Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Clash Near Policoro

A Headless Body production.

Location: Phils Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armoured Squadron (defender)
Ed Bernhardt German I/501st Schwere Panzer Kompanie (attacker)
Game: Flames of War Mid War 1750 points
Mission: Cauldron

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade
10 Shermans, in 2 Troops of 3 tanks each. 1 recon Troop of 3 Stuarts, One battery of 4 Priests, lead by Brigadier “Pip” Roberts <queue fanfare>.

German (Confident, Veteran) 1st Kompanie, 501st Schwere Panzerabteilung. 
3 Tigers, 2 Panzer III(n)’s in two Platoons, 1 Platoon 5 of Fallschirmjagers (Fearless Veteran), Air Support.

Mission: Cauldron. Delayed Reserves, German side places two objectives.  Winner is declared when any objective is held by the opposing side after turn 6.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. 
The main road is Jonica Highway, near the shoreline in the arch of the boot of Italy.  A tree lined dirt road leads to scenic Canna.  Winter seems to have come early here as the snow covered forest dominates the center of the map.

The Larch
Both sides started with half of their platoons on the board.  I opted for the Priest Battery deployed in a large vineyard, and a Troop of Shermans near the center woods.  The German started with ony 1 Platoon, and deployed a Tiger and a Panzer III on the dirt road leading to Canna. His CIC Tiger was deployed in the combined piece of terrain pictured below, on the edge of the board.

General, “Pip” Roberts started the briefing.
“Gentlemen, we are in the final leg of this dash to save our boys trapped in Taranto.  We have faced heavy resistance, equipment breakdowns, and misleading road signs.”
Lieutenant Cleese interrupted, “They’re all posted in Italian, bloody wogs, how is anyone supposed to find their way around here.”
General Roberts continued, “Be that as it may, we are now on the correct road, with the Mediterranean on our right, it will be hard to get lost again.  We have experienced heavy losses, but I have managed to replace our lost reconnaissance troop with Dennis Moore’s Troop.”
Catcalls erupted from the company, interjected with shouts of, “That Commie!” and “Lupins.”
“Calm down men, he may be a godless-pinko-card-carrying-communist, but he is OUR godless-pinko-card-carrying-communist and I am confident he will do well.”
“Now thanks to the efforts of Bicycle Repairman."
"Our hero!" chorused the company.
"Troops ‘A’ and ‘B’ are now fully operational, but only at the expense of Troop ‘C’, which sadly remains in a shamble.  Troop ‘D’, is still engaged with in a hard fight at the Anthrax wine bottling plant.  Their last letter was barely legible and looked soaked in blood, but our mission is paramount, we have to connect with our paratroopers in Taranto.  If Lieutenant Gillian’s troop survives, I see the Victoria Cross on them all.”
 “Lastly, I also managed to transfer a battery of Priests to our company, I am sure they will give what for to Jerry.”
“Now, I yield the floor to Captain Palen.”
Captain Palin stood up, “Now you may be asking yourselves why you have been issued these tank recognition flash cards.  This is because the boffins at High Command has decided that we have not in fact been trading shots with a company of Tiger Tanks."  He continued, "I quote.  The unit you claim to have fought on September 12 and 13, 1943, cannot be the elements of the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion, as that unit was destroyed in Tunisia.  Intelligence assures us that there are no Tiger Tanks anywhere in the Italian Peninsula. The presented evidence of prisoners from that unit were simply escapees from the 501st that managed to swim across Mediterranean on telephone poles.  The photographs presented are simply grainy images of swamp gas, and the piece of 4" thick armor plate bearing the number 501 was carried here by migrating fauna, probably sparrows.  End quote."

"So, from now on, when we see an enemy tank, the number one priority is to get an accurate ID of it.  When you are being shot at by an enemy tank, you must first find the card that most closely matches what is shooting at you, then hunker down and start shooting back.  Is that clear?"

