Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wisdom is what you get from experience and experience is what you get from making bad decisions.

Location: Steve’s Game Room.
Players: Phil Gardocki, Leichte Panzerkompanie (attacker)
Steve Turn, French Infantry (defender)
Game: Flames of War v3.0, 1500 points
Mission: I don’t remember the name.  Defender places one objective, attacker places two.  Both sides have half their platoons in reserve. Defender has scattered and delayed reserves, the attacker has normal reserves.  Attacker lifts one objective after deployment.  Defender has immediate ambush. Winner is declared if either side is holding an opposing objective at the beginning of their turn.

The Forces:
Leichte Panzerkompanie (attacker) 6 platoons containing 2 Panzerbefehlswagens, a recovery vehicle, 2 Pz I’s, 9 Pz IIc’s, 4 Pz III’s, 9 Kradschutzen teams (6 MG’s, Mortar, Light AT, and Leader)

French Infantry (defender) 8 platoons containing 3 platoons of infantry, 3 Panhards, 3 Samoa’s 5 47m AT Guns on Laffey trucks, 3 28mm AT guns, and 4 75mm towed guns.

Deployed from the West edge.  French on the left.  A long line of a single Infantry Platoon.  Not visible to the far left is a Battery of 75's  On the far side is the objective with 3 2.8 cm guns guarding it.  In the wooded hill is the 4.7cm guns on Laffey trucks.  The Germans have a 3 tank platoon of Pz II's obscured by the trees, a Leichte Panzer Platoon on the road, and a Kampfgroup on the upper side of the board.

French 75's at the ready.  The far left flank of their Infantry Platoon entrenched in front.
While on the right the Infantry Platoon streched a long way.  Backed by AT guns on Laffey trucks.
German deployment.  Weighted right.  5 panzer II's in the cener, couple Panzer I's on the road, and on the far right, a Kampfgruppe of 2 Kradschutzen, 2 Pz I's, 2 Pz II's, 1 Pz III, and the ARV.
The Board:
4 by 6 feet. Dominant features included a tree filled hill, a road running diagonally across the field.  In the center of the board is a farmstead, including a walled in field, and a small pond.  Both right and left board edges were filled with various small hills, trees, and bits of broken ground.

With this mission, both sides have at least half their platoons off board in reserve. As the Defender, the French chose the side of the board with the tree filled hill. On my left side, the French deployed their rapid firing 75’s.  In front of the hill was a long line of a large Infantry Platoon.  On the hill was the Laffeys with their 4.7cm AT guns.  Defending the objective, on the right was a Platoon of 2.8cm AT guns.  All defending infantry and gun teams start “dug in”.

In the center I deployed two platoons, One consisting of 3 Panzer II’s, which I dedicated to the job of closing on the line of infantry, but shooting over them at the Laffeys on the hill.  The other Platoon, was to run down the road, taking advantage of the new speed bonus for halftracks (Panzer I’s and Panzerdammitwagens are officially “halftracks”, pin the Infantry Platoon, while shooting up the 2.8 AT Guns.  For the main attack, I created a Kampfgruppe, consisting of a Panzer III, 2 Panzer II’s, 2 Panzer I’s, the 1iC, the ARV, and 2 Motorcycle teams. 

Turn 1:
The mission allows me to remove one of my two objectives, and I opted to remove the left objective which was well covered between the front of the rapid firing 75’s and behind the dug in Infantry Platoon.  The other objective looked thinly covered by a platoon of 3 2.8cm guns. 
Faced with only 3 gun teams, the Kampfgroup rushes the objective.

My opening moves proceeded fairly well.  I have a problem with space relations, and have difficulty predicting how well a unit will squeeze past some of the obstacles.   So the right most Kampfgruppe had to condense around the farmyard to avoid needless bog checks.  The middle Leichte Panzer Platoon ran down the road at full speed, for some of the elements this was 16 inches.  This allowed them to engage the Laffey’s on the hill, while threatening the Infantry Platoon, should they come out of their trenches. No success though, only causing one Laffey to bail. The Kampfgruppe on the right fired what long range weapons it had at the 2.8cm battery, but to no effect.
It looked impressive on paper.

The French stayed in their trenches, and started raining indirect fire from the 75s on concentrated on two Kradschutzen teams but also caught one of his 2.8cm guns.  But the bombardment only pinned the teams.  The Laffeys and the 2.8 cm guns combined managed to totally destroy the Leichte Panzer Platoon that was racing up the road.
Bombardment by French 75's also hit the friendly 2.8's.
The First Leichte Platoon is entirely destroyed.

Turn 2:
German reserves arrive, in the form of 3 Panzer III’s.  I sent them to reinforce the Kampfgruppe on the right.  Despite the setback, I only have to take and hold a thinly held objective to win.  The two Kradschutzen teams unpinned, and taking advantage of speed, went around the flanks of the 2.8cm guns, shot, then assaulted them in what turned out later to be an illegal move, (Motorcycle troops cannot assault while mounted --sorry Steve).  When the phase was over, two of the guns were gone, and the objective was contested.

