Monday, July 8, 2013


A Headless Body Production
Location: Phil's Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armored Squadron (attacker)
               Steve Turn, Panzergrenadierkompanie (defender)

Game: Flames of War, Late War, 1750 points
The Forces:
Canadian Armored Squadron (Confident, trained), "Monty's Pythons", 22nd Armored Regiment "Canadian Grenadier Guards", 4th Canadian Armored Division, 2nd Canadian Corps (attacker).
          2 Troops of 3 Shermans and 1 Firefly (Troop 'A' and 'B')
          1 Recce Patrol of 3 Stuarts, (the Minstrels)
          1 Motor Platoon of 4 Rifle/MG teams. 
          1 Armored Car Troop of 3 Armoured Cars,
          1 Anti-tank Troop of 4 M10's
          1 Battery of 4 Sextons
          1 Air Observation Post. 

German (Confident, Veteran)
           3 Platoons of Panzergrenadiers, each with 6 Panzerfaust MG teams, and 1 SMG Panzerfaust team.
           1 Heavy Platoon of Panzergrenadiers, with 1 SMG team and 2 HMG Teams. 
           1 Tank Destroyer Platoon with 3 Pz IV/70,
           1 Panzer Platoon of 3 Panzer IVj's and
           1 Battery of 3 15cm Nebelwerfers (Reluctant Trained)

Mission: Pincer. Defender has delayed reserves, Each side places an objective.  Attacker wins if he takes either objective, defender if there are no attackers on his side of the field.
Caen, 1944.  The US built, Lend Lease provided, landing craft, LCI(L)-238-315 is in the foreground.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet.   An asymmetrical setup.  The narrow edges are North and South, the long edges East and West.  The board is bisected by a stream traveling east to west.  While most of the stream is bog check, it travels quite fast at spots and has dug a couple of ravines. 

The village of Verrières, a suburb of the city of Caen, is on the north edge.  Nearby the village are a number of farmers fields bordered by bocage.  On the south side are a couple of fields, woods and hills. 
This scenario was set up to support WWPD's Operation Overlord Campaign and represents the Commonwealth assaults in lower Normandy region.
July 25th, "Operation Spring"  "The Canadians were deployed south of Caen, their objective the high ground on both sides of the Caen-Falaise road along the crossroads west of Cramesnil, securing villages of Verrières  and May-sur-Orne.

Captain Palen surveyed the fields in front of him.  At last, we are back in France.  Kicked out in 1940, then again in 1942, this time we are here to stay.  Unfortunately we are the bleeding edge of the sword this time.  Our objective is not so much the ground to take, but how much noise we can make, and draw attention away from the massive American buildup southwest of here.

Verrières  was to the north.  Well, hopefully we won't be going that way!

The north half of the board.  The village of Verrières, which is south of Caen.  Remember Caen?  This AAR is titled "Caen!"

The south half of the board.

German Panzergrenadiers in the northern outskirts of Verrières, near one of the objectives.

South side of the board.  22nd Armored Regiment deployed.  Armored cars on the left, Stuarts on the right, Shermans in the middle.  M-10s on the hill in over watch.  Off the bottom is a battery of Sextons.

Captain Palen started the briefing.  "Men!  He we are in Normandy!  The father land!  To complete our sacred task to liberate the heathen Normans from their ancient foes, the Normans!" 
"Bloody hell, there he goes again." murmured Lieutenant Cleese.
"And when we are done, we will go leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia. The giant redwood, the larch, the fir, the mighty scots pine. The smell of fresh-cut timber! The crash of mighty trees!  With my best girlie by my side We'd sing ... sing ... sing.  (Queue music...)

"Now, now, now, whats all this?" interrupted the Colonel.  "We'll have no music here" (Music winds down)
"I’ve noticed a tendency for these inspiring speeches to get rather silly, and we'll have none of it." he continued, "And we won't be sneaking off to a hermit sketch either."

