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AAR – Battle Report – FoW – 1750 pt LW – US 3rd Infantry versus German Infantry Sperrverband

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More Flames of War goodness – 1750 points Late War  – at the North West Gaming Centre in Stockport but this time against Dave.  This was to be my second only game versus Infantry and proved to be another set of lessons in how to play (not to play?) Flames of War….

The lists:

US: (Confident Veteran Infantry from Dogs and Devils)

HQ with two bazookas.

Assault Rifle platoon

Rifle platoon

Weapons platoon (2 LMG, 3 60mm mortars)

HMG platoon with 2 bazookas (all attached out to the rifle platoons)

81mm Mortar platoon (4 mortar teams)

AT gun platoon (2 57mm guns)

Armored rifle platoon (5 half tracks)

M10 Tank Destroyers (act as mobile artillery in Dogs and Devils not Tank Destroyers) platoon.

Jeep/Infantry Recon (3 Jeeps, 1 AA MG – can dismount to 3 teams of carbines/rifles).

German: (Reluctant Veteran Sperrverband)
HQ:
Cmd Panzerfaust SMG
Warrior 2iC Pioneer Panzerfaust SMG Windgruber
2x Panzerschreck team

Sperr Pionier Platoon
1x Cmd Pioneer Panzerfaust SMG team
6x Pioneer Rifle/MG team

Sperr Platoon
1x Cmd Panzerfaust SMG team
4x Rifle/MG team
2x MG42 HMG

Sperr Platoon
1x Cmd Panzerfaust SMG team
4x Rifle/MG team
2x MG42 HMG

Sperr Mortar Platoon
Cmd SMG team
2x Observer Rifle team
4x 8cm GW34 mortar

Sperr Anti-tank Gun Platoon

Cmd SMG team
2x 7.5cm PaK40 gun

Sperr Infantry Gun Platoon

Cmd SMG team
1x Observer Rifle team
2x 7.5cm leIG18 gun

Panzer Platoon (Confident Veteran)
4x Panzer IV H

Veteran Tank-hunter Platoon (Confident Veteran)
4x Hetzer

Luftwaffe Heavy Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon (Reluctant Trained)

1x Cmd SMG team
Kfz 15 field car
2x 8.8cm FlaK36 gun (Extra crew for ROF3)
2x Sd Kfz 7

Setup:

After setting up the scenery on one of the 6×4 tables the mission chosen at random from the FoW rulebook was Surrounded (rulebook p. 282). As both sides were infantry we tossed for attacker and I lost. I had to deploy in a narrow strip in the middle of the table. The Attacker would then come at me from either or both of the short table edges. I chose to string out my three rifle platoons and put M10s and mortars where they might take least damage and still see something.
I kept my AT guns in Immediate Ambush.

The Germans put a large block of infantry on the large wood ready to make a move on the southernmost and possible least defended part of the field. Other German forces included a small amount of infantry to threaten the other objective, the 88mm guns on the back of the long hill to see the Tank Destroyers (some of them) and the Hetzers on the back of the smaller hill diagonally opposite the 88’s – thereby being able to see all of my tank destroyers. The mortars and the observer started in the house on the road with a clear view of many of my troops! The Pak 40’s were placed on the edge of the wood to give support to the large german infantry block. The unit of Panzer 4’s started at the back of the longer hill near the 88’s.

Action:

The Attacker got first turn and moved up his infantry while opening fire with pak40’s and Hetzers.

I had made a bad move – I should have placed the M10s centrally in a wheat field to give them camouflage. As I had not moved and bot the Hetzers and 88mm’s were outside of 16 inches my Veteran vehicles would have been safe from all but mortar fire. I didn’t do that and quickly lost two TD’s to 88s and Hetzers.

The US AT guns had ambushed so as to get a line on the panzers. They fired and killed on tank and bailed two others. The platoon broke and ran. Unfortunately there wasn’t much more for them to do on that side of the board.

The Germans continued to advance the infantry through the woods, sending out a few teams into the little cornfield near the US lines. The Rifle platoon were there to try to counter any threat but that point in the line had no high ROF weapons. The nearest LMG and HMG were coming under fire from the Pak40s and Hetzers.

Smoke from the US mortars kept the 88s from doing anymore damage. Once the Hetzers had their way though, the M10 threat was gone. The 88s were loaded up onto their transports but a turn later the US Jeeps moved in to MG the transports, killing one. The other disappeared in a cloud of dust. The Passengers survived, but without any transport they were stuck away from the action and never really got back into the game.

The Small group of German infantry in the far corner of the board moved slowly toward the objective on the top of the table from the US perspective, keeping pressure up on the defending pioneer rifles. The attached German HMGs also tried to do their bit my taking on the US Recon Jeeps, killing two of them.

After this, the pressure kept on as the German infantry used its guns to remove US machine gun teams while the infantry made a break on the edge of the table, assaulting into the US rifle positions. They kept far enough away from the US MG’s to take very little defensive fire. Despite the fact that the Germans had their 1ic and 2ic in the combat zone, they survived to keep on fighting. Eventually they won a foothold and the US could not hold on to the ground.

The Hetzers were now mopping up against the same platoon…

At this point we moved into turn six and the hour was very late. Without much of a chance of salvaging anything for the US without spending another couple of hours we shook hands and Dave took the game. As he had 9 or 10 platoons he won 6-1.

Lessons:

I am not sure I like this mission. The defenders are surrounded on both sides without and real room to manoeuvre. After saying that some thoughts and good advice came out.

Deploy the M10s in a central wheat field! That way, as Veterans, they would be on a seven to hit from range and therefore safe until the Panzers and Hetzers moved in (or they lost gone to ground and the 88s could join in). It would have kept them safe for a few turns at least.

The AT gun ambush worked (luckily), but a better use for the immediate ambush would have been to put the ARP (Armored Rifle platoon)in its place. I could have seen where all the attacking troops had gone and responded to the threat by playing them in a much more useful position. As it was they were not really used in the game. They would have been game changing IMO.  Next time….

Some HMGs on the little Hill just behind where the Germans attacked the US line could have made a big difference. Don’t leave part of the line short on MG cover! What MGs I had were taken out by Pak40’s and Hetzers.

The AT guns could have been played elsewhere and the bazookas of the ARP could have done their job instead by spreading the ARP teams around the little hill. Again, good ambushing with the ARP could have reinforced the US rifles and also been able to see off the Panzers.

A thoughtful game. Thanks Dave. Maybe if I had been the attacker….. 🙂

Here are the pictures:

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