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.

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