Here’s a quick write-up of a Game I had the last week with Fraser at the NWGC, Stockport. He brought the US 2nd ID list to try out. I bought a variation on my Herman Gorring Panzergrenadiers. IT was to be a classic “Dogs and Devils” battle with all the excitement of the Anzio breakout (!) We rolled for the Hasty Attack mission. With two infantry companies this was going to be a slog! Fraser got to be the Attacker and we set up the objectives. He pretty much covered my objective so that was going to be next to impossible to take. He then took away the objective on my left flank leaving one slightly to left of centre and one to the right.
HQ, 2 x Rifle platoons, AT platoon (bazookas), AT platoon (3x 57mm), 1 x I&R recon jeep platoon, 1 x M5 AT gun towed, Artillery platoon (4x 105mm), Artillery platoon (4x 155mm), AOP.
HQ (2 x SMG), 2 x Panzergrenadier platoons w. ‘scrhecks, 1 x HMG platoon (2 HMG), 2 x Pak40 AT platoons, 2 x mobile AA platoons, 1 x Nebelwerfer, 1 x Tiger platoon (1 tank), lelg18 infantry guns (2 of).
I placed one Panzergren platoon to the right and had kept the other Panzergren platoon in immediate ambush and played it down on the objective to the right. With my Nebelwerfers and HMG’s also deployed, I had to wait for the Allies to come to me apart from any artillery I might use.
Fraser had two platoons of Artillery and an AOP (aerial observation post) I had to keep my AA in reserve so his AOP would be free to roam the field of battle for a while at least.
I am only going to mention the “highlights” as this went on for two and a half hours.
Fraser deployed a Rifle platoon opposite my right side objective with cover from the hill. I would need to protect this flank from advancing riflemen!
Fraser got a Reserve this turn and moved on his Recon jeeps, moving them up the central road and into some cover from building and ruin.
Not much happened other than the Recon jeeps moving to try to remove Gone to Ground next turn on the HMG platoon. The HMGs would be a key for the US as they could threaten the US Rifles on the far right Axis flank (the Panzergren MG teams and single HMG on the right could be able to pin a US attack. Fraser seemed to want to hold back his rifles until the HMG platoon and some of the MG teams had been ‘neutralised’. The US artillery didn’t seem to do much. Neither did the Nebelwerfers!
US Reserves turn up (AT guns and infantry) and proceed to get into a better position. The US rifles reach the safety of the hill.
Axis PAK40’s turn up (random) and have to go in one place. Having moved they become a target for a massive artillery attack…. A platoon o Axis mobile AA turns up on the left (not ideal) and stay in the wheat fields near the right side objective. The HMG on the left of the hill killed a couple of US Jeeps but is later killed in return (the Recon Jeeps would have taken GtG away anyway so it forced the Axis hand. Recon is good for forcing the enemy to lose GtG one way or the other!
The US infantry on the right side hill dig in. They are out of range of the Nebelwerfers (one of the problems of the 15cm Neb – 64 inch range from one side can’t quite reach the other table edge). The PAK platoon on the left is killed to a gun but their elite command team hangs on. The Axis reserves arrive, randomly, with the little lelg18 infantry guns poised on the edge of the left hand hill (yuk) and the Tiger hides in the middle, with smoke from the Nebs on the US owned wheat field in case they deploy their big towed AT guns (AT13!)
US Recon jeeps move behind the wood in the middle out of sigth of the Axis. The Axis lelg can’t move so just digs in and hopes for the best….
The Tiger moves up the middle to test the mettle of the enemy… The Axis infantry guns lose a stand to artillery.
The Axis get tired of waiting and decide to strengthen the objective on the right. They move forward to provoke some kind of reaction. The other Axis HMG has been destroyed on the right of the hill and the platoon broken.
The Tiger gets bored as well and gets too close to the US lines. The Neb’s fail to deliver any smoke this turn – not good!
The US big AT gun platoons unlimber in the wheat field and get a lucky shot on the Tiger. Well, the middle is going to stay blocked to the Axis!
The US artillery concentrate on the Axis right to try to shift some MG teams. This carries on for a while as there isn’t much else to do. The Axis just aren’t going to move!
US AT guns on the Axis left move forward to try to get in range of the remains of the Nebelwerfers on the hill (I think that is the plan!)
From this point, the US Artillery just tries to pound the heck out of the Axis position on the right side objective. Several turns go by with no real effect other than pinning.
US artillery finally gets a good one on the Panzergrens and kill a couple of stands (and some AA if I remember correctly). Somewhere along the way a couple of the Nebelwerfers were killed ending any chance of retaliation from that source.
The US infantry see there is only a couple of minutes left before the game runs out of time. It moves over the hill to try to take their objective…
The US artillery has tried turn after turn to take out the defenders without complete success. Defenders are elite and don’t like to run!
In the end, after two and a half hours and 27 turns, the Axis forces hung on long enough to win the game by default, 4-3 after losing a few platoons each. If it wasn’t for the sound of the artillery shells landing the rest of the forces would have been asleep in their foxholes.
Suffice it to say this was not the best mission for us to use. I guess Flames of War is one of those games that needs the Attacker to have armour or mechanised infantry.
With two infantry forces and artillery, one side must risk moving across the field and being pounded to death. The Defender had no compunction to move – their objective is too well guarded. The Attacker needs to pound away at the defender to make it “safe” to go in for an assault on one of the objectives. Fraser and I did nothing “wrong” its just that this mission and the infantry forces used brings out the worst aspects of this game. It can be frustratingly slow to use artillery and then wait for the best time to go in for the kill. If you rise out of your dug in positions, you are going to die horribly to massed fire. Fraser didn’t want to have to engage my HMG ro MG armed grenadiers without whittling them down first and pinning them. I couldn’t really assault without leaving one objective behind and then seeing it taken after my platoon is wiped out.
Happy not to play Hasty Attack for some time to come! At least not with infantry on infantry.
After all this I really enjoy playing Fraser as he can make a good assault as Attacker and put you to the test. At least he didn’t “Tankovy” me this time…