Meanwhile, the Panzer II Platoon, using their full ROF, managed to destroy 2 of the Laffeys. 

But the French were not going to give up.  The Laffeys on the hill opened up, wreaking havoc on the Kampfgruppe.  The entrenched infantry platoon, also had an AT gun team and an HMG gun team to fire into the mix.  This with bonus shots from special French ammo carriers, and with supporting fire from the 75’s wiped out the Kampfgruppe.
Kradschutzen take the 2.8 battery in the flank.
But the battle was not one sided as one Krad was lost, and the Panzers needed to come in.

Through the fire and the smoke, the Panzer III's join in on shooting at the Laffeys

Which have 2 dead, 2 bailed, but still keep shooting back.
Turn 3:
German reserves arrive, in the form of 7 Kradschutzen teams.  Still focused on the prize, I sent them at the only remaining gun team protecting the objective.  The Panzer III’s focused their firepower on the hill on the Laffeys.  But with two burning, and two bailed, they passed their morale and stayed around.
Kradschutzen arrive and see only one enemy team guarding the objective.

The French bring on their reserve Samua's onto the board.  Between them, the 75's in indirect fire, and an HMG with a ROF of 8, they managed to drive the  Kradschutzen from the field.  The French, seeing no threat from the left, disentrenched some of the infantry and began to approach my Panzer II’s through the woods.   Not an unreasonable move, as my force already had 2 platoons gone.
French Samuas arrive, driving all enemy before them.
Turn 4:
German reserves arrive, in the form of 2 Panzer II’s.  I deployed them on the left flank, as a distraction for the 75’s, and some of the now moving infantry.  It was a game winning move, but not for me.  My centerline Panzer II’s, supported by the Panzer III’s, assaulted the entrenched infantry, causing it to leave the field.  They then storm trooped towards the remaining Laffey trucks.
The Panzer II's complete their assault.  I should have done that on turn 2.
French rolled their Parnhards in as reserves, just where they needed to be.  3 Samua’s and 3 Panhards now hold the objective.  He then followed up this victory by destroying one of the panzers of the 2 tank Panzer II Platoon, while bailing the other, bringing my defeat count up to 4 dead and 2 alive, winning the game for the French.
Samua's and Panhards charge the objective.  The Kradschutzen covering the objective has already been removed.  Thre are 3 living Panzer III's amongst the burning panzers.

Lesson learned?  Don't expose a small Platoon to overwhelming enemy fire, when you are at the company break point.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Battle for Hill 413 (redux)

A Headless Body Production

Location: Phil’s Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armored Company (attacker)
Ed Bernhard, American 2nd Armored (defender)
Game: Flames of War 1600 points
Mission: Big Push, no Breakthrough.

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained)
19 Shermans, 4 Fireflies in 4 Troops of 4 tanks each. 1 ARV, 1 recon Troop of 3 Stuarts.
American (Confident, Veteran)
11 Shermans in two Platoons, including Sergeant Pool, 6 Priests in 1 Battery, 1 platoon of armored rifles.

Mission: Breakthrough. Delayed Reserves, Winner is declared on or after turn 6 depending on who is holding the objectives.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. Major points are an intersection of a rail, road, and stream. Dominant features include two hills and two trees. Some scattered buildings and farms.
Viewed from the West.  Hill 413 a very prominent feature.  American Priest Battery to the right (South), American Infantry Platoon at the west edge.  Canadian Troops 'B', and 'C' along the rail on the north edge.  Troop ' A' is way up on the east edge crossing the stream.  

We initially rolled “The Big Push”, but looked at all the fortification rules and went “yuck”, and rerolled.  I still have a question on “tank pits.”  They seem to cost nothing. But do you get them?  They are not listed on the menu of items purchasable. 

Since the mission is Breakthrough, the defender was allowed only 1 unit of vehicles on the board.  Ed opted for the Priest Battery, and a dismounted infantry platoon of armored rifles. The attacker was required to have one Platoon off board, making a flank march.  I opted for one of my Tank Troops, but forgot to deploy the Stuarts, so they wound up on the flank as well.

Canadian Troop 'A' deployed to attack the Priest Battery behind the woods.  A Cromwell Armored Recovery Vehicle ready to help with any that bog. 

Troops 'B' and 'C' deployed along the rails in line to capture the objective.

Priest Battery deployed behind the woods, but can be seen.  Observer Sherman forward in the woods.

American Armored Rifles dug in on the west edge.
 Turn 1:

Captain Palin started the briefing, “Right, now since our last fight was such a disaster, the high command has arraigned this training exercise against our hated enemies, the Americans!”

