A great little game ensued after a small number of US veteran Infantry dug in to face the onslaught of a fast moving Herman Goring Motorised Infantry assault.
The Battle took place across a tributary of the River Seven to the South West of Worcester. The crafty veteran Hauptmann Hans Obst had used the small but fast recon company to force his way to a small road bridge that should help secure a communication line Northward. His initial approach was made at night in large gliders to the South. Dangerous but useful. This meant he had almost total surprise.
Unfortunately, nearby were billotted a Training Cadre of the US 3rd Infantry Dvision newly shipped from Italy. This small force was led by the wily Captain Lance Dickinson of Fox Company. Once he got wind of what was going on he assembled what men he could and went to dig in to the north of the river bridge just in time to meet the German heavy recon force. His assessment was that the enemy would be fast and hard, using the bridge and nearby fords to push across very fast. If his men could just stall the attack for half an hour it would be enough for the rest of his veteran reserve to arrive. But he did have a small ambush already planned…
Mission: the mission drawn as Hold the Line.
Forces: Axis 1160 points, 6 platoons. US: 1140 points, 6 platoons.
Axis: Dogs and Devils HG Schwere Aufklarungsschwadron – Confident Veteran.
HQ – 1iC – Hauptmann Obst (positoned to the rear of the attack area)
2ic – Leutnant Wolfgang Preiss plus three Panzerschrecks – on the rear of the road to provide support to the MG platoon – in trucks and motorcycle
Combat1: MG platoon command MG plus 6 MG teams in trucks
Combat2: 2 x Wespe mobile artillery plus command team and observer in half track.
Combat 3: 3 x PAK40 plus command team – postioned on hills to right of defenders line.
Support 1: Panzers – 1 x 4H, 2 x 3M(one with Pioneer supply / barbed wire), 1 x 3N
Support 2: 2 x AA trucks (2cm flak 38s)
US: Dogs and Devils Us 3rd Infantry Division – Confident Veteran.
HQ: 1ic – Captain Lance Dickinson – Carbine.
2ic: 1st Lieutenant Carl Brown – Carbine + 1 bazooka team – in Reserve
Combat 1: Assault Rifle platoon plus extra HQ bazooka – in Ambush
Combat 2: Rifle Platoon – in Reserve
Combat 3: Weapons platoon – dug in to the left of the road with mortarts and 2 LMG teams to keep an eye on the left side objective near the ford.
Combat 4: Anti Tank 57mm guns and command team – plus a couple of LMGs from the Weapons platoon (edit: this should only have been one team but made no difference to the game) – these were strung out across the map to give some AT cover to all the corssings of the river.
Support 1: 4 x Sherman M4s – in Reserve.
Changes: becasue the table was only 4×4 and the scenario is menat to use the short endges to set up, I kept the distance between the two forces the same by insisting that the objectives were in an 8 inch band only – so no more than 16 inches from the US end of the table. Likewise, the US setup was limited to 16 inches in from their table end. The Axis were only allowed to deploy up to 8 inches in from their table end. This kept the no-mans land and objectives the same distances as on a 6×4 table.
Setting up: the two (small flat unpainted MDF bases) objectives were laid by each player. One near a ford, one near the road. The US hill side was largely open.
US defended and set up two platoons in the wheat fields and hill to the rear of their deployment zone.
The Flak guns (sorry – these were only part painted at this time) – came on from the hill ready to go down the right flank.
The Axis decided to cover the fords and bridge with the PAK40s in case the any enemy tanks tried to push too close.
The Panzers came in on the left flank near to the left hand rver ford. The Wespes were on the far left in the wheat field.
The MG platoon was positioned on the road with the 2iC platoon behind it – all saddled up to make the most of a first turn dash across the bridge.
The Axis MG and 2IC platoons move up the road and their passengers dismount just over the bridge. Only one LMG team lays in the road ahead….easy…. the trucks and bike are sent to the rear.
The Panzers move up to the ford on the left of their table side.
The Flak guns move down of the hill into the cover of the tall hedge near the ford on the right hand side of the map. their role was to be support….
The Wespe’s smoke the lone AT gun on the hill to stop it firng on the Panzers.
The US decide to Ambush straight away and the Assault Rifles come on in support of the Middle objective near the road. they are dug in and gone to ground. The job of the Axis Infantry would now be MUCH harder.
The US Mortars open fire on the Axis infantry on the road and kill 1 MG team and one Panzerschreck – too close guys – you are bunching up! these platoons are now pinned.
The Axis MG platoon unpin, the 2iC platoon does not.
The MG platoon now make what I think was a critical mistake. They move forward ready to assault the lone LMG in the road. I would have taken them to their right into the wheat field and across toward the objective near the ford.
The Panzers roll slowly across the ford then use their MGs to take down the LMG on the hill in front of them. One very lucky hit from a hail of fire.
The AAA flak guns move up (again I don’t think this was the best time do use them). They lose their cover and try to take out the US 57mm AT gun acorss the ford. They fail to kill it, thanks to the gun shield.
