Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Battle of Al’zaafaranah Oasis, with Soldiers of God

Game six of the Soldiers of God mini-campaign and the finale… well, it was already done, but this is added bonus extra, another chance for a final last big bash as my relief army marched to Homs, now sacked. Lord Andrus de Renard’s crusaders came out to meet them, rather than become trapped in the city themselves. The two sides met in the desert scrub at the Al’zaafaranah Oasis. His smaller force, toughened now through the course of the campaign with various experienced units, including two very tough Turcopole units with multiple stat upgrades, that had fought in almost every battle and not yet been destroyed. My force was a brand new one, no experience upgrades allowed, as it had just marched in. My previous army (of Homs) was assumed destroyed or scattered.

Here was my army selected for the battle. Back to basics, heavy on the horse archers on both flanks, ahead of a base force of cheap infantry whose main job was not to die and allow either flank to be wiped out. De Renard’s chosen plan for field battles had so far been echelon attacks with his heavy cavalry smashing one flank to bits, that wouldn’t happen again (hopefully). I had a cavalry centre of Ghulam, with a Loose! card behind them, they’d be more mobile archers that a strike force. The two small Arab tribal units of horse and cavalry were to hang back on my board edge, defend the baggage and again, just be alive in case the main combat units were wiped out, losing an entire battle is so costly in morale it will almost always cost you the game (but you can’t be strong everywhere). But if any units survive, the battle isn’t gone.



Saracen Battle Plan: Hold and Harry - Initiative 0

            Stands    Pts     MV
Left: Advance, Loose!, Retire   
Horse Archers    3 stands    15    1
Horse Archers    3 stands    15    1
Horse Archers    3 stands    15    1
Infantry        4 stands    8    1
Infantry        4 stands    8    1
Infantry        4 stands    8    1
Archers        4 stands    12    1   
Ahdath Levy        4 stands    4    1   

Centre: Loose!
Ghulam        4 stands    28    2
Ghulam        4 stands    28    2
Ghulam        4 stands    28    2
Ghulam        4 stands    28    2
Tribal Horse        2 stands    8    1   
Baggage Train    1 stand    free   

Right: Advance, Loose!, Retire
Horse Archers    3 stands    15    1
Horse Archers    3 stands    15    1
Horse Archers    3 stands    15    1
Infantry        4 stands    8    1
Infantry        4 stands    8    1
Infantry        4 stands    8    1
Archers        4 stands    12    1   
Ahdath Levy        4 stands    4    1
Camelry        2 stands    10    1   

300 points    26 Morale Value

My general plan was to horse archer him to death, archery, archery and more archery… fill ‘em full of arrows! No mercy, death to the infidel defilers!! Death by pointy stick!

Oh, and what battle it was… a 5 hour epic of Soldiers of God, so, so close. Two players giving it their all. The Franks had changed up their battle plan too, afraid of my horse archer flanks (and figuring after 2 defeats I’d go back to basics - its annoying to be predictable!), his plan was to be strong in archery on both flanks, skirmishing archers and those awesome damn Turcopoles at full strength (meet fire with fire!), well he’d meet arrows with arrows. Each Crusader flank also had Knights, for the counter-attack and to be bulwark against being wiped out himself. His centre would conduct a more cautious advance, with a March card behind them. So without any Charge! cards in play, this would be a far more cautious fight all round. Let’s see who can shoot the straightest for longest (I’ll back the Saracens, but I’m biased!).


In brief(ish), the battle started well for me, my horse archer flanks raced up, and won the initial exchange of volleys, breaking a unit of archers and armed pilgrims on the Crusader right, and that flank was looking in trouble. His others archers retired back through their men-at-arms and foot knights, shot-up. They had returned fire and inflicted some disruption on my skirmishing cavalry though, but such was his concern over the possible annihilation of his right flank, that his Holy Order knight’s advance wheeled from the centre and advanced in that direction. His shock force had been diverted. With a wide open and unprotected flank for his best knights (with mercenary Armenia infantry in support), my centre Ghulam could not resist such a target. It had been my intention to attack, but a March using a ‘gallop’ move placed them into archery and charge range of his elite knights flank. A volley of archery followed, inflicting the first disorder. The pressure was really on the Crusaders and initial losses had seen me take the Initiative.