“Lieutenant Cleese!”
Ah! I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched,” monotoned Lieutenant Cleese.
“What was that?”
“Just practicing my American.”
“I want you to take Troop ‘A’ and swing around the woods, and take their Priests from the left.”
My nipples explode with delight,” continued Lieutenant Cleese.
“And put that Hungarian phrase book away”, barked Captain Palin, “Lieutenant Idle!”
 “Nudge, Nudge.”
“You are our eyes and ears, make sure you cannot be seen”, ordered Captain Palin.
“Say no more,” replied Lieutenant Idle!
“Lieutenant Jones, you will be with me, and we will take the Priests from the right flank.”
“Tell me ... what do we do with, the Priests?”
“Burn them!”
“So why do Priests burn?”
“Because they're made of wood...?”
I sent Troop ‘A’ around the woods to engage the Priests.  The Troop ‘B’, ‘C’, and the command teams went straight up the middle towards the objective.  On the way they would get to shoot at the Priests, and engage the dug in infantry that was contesting the objective.  Troop ‘D’ and the Recon Troop would go around the flank in the form of delayed reserves.  The shots from Troop ‘A’ did well, destroying one Priest and bailing another.

The Americans responded by barraging a concentration of the Shermans, getting 3 under the template, but to no avail.  The infantry platoon held fast, staying in their trenches.

Troop 'B' fired on the Priest Batteries left flank, but only bailed them.  The command teams then smoked them.

Troops 'B' and 'C' advance around hill 413.

Troop 'A' Destroys two Priests
Turn 2:
Troop ‘A’ continued advancing on the Priests, destroying another one.  Troop ‘B’ shot at the Priests from the right flank, bailing 2.  My thought was to deal with the Infantry Platoon fast, while I still had the armor advantage.  Shooting them with MG’s is good in theory, but when dug in, killing a veteran infantry  team is a 1 in 108 proposition for normal MG’s to kill, and 1 in 54 for the 50 cal’s.  I wasn’t going to shoot them out in a hurry, so I decided to assault them with Troop ‘C’ as soon as possible.

“Lieutenant Chapman, tell those Americans to go away”, ordered Captain Palin.
“Right”, replied Lieutenant Chapman.  And to his men he ordered, “Ready the killer joke.”
And to the Americans the men of Troop ‘C’ shouted, “Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!”
“Has anyone seen the Recon Troop”, asked Captain Palin?
“They are not being seen sir!”
What I found out was American Infantry like being assaulted by tanks.  With no less than 5 bazooka teams in the mix, when it was all said and done, the Shermans of Troop ‘C’ were all in flames.
The assault by Troop 'C' on the Armored Rifles starts badly.

And gets worse.
Turn 3:
I rolled successfully for reserves and brought on the Recon Troop of 3 Stuarts.  Taking advantage of their high speed, I raced around the objective, and engaged the American Infantry Platoon.  Now wary of the Bazookas, I stayed at maximum range.  Some of the Infantry had moved forward, and so were out of their trenches and easier to kill. 

Lieutenant Chapman, gazed at the clouds of flour and paint strewn remains of his Troop ‘C’, over the jeering and laughter of the nearby Americans was heard to say, “Well, that went pear shaped fast.”
The radio squelched.  “CHAPMAN, YOU SNOTTY-FACED HEAP OF PARROT DROPPINGS!  You do realize that the Yankees don’t understand German”, chortled Captain Palin.

The Recon Troop can now be seen.

Troop 'A' moves in to burn the Priests.

The Recon Troop demonstrates the value of not being seen.
American Reserve Shermans, including Sergeant Pool, arrive.
Turn 4:
Another successful roll for reserves, and the Sherman Troop ‘D’ was on the board, reinforcing the Stuarts in the control of the objective. Moving forward, the Stuarts continued to strafe the American infantry positions.  Between the Stuarts, Troop ‘B’ and the fact that some had left their entrenchments, they were attiring down considerably

The Americans received reserves as well, a platoon of Shermans with a special warrior.  Moving full speed and running with stabilizers, they lit up one of the Stuarts, which then opted to withdraw.

This demonstrates the value of not being seen."
Turn 5:
Troop ‘B’ took up positions at the rail crossing, and acting as a break against any Americans heading for the objective.  Troop ‘A’ opted to take the long way, widdershins around the woods, so as to avoid a possible ambush from yet unarrived American Reserves.  Troop ‘D’ stayed close to the objective, but adjusted positions for better firing on the American Infantry.

The Americans received their last reserves as well.  This time they arrived amongst the wreckage of their Priest Battery.  Firing on Troop ‘B’ from both front and back, they focused their firepower, and wiped out Troop ‘B’.
Lieutenant Jones slid down from his paint smeared tank and called over the Troop tank commanders. 
“Um, l-look, if we built this large wooden badger.”
Troop 'B', in a decisive move, points both northwest and southeast.  A fair amount of the American Armored Rifles have been eliminated.

More American Shermans arrive, working their way through the Priest Battery.

American Shermans approaching Troop 'B' and the Command Teams from the rear.

Troop A redeploying.

Troop 'B', shot both forward and aft, is obliterated in one turn.  But unseen off of the top edge of the photo, the Recon Troop hold the other objective.
Turn 6:
The beginning of turn 6 had Monty’s Pythons Recon Troop sitting next to the objective, which fulfilled the victory conditions.  The eclectic Canadians win 4-3.

Captain Palin, dropped from his tank.
“Victory is mine!”
He kneeled.
“We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer—“

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