At the end of the Pick and Mix FoW event my last opponent, Dan, offered another 1750 point Late War matchup against my slightly adjusted Herman Goring list. As usual we played at the North West Gaming Centre in Stockport the following Tuesday. After the last match, Dan had come up with some suggestions for helping to balance out my list a bit. I reduced down the Wespe’s as they contribute little in my experience except expensive smoke. I took out the panzer IVH to cut down costs. I added another platoon of PAK40 AT guns (one of my favourite units) as the HG lists allow you to have another one (from Divisional support). I then added a light recon patrol and a pair of Self Propelled AA guns. After the last game with Dan the lack of AA showed so I found a way to help with this. I also now had 9 platoons which is really helpful in the game. I made a 2ic Kampfgruppe with the Panzerschrecks to make 10 platoons.
My force was the Herman Goring Heavy Recon mechanised regiment from the Dogs and Devils book.
Axis: (from Dogs and Devils, Confident Veteran)
HQ (plus 3 Panzerschrecks)
Wespes x 2 (no observer)
Pioneer MGs (with supply truck – minefield at the ready!)
Motorised Aufklarungs MGs
Panzers x3 (2x 3M, 1x3N)
PAK40s x 3 (these were represented by two infantry guns and one US 57mm gun tacked to larger grey bases – sorry – the new AT guns had not arrived by this game!)
PAK40s x 4 (one is part painted only – sorry again).
Recon Light Panzerspah patrol (Kfz223, 223 x2) (note: the 223 car was missing its radio mast while BF send a spare support”)
SP AA gun platoon (2 x kfz 10/5) (the guns on these beasties are crap – they twist and break off very easily).
US: (from ‘Blood, Guts and Glory’, rated Confident Trained)
2 x Sherman platoons
SP Artillery platoon and observer
a 2nd TC platoon I recall.
Aircraft (ground attack)
(I don’t have a list from Dan to work from, just photo’s and memory – sorry to Dan if I missed out something out)
Scenery was already set up on one of the 6×4 table with a village slightly to one side, roads, a few woods and hills. The mission chosen at random from the FoW rulebook was Encounter (rulebook p. 277). The objectives placed onto my side were one in the centre right in a narrow wood and one on the right (a grey large FoW base) near the road out of the village. I placed 5 of my platoons on the table. One unit of 3 AT guns on the left to cover the left and centre of the table. The Aufklarungs MG unit in the centre behind the hill (out of observer LoS and to help protect to the left or to the right). I placed the Panzerschrecks in the small wood around the objective to discourage tanks from going for that one. I then added to the right of the wood the Pioneer MGs to cover the grey objective. On my right in the woods, I placed my unit of 4 PAK40s to cover the approach from the village. It seemed pretty defensible. Only one issue, I had nothing on the table to go forward and attack with. It was a defensive setup.
From the outset, I tried to get dug in and see what came while waiting for the (scattered) reserves.
This wa not really the best plan. Scattered reserves are one of my pet hates. Early on, Dan’s plan seemed to be to get his recon out into the filed to probe my defences. At the same time he used his artillery and AOP to spend a few turns taking out my supply truck and a bag full of dug in veteran pioneers. Dan seemed to not want to try to go across the centre ground or through the village for fear of the PAK 40s. I can’t blame him.
As it was, my luck with reserves was to run out after the first set. My AA guns appeared early on and set up a position such that Dan’s aircraft could not really try to hit my troops without exposing him to at least 4 shots from AA. One of his attacks did get shot out of the sky.
Dan kept his AOP away from the AA guns and concentrated on the only targets for it and his artillery, the PAK40s in the woods on my right. At this point, Dan seemed to go for an attack on my right flank. There was one weakness in my defense, I had nothing to cover the PAK40s in the wood on the right. The PAKs could not see straight up above the wood only out across to the village. Dan took advantage of this by moving a sherman platoon across the back of his table side so I could not get range on it. HE then brought it down the table edge toward the wood with the PAK40s in it. Meanwhile, he kept just enough coming through the village to keep the PAK40s busy. Add to this his AOP and artillery and I was literally stuck in the woods with just PAK40s. If only I had those Panzerschrecks in the right hand wood, or the pioneers. Still, what can you do, if I had put one of those units on the right, Dan may have chosen to drive round the back of the village and take the centre objective. It’s all a bit scissors, paper, stone…. (photo’s AAR34 and 35 tell a lot of the story – keeping the centre and my right under pressure from shermans, while the TD platoon kept out of harms way but able to threaten me if I were to try to move any armour up my left flank).
Add to the misery of the PAKs in the wood as they came under attack by shermans in the woods and my reserves being all over the place… it was not going well for Herman’s Germans.
Dan pressed the attack on the PAKs, choosing to hold off at first and shoot at the PAKs then going for the assault. It didn’t go all his way, as he lost a tank or two in defensive fire. The PAKs found themselves pushed back. meanwhile, I tried to bring on my panzers, hoping they would come on along the back edge or the right hand side. I had a 66.66 percent chance…. and they landed on the far left! Had I been able to put them in the right hand side wood up against the Sherman’s and helping the PAK’s it could all have been a different story….
As it was, my nebelwerfers turned up in the right hand wood so all they could do was hide at the back of the wood. The Wespes I think came on the left hand side and the scout cars I brought on in the middle with the protection of the hill. I just couldn’t do enough to stop the armored onslaught against my right flank. The only saving grace was that the central objective in the small wood had enough protection to keep Dans troops away from it. They tried a little but then left it alone.
Dan pressed the attack and took out the right hand PAKs. With all but no pioneers left and a short-range on the panzerschrecks, the Panzerspah, AA guns and Nebelwerfers could only look on as Dan took the game after about 10 turns by holding the right hand side objective on my table edge.
Well done Dan. 6-1 to him.
Dan played in a thoughtful and careful way, waiting to see what I would and could do. He pressed home his artillery where he could and looked for a weakness in my defence, which he found. Always keep something to cover AA guns and Artillery pieces! I could have put the pioneers more into the wood and then out across to the grey objective on my right, rather than putting my troops out in the open in between both objectives. Even without any anti tank weapons, Sherman’s being counter assaulted by German pioneers with AT3 would not be a walk in the park.
Overall, I think i did a lot better than out previous game. Flames of wAr is a constant learning process, I hope I keep learning! Next job will be to work out how to go on the attack as well as defend to try to win a game by taking an objective.
Photos: (apologies, i had to use my phone cam)