Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fighting in Another Hedgerow Nightmare.

A Headless Body Production
Location: Ice House, Newark Delaware.
Players: Phil Gardocki, American Armored Company (attacker)
              Ed Bernhardt German I/501st Schwere Panzer Kompanie (attacker)

Game: Flames of War, Mid War, 1750 points
The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Currently TAD, Temporarily Assigned Duty, to the American 4th Armored Division.
7 Shermans, 2 with command and 5 in a single Platoon. 1 Recon Platoon of 3 Stuarts, 1 section of 2 M-10 Tank Destroyers, one Recon Platoon of 4 teams. 2 Batteries of 3 Priests.   Led by Major General Harmon.

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.   Bocage all over the place.  Roads running to nowhere, and a few copse's of trees.  It's deja vu all over again.  Take a quick trip to the "Clash Near Politico" (http://philonworldwartwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/clash-near-policoro.html)  and see what you think.  Similar field, same opponent, same army.
The Board.  The only saving grace is that the gaps in the bocage are actual gaps.

      There are two objectives, on on one of the road segments, and the other near a copse of trees in the center area.  The Germans placed their Company Commander riding a Tiger on 1, and had the Platoon of Fallschirmjagers hiding in the woods contesting the other.  The attacker has random deployment and rolled 2,2,4.  So one battery of Priests started on the far "right" edge, the other on on the long side board left.  The Reconnaissance Troop of Stuarts started near the center of the board.
Germans visible.  One Priest battery is off to the right, while the other is off the bottom of the frame.
"Right!' began Captain Palin, "Does anyone here know where we are?"
"I don't even know who we are, with the transfer and all that." replied Lieutenant Idle.
"I stopped in a cheese shop a while back and asked for some cheese, Cheddar,  Gouda, Wensleydale, and what have you, but the shop owner didn't have any, so I shot him." monologged Lieutenant Cleese.
"I wonder if monologged is an actual word, since the spellchecker underlined it?" pondered Lieutenant Jones.
"Well, since we are all scattered in this maze of hedges, Lieutenant Idle, take your minstrels and go around the corner and ask those gentlemen hiding in the woods where we are."
"What if they are Germans, Sir?" asked Lieutenant Idle.
"Tell them you are looking for a shrubbery." offered Captain Palin.
Reconnaissance move.  I decided Fallschirmjagers were a softer target than the Tiger and headed for a spot where I could see them through the bocage.  I didn't think the Tiger was going to go far from his objective, and his main advantage of a 40" range gun was limited to only firing up and down the road.

Turn 1:
The Stuarts took up firing positions with Main Guns, MG's and .50 cals.  I didn't count on anything happening because the percentages of a kill are real low.    

The Americans succeed in rolling reserves, and bring on the Tank Destroyers.  The Jeeps start on the right side of the board and move under cover of the bocage towards the Tiger.

Near the center of the board, Sir Robin and his minstrels peek through the bocage.  The German Company Commander can be seen in the upper right.

But the Germans are not without teeth, as the Luftwaffe make an appearance.  In this case one plane was shot down by 4 .50 cals.
 Turn 2:
The Stuarts do a little maneuvering and one gets through a break in the bocage and into the center field.  The 2IC's Sherman is also almost there as well to shoot things up.  Both batteries of Priests  open up.  One smoking the Tiger, just in case, and other takes out two teams of Fallschirmjagers.

The tank destroyer teams continue to race forward towards the Tiger and sidle up to the bocage.  Captain Palin in his Sherman drive up to the edge of the road to complicate the German decision tree.

The Stuarts, 2IC, and General Harmon close around the Fallschirmjagers.