The officers were in mid salute when the first shells came in, shaking the ground and obliterating the "Yes, Sir!" on their lips.  The air took on a festive atmosphere as tank recognition flash cards went flying through the air, while they ran for their tanks to fight another day.  

The Larch

This grainy image is actually swamp gas, and does not show the I/501 Commander's Tiger Tank.

The single German Platoon deploys along the dirt road to Canna.

Priests deployed in a vineyard, all more than 3 inches apart.  The command team including General Pip Roberts <queue fanfare> is in the upper right.

Turn 1:
     I tried to take advanatge of my numbers by swamping the German Platoon with only 1 Tiger and 1 Panzer III, while smoking the German CIC.

Troop 'A' moves out to charge the German tank platoon along the tree line.  The command team will follow.

Since there is no percentage in hitting the Tiger frontally, the Shermans smoke it instead.

While the Priests fire smoke at the swamp gas.

The Luftwaffe shows up, but can only get one target under the template, which they miss.
 Turn 2:
Troop 'A' had one Sherman killed, and I realized between the line of trees on one side and a "slow going" field on the other, I was never going to get the flank I needed to kill the Tiger, so I decided to switch targets against the German CIC instead.

Troop 'A' charges the German CIC.

While the command teams go for the flank.

Another strafing run by the Luftwaffe.

In what will become a game winning move, another German Platoon arrives from reserves.

                                                        THE MIDDLE OF THE FILM....

Turn 3:
     Despite the smoke, the Tigers had managed to destroy Troop 'A'.  The German CIC retreated to a position to make its flanks unassailable.

Quiet, Quiet, Quiet, Stealth, Stealth, Stealth.

Another strafing run by the Luftwaffe.

 Turn 4

Troop 'B' arrives from reserves, 3 flank shots but no hits.

While the Command Teams run and hide from the other Tiger on the road (off the top edge)

The fearless Fallshrimjagers arrive from reserves.  They sneak through the trees and take a Sherman completely by surprise!  But while the target is surprised, his two troop mates are not, and get 7 shots on the assaulting Fallshrimjagers.
Oh Canada!  The Fallshrimjagers are pinned and fall back, two are killed.

The first German Tank Platoon moves on unmolested.  There are so many dead Shermans spewing smoke in front of him that adding more smoke wouldn't matter.

While the second German Panzer Platoon heads for the objective.  Remember the objective?  This game is about the objectives.

 Turn 5:
     While Troop 'B' continues to fire at the German CIC, gaining only a bail, the command teams pick up the Fallshrimjagers.

More smoke fired at the 1st German Panzer Platoon.

And the bailed German Company Commander.

The Luftwaffe makes another appearance to no effect.
 Turn 6:
       The last reserves arrive, Dennis Moore's Troop of Stuarts. They line on the flank of the Panzer III, but fail to harm it.

The German 1st Platoon peeks around the corner of the woods, and nails a Sherman.

The Luftwaffe kills Captain Palen's Sherman.  The German CIC, survives a double bail from the flank.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
 Driving through the sward
 Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
 On his Stuart Concorde!

The German CIC remounts, retreats, and kills a Sherman.

The Larch.
 Turn 8:
Wait a minute.  We look at the clock and realize we are only an hour and 45 minutes into this game, and wasn't their a victory condition somewhere?  Shuffle through the book.  Oh, if the Germans are on the objective on turn 6, (they were) and the Canadians are not with 16" of the objective, (they weren't), then the swamp gas won! 


  1. I love that "Oh, Canada"...but the Fallschirmjagers get +1 save for cover inside the forest, so 4+ turns to 5+...or maybe there was a team outside the terrain area?
    Nevertheless, great & funny report. Keep on, pal!

  2. There were teams outside of the wooded area on the assault, but I have to admit, we didn't consider cover at all in that encounter. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for your moral support. I have 3 in the works from this weeks tourney at the Ice House in Delaware. We will see how many I complete. Stay tuned.