Andy wanted to try out his “NUTS” German Volksgrenadier company 1500 point list ahead of a tournament. I chose to run a new list using my US 3rd id – the US 2nd ID from BGG. Andy’s force was “under test” so wasn’t painted up at this time (it was an either/or choice, play it and paint the list that works best!)
Axis: (from N.U.T.S., Confident Veteran, mainly – I think he must have had the panzerschrecks to make the points up to 1500)
VolksgrenadierKompanie HQ (12).
2 x Cmd Panzerfaust Assault rifle team
2 x Panzerschreck teams
Combat1: Volksgrenadier Sturm Platoon (12.)
1 x Cmd Panzerfaust Assault Rifle team
4 x Panzerfaust Assault Rifle team
3 x Panzerfaust MG team
1 x Panzerschreck team
Combat2: Volksgrenadier Schützen Platoon (12.)
1x Cmd Panzerfaust Rifle/MG team
6 x Panzerfaust Rifle/MG team
1 x Panzerschreck team
Weapons platoon: Volks Mortar Platoon (12.)
1 x Cmd SMG team
2 x Observer Rifle team
4 x 8cm GW34 mortar
Regimental Support: Skorzeny Commando Group
1 x Skorzeny Commando team
Volks Tank-hunter Platoon (12.): 3 x Hetzer
Tank-hunter Platoon (Heer): Panzer IV/70 (V)
Volks Rocket Launcher Battery (CT):
1 x Cmd SMG team
1 x Observer Rifle team
1 x Kubelwagen
1 x 30cm NW42 rocket launcher
US: (from ‘Devil’s Charge’, rated Confident Veteran)
Rifle Co. HQ: 2 x Cmdcarbine teams
Combat1: Cmd rifle team + 4 bazookas + 6 Rifles
Combat2: Cmd rifle team + 4 bazookas + 6 Rifles
Weapons1: Cmd carbine team + 4 HMG teams
Weapons2: Cmd Carbine team + M1 57mm (late) AT guns
Regimental Support 1: Cmd Carbine team + M1 57mm (late) AT guns
Support Platoon 1: Sherman platoon (4 M4/M4A1 tanks, CT)
Support Platoon 2: Armored Rifle platoon (CT) – Cmd team, 5 rifle team, 4 bazookas, 1 37mm gun team, 2 LMG teams, 1 mortar team + 5 half tracks.
Support Platoon3: Artillery – cmd team, staff team, observer team, jeep, 4 x 105mm howitzers.
AOP: L4 Grasshopper.
Scenery was already set up on one of the 6×4 table. The mission rolled was “Fighting Withdrawal” (page 283) I defended with the US Infantry. Andy attacked across the river toward the hills on my side. I placed my US objective on the little hill to the left of centre. The Axis two objectives were placed centrally and to my right of centre. Later in the game I would be able to pull off the Axis objectives as well as pull off my platoons from turn 3 onward.
I placed all of my platoons on the table, back right were the Artillery, left was an AT platoon on a hill guarding an objective (these 57mm AT guns have HE!). The two rifles platoons were placed across the centre of the table to cover the other two objectives. The other AT guns were on a small hill to the right. The tanks were on the far right behind a wood with the 2ic. The HMG platoon was on the far left with a view over the river. The Armored Rifles were held in Ambush (these guys ar Trained not Veteran). The Aerial Observation Post as placed in turn 1 to get the Nebelwerfers in Range.
The Axis force put the mortars front centre and the Nebelwerfers behind them on the baseline but spread as wide as they could go. The infantry were put across the centre ready to push forward (they get first turn!) The Panzer4/70s were put slightly to the right of centre. The Hetzers were on the far right.
Axis forces moved up with speed. The Infantry were crossing the river and ford. The Hetzers made a long move up my far left but were then hidden from my AT guns behind the large wood on that side of the board. This was a problem I would have to deal with.
The Axis Skorzeny Commando unit moved toward the back of my lines. There wasn’t anything much I could do against this unit. I would need to get a command team within 4 inches to force him to move it, but it moves at Jeep speed(!)
The mortars managed to smoke one set of AT guns and the Nebelwerfers did not do any real damage. They now had to take a skill check to reload each gun.
The infantry used ‘stormtrooper’ to move up as far as they could.
The US fired back with artillery versus the Nebelwerfers but failed to damage them. The AT guns and HMG did some damage to the advancing the Axis infantry pinning one of the platoons. The Sherman’s moved through the wood on the right to try to hit the Axis force in the flank, but one tank bogged. The other just made it to the other edge of the wood, with nothing to oppose them.
The Axis moved the Commando unit near to my artillery and pinned them. I would not be able to fire them this turn! The remaining infantry unpinned and moved forward to my lines. The Hetzers moved around the back of the wood, getting closer to my objective!
The Nebelwerfer did not all reload this turn so their firing was pretty ineffective. The mortars failed to lay down smoke this turn. Shooting was pretty ineffective against the US.
The US played their Ambush, with the Armored Rifles appearing on the left side to try to counter the Hetzers and the Panzer 4/70’s. The Sherman’s move again, with the bogged tank staying bogged and one more bogging on the Axis side of the wood. The remaining two tanks moved onto the central long hill.
The US were unable to fire their artillery as the Skorzeny Commando’s had pinned them. They tried to move a couple of command teams to within 4 inches but failed to get close enough to challenge the Commando teams.
The AT guns and 3 of the 4 HMGs plus a few rifle teams opened up on the approaching Axis infantry. One platoon was destroyed, another reduced to 2 teams. The Axis mortar team were also hit and reduced to 3 teams.