On my right, my horse archers and his Turcoploles were trading a lot of arrows, both wheeling forwards and back, loosing all they could and battering each other. All 3 of my units were soon at 3 disruption points, close to breaking, but hung on. Many cards would have to be played to keep their morale up and not lose that light cavalry fight. It was very even, his 8 shots at 3+ to my 9 shots at 3+ in return, but with my units easier to break. If one side got the upper hand, it would be deep trouble for the waiting troops behind, watching the screening light cavalry duel, that turned into an epic… for turns, neither side were willing to give up a unit and perhaps the flank. Stalemate.

In the centre his open order units had moved into the oasis village, crossbows now in the buildings and dominating the centre. They would pepper my Ghulam with bolts if I let them, but cavalry cannot attack units in buildings. So, Manoeuvre card, one unit of Ghulam dismount into open order. Quick Loose! card to fire a preliminary volley of arrows, and a Charge card for the centre, rushing the buildings, and my Ghulam charged the Hospitallers too, who had, 1 card earlier just started to wheel back to face them. It was a marginal call on a flank or front charge, right on the line, but as I ever prefer to give the benefit of the doubt to my opponent. It was frontal charge, but still, my lances went in and his Holy Order were on the back foot. That melee would be locked until the end, but my Ghulam were doing a great job in keeping his elite strike force tied up as I fought to win the battle on the flanks.

But that didn’t go to plan, and after my initial good start, it slipped. His right flank infantry surged forward, March, March, Charge! and suddenly my lightning quick horse archers were caught in melee and being overrun. His foot knights dispatched one unit, his men-at-arms another, my flankers were gone, with the last unit reduced to 2 stands by a deserters card! His archers were also back, rallied, and lob shooting at them. It was an uneven fight now and my last light cavalry withdrew with all speed, shooting a parting shot as they went of course, back behind the infantry screen which had gradually marched up behind them.

In the centre my dismounted Ghulam fought the Arbalasters for the building, and again, it was classic fight. Challenges made, Fear cards used to taunt, crossbow bolts killing any that tried to force the doors or windows. My Ghulam just couldn’t quite shift them, and kept losing challenges! (in no other game rules I know of can medium cavalry do this, dismount, and fight on foot in open order, changing from close order shock cavalry to foot archers then to infantry skirmishers, all hail the versatile Ghulam).

With all three ‘battles’ now heavily engaged, pressure on your cards is very high, you just can’t do everything, and you just cant keep everything in the fight. Many hard decisions have to be made. This was both our problems, but the my losses now saw the Crusaders back with the initiative. Lunch time.. a brew, butty and a reflection on what had been a gruelling and epic morning so far.

Refreshed and back at it, and instantly things swung back my way. A Impetuous Charge by his mounted men-at-arms (induced by me) saw them attack my last unit of Ghulam, but as only 3 stands, in open order, their charge impact was weak, and my Ghulam, with tribal cavalry in support, smashed them. Mounted men-arms aren;t knights. Then my victorious Ghulam used a Manoeuvre to realign themselves and marched off to the right, to swing the light cavalry fight, still going forwards and backwards, in my favour. One of his veteran Turcopoles units final cracked and fled. His second unit withdrew behind his now advancing mounted knights. Facing a wall of arrows (13 die, and weathering it for only 1 disruption). My own light cavalry pulled back, rather than face a Charge! card, leaving my Ghulam to face off with his knights as the light cavalry engagement became a heavy cavalry battle.

In the centre, I still couldn’t clear that damned house of crossbowmen, whose defence was now legendary, how they didn’t crack I have no idea (actual, many passed Resolve tests helped a lot). I was back in control and well ahead, 11 MV left to the enemy’s 4!

Then it turned again, his Knights charged on the right, smashed my Ghulam and followed up into the support Arab tribal cavalry, who stood no chance, 2 units smashed very quickly. His Hospitallers were also winning now, and my Ghuam, so long a valiant block, where under extreme pressure, I could only just save them each turn at a huge cost in cards (and thus other actions). It was suddenly Crusaders with 3 MV left, and me with 1! No!!!

