Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bocage

This week we set up a tale with an actual theme. It was, as you may be able to tell, bocage.

In light of the terrain density of the table, we both took infantry.

Dave had:
3 platoons of infantry
Weapons platoon--MGs and mortars attached out
80mm mortar platoon
4.2in chemical mortar platoon
4 Shermans
1 sniper (how exotic)

I had:
3 platoons of Fallschirmjager
1 MG platoon--attached out
1 80mm mortar platoon
2 75mm recoilless guns
3 StuGs

The scenario we rolled up was Surrounded, in which the defender is in the middle with attackers coming from both sides. I was lucky enough to be the defender.

Deployment. Dave lines up along the edge.
 The left side of the table. My Germans line up along the hedgerows.
 I brought quite a few men as well.
 The right side of the table. There are far fewer Americans over here.
 Initial movement on the right. American infantry lurches forward.
 The Americans move forward. Some lucky mortar fire pins down a platoon.
 The Americans advance again! How terrible!
 On the left side, the Americans continue to advance, except for the still-pinned-down platoon.
 They're crossing the field towards us.
 We can see the tanks across the rows of crops.
 They're coming for us on the other side of the table as well.
 My mortars are hit by an airstrike and one is lost.
They then exact their revenge on the advancing infantry nearest them.
 The attack on the left picks up steam, so my armor has to intervene.
 Note the sniper in the lower right and his kill in the upper left.
 Plus the bazooka I didn't notice when moving my StuGs. Hedgerows are concealing!
 My infantry watching the enemy approach.
 There are shapes moving behind those hedges...
 ..those shapes. The Americans draw closer to my top objective.
 We keep them out of our town for one more turn.
 So far, my position still holds pretty strong.
 I have, however, suffered some losses all around, and the enemy are in the town.
 We manage to cause heavy casualties with our small arms on the bottom.
 The Americans show no sign of vacating my town.
 They steadily pack into the field, readying themselves for the assault.
 My light guns brews up two tanks, the first two hits it got all game!
  Infantry casualties mount on both sides.
 We hold the next building against the attacking infantry, for now.
 Artillery takes a toll on the platoon facing to the right flank. It would later run away.
 My infantry survives the assault, but at a high cost.
 All three involved platoons are pinned down.
 Casualties have been extreme; I got lucky that nobody ran away after the assault!
 This isn't over.
 My forces on my objective become surrounded.
 The situation isn't that good.
 The Americans assault for a second time, and my infantry is wiped out.
 They ready themselves to defend against whatever I can throw at them.
 The only thing I can, in fact, throw at the objective is my StuGs, which fare poorly.
 With that, the game is lost as I can't contest the objective.
 The final shot.

So, I lost. As is typical. I figure I should have shifted more force to the top objective sooner, as soon as he committed his armor there. Perhaps my mortar fire as well, if I could have (I'm not sure I had an observer that could see over there).

The sniper was more deadly than expected--he essentially immobilized my infantry platoon over there! I think snipers really hit their stride with infantry battles like this one.

Given the effort we put into this table, I think my next battle will probably be on it as well. I hope to have a report for you next weekend!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mixing it Up the cauldron.

Pun intended. My apologies.

But really, Dave and I did decide to mix it up. We both took tank armies--a definite rarity for him--but we also did something more extreme: I took Americans and he took Germans.

My list was from Blood, Guts, and Glory, which is the only American tank list I've ever seen win. I had:

1 M4 Sherman
2 platoons each with 2 M4A3E8 Easy Eights, 1 normal M4, and 1 Jumbo
4 105mm guns
1 platoon of infantry

Dave took a StuG battery. Or battalion. Or something. It doesn't really matter. He had:

1 StuG
2 platoons each with 3 StuGs (1 platoon proxied by Jagdpanzer IVs)
1 platoon of 3 Hornisse tank hunters
2 platoons of infantry

Here's the report. The scenario was, in fact, Cauldron. I may make puns, but they're honest puns.

My deployment. My infantry was the only platoon I put on the table.
 He starts with his infantry to my right and a platoon of StuGs to my center.
 I get a platoon in Immediate Ambush, and I choose one of my tank platoons plus my company commander.
 He advances with his infantry, bringing reinforcement infantry on behind it.
 Both our armor does some posturing but no damage.
 At this point I start wishing American infantry had more automatic weapons.
 His infantry's assault rifles do a small number on me.
 His infantry packs into the field. And my artillery isn't on the table yet.
 He gears up for an assault.
 He has more reinforcements come in on my right, but they promptly fail firepower.
 At this point I start wanting some reinforcements.
 But at least I killed 2 of his reinforcing Hornisses.
 ...and they don't run away.
 I also get some reinforcements and brew up a single StuG.
 My reinforcements come in on his rear firepower. Fun stuff.
 All my original tanks are either destroyed or bailed out by now.
 Dave sweeps in for the assault...
 ...and cleans up. Plus my tanks run away.
 I literally failed every armor and morale check for that platoon for the whole turn.
If I'd killed one more Hornisse...

This wasn't a bad game, though it was a quick one. I think it's hard to play defense with armor, especially when your opponent's tank company has more infantry than many infantry companies. That's just hard to defend against.

Then there's the fact that I missed 3 50% armor saves (only one of which Dave passed firepower on, perpetuating our run of poor firepower luck) and a 50% morale check on my tank platoon. If the platoon had survived the turn, I could have forced him off my objective at least temporarily. Alas, the dice are not always on my side.

More to come in the next couple of weeks.