The Luftwaffe make another appearance.
Turn 3:
The Stuarts and their Priests continue to harass the Fallschirmjagers, tagging another team.  But I see a victory coming, with not even a little luck required.  Ed sees it as well, and kills one of the Security Team's jeeps.
 Lieutenant Chapman pulled over Patsy and shouted, "Old woman!"
"Man!" replied the bundle rags stacking mud near the hedge.
Lieutenant Chapman corrected himself, "Man.  I'm sorry.  Old man, do you know where I am?"
"I'm thirty-seven," added the bundle of rags.
"What," asked Lieutenant Chapman?
"I'm thirty-seven ... I'm not old,"answered the bundle of rags.
"Well - I can't just say:  "Hey, Man," retorted Lieutenant Chapman!
"Well you could say: "Dennis"", answered Dennis.
"I didn't know you were called Dennis," replied Lieutenant Chapman.
"You didn't bother to find out, did you?" asked Dennis.
 "I've said I'm sorry about the old woman, but from the behind you looked ..." explained Lieutenant Chapman.
 "What I object to is that you automatically treat me like an inferior ..." interrupted Dennis.

 At this point General Harmon drove up and shouted to move the column along.

"I know the author feels a pressing need to compensate for his inadequacies of writing by adding more out of context Monty Python dialog here,  but we know where this script is going, and while it was funny 37 years ago, the joke didn't age well, so on with the AAR!"

His jeep puffed a belch of black smoke and General Harmon drove on to his destiny!  (about two turns later.)

One Jeep killed, now where is the other?

Time again for the Nazi Air Show.

The Tank Destroyers pop on the through the bocage.

And roll 5 hits in the flank.  The white dice were Captain Palin's tank firing on the other flank.
Turn 4:
All that is required is a drive up to the objective and take it.  Even if reserves do come on they can't contest the situation soon enough.

Since the Tank Destroyers provided such a convenient flare for the Luftwaffe to guide in on, might as well take advantage of it.

Same time, side view.  Once again the Luftwaffe whiffs.
Turn 5:
German reserves failed to come in.  The game was over but there was an hour left on the clock, so we continued to fight it out for the other objective.  The last of the American reserves came on, 5 Shermans, moving double time down the road.

Between two Priest Batteries, a Tank Platoon, and an advancing Recon Platoon, the Fallschirmjagers knew their number was up if they stayed, so they attacked. Killing 2 teams, forcing the recon unit to flee, AND captured the 2IC, but after that, they were caught in the open and killed to a man.

Once again with the Nazi Air show.

Which blows up 2 Shermans, along with General Harmon, stone dead. ("I'm getting better").  Lets see, how many mistakes can we find here, moving double time, (double shots, no AA), compressed formation, and the enemy has air?  Not smart.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fight For Montesano sulla Marcellana

A Headless Body Production
Location: Ice House, Newark Delaware.
Players: Phil Gardocki, American Armored Company (attacker)
              Jesse Sheaffer, Battaglione Fucilieri

Game: Flames of War, Mid War, 1750 points
The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained) "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Currently TAD, Temporarily Assigned Duty, to the American 4th Armored Division.
7 Sherman’s, 2 with command and 5 in a single Platoon. 1 Recon Platoon of 3 Stuarts, 1 section of 2 M-10 Tank Destroyers, one Recon Platoon of 4 teams. 2 Batteries of 3 Priests.   Led by Major General Harmon.

Italian (mostly confident, trained) Battaglione Fucilieri
2 Fucillieri Companies, 1 Machine-Gun Platoon, 1 Mortar Platoon, 1 Carri Platoon of 5 M-14’s, 4 PAK-40’s in one Platoon, sporadic air support, + 3 platoons that never made it on the board.
Mission: Pincer. Italians are receiving.  3 objectives are placed, one is removed by the attacker after deployment.  Attacker wins if the objective is taken, defender wins after turn 6 if there are no attackers on the defensive side of the board.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet.   Woods and fields and rivers and hills all over the place.  Piece is dominated by a burned out church on a large hill.

The right side of the board from the base of the short edge from where the Americans will be attacking.
Both objectives are on the right side of the board.  Jesse questioned my judgement after the game, and considering the outcome he was right.  I didn't want to have to fight for the ruined church to get to the objective.
Two Batteries of Priests hiding in the vineyards.  Recon and Tank Destroyers by the river.
Two companies of Italians guarding the objectives.

