Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Bocage, Part 2

As promised, we played on the same table a second time. The lists are the same as they were last time:

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)
Air Support (even more exotic!)

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

The mission was Hold the Line, which is a lengthwise defensive battle. We selected it for the purpose of historical accuracy. Here are the pictures:

 Our deployment. I got to put platoons in Ambush, so I only deployed one.
 My troops watch them approach through the village.
 The chickens, representing air support, strike.
 The Americans all push forward, avoiding their sniper in the middle.
 The damned chickens got two kills!
 The Americans continue to approach in massive numbers.
 They draw close.
 I place my ambushing infantry and recoilless guns.
 They were placed not a moment too late.
 I even dropped a couple of teams back to cover the objective.
 Meanwhile, on the right flank, the enemy draws close and we've taken heavy casualties.
 We bailed out a Sherman and stared at each other evilly.
 The Americans prepare for the big assault.
 We are but a thin line.
 They pin us down in preparation.
 I finally (this was turn 5) got my reserve StuGs!
 After rebuffing a prior attempt, we lose our front line.
 We lose a light gun.
 This turn is a nasty one--we lose many infantrymen and the other gun!
 The American infantry on my right digs in.
 My infantry on the left, meanwhile, rebuffs an assault.
 Artillery and machine guns do quite a number on my right flank.
 The Americans still greatly outnumber us.
 I got to bring up some reinforcements on the right!
 Our shooting nets us one more kill.
 Remember those reinforcements? Yeah, well, mortars happened.
 We brew up a Sherman!
 I lose my machine gun, and a StuG drives up to fill the gap.
 It then gets brewed up when it fails to retreat away.
 My remaining two StuGs pull back.
 An assault is deadly for both sides.
 Another assault is rebuffed by my company commander's SMG skills.
 The enemy do, however, circle around my left flank.
 They draw close to the mortars holding my objective.
 The tanks maintain a respectable distance from my Panzerfaust Position (TM).
 My StuG guns down an infantry team...
 ...and the whole platoon runs away.
 My StuH42 has a great shot at the Shermans.
 But it missed. Then it failed to retreat to the reverse slope. Then it failed a pretty easy armor check. Woe is me.
 My company commander had retreated, but not far enough.
 I shot a couple of Shermans with panzerfausts and panzerschrecks. Dave literally did not see the one to the left of his tanks.
 I subsequently assaulted them, killing the two bailed-out tanks but letting the last one away. It did cost me the "platoon" (depleted squad) in the field.
My MVP: that panzerfaust team.
I did lose the game because literally all of my remaining infantry was occupied killing tanks, and therefore could not protect the objective.

I lost. Again. This is a sadly recurring theme, but at least the game was fairly close. We both had an incredible number of platoons near or below 50%, in danger of running away. However, I was never able to force enough checks to break his force, and he eventually just spread me too thin. I think I probably needed to put more emphasis on my left, but he had my movements pretty well covered so I'm not sure how much I actually could have done.

Generic thoughts:
Last game the sniper stood out, but this game the eccentric choice that justified itself was the air support, pinning down my rear area movements.
I also think my StuGs consistently failed a huge number of stormtrooper checks I needed to make, but I made up for that by getting consistently and hilariously lucky on morale checks to avoid fleeing the field. My 3 infantry platoons turned into 3 small squads, but they all stuck in there. Fearless works!
Infantry on infantry can be slow! We're both pretty fast players, and it took us 5-6 hours and about 20 turns across 2 sessions to get through this one because support was working slowly at breaking down our trench warfare. Moral of the story: never bring infantry to a time-limited game, because you'll run out of time. In fact, you may run out twice over.
Lastly, let it never be said that the players have perfect information. I was able to bail out and subsequently destroy a Sherman because Dave didn't see a panzerfaust, and we both consistently missed opposing observers and got shelled because of it.

I hope to have another report up for you in the next week or two!

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