Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hill 413

A Headless Body Production
WWII was fought on thousands of fields around the world.  Few battles were large enough in scope to be worthy of a historians notice.  This is not one of them.

Location: Phil’s Basement
Players:   Phil Gardocki, 4th Canadian Armored Division, 22nd Armored Regiment "Canadian Grenadier Guards", Canadian Armored Squadron, "Monty's Pythons", (defender)
                 Ed Bernhard, German Panzer Grenadiers       (attacker)
Game: Flames of War 1600 points

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained)
14 Shermans, 3 Fireflies in 3 Troops of 4 tanks each. 1 ARV, 1 Recon Troop of 3 Stuarts, 1 Platoon of Infantry, and a Battery of Sextants.

Germans (Confident, Vet)
One Platoon of 3 Jagdpanthers, one Platoon of a single Tiger 1, two Platoons of Panzer Grenadiers, and  2 Command teams mounted on half tracks.

Mission: Encounter. Delayed Reserves, Scattered Reserves, Winner is declared if either side is holding an opposing objective at the beginning of their turn.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. Major points are an intersection of a rail, road, and stream. Dominant features include two hills and two woods. Some scattered buildings and farms.

Since the mission is encounter, both sides have at least half their platoons off board in reserve. As the defender, the Canadians chose the side of the board with the hills. The Germans deployed a platoon of Jagdpanthers and their command teams in the woods near the stream, while their single Tiger guarded the bridge crossing the stream. The Canadians deployed their Sextant battery behind the large hill, an infantry platoon on the hill near the objective, while Lieutenants Cleeses ‘A’ Troop of Shermans, reinforced by the 2iC, staff Sherman, and the ARV on the road.  Ed rolled the Tiger Aces skill, and got a 6, triple firing Tiger, ROF of 2 when moving.
Sorry, didn't catch any good deployment pictures.  Canadians will be on the left, mostly along the prominent hill.  Germans on the right on the other side of the stream.
“Right, I designate the Tiger as target “White Rabbit.”
The primary Canadian objective is on the right. 
Turn 1:  Since one of the objectives was guarded by a single Tiger, I decide to charge the objective, flank the Tiger, and possibly wrap this game up by turn 3. 
“Right, I designate the Tiger as target “White Rabbit.”  Explained Captain Palin, “On three, we charge, one, two, four.”
“Three sir.” Offered Lieutenant Cleese.
“Right, now charge!”
With Sextants firing smoke at the Tiger, Troop ‘A’ headed straight down the road.
"White Rabbit" to the left.  Jagdpanthers in the woods, one of which stayed bogged most of the game.  Four Shermans from Troop 'A' are in short range.  The ARV is burning off in the distance.  Sextants are behind the hill on the right.  Canadian Infantry is dug in on the hill, along with the Sextant Sherman OP and the German objective.. 
Turn 2:The German Tiger moved laterally along the stream, clearing the smoke.  Because of his Tiger Ace skill, it still fired twice, and blew up the ARV, and bailed a 2iC.  One of the Jagdpanthers failed a bog check in the woods and wouldn’t be able shoot on the rolling Sherman Troop.  Troop ‘A’ continued to roll forward, around the rocky patch, firing back at the Tiger, but only the Firefly “Harsh Language”, had a chance of punching the thick armor, and it missed.

Turn 3: German Reserves fail to come on.  Once again the Tiger cleared the smoke screen, and this time, with additional long range fire from the Jagdpanthers, wrecked Troop ‘A’, killing 3, bailing 1, and failing the platoon motivation check, Troop ‘A’ ran from the board.