The US finally managed to reach the Skorzenys position but they had moved off to the AT guns on the left objective. They effectively pinned the AT guns who could not turn on the Hetzers on their left (the Hetzers were behind the firing arc of the AT guns).
The Axis had now only a couple of teams left to move out of the infantry. The Hetzers and Panzers moved around to make an attack.
The Nebelwerfers put up just one patch of smoke but on the bazooka and 37mm gun element of the ARP. The Hetzers shot the ARP and killed a few teams. They then assaulted the ARP who had no useful defensive fire and no support from the AT guns. The ARP suffered a couple more casualties and were forced to fall back. Now out of their foxholes they were vulnerable Trained troops!
The US withdrew the HMG platoon from the table. The ARP could do very little as the remaining Axis closed in on them. The Axis failed to get the smoke on the ARP AT assets this turn who managed to kill one Hetzer.
The Axis continue to press on the US left hand objective. They can only really smoke the ARP and cause them harm, the rest of the US force is “Veteran Dug in” and staying that way.
The US Artillery now withdrew from the game. the AT guns on the US left cannot move to face the tank threat as they are pinned by the Axis Commando unit. The US move some of their infantry across from the centre to try and come to the aid of the AT guns. Three of the US Sherman’s move closer to the Panzer in the middle. The
The Axis try to move up to the front of the little hill with the AT guns to get up the roadway to assault the AT guns. One of the Hetzers keeps the ARP teams busy. The Axis 1ic Assault rifle team moves towards the objective on the hill.
The US withdraw their rifle platoon from the far left as it is doing nothing useful and would take too long to move to where the action is. One of the P4/70’s is knocked out by a lucky side shot from the Sherman’s. A lucky ARP bazooka defensive fire shot takes out an assaulting Hetzer. Four of the US Rifle teams reach the base of the hill with the AT guns to try to secure the objective.
The Axis have only three tanks left in two platoons and some not very effective Nebelwerfers. The 1iC is now at the base of the hill and just within shooting range of the approaching Rifles who are obscured by the hill. Looking at the battlefield, there seems little chance that the US can lose….. But those pesky Commando’s have had their effect.
The Axis now assault the AT guns, knocking them out and contesting the left hand objective on the hill.
The US respond by shooting up the Hetzers on the hill but only bailing them both (aaarghh). Now the US have a problem. If the AT guns on the central area fire on the bailed Hetzers they could destroy them. This would mean that in assault phase, their would be nothing for the US rifles at the bottom of the hill to assault. That would mean next turn, the Axis would have just the one tank, the P4/70 within 4 inches of the objective and would win the game. I decide to leave the AT guns as they are and go for the assault.
The four US Rifle teams charge in to the bailed Hetzers, but have to endure the defensive fire of the P4/70 MG and of course (I forgot this one) the 1ic with his Assault rifle shots. All I have to do is get the assault off and capture the tow Hetzers, then Andy would be on a company morale check next turn and also a sole survivor check for the P4/70. Not a good position. Any rolls his 6 dice to hit…. 3 from the MG, three form the 1iC and gets 5 hits. the assault is stopped in its tracks. The Hetzers survive, bailed out. ARgghhh!!!!
The Germans have their P4/70 uncontested on the objective and win the game, 4-3 to the Axis. Well done, Andy.
After the game, I rolled 9 dice to see what would have happened if the AT guns had fired on the Hetzers. It wouldn’t have made any real difference to the result, but what the heck. I rolled all 1,2,3 – no hits from 9 shots. IT was that kind of game.
In the first three turns, Andy had some really bad luck with dice rolls, failing to reload his Nebs and to make saves on his infantry. I seemed to do well with my shooting. I was pretty confident of the win by the end of turn 4. The fact that Andy used his Hetzers on the far right to get in behind the wood so I could not shoot them and then carry out an assault on trained armored rifles was a good plan on his part. I should have been able to defend better on my left flank. I thought the ARP and AT guns could handle 3 Hetzers. The fact I put the bazookas of the ARP all together in a clump on the edge of the woods was a bad idea, they got smoked and gave the Hetzers the opportunity to assault the ARP with no effective opposition (AT 2 rifles… yuk). The Skorzeny Commandos wer ethe real stars though, at 50 points they made my artillery useless until it withdrew and then even worse, they stopped up mt AT guns from facing the Hetzers and getting a decent rate of fire for the rest of the game.
Andy’s tactics and use fo combined arms were great. By plan or not, he pretty much ended up sacrificing half his army in his attack, but carried it off to the end with a great win. Just shows, it’s not over till the last dice rolls. A close game – thanks Andy – really enjoyed it.
Me: I think I will have to spread my forces out a bit more, but also concentrate on covering objectives from all sides. With hindsight, in this scenario, Fighting Withdrawal, I think it is vital to put you own defenders objective in the centre of the table as far back as you can get it. You can’t remove this one during the game, so Andy was wise to pursue this one goal while using his other troops to provide ‘cover’. I am questioning how effective artillery really is even with an AOP to go anywhere on the table. You need to think how to beat the Skorzeny commandos as you need Command teams to do that. They have a Jeep move to escape, so maybe you 2iC in a Jeep to harass them and keep them away from vital targets…? With hindsight, maybe I should have put the Sherman tanks in Ambush not on the far right where they didn’t do that much in the game. The 2iC was wasted as well, he couldn’t move quickly enough. Keep that force together and supportive not spread out across the 6 foot back line!
Andy wanted to know how good this force was. I think the Skorzeny Commandos are a real headache when used effectively. Plan for them!