The Wespes fire on the AT gun on the hill again and smoke it once more. It cannot retaliate against the Panzers being just over 16 inches from them.
The MG platoon fire on the LMG in the road but their pitiful moving firepower is reduced by the width of the roadway. No room to move in their teams. The LMG team shrugs the fire off.
The MGs then try to assault the LMG team but are resticted in their attack by the road wodth and hedges and fail to kill the US team. The LMG strikes back but fails to damage. We then have a stand off and it is not clear if one side needs to move back. We decide to leave things as they are – toe to toe. NOTE: check on the WWPD forums what happens in this stalemate – I can’t see it in the rulebook!
The US force does not move. The Mortars fire on the MGs in the road again (not sure if you can do this as they were in combat with the LMG team. Note: check with the WWPD forums if this is legal. I could not see anything in he Artillery section on ranging in that says you can’t target an assault in progress. Presumably, the enemy should be a couple of inches away…?
Two more MG teams are killed but the platoon makes it motivation check and stays.
The two left side LMGs fire on the AAA flak guns. they are unarmoured and fail too many saves. One platoon kill to the US. Neither of us realised they were not armour zero on the front. 10 LMG shots really did the job on them! Next time it would not happen….
The 2ic Axis platoon unpins and moves up behind the MG platoon at the double.
The Wespe’s fire smoke again onto the AT gun on the hill.
The MG platoon shoots at the LMG in the road but fails to kill it.
The Panzers open up on the dug in US Assault Rifles with their MGs but fail to kill anything.
The MG platoon assault the LMG team again but once again they fail to kill it.
The dice rolling up to this point has been pretty unlucky for the Axis.
The LMG team counterattack and kill one MG team. The MG platoon is forced back 2 inches but passes its Motivation check.
The US Reserves arrive in the form of the Shermans coming on toward the hill on their right flank. A tank battle may yet ensue….
The Shermans move up to the hill.
The Weapons platoon redeploy to face the oncoming Panzers.
The US Mortars rain shells on the MG platoon in the road but fail to kill anything.
The Assault Rifles hold their fire wih no real viable targets to make it worth losing G2G. The Sehrmans having surprised the Panzsers get 4 side shots on the Panzers at close range … and fail to do any damage at all. the Axis dice rolling has swpapped sides!
The LMG team in the road sits it out. His job is clear – hold until relieved!
The Panzer tanks turn and move to face the Shermans. Here we go….
The 2Ic Axis platoon decides to take another tack and moves into the wheat field in the hope of making it to the other objective near the ford.
the Wespe’s smoke the Weapons platoon to help stop the AT gun firing onto the Panzer 4H side armour.
The Panzers shoot at the Shermans and bail one out (see the earlier picture – it got out of order – sorry for poor picture quality).
There were no Axis assaults.
The US fail to get any reserves this turn despite rolling two dice.
The Weapons platoon redeploy the two LMG teams into the other wheat field to get within 4 inches of the objective near the ford. They saw the Axis 2iC coming through the field!
The Shermans hold and fire, killing one Panzer 3M outright.
The AT gun on the hill (unsmoked for the first time) tries to take outthe Panzers as well but his shots miss.
There are no assaults.
The Wespe’s try and take out the two LMGs in the wheat field in an attempt to help the Axis 2iC to take the ford objective. They hit but fail to do any damage other than a loss of some wheat!
The 2iC moves up to challenge the objective and fires on the two LMGs…. and fails to do any damage….
The MG platoon withdraw from the road and head into the whea field some way behind the 2iC platoon.
The Panzers on the other side of the board shoot at the Shermans and disastrously fail to get even a bail. Bad dice return.
The US now find a time to shine.
The US Rifle platoon arrives from reserve and comes on to support the objective near the ford.
The Mortars smoke the Axis 2iC.
The US Rifles double time to the objective ready for next turn when they can challenge it.
The Shermans take down one for Panzer and this is followed by the hilltop AT gun which finishes off one more. The remaining Panzer fails his motivation check and re-roll fo rbeing HG and the platoon is lost.
At this point and with no real prospect of anything but losing two more platoons the Axis player in the guise of Hauptmann Obst decides he has has enough and under cover of the smoke decides he will move off back to his own side ASAP. The battle is over. Captain Dickinson surveys the scene, pulls a fat cigar from his pocket, lights it and says “well done boys, we whooped some ass there”. He goes to find the LMG team in the roadway to consider some kind of reward. Beer for now sounded great.
6-1 Victory to the Allies!
At first I had thought the Axis were going to crush me, but I think a lack of Infantry really did them harm. The PAK40s never got into the game and the Wespes though useful are a bit pricey for smoke generators. The biggest mistake was to try and push up the road with infantry. I think they should have gone across to the Ford objective from the start. The tanks could have followed them up with close support. Next time it would be different. The other point is some bad dice rolling mainly on the Axis side. If they could have taken out the LMG in the road earlier it might have made a small difference. Probably not though….
I am sure a few mistakes were made here but it was a great way to learn. Very different from the “Free-for-all” mission.
Here are all the pictures to go with the After Action Report.