Last week I tried out a changed US 3rd ID list for late war. I drew Hammy, our veteran Flames player at the NWGC in Stockport. Hammy used his new Romanians and got to work on Easyarmy to draw up a list.
Note: this was the third time I had played on the same table setup. Each time my starting table side was different which put a new perspective on the terrain. As the missions and opponents are also changing, it made no odds to me what the table looked like.
Mission: Hold the Line (Defensive Battle) P280 of the v3 rulebook.
Here are the lists:
US: (US 3rd ID, Confident Veteran) (1750 pts)
HQ with two bazookas (bazookas attached out to rifle platoons)
Assault Rifle platoon
HMG platoon with 2 bazookas (all attached out to rifle platoons)
HMG platoon with 2 bazookas (bazookas attached out to rifle platoons)
AT gun platoon (3x 57mm guns plus bazookas)
AT gun platoon (3x 57mm guns plus bazookas)
Armored rifle platoon (5 half tracks)
I&R Jeep Recon (3 Jeeps / 3 infantry teams)
Weapons platoon (2 LMG, 3 60mm mortars – attached out the LMGs to the rifle platoons)
Germans: (Romanian, Late War, variable levels of morale and skill, 1750 pts)
HQ (faust) + 2 Schrecks
1st coy 16 R/MG + cmd faust
2nd coy 8 R/MG + cmd faust
81mm mortar ptn + obs
4 120mm mortars + obs
6 TaC 38 (50mm) ATG
6 TaC 40 (75mm) ATG
8 Skoda 100mm + 2 obs
4 cavalry scouts
3 20mm AA
3 T-38 (Pz 38t)
I (US) won the role to attack. Hammy chose one long table end to set up and we each placed an objective. Romanians had one objective to the centre rear of their long end, US on their right flank and more open side, as close to the centre line as the rules allowed.
Hammy placed his large Infantry platoon (company) in a line across the table ready to catch anything I could send across. These were placed as if they were trained, but rolled for their status just before first turn. He placed his heavy mortars to the rear and the light mortars more centrally. He had two lots of AT guns in Ambush. The rest of his force was put in delayed reserve.
I chose to make the main attack toward my objective, with on of my large rifle platoons with extra HMGs, LMGs and bazookas (the rifle and pioneer rifles platoons each had 1 rifle command team, 9 rifles, 1 LMG, 2 HMG, 4 bazookas. The pioneers had one less rifles as they took a flamethrower option.
The Recon dismounted their Jeeps and waited at the head of the infantry to move up into the small wood.
The rest of the US troops spread out into the centre, with the pretty useless AT guns on the hill near the rear. Both mortar platoons were kept up with the attacking rifle platoons to help out. The APR platoon was kept in the rear behind the long hill as a reserve force should my rifle platoons get cut down.
The aim for Hammy was to keep me off the objective and out of his end of the table by his turn 6. This was going to be difficult.
Hammy had to roll for the status of his platoons. The Infantry nearest me were Reluctant Veteran. This would help me with his motivation to counter assault. The 120mm mortars were Confident I think. The rest I can’t remember too well.
The game started with the US Recon infantry moving into the wood and hiding. On the US first turn, the Recon moved to the edge of the wood. Next turn they hoped to be able to remove Gone to Ground from the Romanian infantry ahead of them.
The US rifles moved up behind the recon moving around the wood to try and get to the enemy as quickly as possible!
The centre pioneer rifle platoon moved up on the village.
The US 60mm mortars didn’t do much, the 80mm did better laying a large cloud of smoke down on the enemy infantry in advance of the rifles.
The Romanians played the AT ambush straight away in the woodline on their left flank. They were affected by the US smoke later, but did do some damage, mainly in helping to pin down the US Rifle attack.
The Romanians managed to use their MG rifles, HMGs and AT guns along with a bombardment from the mortars to pin down the US rifles and cause some casualties (despite the smoke).
The US rifles moved two teams on the far right into assault keeping the rest away as non-assaulting teams. It became obvious that trying to make more assaults along the line would only pull in more and Romanians and thereby stop the assault in defensive fire.
The assault was limited in effect and the Reluctant Romanians fought back causing casualties.
The US right flank was starting to whittle down.
In the centre, the vain attempt of the US to get into the village was met by mortar and rifle/MG fire, pinning the platoon.
It’s fair to say that the assault in the village and the US left flank was very bloody. The US got unlucky, a village assault with two teams needing to roll 3+ each resulted in no hits. The Romanians pushed back and killed a number of US stands. At that point I think the game was lost.
Attempts to push the attack ended up failing, with the much reduced Pioneers eventually being reduced to 4 teams (but not breaking).
The US AT guns of the 3rd had no HE so they sat with nothing to do but watch and wait for Romanian panzers to arrive from reserve.
Eventually the US HMG platoon, the 60mm mortars along with both rifle platoons were shot to bits, but managed to survive the morale checks.
The US armoured rifles moved forward at the double to try to get to the centre line for US turn 6. By the end of turn 5 it was obvious that carrying on was futile, with little more than the ARP, recon platoon (!) and 2 AT platoons.
The game ended with a handshake. Thank Hammy!
Result: 6-1 to the Axis.
I was expecting a lot of assaulting to happen in an infantry match up and was not disappointed. It was a learning exercise (only my 8th club FoW battle). Hammy is a great opponent as he teaches the game as you go along. Thanks to his thoughts I was able to understand the assault rules a lot more clearly. It is the hardest part of the game for me to get to terms with.
The Romanians were excellent. Their reserves did turn up later on but were NOT needed.
The large Infantry company really did the job, so large they were hard to shift. The Romanian artillery and AT guns were all supportive of the defensive line.
The lesson from this game (apart from launching effective assaults) were to make sure you use smoke on the attack (having 6 80mm mortars was useful to cutting down the hits in the defensive fire). Also, I really should have spread my troops out in a longer line to avoid hits from artillery. At one point I had all but two teams from the rifle platoon under a template(!) A gift to the artillery.
Bottom, line I should not have attacked the centre at all. It achieved nothing. I think I should have left the HMGs dug in to cover the centre and left of the US position. Then I should have used both rifle platoons to attack on the far right (as I did, but in greater strength), with the teams more spread out) Hammy recommended no more than four teams in a group to keep artillery casualties down. I should also have not left the ARP until too late. Having the Armored rifle platoon in closer support may have made a difference.
I really enjoyed the game and learned a lot from my excellent opponent.