The last turn was tense (hence exciting) and so close, neither side could risk losing a unit. But my last horse archers on the right (they had had a very long day) whipped passed his victorious knights to peppered his pilgrims behind. A Deserters special card saw 3 pilgrim stands become 2. I had more Loose! cards to finish them too, perhaps even massacre them and win. But another melee in the centre saw his Hospitallers have a good turn and my Ghulam were dying in a massacre too. I couldn’t save them, I knew it it was over for me. It all hinged on those few pilgrims, who, decided fighting my horse archers was better than being shot-up, and produced another Charge! and rallied off their disruption. Last couple of cards, and I’d have the last play of the turn, knowing it would be my last of the game. It came down to a Challenge, my horse archers challenging the Pilgrims, I had to win it and inflict 3 disorder. In the tensest of tense roll offs, I scored a 3! No!, his roll, a 3! My troops were militia in quality, not great, but his were Levy - worse… so I win the tie. Resolve test needed a 6. Fails! Disorder (D3), I roll a 6, 3 Disorder, breaking the pilgrims as their leader was cut-down in personal combat. My Ghulam were broken, breaking my army, his Levy dead, breaking him… final totals, me -3 MV, him 0. Draw, and both of us slumped down in exhausted relief.

It had swung to and fro for 5 hours, in the end we agreed a draw seemed about right… although I don’t favour draws in wargames, in this case, it would have been very harsh on whoever lost it. What a game… one to remember for a long time. 

Oh, I forgot my camera too, so the photos are snaps off my rubbish phone… but enough to get the picture.

Battle Lines draw, my left and centre deployed. Village and woods surrounding oasis in the centre.


 The Ghulam in the centre, a reserve of mobile archers. It did not turn out too much like that.

Horse archer screen on the left, in front of the infantry blocks, whose role was 'don't die!'.

 The same on my right

The light cavalry race off and start a protracted missile engagement with the enemy Turcopoles, just creeping into shot. Cunning, play the horse archers at their own game, then, in a surprise move, the Christians charged in! 

 In the centre, now dismounted Ghulam storm the Crossbowmen's house, which became their mini-fortress. The other house is full of monks! (stand in pilgrims).

Ghulam vs Hospitallers with Armenian spearmen in support. Deadlock for his main strike force, but as the Disorder dice shows, the Ghulam had to weather a lot of pressure. 

 'Can we come in please?' 'No!'


Horse archers now withdrawn on the right, my Ghulam and support are left to face his Knights... and it didn't go well! He had a magic stash of Charge! cards in the last few turns.

Meanwhile, on the left, his foot knights had walked across the table and final charged. That was a deadlock too. My infantry are very poor, but enough of them can weather melee for a few turns at least.


With that bitterly fought stalemate, both sides are forced to withdraw exhausted. De Renard decided he would take his plunder, now all massively enriched, and head home to the County of Tripoli. The campaign had been a Crusaders win overall (4 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat), but brilliant fun. If you have never played Soldiers of God, try it, I do think it’s the best game system I have written, better than Battlegroup (well, edging it). Every game a classic! I look forward to doing it all again.

Time to change games for bit now, back to WW2, or maybe ACW - Longstreet has too long been dormant. Or maybe some sci-fi. Tbd.






Saturday, 16 March 2019

FotR mini-campaign, game 2

Second battle of the FotR mini-campaign, on table 2 of the campaign map. This would see US forces advancing on the east bank of the ErfundenSee reservoir, towards the dam, to open up a south-eastern route into town (and deployment for the final game when it comes). It was 400 points, using a Delaying Action scenario.

The forces came from our pre-campaign deployment, Both players have had a central pool of forces to divide up between the tabletops, with the Germans including their Defences. Once both sides had chosen where their forces would be placed, there was then a small number of additional points for things like off-table guns and counter-battery fire etc, that would be available to any force on any table. The forces I had pre-chosen to hold this winding track around the lakeshore were another of my Volkssturm platoons (I have 6 in total for the campaign), supported by both my captured 35S French Somuas and some Hitler Youth. Being a very narrow table, I hadn’t placed many defences here, just the road block, some foxholes and barbed wire. Add to this were off-table 105mm guns and a PRTP to cover the narrow width of the forest. Not much, but a lot of Panzerfausts for the tight fight on the road and in the dense forest. (we revised our ‘forest fighting’ house-rule, this time max range would be 20”, but from 10-20” would be suppressing fire only, only 0-10” could be Aimed Fire).

Coming the other way, the US had chosen this southern-most attack route for their light recon forces. A cavalry recce troops (from the Wacht am Rhein book), supported by 3 M5 light tanks, a M36 Jackson for serious hitting power and off-table 81mm mortar support. They also had a single timed 105mm barrage, so that would prove unpleasant on such a narrow table (actually when it landed it killed 1 sniper, being a bit mistimed).