Canadian Sherman Troop ‘B’, led by Lieutenant Idle, riding “Sir Robin”, arrived via the right hand road.
His minstrels singing
“Bravely bold Sir Robin
Rode forth from Alberta.
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.”
Onward drove Troop ‘B’, past the slightly panicky but rapid firing Sextant Artillery, past the burning wreckage and fleeing crewmen of Troop ‘A’.
“He was not in the least bit scared
To be blown to smithereens.
Or to be incinerated,
And his body spalled.
To have his kneecaps split
And his body burned away,
And his limbs all hacked and mangled
Brave Sir Robin.”
German reserve Panzer Grenadiers arrive.  Jagdpanthers cover the approaches should Canadian reserves arrive.  One is bogged, and the others are bound by a 6" command radius tether to it.
Turn 4: The German Tiger, once again ensconced in smoke, was again forced to laterally move along the stream, and took a double shot at Troop ‘B’. Successfully gun-tanking the Firefly, and destroying two tanks. One of the Jadgpanthers also shot, bailing a third tank, leaving Lieutenant Idle looking at the ruin that was his Troop.  Cue Music...
Brave Sir Robin ran away. ("I didn't!")
Bravely ran away away.
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
****Bravely**** taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the braaaave,
Sir Robin!
Now Captain Palin was totally out gunned. Two Troops wiped out of Six. Jerry so far had only suffered smoke damage. Time to hunker down and conserve resources. Fortunately, Jerry’s Tiger tank is slow, while the Jagdpanther platoon kept getting a team bogged in the woods. To keep command integrity the Jagdpanthers had to stay close to the woods. With Ed’s luck on bog checks, he may be unwilling to try to cross the stream, and risking more bog checks with them as well. If they stay there, then the 25 pounders may get lucky and pound one. Since the German had no targets but dug in infantry on the hill, Captain Palin ordered the Sextants to switch from smoke to HE. Shots ranged in on the Tiger, but caused no damage.
“Well, we'll not risk another frontal assault. That rabbit’s dynamite.” Observed Captain Palin.
We will set that bridge weight limit to 25,000 kilos.
Turn 5:German reserves arrive in the form of a Panzer Grenadier Platoon. Keeping them away from the main firing line, Ed advanced them past his secondary objective, and towards the Canadian Secondary Objective. Meanwhile the Tiger Tank slowly tested the weight bearing capacity of the bridge and crossed it. The Jagdpanthers, still tied to their bogged compatriot by a 6 inch tether, took up a protective firing positions covering main approaches.

Turn 6:German reserves continue to arrive, another Panzer Grenadier Platoon. Not seeing any need to expose them, the German ran them to woods to protect the Secondary Objective. The other Armored Infantry Platoon continued to roll to the Canadian Secondary Objective, but not yet reached the stream separating the halves of the board. The Tiger continued to roll forward, almost blithely swatting the Observer Sherman on the hill.

And Lieutenant Jones arrived with Troop ‘C’, and leading his way was the lost reconnaissance troop. With only one Jagdpanther facing them, Captain Palin felt emboldened, and ordered them to attack.
Recon Troop of Stuarts and Troop 'C' arrive.
“We shall attack at once,” Ordered Captain Palin!
“Yes, my liege,” radioed Lieutenant Jones.
“German persons, today the blood of many a brave crewman shall be avenged! In the name of God, we shall not stop our fight till every one of you lies dead, and possession of hill 413 returns to those who God Himself has chosen!” pontificated Captain Palin, “Charge!”
The Stuarts moved their full distance, guns blazing, destroying one half-track, bailing another. The Shermans of Troop ‘C’ took up firing positions on the Jagdpanthers, which were well smoked by the Sextants.
Target "White Rabbit", may be constantly smoked, but moved relentlessly onward.  Canadian Infantry readies itself for the assault.
Turn 7:The Jagdpanthers knocked out two Shermans.  The Tiger rolled around Hill 413.  The shot up Panzer Grenadiers pulled back, but not far enough.

The Stuarts moved forward, and with Limited Indirect Fire support from the Shermans, destroyed all the half tracks, killing all but one team of Panzer Grenadiers.  Who passed motivation, and continued to retreat.
While on Hill 413, the Canadian Infantry platoon, decided to assault the flank of the isolated and unsupported Tiger.
"Three, Sir"
“On three, we charge, one, two, four.”
“Three sir?” Offered Patsey.
“Three, now charge!”
One team was gunned down on the charge, the remaining teams were uselessly attacking top armor 2, except the PIAT team, which scored a hit, but no damage.  The Tiger failed motivation to counter assault, but since “Tanks Stop For Nothing”, it was actually pushed forward into the line of Sextants, which was where he was headed anyway.
That Rabbit is murder!  Tiger takes out two Sextants, the 1iC.  Sir Robin's Troop 'B' barely made it on the board (upper right) before being routed.
Turn 8:  I let Ed enjoy his final shots before calling it.  Troop ‘C’ was destroyed, the Stuarts all bogged on a stream when charging the Jagdpanthers.  The Tiger, pushed into its most advantaged spot by last turns assault, got its full ROF of 3 on the Sextants, destroying two.  The score was 3 to almost 1, with next turn certainly would be 5 to not quite zero.  There was no pretty way to look at it.  I had a bad plan, but it was poorly executed.
End game.  Dead Panzer Grenadiers upper left.  Jagdpanthers are totally smoked in, but the Stuarts are totally bogged.  What happens if you fail motivation on a forced withdrawal and your troop is 100% immobilized?

Still being noobs, we worked our way through the assault rules.  We are still not sure if a tank takes a hit, but to no effect, does it have to make a motivation check to counter assault?  But when we read rule "Tanks Stop For Nothing" and realized that the assault just pushed the Tiger where it wanted to go, we let the issue drop and enjoyed the laugh.