Friday, January 13, 2012

Great Expectations

Canadian Armored Squadron vs. the German 326 Infantry Division

On Monday night, I took my freshly painted 4th Canadian Armored Division, 22nd Armored Regiment "Canadian Grenadier Guards", Canadian Armored Squadron, "Monty's Pythons", on its first run.  I was facing Steven Turn's German 326 Infantry Division.

I had high hopes for my Canadians.  And had run many scenarios in my mind on how they would be run.  Of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and this was no exception.

The Lists:
Canadian Armor Confident Trained:
                Command teams, 4 Shermans and one ARV
                1st, 2nd, and 3rd Armored Platoons each of 3 Shermans, and a  Firefly.
                3 Stuarts in a single Platoon.
                Motorized Rifle Platoon of 6 MG/Rifle Teams, Mortar team, Piat, and Commander.

German Infantry Confident Trained:
                HQ with 2 mortars, Panzershreks
                3 Infantry Platoons of 6 MG/Rifle Teams, Mortar team, some Panzerfausts.
                3 PAK 40’s
                3 STG’s
                2 Jagdpanthers (Confident Vet)
                2 SiG 33’s
                3 Nebelwerfers  (Confident Vet)

The Mission:
                No Retreat.  Deployment zones are on the short edge of the board.  Attacker wins if he can take an objective, defender wins if no attackers are on his side of the board on turn 6.  Defender has at least half his forces in Reserve.

The Board:
                The center 3 or so feet of the board was totally clear of terrain.  About 18” from each short table edge was at least 4 pieces of terrain.  On one side, 4 woods, the other side a pair of woods, two hills, and a small Village.  

Defending side on top, Attacking side near bottom
                The Germans chose the side of the board with 4 woods pieces covering most of the board.  He placed his objective the minimum distance from the table edge allowed, behind a woods.  The Attacker placed his objective in the clear area as far from the short table edge as possible.
                The German placed an Infantry Platoon in an arc around the objective in the open  attached to that was is Company Commander, and mortar teams.  A second infantry platoon in the woods in front of the second objective.  His PaK 40 and SiG platoons were placed in ambush.  The mission allowed for all forces to be deployed “Dug-in” and “Gone-to-ground.”     
                The attacker, from left to right had an 'A' Armored Platoon, 'B' Armored Platoon, Motorized Infantry Platoon, (deployed dismounted, in column), Company Commander + 3 Shermans, 'C' Armored Platoon, and Stuart Platoon. 

Turn 1
                Most of Turn 1 was spent getting the attacking platoons to negotiate the narrow areas around the terrain.  Then fanning out for bombardment operations.  Some shots were made, but no results.  The defenders held their ground, but unveiled their PaK 40’s which destroyed two of 'B' Platoons Sherman’s at long range.

Turn 1, 'B' Armored Platoon with two Shermans already on fire.

 Turn 2. 
'B' Armored, 'C' Armored, and the Company Commanders tanks all focused on the PaK 40’s, while the other 'A' Armored tried to soften up the Infantry Platoon.  One PaK was destroyed, the remainder pinned.  Another of 'B' Armored Platoons Sherman was destroyed by the Pinned PaK’s.

326th Infantry defenders.  Note one PAK is smoked, one is destroyed.
 Turn 3. 
Starting with the Stuart Platoon, I poured it on to the 2 remaining PAK’s till they were Destroyed.   While 'A' Armored Platoon, the motorized infantry platoon, and all the independent teams closed in on the Infantry Platoon dug in around the objective.  But even with 7 tank guns, 8 .50 cals and 16 MG’s, all that was accomplished was pinning the defending infantry.  In their turn, the Germans unveiled their other ambush, the SiG’s which started a bombardment of the advancing motorized infantry platoon.  pinning, but not damaging anything.  The defending Jagdpanthers arrive from reserves and immediately picked off the last tank of 'B' Platoon.

Defenders Reserves arriving on cue.
 Turn 4.
      I managed to put “Eyes and Ears” on the German Infantry, so I continued to bombard German positions. But to little avail.  I was getting worse than I gained.  The Jagdpanthers blew up two tanks of 1st Armored Platoon, and his reserve STG’s had arrived.  The STG’s set their sights on the Stuarts, killing one, causing the rest to redeploy, effectively taking them out of the game.

'A' and 'B'Armored Platoons are burning, Motorized Infantry Platoon is pinned.
 Turn 5.

      Realizing that I was running out of tanks faster than Steve was running out of infantry, I took a chance on assaulting the German Line.  The 'C' Armored Platoon went in first, killing two German teams.  The Germans then counter assaulted, killing a tank.  The Canadians failed Motivation, and drove off.  Then it was the Motorized Infantry Platoon’s turn.  They moved in, dispersing all in front of them.  When the dust settled the Germans were left with only two mortars, and the German Company Commander to contest the objective.

     Then the Jagdpanthers drove to within 4 inches from the objective, finishing off the 1st Tank Platoon in the process.  The STG’s also drove to short range and started killing 'C' Platoon.  While the SiG’s scored their first hits on the Motorized Infantry Platoon, which hadn’t had a chance to dig in yet, killing 2 and pinning. 

'C' Armored Platoon charges, and destroys most of the defending 326th Infantry.
     We did turn 6, but it was just a pick up.  The Motorized Infantry Platoon stayed pinned, while the German Armor resisted all attempts of our tanks to penetrate their thick hulls.  The STG’s and Jagdpanthers picked up most of the remaining tanks including the CIC, leaving just one tank from 3rd Platoon, and 2 Stuarts left on the field.

Lessons Learned.
                The game is about the objectives.  While I was trying to “economically” defeat the defenders defending the objective, I was actually giving the defender time to mass his forces against me.  “In the ultimate, victory through excess was cheaper than defeat without waste.”  Rather than sit off and bombard, however much that was to my advantage, I really needed to charge into the defending infantry and secure the objective.

                Recon units.  Learn to use them properly.  I forgot their pregame move, forgot they move 16” and used them as a flank guard rather than their primary mission of either interdicting ambushes or employing “eyes and ears.”

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