With the tabletop laid out copying the map, objectives positions, (just 2, the road block and the road where it exited to the dam) and my defences and initial deployment in place, the US started, M5s leading the way.

The battle would play out in two mini-engagements, along the lake-side track and through the forests. The first US probe was up the track, and it soon turned bad for them. My other sniper, hidden behind the log roadblock, did good work pinning the M20 scout car with bullets whizzing overhead (and stopping his main mortar spotter), and when my off-table 105s unleashed the track rapidly became a mess. A M5 was knocked out, then an M8. His M16 AA half track was next, and didn’t spot my Panzerschreck team on ambush fire. It took a rocket on the nose and was destroyed. So far so good for my Volksturm, but then the ‘schreck team had an Ammo Low counter played on them and, finding that was it for their 88mm rockets, the Volkssturm decided they’d done their bit and headed back for town. My best AT weapon had just legged it! Can’t trust these Volkssturm.

In another piece of good fortune, all my reserve forces arrived at once (double 6s!). On rolled the pride of the Panzerwaffe, two 35Rs carrying the rest of my Volkssturm platoon. The Hitler Youth squad arrived too, heavily weighed down by Panzerfausts and moved off deeper into the woods.

It had been a good start for my defenders, holding both objectives and damage done, I was 2 chits to 6 up… but then it all changed.

Finally the US got some mortars firing, the M2 now unpinned, and in doing so they drew a Air Attack counter, then rolled a 5. Oh joy, another ‘Jug’ winged in, rockets ready. The USAAF was putting in a big show at Erfundensdorf and frankly, I’d like to play a game when I wasn’t under P-47 attack! But such is war, in it came, up the lake, its first rocket strike missing and blowing up some trees. It would be back.

The US attack, now a mess of wrecked vehicles on the track had stalled, and the jeeps and another M5 moved into the woods, to get off the road, 3-man recce infantry teams dismounting to avoid taking their Jeeps into battle. Here the infantry fire, mostly suppressing fire, started with my dug-in Volkssturm, who had the better of it. But that M5 wasn’t coming within Panzerfaust range, and its twin MGs would not be silenced. It was now the target of my Hitler Youth teenage tank hunters. They got close enough and fired 2 ‘fausts, and both missed! Then got pinned by returning Garand rifle fire. Then the M5 spotted them twice and unleashed .30 cal machine gun death, wiping out the kids!

Things started to go down hill, the P-47 came round again, and targeted an 35R on the road, 5” rockets smashing it to bit like a sledgehammer to crack a peanut! Next order, the M36 lined up the other 35R, needed a 6 to hit, and did. Ouch! 90mm AP smashed the other 35R into a burning scrap! No more armour. Then, more MG fire from a recce jeep broke my Volsksturm squad who ran - cowards! That left the roadblock objective held by a single sniper. An M8 advanced up the trial, but the snipers ambush fire pinned it. Phew… but my defence line was crumbling. The P-47 would back strafing with its many MGs next turn and all I had was infantry… poor infantry. US mortars also got going again, spotted by the recce troops HQ. In my turn the only unit not pinned was my Forward HQ and his Kubelwagen at the back. Great! Just unpin then. 

In the end, I couldn’t save the day. My Volkssturm had to abandon their foxholes to get a last ‘faust shot at that M5, counter-attacking. he must be close to breaking. The Panzerfaust hit - yes! Then glanced off - what! The M5 survived and then hosed down my squad, breaking it. And that counter was enough, my force was broken and the US had won again. A very narrow one this time, by just 3 BR points, but task Force McLynn had open he forest track into town. Damn those Jabos! 

Some photos of the evenings actions, we played for 2.5 hours, including a tea/loo break, so a quick game. Here are some shots of the board and action.





 The battlefield, US from the left, Germans from the right

 The forests

 The winding lakeside road

 The German end of the track

 German CO and his transport, calling in the 'tank' reserves

 At the roadblock and barbed wire. Sniper lurking. 

Volkssturm in foxholes in the forest

First up the road, M5 and M16, pinned

 Volkssturm squad on the move to the roadblock

 All German reinforcements arrive at once, R35sandn tank riding Volkssturm

Under mortar fire

Ah! Here we go again. USAAF in bound. 

Jabos!

 German artillery hits home on the road.

 Panzerschreck team take-out the M16 as it rounds the corner

Then immediately run! Out of rockets.

The wrecks on the road back-up. M36 Jackson on the way next. 

35R sneaks up the hillock to get a crafty shot at the M36, and regrets the return fire. 

