediterranean on telephone poles.  The photographs presented are simply grainy images of swamp gas, and the piece of 4" thick armor plate bearing the number 501 was carried here by migrating fauna, probably sparrows.  End quote."

"So, from now on, when we see an enemy tank, the number one priority is to get an accurate ID of it.  When you are being shot at by an enemy tank, you must first find the card that most closely matches what is shooting at you, then hunker down and start shooting back.  Is that clear?"

The officers were in mid salute when the first shells came in, shaking the ground and obliterating the "Yes, Sir!" on their lips.  The air took on a festive atmosphere as tank recognition flash cards went flying through the air, while they ran for their tanks to fight another day.  

The Larch

This grainy image is actually swamp gas, and does not show the I/501 Commander's Tiger Tank.

The single German Platoon deploys along the dirt road to Canna.

Priests deployed in a vineyard, all more than 3 inches apart.  The command team including General Pip Roberts <queue fanfare> is in the upper right.

Turn 1:
     I tried to take advanatge of my numbers by swamping the German Platoon with only 1 Tiger and 1 Panzer III, while smoking the German CIC.

Troop 'A' moves out to charge the German tank platoon along the tree line.  The command team will follow.

Since there is no percentage in hitting the Tiger frontally, the Shermans smoke it instead.

While the Priests fire smoke at the swamp gas.

The Luftwaffe shows up, but can only get one target under the template, which they miss.
 Turn 2:
Troop 'A' had one Sherman killed, and I realized between the line of trees on one side and a "slow going" field on the other, I was never going to get the flank I needed to kill the Tiger, so I decided to switch targets against the German CIC instead.

Troop 'A' charges the German CIC.

While the command teams go for the flank.

Another strafing run by the Luftwaffe.

In what will become a game winning move, another German Platoon arrives from reserves.

                                                        THE MIDDLE OF THE FILM....

Turn 3:
     Despite the smoke, the Tigers had managed to destroy Troop 'A'.  The German CIC retreated to a position to make its flanks unassailable.

Quiet, Quiet, Quiet, Stealth, Stealth, Stealth.

Another strafing run by the Luftwaffe.

 Turn 4

Troop 'B' arrives from reserves, 3 flank shots but no hits.

While the Command Teams run and hide from the other Tiger on the road (off the top edge)

The fearless Fallshrimjagers arrive from reserves.  They sneak through the trees and take a Sherman completely by surprise!  But while the target is surprised, his two troop mates are not, and get 7 shots on the assaulting Fallshrimjagers.
Oh Canada!  The Fallshrimjagers are pinned and fall back, two are killed.

The first German Tank Platoon moves on unmolested.  There are so many dead Shermans spewing smoke in front of him that adding more smoke wouldn't matter.

While the second German Panzer Platoon heads for the objective.  Remember the objective?  This game is about the objectives.

 Turn 5:
     While Troop 'B' continues to fire at the German CIC, gaining only a bail, the command teams pick up the Fallshrimjagers.

More smoke fired at the 1st German Panzer Platoon.

And the bailed German Company Commander.

The Luftwaffe makes another appearance to no effect.
 Turn 6:
       The last reserves arrive, Dennis Moore's Troop of Stuarts. They line on the flank of the Panzer III, but fail to harm it.

The German 1st Platoon peeks around the corner of the woods, and nails a Sherman.

The Luftwaffe kills Captain Palen's Sherman.  The German CIC, survives a double bail from the flank.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
 Driving through the sward
 Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
 On his Stuart Concorde!

The German CIC remounts, retreats, and kills a Sherman.

The Larch.
 Turn 8:
Wait a minute.  We look at the clock and realize we are only an hour and 45 minutes into this game, and wasn't their a victory condition somewhere?  Shuffle through the book.  Oh, if the Germans are on the objective on turn 6, (they were) and the Canadians are not with 16" of the objective, (they weren't), then the swamp gas won!