All Tanks ready to attack.

Captain Palin began the briefing, "Men, as you know we have been temporarily assigned to the American Army, to show them how we do things in Canada.  Since then, they have removed our tank supply wagons, placed these gyro thingies in our turrets, issued a bunch of jeeps and M-10's and have promised greater artillery support."
He continued, "We have been assigned the job giving the Fish-Slapping Dance to an Italian Battalion near Montesano sulla Marcellana that had refused their country's orders to surrender." 
Reconnaissance Move:
The Stuarts didn't get far.

But the other two recon teams did.

Turn 1:
Since the Italians did not seem to have any serious antitank assets, I went for the a couple of bombardments and a generous amount of direct fire.  Followed up with some direct fire smoke for their mortars.
Captain Palin debarked his tank and shouted to the Italians, "I have come to ask for your surrender, so that no good Italians need die this day.  Go and tell your captain that we have been charged by his government with a sacred trust to preserve your lives. If he will give give up this pointless fight, he can join us in our holy quest to eradicate the Nazi's."
A black helmeted head peaked from the trenches, "You don't frighten us, Canadian pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person! Ah blow my nose at you, so-called "Captain Palinnnnn"! You and all your silly American Tanks!!!"
"What a strange person," commented Sergeant Galahad.
Captain Palin turned several shades of red, "Now look here, my good ma--"
 But was interrupted by the shout from the trenches, "Ah don' wanna talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food-trough wiper! Ah fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"
Sergent Galahad gave it one last try, "Is there someone else up there we can talk to?"
"No. Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time."
"Right," Captain Palin mounting his tank, "CHARGE!"

The Tank Destroyers are going to run up the left flank.  Not so much to accomplish anything but as a distraction.

General advance by the Amercans.
Turn 2:
I continued to bombard the Italian front lines, killing a few teams.  Then an assault with the Shermans plus the Company Commander.  The Italians held and counterattacked, losing one team to rolling a 1 with improvised antitank weapons.  But also causing a bail.  The Shermans failed their motivation and retreated, leaving a Sherman to be captured.
"Run Away, Run Away," ordered Captain Palin.
From the Italian lines was heard cat calls and jeering.

With about the same result as King Arthurs on the French Fort.  The Shermans have failed, the Stuarts are next.
 I then ordered the Lieutenant Idle, (mounted on "Sir Robin") and is Minstrel's into the fray. 
"Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot. 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. He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp, or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken. To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away, and his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin. His head smashed in and heart cut out, and his liver removed, and his bowels unplugged, and his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off and his penis..."
 Sir Robin: That's, uh, that's enough music for now, lads... looks like there's dirty work afoot.
Though the Stuarts were repulsed, the Italian Company also fled the field

Turn 3:
The Italian unveiled his ambush, His choices of location were limited due to all the Recon I had on the board.  It was a unit of 4, German manned, PAK 40's.  They managed to kill one Sherman on arrival. I responded by dropping artillery on them, and direct fire smoking.

In the midst of this fight, an single Italian airplane showed up, he lined up 3 under the template, scored one, and another Sherman went up in flames.
One PAK 40 down, two smoked, all pinned.

Turn 4:
I don't have the forces for another assault, so I am staying in the rear and using my artillery to work him over.  Unfilmed was the tank destroyers running around to the rear, to be stopped by infantry holding the bridge.  The tank destroyers were then taken in the rear by the Italian Carris arriving from reserves.  One TD managed to escape the trap.

Two PAK -40's down, and the remaining Infantry Company is taking hits, but so are the Shermans.

Turn 5
Another turn of bombardments on the PAK-40's which in turn took out another Sherman.  The Italians brought in a unit of mortars.  I gave them a bombardment before they could dig in, killing a couple.  But time was running out, so with a few minutes left on the clock I conceded.
"Perhaps if we build a large wooden badger?"