 Both 35Rs gone in 2 orders

 as the M8s arrive to press for the roadblock. Ahead is an inferno. 

 Recce jeep adding its MG firepower in the woods, where the last of Volkssturm are out-shot and forced to surrender or run.

Victory fly-past, the P-47 has wreaked havoc again. 


In the campaign this means, in the final battle for town the US will have deployments zones in the south-west and south-east corners of the table. On to game 3, the attack through the Eisenwald along a foresters track, enough of the lakeside battles. I have some better armour deployed here and better defences, so lets hope for a win… my losing streak goes on.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Soldiers of God, CAMPAIGN GAME 5

THE WALLS OF HOMS, ASSAULT ON THE AL-DAYR GATE

In our Soldiers of God mini-campaign the crusader’s advance has reached Homs itself, the Emir’s army (me) heavily defeated in the Orontes valley it would be a scratch force to hold the city walls as the enemy set their siege and began preparing their war engines, including building a siege tower. Homs was in peril, the bloodthirsty enemy would show no mercy in sacking the city and looting it. The Emir has sent a messenger for aid, and a relief army was on the way, but first the garrison had to hold out long enough. After a month of building (and painting) work (literally), the Franks of Lord Andrus de Renard were ready to assault the walls. They chose the city’s eastern walls, at the Gate A-Dayr. As dawn broke they stood arrayed for the assault, behind them their trebuchet and mangonels had ranged in. Almost all his units carried siege ladders. It would be a bloody day…

… it would be disastrous day. Good grief, talk about deserted by cards and dice, the traitors! I could not buy a half decent dice roll when I needed one, all my defensive plans failed, I lost melees I shouldn’t have, my multiple burning oil and Naffatun attacks did very little (and on average should have massacred something). The defenders on the walls crumbled, his siege tower was pushed up, refused to topple despite many hits from my war engines and unleashed his fanatic Knights Hospitaller onto the walls to wreak carnage. His own trebuchet eventual smashed down the gate and his mounted men-at-arms charged in through it, another Naffatun attack rolled a 1 and did zippo. The gate fell, the men on the walls routed or were massacred and my defenders did embarrassingly little damage as Homs fell to the Crusader’s sacking and looting… they’d all be going home rich.

This was a trounsing. I just didn’t get the action cards, and when I did, rolled badly (I’m starting to think there are no 6s on my dice). I was also under the weather myself - to make more excuses. The lurgy was setting-in, so my defence might not have been as determined as usual. The Emir was not feeling well today… but still, the Crusaders have now decisively won the campaign, 4 victories to 1.




 The A-Dayr gate and city walls.

 Our battlefield

Inside the walls,  a last stand of local Ahdath militia was deployed to fight for the houses (and mosque) if the enemy broke in. 

My war engines on one of the gate towers

Inside the A-Dayr gate. 

 Lines of Array, as the Franks deploy for the assault. Siege tower is scratch built. 

My defenders at the gate.

The Frank's trebuchet, guarded by monks!! 
They just came to see God's will triumph over the infidels. Prayers answered today.

The siege encampment, at the back.

The last of the Ghulam (dismounted) on the walls.

 The siege ladders close in, yellow dice are disorder on the units, from my rather feeble archery.

Siege tower reaches the wall and disgorges the Knights Hospitaller, who massacred my Ghulam in a display of inept melee skills.

The gate is gone. My black-clad fanatics prepare to die for Allah, holding it. 
Ahdath militia in support. 

In come the mounted men-at-arms.

 Enemy at the gate... and streaming up the ladders.

We have decided, given that this game was a bit of a disaster for me, we’ll play a 6th game in the campaign, as the relief army arrives too late. Unwilling to allow that new force to harry his men and their loot all the way back to Tripoli, the confident Crusaders are going to come out and face the relief force in final large open battle before the walls of the city. A chance for a little payback for Allah’s forces, a face saving (if pyrrhic) victory. Back to basics for this one… horse archers and cavalry, hit ‘em where it hurts (then run off).


Saturday, 2 March 2019

Erfundensdorf Campaign - Game 1

Fall of the Reich remains one my favourite Battlegroup periods for gaming, I just like the ‘backs to the wall’ feel of the German lists. This is a short campaign, of maybe 5-6 games, set over 1 day, as Combat Command A, US 3rd Armoured Division, attack to surround and capture the town of Erfundensdorf, part of their advance to help seal the Ruhr Pocket.

