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AAR: FoW 1750 LW – HG Panzergrenadiers v Brit Tanks in Italy

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Here is a game I played several weeks ago with Dan. He wanted to try a more historical match up so we took Late War Italy based forces. 1750 points. Dan, not surprisingly was the Attacker. The mission, randomly rolled, was Fighting Withdrawal, my favourite.

AAR (22)

German list: Herman Goring Panzergrenadiers (Dogs and Devils): HQ with panzerschrecks doled out to Combat platoons. Two MG panzergrenadier platoons. lelg18 infantry gun. Two PAK40s (one in Ambush), rifle/MG pioneer platoon. 3 15cm Nebelwerfers. Scout car platoon, two 2cm SP AA gun platoons.

Brit list:  the list was from Fortress Europe. HQ with two tanks plus one supernumary tank, three troops of three Shermans, Recce troop of four Stuarts, RA AT platoon of four M10s (3″, not 17pdr) and priority Kittyhawks. AAMGs for the Stuarts and .50 cals on four of the Shermans – the CO’s and the three troop commander’s tanks – No ARV.

The Game:

The Germans deployed as defensively as you can get with one objective on the right protected by grenadiers and the infantry guns. The centre held the nebelwerfers, a platoon of PAK40’s and the other grenadiers. On the left, the pioneers held the flank. My guess was that Dan would deploy and start on my right flank. In that case he would remove the objective on my left, which he did. I was then reasonably free to move troops from my left to strengthen the centre. As it was, Dan really did come on heavily to my right flank and it looked as if his recon Stuart tanks backed by a lot of heavier armour would seal the deal fairly quickly for the Brits.

However, things were not to go that way. I still had a PAK40 ambush that could ruin Dan’s day. The big problem though was the dice. It has to be said, it was no a good day for Brit random factors!

I did not use my own mobile recon well, moving it away from the action rather than using it to push back Dans own light tanks. Dan moved into a position close to my right table edge behind some hedges. He removed gone to ground from the defenders on that flank and laid in with shooting and an assault on the panzergrenadiers. Despite a bitter fight, the german MG troops held on. The real stars of this game were the little infantry guns (and the dice!). The German gunner rammed home those AT9 shells and pretty quickly a stuart was burning.  British air failed to do much of any use. Then came the assault. A platoon of three shermans had come in and now assaulted what was left of the grenadiers and won the fight, pushing back the handful of teams in defence who failed to run and one team back on the hill behind. At this point it was looking grim as there wasn’t much left on my right to throw back the assault, i think i had lost the panzerschreck team at this point so all I had was infantry with tank assault 2 and one lelg18 close enough to do anything to the shermans or stuarts piling up.

Dan decided at this point to consolidate by moving over nearby hedges, probably from added protection from the infantry guns. He had three tanks to move over the hedgerows and bogged all three. So then things seemed to change. I now had a clear run to assault and kill the three bogged tanks and destroy a platoon for no effort. I duly did this leaving three burning hulks. This left my infantry out in the open but a small price to pay for surviving what should have been ‘Operation Certain Death’.

At this point the British decided to come in “en masse” from their position behind the wood onto the right flank. I had little choice but to play the PAK40 ambush on the far right and try to stop the assault. As you can see by the pictures, PAKs did some reasonable damage to the enemy armour, and then the Stuarts came in for a go at the objective but were finally lost to the lelg18 (one of these guns died, the other kept on firing!). Dan said at one point that as the mission is strictly timed he had no option but to try to go for the centre objective or lose the game on time. I only had to play for time and them remove the right side objective.

It didn’t come to this. Dan conceded the game saying that there was no way he could move his tanks all the way to the centre and take the objective from the defenders before the game ended. I couldn’t really disagree.

We shook hands on this and I won.

6-1 to the Germans (yay – my first 6-1!!)

Thoughts:

I feel really sorry for Dan as he just couldn’t win for the dice. Okay, the loss of the platoon when bogging could have been avoided, but besides this, my right flank defenders didn’t crumble despite being down to all but a man and a gun! Time is against you in Fighting Withdrawal. All I have to do is remove a platoon that is away from the action. Dan as attacker has to keep moving.

It wasn’t a fun game for Dan, but the learning experience is always good. I think Dan set out with a good plan it just wasn’t to be. I was lucky as my right flank should have been easy meat (apart form having a PAK40 ambush ready to go). The evening ended with Dan making a sacrifice to the Tank Gods and hoping for better luck next time I am sure.

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