Recce Move:
With two Reconnaissance forces, the Pythons manage to cover almost the whole center of the board, denying many good ambush sites to the Germans.
Turn 1:
My plan may look subtle as a brick, but it was deceptive.  Taking advantage of a center line position, I would to threaten the left objective in the village, while working over the forces of the right side objective with artillery fire.  Even though the objective looked well protected by bocage, it was only 3 inches from the border, so I could contest it while lined up next to the bocage.  I could possibly even assault it with my small motor platoon.  This started well.  I ranged in immediately, with 3 panzergrenadiers under the template, killing one.  The other two panzergrenadier teams will have to abandon the position or be subjected to "Mike Target" rules on round two.

Moving out.  At the top are the armoured cars, in the center are Shermans, at the bottom are the Stuarts, backed by the motor platoon.  Good visibility keeping the ambushes way back.

Even at long range the ambushing Jagdpanzer IV's  manage to destroy 2 Shermans with their opening shots.
Turn 2:
Turn 2 was mainly a wash.  My forces danced so as to not present any targets to the Jagdpanzer IV's, while threatening the right side objective.  The Stuarts managed to "Eyes and Ears" the defending Panzer Grenadiers, which allowed me to get a good 5 hits and another kill on them.

The Germans responded by adjusting their Jagdpanzers, but only managed to bail a Sherman.
Good thing I have an AOP to find the turn counter.

Getting the armored cars in close for an "Eyes and Ears".  And Shermans up to short range to clear the bocage row.

The M-10's deploying to shoot it out with the Jagdpanzer IV's.
Turn 3:
I decided that the right side objective was vulnerable.  There were 4 defending teams, and the Jagdpanzers couldn't interfere easily because of the interlaced bocage.  So I placed a smoke barrage out to block their sight, and brought up the M-10's should they show themselves.

The dismounted motor infantry platoon dismounted and approached under the watchful eyes of the Stuarts, and Sherman Troop 'B'.

But the approach did not go well as German reserves arrived, 4 Panzer IVj's, which destroyed Lieutenant Idle's Minstrels to a man.  On the left while the smoke barrage mitigated the damage somewhat, the Jagdpanzers still destroyed another Sherman.

The motor platoon is small, but has a lot of support.

M10's lined up, hub to hub, as there is only a 40mm gap to shoot through.

Smoking the Jagdpanzers.

And on cue, German reserves arrive, 4 Panzer IVj's

While their Jagdpanzers smoke another Sherman.
Turn 4:
I am getting murdered here.  7 tanks down, and all I have to claim is 3 infantry teams.  And it could have been worse, at least my Troops of Shermans passed their platoon motivation checks, leaving their remnants on the field.  I placed the M-10's in over watch on a small hill, and lined up the rest as best I could, 5 shots at AT 13 should change the situation, but it didn't by much, only a bail.  But a Sherman then scored a direct fire smoke, obscuring 2 of the Jadgpanzers.

Over to the right, 4 Panzer IV's in a row was too much to ignore, and I ranged in on them with the Sextons, flaming one.

German reserves arrive, the Nebelwerfers.  Fortunately for me, they can't move and shoot in the same turn.  But the German Panzers continue to rack up the score, with 2 M-10's and a Sherman killed.  So far I think my kill ratio is about 1-9.

Jagdpanzer IV's in the field.

25 pounders raining in.  Lieutenent Idle's Stuart, "Sir Robin", burns in the distance.

The Panzer IVj's continued on, burning another Sherman, then "Stormtrooped" back behind the hill.  Totaly missing that "Ranged In" marker. <heh, heh>

The remains of Troop 'B'.  But morale is good, and Sergeant Manual's Firefly, "Harsh Language", fights on!
 Turn 5:
One minor miracle.  The last Sherman from Troop 'A', which bailed on turn 1, finally finished their tea break and got back in their tank to head to the front. 

