Thursday, January 26, 2012

AAR The Battle of St. Zoot the Naughty

"Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 22nd Regiment "Canadian Grenadier Guards",  4th Canadian Armored Division, was severely mauled in their first encounter with the Germans.  They suffered 88% heavy equipment loses (82% combat causes, while the Armored Recovery Vehicle was double bogged and abandoned), then stripped of their surviving infantry assets, who read their manual and declared that engineers will not be used to assault prepared positions again.
They recovered with their missing ‘D’ Troop, who missed the last fight, after a lost and bewildered Lieutenant Gilliam was found doodling strange cartoons on the maps.  The Squadron was reconstituted with new equipment, and about 40% trained replacements before being  deemed ready to be sent to fight again. 
While 1st and 3rd Squadrons were given the panache jobs as pincers for the next attack, the Pythons were given the job defeating the enemy’s rear guard conducting a fighting withdrawal action near St. Zoot.

Location: Phil’s Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armored Company (attacker)
                 Ed Bernhard, German… (defender)
Game: Flames of War 1600 points
The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained)
14 Shermans, 4 Fireflies in 4 Troops of 4 tanks each.  1 ARV, 1 recon  Troop of 3 Stuarts.
Germans (Confident, Vet)
10 Pz IV’s in 2 Platoons,  one Platoon of 3 Tiger 1’s , one Platoon of SS Foot (Fearless Vet)
Mission: Fighting Withdrawal.  Attacker wins if he is holding an objective in the beginning of his turn.  Defender can remove an objective on turn 6 and on turn 7.  After turn 3 the defender may be required to withdrawal a platoon.
The Board:
4 by 6 feet.  A town (bog check on various walls, cover in buildings) dominates the center of the board.  On the attackers left are numerous wheat fields.  (no bog checks, cover for infantry and small vehicles)   On the attackers right, in the defensive area were woods (bog check, cover), a stream (bog check), and a ravine (skill check to bog, cover).   In the attackers deployment zone there was a rough field (bog check, no cover)

St. Zoot dominates the center of the field.  The Monty's Pythons deployed right.  Some Panzers are deployed near the ravine, the remaining Panzers are off camera to the bottom left.
Germans on the left look much to robust to assault.

The Germans deployed a Pz IV platoon in the far left wheat fields.  The Tiger Platoon in the wheat fields near the town, and the other Pz IV platoon to the right of the town of St Zoot.  The SS Platoon was in ambush.  All combat platoons were deployed in the forward zones of the deployment area except for the staff teams.
Seeing this Captain Palin decided weight his attack on the right.  While there was much more difficult terrain there, there were far fewer Tigers.  He issued orders to ‘A’ Troop, “Lieutenant Cleese!” 
“Oh, its you", replied the Lieutenant.
“I want you to take your Troop and razzle-dazzle those Tigers and Panzers, keep at long range, throw smoke, stay alive, that sort of thing, but don’t let them leave that area”, ordered Captain Palin.
“What am I supposed to do, use Harsh Language?” exclaimed Lieutenant Cleese.
“Do as you see fit, I just don’t want to requisition another two braces of tanks for ‘A’ Troop today.”
But Lieutenant Cleese continued to nag, “While you are at it, you could requisition a decent ARV, that one we got is just a turretless Cromwell with some chains hanging off of it.”
“Lieutenant Idle!”
“Yes Sir!”
“Take your Stuarts and scout out the town.”
“Say No More!”
“Lieutenants Gilliam and Chapman, you are with me on the right. And we are throwing the book out the window.  We are not going to stand off at a distance and shoot it out, we are going to get in close and look for flanks.” 
“Far too silly, I’ll have none of it”, replied Lieutenant Chapmen.
“It’s just a model”, complained Lieutenant Gilliam.
“Right, lets head to, Camelot!”
Cue background music…

Recon Move:
The Canadian Recon teams started their engines racing towards the St. Zoot and the nearest Panzers, a total move of 1”.
“Found them sir!” reported Lieutenant Idle.
“I can see that”, sighed Captain Palin.  “Carry on!”
“Say!  No!  MORE!” confirmed Lieutenant Idle, with both an irritating cadence and capitalization.

