Sunday, August 12, 2012

Skirmish Along the Via Giardini

A Headless Body production.

Location: Phil's Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armored Squadron (attacker)
Ed Bernhardt German Schwere Panzer Kompanie (defender)
Game: Flames of War Mid War 1750 points
Mission: Encounter

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade
13 Shermans, in 3 Troops of 3 tanks each. 1 recon Troop of 3 Stuarts, 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).

Mission: Encounter. Delayed Scattered Reserves, Each side places two objectives.  Winner is declared when any objective is held by the opposing side. 

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. Representing the scenic road Via Giardini, The four corners each have hills with vineyards and orchards.  A stream bisects the left and right flanks.  Scattered crop fields and buildings litter the landscape.  Overall, good tank country (if you are a Tiger) as most of the middle of the board is effectively “clear.”

Scenic Via Giardini.  Fairly symetrical board with little cover in the middle.

German side, "Right" flank, hedges emulating orchards

The 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade is supporting Operation Slapstick, a quick run from the toe of the boot of Italy to the heel port of Taranto, which was offered to the Allies and invested by a sea landing of the 1st British Airborne Division.

Both sides started with half their platoons on board.  The Germans picked the Tiger Platoon consisting of 1 Tiger and an escorting Panzer III(n) and his commander in a Tiger.  One on each side of the stream to cover the objectives.

Monty’s Pythons started two tank troops of 3 Shermans, and deployed on the right flank, in theory presenting a 10-1 advantage over the single Tiger defending the objective.  But with a range of 40” and little cover, the other Tiger will certainly be a factor in this charge.

For those who are not into the story, you could skip about 2 pages down to get to the proper Batrep. 

Captain Palin started the briefing, “Right, …”
“I’ll take over captain.”
“Brigadier General Pip Roberts!” exclaimed Captain Palin!  <queue fanfare music>
“Oh god,” muttered Lieutenant Cleese.

“I am Brigadier General Pip Roberts.” <queue fanfare music> “I will be leading this charge.  You all know about the Top Secret plans, that allowed us to sneak into Taranto, well the 1st Airborne was boated in there and it is how absolutely vital we reach them."

General Roberts continued, “Alright, we all know how bloody stupid for us to charge a bunch of Tiger tanks across an open field, so the artillery will smoke in Jerry while we wheedle up on his flank!”

“We don’t have any artillery, Sir!” chimed in Captain Palin.

“What happened to it?” asked General Roberts.

“Never got it sir!  All our equipment was cast off from British 1st Tank Division, and there was no artillery among it.”

“Right then, we will lead with the engineers, and they will sneak forward under the cover of night and…”

“Sir, we have no engineers, sir!”

“Where are they?”

“They got themselves transferred to 4th Armoured after they were decimated assaulting the 326th Infantry Division Sir!”

“Right, then we’ll get the Typhoons to.”

“Out of range, Sir!”


“Just the 2 pounders sir.”

“Right, we’ll charge the Tigers, catching them by surprise, just like when Eton took on Leys, we will jink left, then right, then roar right up to him.”

“I don’t think Leys had 88mm guns at that game.”

“One thing sir?”

“Yes Lieutenant ?”
“Chapman sir.  What are we going to charge with?  You see, all we have are these broken Shermans that 1st Tank gave us, and our mechanics still haven’t crossed over from Messina yet.” 

“If only Bicycle Repair Man were here!” cried Lieutenant Jones.

“Yes, he would know what to do.” added Lieutenant Idle.

Voiceover:  "Brigadier General Pip Roberts man is no ordinary man. To all appearances, he looks like any other over-bred pompous British Aristocrat. But Brigadier General Pip Roberts has a secret identity. When trouble strikes at any time, at any place, he is ready to become... BICYCLE REPAIR MAN!"

Brigadier General Pip Roberts was deep in thought, “Hmmmmm. This sounds like a job for... Bicycle Repair Man. But how to change without revealing my secret identity?”  He then cleared his throat, and said in his commanding voice, “Wait, I think I know where I can find him. Look over there!”

And everyone looked.


Turning around, the officers all shouted, “Bicycle Repair Man, but how?”

Quickly Bicycle Repair Man charged the pile of Sherman parts.

Alter Saddle!

“Why, he's mending it with his own hands!” commented Lieutenant Jones.

“See how he uses a spanner to tighten that nut!” added Lieutenant Cleese.

“Oh, Oh Bicycle Repair Man, how can I ever repay you?” asked Captain Palin.

Bicycle Repair Man replied, “Oh, you don't need to guv. It's all in a days work for... Bicycle Repair Man!”

“Our Hero”, swooned the collected officers.

Voiceover: “Yes! whenever tanks or other amored vehicles are broken, or menaced by national socialism, Bicycle Repair Man is ready!”

Turn 1:

Canadian "right" flank.  Troop 'A' around the house, with the 4 Shermans of the command staff filling out along the road.  Off in the distance, all the Tigers and the Panzer III(n) are smoked in by direct fire. 

Despite one tank bogging in the orchard, Troop 'B' sweeps right.  This presents 9 Shermans assaulting 1 Tiger and its objective.

Close up of the German CIC Tiger being smoked.

Know your enemy.  I didn't, and now have 3 tanks under the template of the roving 1+ firepower Stuka's.  But luck favored the moron, and the Luftwaffe only managed to send in one plane, and it failed to hit.

Turn 2:
Troop 'A' approaches the 1st Tiger Platoon, and takes a chance. 

The chance pays off, as Troop 'A' scores 2 hits, 1 on each tank, and the Panzer III(n) blows up!  The Tiger responds in turn and nails a Sherman.

The Command tanks continue to charge the Tiger Company Commander.  They smoked it but due to poor positioning, the Canadians would have had to shoot over them selves to smoke the other Tiger.

Turn 3: 
The game is moving quickly, as only 35 minutes have passed.  The Canadians successfully rolled on the scattered reserves, bringing on Lieutenent Idle's Reconnaisance Troop of fast moving Stuarts.

The Reconnaisance Troop comes on the left side of the board, and double times it (32 inches) towards the second objective.  Lining up on a house and out of site of the Tiger on the right.

The Canadians ignore any potential air stike, and squeeze in for 4 flank shots on the German Company Commander, and pick him off.

The unsmoked Tiger made Troop 'A' (Along Via Giardini) pay for their "chance." The Tiger killed two Shermans, and the third Sherman failing two motivation checks, fled the field.  Troop 'B' (lower part) looks on, but is out of range to do anything.

The Germans called it here.  The Canadian Reconnaissance Troop was going to secure the second objective, while remaining out of sight of the only Tiger on the board.  The German's missed their reserve roll on turn 3, and on turn 4, the German reserves came in on the opposite side of the board where they needed to be.  The Luftwaffe failed to come in as well.  So we decided to play another game.  Stay tuned.


1 comment:

  1. This was asked for on another site.

    Taranto is on the mainland of Italy. It is located in the instep of the heel. It is a major port and naval base. After the surrender of Italy in 1943, the Italians offered the British the port uncontested if they could get there. At the time, Montie had just landed in the toe and the Americans in Salerno. It was decided to load the 1st British Paratrooper division on a four RN Cruisers and run them up the coast in an operation titled "Slapstick." (no joke)