The Sherman observer tank spotted the German Nebelwerfer spotter team, and MG'ed it to death.

Dennis Moore's armored cars whipped around the west side of Verrières, crying "Lupins", machine gunning the Nebelwerfers, and scored, lets say, seven hits out of ten, forcing them to flee, leaving their lupins behind which were carefully gathered.

On the right, despite "Mike Targeting", I only managed to bail a Panzer IVj with artillery.

German reserves arrive, his last platoon of panzergrenadiers, which double time it to Verrières.
Observer on observer combat.

One Jadgpanzer bailed, two smoked, all blurred.

The Motor Platoon is thinking about it...

And the exchange continues, I think my kill ratio is 1-11 now.
Turn 6:
I am down to 2 tanks with AT 13, but the rhythm is with me.  Shoot, then direct fire smoke.  Flaming a Jadgpanzer, bailing another, smoking them all. 

With the Nebelwerfers down, I send the armoured cars to threaten the objective.  The Germans will have to abandon their dug in positions to defend it, which they did.

It takes a lot to kill one of these things.

The Panzer IVj's keep firing, but don't leave the area because of the nearby motor platoon.

Look what the AOP found!  One barrage, and three teams killed.
Turn 7:
Got a bit of luck here.  Between the Sextons, the Firefly, and the last M-10, I wiped out the Jadgpanzers. The motor infantry patrol aassaulted the Panzer IV's, running them back into the bocage field, while the armored cars shot up two of the defenders of the left objective, putting it in a "Contested" state.   

Unfilmed here, but there was a bit of action.  The motor troops closed, shot, assaulted the German Panzer IVj's.  The Germans subsequently fled the assault, back into the farmer's field.  The motor troops then fell back to their positions.

Armoured cars closing in on the objective.
We called it here on time, declaring it a tie.  Both of us had 2 platoons wiped out, and each had 2 platoons about to reach motivation checks.
Dennis Moore dismounted from his Staghound, "Concorde", and runs to the cottage door. He pauses. From inside the cottage we hear quiet moaning. Inside the cottage, lit by a single candle, the female peasant lies apparently dying on a bunk. Lupins are everywhere, in the fire, on the bed, a large pile of them forms a pillow. The female peasant is moaning and the male peasant is kneeling beside her offering her a lupin. Moore enters slowly.
Male Peasant: (dressed largely in a lupin suit) Try and eat some, my dear. It'll give you strength. (Dennis Moore reverently approaches the bed; the male peasant looks round and sees him) Oh Mr Moore, Mr Moore, she's going fast.
Moore: Don't worry, I've... I've brought you something.
Male Peasant: Medicine at last?
Moore: No.
Male Peasant: Food?
Moore: No.
Male Peasant: Some blankets perhaps... clothes... wood for the fire?
Moore: No. Lupins!
Male Peasant: Oh Christ!
Moore: (astonished) I thought you liked them.
Male Peasant: I'm sick to bloody death of them.
Female Peasant: So am I.
Male Peasant: She's bloody dying and all you bring us is lupins. All we've eaten mate for the last four bleeding weeks is lupin soup, roast lupin, steamed lupin, braised lupin in lupin sauce, lupin in the basket with sauted lupins, lupin meringue pie, lupin sorbet. We sit on lupins, we sleep in lupins, we feed the cat on lupins, we burn lupins, we even wear the bloody things!
Moore: Looks very smart.
Male Peasant: Oh shut up! We're sick to death with the stench of them. (sound of a miaow and then a bump) Look. The cat's just choked itself to death on them.  I don't care if I never see another lupin till the day I die! Why don't you go out and steal something useful!
Moore: Like what?
Male Peasant: Like guns, ammo, food, and...
Moore: Hang on, I'll get a piece of paper.


  1. An enjoyable Python-esque interlude ;-)

  2. Thanks, parts of these AAR's write themselves. I have 3 more in the queue to support WWPD's Operation Overlord.