Friday afternoon at Legions Hobbies I met up with Jim Naughton for a 1750 Mid-war game. The scenario was to be “Fighting Withdrawal” and my Brits were the defenders.

The Brits had 8 platoons: 2 Ghurkha infantry platoons, 3 Churchills, 3 Crusaders, 2 Bofors AA guns, 2 6pdr portees, 4 25pdr artillery battery, and an Allied 155mm US artillery battery. A  P40 provides sporadic air support.

Jim’s Germans fielded 9 platoons: 2 MG Infantry platoons, a Heavy platoon with MGs and mortar section, a Heavy 12cm mortar platoon (4 tubes), 2 light SP armored AA half-tracks, 2 SP 15cm Grilles, 2 StuIG33B, 4 Marder Is, and a battery of 3 Panzerwerfers with extra crews. An HS129 provided limited air support. One 12cm mortar was grouped with the 8cm mortars to beef up its firepower. One Marder was detached and added to another platoon.

IMG_3423  The battlefield shows the objectives with mine in the center and Jim’s to each side. A vital part of this scenario is that the defender gets to remove the attacker’s objectives at certain turns during the game. The minor stream bisecting the board is slow-going for vehicles.

 

 

IMG_3426  My objective is the 2014 Nationals “Home Guard” objective painted as a Newcastle Brown Ale delivery truck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my right flank I deployed an infantry platoon, a battery of 25pdrs, and the Crusader tanks were hidden behind the woods.

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Churchills, an infantry platoon (which stretched to cover the left objective), and the AA platoon guarded the center. Hopefully the AA could provide air defense over most of my troops.

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To the left was the battery of American 155s deployed in the vineyard and woods. One of the Churchills and part of the infantry platoon also help cover the left objective. The 6pdr AT guns were held in ambush.

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The German left (from the British position) had a Panzergrenadier platoon in trucks, 3 Marders, and the pair of StuIG33Bs.

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The German center had the Werfers, mortars, the Heavy platoon , the SP AA guns  and the Grilles.

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On the right were the 12cm mortars and an infantry platoon.

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The Germans had the first turn and moved aggressively on the left with the Panzergrenadiers advancing quickly on the 155s. The British P40 chased the approaching HS129 away!

 

 

 

 

Four batteries of mortars, rockets, and guns hammered the Brits….

IMG_3437Multiple barrages hit the woods near the vineyard to pave the way for the imminent German attack.

For once I rolled well, only losing the American staff team for the artillery. On my right, a mortar barrage took out the commander of the 25pdrs.

My turn saw the arrival of a few P40s, who attacked a Marder lurking near the Werfers. This target was behind some woods which screened the plane from the German mobile flak. The 155s ranged in on the Panzergrenadiers but was ineffective. The 25pdrs remained silent as they were still pinned. The plane managed to range in and avoided all the local AA fire and miss the Marder but only bails a Werfer!

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Turn two marks the arrival of a pair of HS129s who target the Brit left. The German artillery is not as effective this round as the Werfers and Grilles both fail to range in. One infantry team is lost to the 12cm mortars on my left. The real damage comes from the direct fire from the Marders and StuIGs when two of the US 155mm guns are destroyed. To add insult to injury, the pinned Bofors guns totally miss the attacking planes which kill another 155 and bail a Churchill! With all the damage on the guns, its not surprising that they fail their morale check and bug out.

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The British turn begins with no air cover but the 6pdr guns appear in the woods near the vineyard so recently vacated by the American guns. In a pretty wretched display of gunfire the ATGs and Churchills only manage to kill two Marders and bail one, missing the StugIGs totally.

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In turn 3, a barrage kills one of the 6pdr guns and bails a Churchill. The rockets miss again, and the 12cm mortars have no effect. No other combat occurs, although the German infantry closes on the AT guns and Churchills. I must withdraw a platoon this turn, so elect to pull the AA guns off. All my units unpin for once! A 25pdr barrage targets the advancing infantry, killing one.

IMG_3448The tanks also take a stand out and the remaining 6pdr misses his shot at the StuIG.

Turn four sees no German planes.The infantry rallies with the needed help of the Company commander…curses!!

The barrages hit again against the 6pdr and the center objective. The rocket strike takes out the last 6pdr, but the remaining platoon commander makes his check and stays. Now comes the crucial infantry attack. I totally miss with defensive fire and the charge takes out my Company commander and the 6pdr platoon leader. The panzerknacker-wielding German leaders kill a Churchill when I manage to roll a 1 and 2 for armor saves. The bailed Churchill nearby (of course I had failed to remount even with a re-roll!) is captured. The remaining Churchill fails morale and the platoon is gone.

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OK, it’s now or never! I don’t have to withdraw a platoon as I have four, so get a delay counter. The Ghurkha infantry rallies and readies to charge. The 25pdrs lay a perfect smoke screen to hide their approach. As it turned out I forget to move my Crusaders toward the center and really hurt my chances for a win. I think I assumed the infantry would be slaughtered before I could remove the objective.

IMG_3450  The German tanks are screened from shooting at the Ghurkha attack by the smoke barrage.

The attack goes in!!

One stand falls to defensive fire, but the wild Nepalese eventually  kill every German left standing in the wood…five stands KIA!

Turn five’s German barrages are mainly ineffectual, killing one infantry stand. The mobile AA destroys a 25pdr gun on the right. The StuIGs and command half-track charge the Ghurkhas. The half-track bogs on the way in, but the two StuIGs charge in. One is killed in the combat, but the infantry is eliminated.

I make my company morale check, but we call the game at this point, allowing a German 6-1 win since he had 9 platoons. I had pulled most of the infantry off the center objective to attack the left objective and my failure to move the Crusaders would allow the Germans to take the center objective next turn. I didn’t think I had enough time remaining to contest or hold the objective.At that time I only had one mobile platoon (the tanks) as the infantry was still pinned by the prior barrage.

Good game, Jim!

 

 

 

 

 

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