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.

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