Turn 1:
The Stuarts advanced at full speed.   Running up the edge of the town and closed to very short range of the nearest panzers.  Behind them came barreling ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’ Troops.  ‘B’ headed for St. Zoot, while ‘C’ and ‘D’ motored to the closest Panzer IV.  ‘D’ Troop shot, destroying the first Panzer, but in so doing, masked any further shots from ‘C’ Troop. 
On the left, ‘A’ Troop's Lieutenant Cleese gave the orders to Sergeant Manuel, “Manuel, you useless spic, take Harsh Language over to that wall and give them what for.”
The rest of ‘A’ Troop did its best to smoke the Tigers, but only succeeded in smoking one, while Harsh Language’s 7.6cm gun only managed to make loud noise.
The Germans in their turn moved two Tigers forward, and the third turned on its side to cover all the approach routes.   Out of the buildings in the middle of the town flooded the SS troopers, set to swarm the Sherman’s of Troop ‘B’.   The Tigers and the Two Panzer IV’s on Canadian right fired, but to no effect.  The one Tiger behind St. Zoot killed the leading Stuart.  In the assault phase, the SS attacked Troop ‘B’, with the net effect of SS loosing 3 teams and retreating back into St. Zoot, but two of the Sherman’s were bailed from the combat.
Knocked from his tank, Lieutenant Idle ran for another in his Troop, with that, the recon Troop made a forced withdrawal move.

“What a stupid location!  Just when you get a view, someone interrupts you, never giving you time to look, and all you wanted was to scan the trinkets, and they go and hand you a those hard breakfast rolls before crowding  you onto the bus, showing you factories that make things you would never want in a million years…”
“Lieutenant Idle.  Shut!  Up!”
“Say no more!”

Turn 2:
Seeing how ineffective the smoke worked earlier, ‘A’ Troop’s Sherman’s took up positions next to the Firefly, “Harsh Language”, enjoying the dubious cover afforded by a collapsing stone wall.  ‘B’ Troop kept position to shoot at the surviving SS, now holed up in some buildings.   ‘C’ and ‘D’ Troops raced for the objective, compressing their frontage so as to reduce their firepower.
“All right, let’s see how Jerry likes Harsh Language”, muttered Lieutenant Cleese.
The Firefly spoke, hit, the Tiger’s armor save failed, and Harsh Language rolled successful firepower check, one Tiger dead, the first heavy tank I have ever killed in this game.
Troop ‘B’ shot at the SS troopers with their unbogged tanks killing one team, but in the assault phase, the assaulting tank also bogged on the defending wall.   After the firing stage, the Fearless Veterans bravely ran away.  Meanwhile, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Troops combined firepower destroyed the rightmost German Panzer Platoon.
The German Tigers split their fire, shooting at ‘A’ and ‘C’ Troops, but only caused a bail.  Their 1IC and 2IC advanced also shooting at ‘C’ Troop, but to no effect.  Their remaining Panzer IV Platoon, seeing that their objective was not going to be targeted, began a pullout for a redeployment onto the other side of the board.
End of Turn 2. Remains of SS Infantry in St. Zoot (center). Lieutenent Idle's destroyed Stuart next to the die.  The objective is not yet contested.

Left flank Panzers advance. Leftmost Tiger is smoked, Center Tiger is smoking, third Tiger is covering the approaches to the rear of St. Zoot.
Turn 3:
‘A’ Troop, feeling emboldened after the Tiger strike, split up, leaving “Harsh Language” to trade shots with the remaining Tiger in front of them, while the rest of the Troop plowed through the town to strike at the flank of the 3rd Tiger.  Much ammo was spent in the effort, but in the end, the only smoke was from the spent shells.
‘B’ Troop, mostly unbogged, but lacking in targets, initiative, or space to maneuver, and just stayed put.
Captain Palin, leading from behind, pushed ‘C’ and ‘D’ Troops over the objective, securing it for the attackers.  Most of ‘C’ and ‘D’ took shots at the German 1IC and 2IC, finishing them off.
At this point, with the objective secure in Canadian hands, and with the nearest German more than 16 inches away, that the Germans surrendered.   It was a very quick game.
Monty's Pythons secure the objective.
End Game.  All possible teams that could contest the objective are either flanked, or hammered.  Not a pretty picture, nor a clear one either, sorry.

Lessons Learned.
In this game, only one of the Canadian special rules applied, saving a Troop commander of the recon company.  Semi indirect fire did not play a role.
Firefly’s can really kill a Tiger.
Recon is best when spread out.  The more area it is taking up, the more area exists where there is no ambush.  In this game it prevented the left 6 inches of the town from having an ambush, but that did not prevent Troop ‘B’ from being assaulted without defensive fire.
:) Alot of Monty Python Dialog can be taken out of context for this and future AAR's.:)


  1. I look forward to taking more of the pythons dialogue out of context in future aar's. Nice battle report and well done on the win.

  2. I have another one I am currently writing.

  3. Nice...If this was "Monty Python" surely the Officers would have been looking for a Tiger who has stolen the Lieutenant's Leg?

  4. Good Idea, I'll have to work that one in. I have a couple of these still in the can awaiting publishing.