The campaign works as a series of morning, afternoon and then evening battles, with the earlier battles deciding from which direction US forces will be able to deploy and attack the German defenders in the big final game, to take the town itself. The first game, table 1, would be a push from the south via the reservoir’s lake-side forest trail, at the See-Hotel.



The campaign map. 6 tables to fight over. 

The German defenders, that’s me, would be an ad-hoc kampfgruppe of various parts, including Fallschirmjager cadets of ‘Ersatz Battalion Richter’, the local Volkssturm ‘Erfundensdorf’ and reinforcements arriving from the Paderborn tank training school, Stossgruppe Schutz (my armoured reserve arriving in the afternoon via table 5).

We played out the first morning game, a 500 point affair using the End of the Rat Race scenario. Here are the two lists for the game.

Battlefield 1- Lakeside road and the Seehotel
The forest road running west to east along the edge of the lake, from Fahrhaus to Erfundendorf via the resort Seehotel on the lakeside. North of the road is wooded, the edge of the Eisenwald.

500 points Attack/Defence scenario - End of the Rat Race

US Forces - Taskforce James in March Column order

Aerial Observer Plane                71
1 M4A3E2 Jumbo (75mm)            66
Armoured Infantry Platoon (dismounted)    136
M4 Tank Platoon (3) (all 75mm)        140
2 x 105mm guns (off table)            90

503 pts, 30 BR, 3 officers, 0 scouts

German Forces - Elements of Kampfgruppe Idlemann
1 Minefield                    20
10” Barbed wire                10
10 Foxholes                    10
Roadblock                    free

Volkssturm Platoon            71
+ 3 Pzfausts                    15

FJ Platoon (Atypical)            115       
+ 4 x Pzfausts                20   
+ 3 x MG-42s                12
+ Pzschreck Team                23

1 StuG III G                    45
1 StuH 42 G                    45
2 120mm mortars (off-table)        72
1 supply truck                8
20mm Flak on medium truck        32

498 pts, 27 BR, 2 officers, 0 scouts   

The US started as they meant to go on, their Piper Cub calling in 105mm artillery around the hotel, and braving incoming 20mm cannon fire from my flak truck, failing to roll any 5+’s (another theme of the game). The Piper Cub never failed a coms check all game, I counted 8 in a row!

The leading Sherman Jumbo trundled up the road, and pushed into the trees, machine guns blazing to in my Fallschirmjager screen that was spread-out through the trees, (some in foxholes). Their infantry followed, in skirmish line through the trees, advancing to contact and then using their fire superiority to cause a lot of pinning… my MG-42s just couldn’t get going to return fire. Finally his tanks arrived, two up the road, one through the trees, which encountered my Fallschirmjager, was pinned by a 105mm HE shell from my StuH, which had come forwards to engage, and when hit by a Panzerfaust (which glanced off), the crew fled, abandoning the tank.. a small victory.

Meanwhile, at the hotel, my FJ platoon HQ was shelling the road with 120mm mortar fire, causing some pinning and destroying a US .30 cal MG team. It was an uneven battle through, incoming 105 shells raining in, with a direct hit on my MG team in a foxhole, blowing them all up (terrible cover saves), and pinning my flak truck. Which was unfortunate for him, because when the US unpinned, then pulled an Air Attack counter - and then rolled a 6… incoming P-47 with rockets, racing low over the lake. Achtung Jabos!

My reinforcements had started to arrive, my StuG and the Volkssturm platoon. The StuG was instantly the P-47’s target with rockets, and first victim - kaboom!, not a shot fired by my best armour. It wasn’t looking good.

The US kept up the pressure, his tanks machine gunning up the trees, and one rushed the minefield along the road. Taking a hit (strength 1) it rolled clean through the explosion and opened up on the Volkssturm squad rushing to hold the road block, an objective. In a furious blast of MG fire 8 Volkssturm were wiped out on the road, their bodies piling up. Ouch!

The P-47 was coming back around, when my flak scored 2 hits, 2 damage and pinned it. The P-47 was shot full of 20mm holes… good work.

In the woods, the infantry fire fight was being won by the US, there 60mm mortar adding some pinning as one squad of FJ cadets broke and ran. My Panzerschreck got a clean shot at the Jumbo, only to see his rocket glance of the front glacis!! That doesn’t happen often! Return MG fire killed the ‘schrek team… and my BR was not looking good.

The P-47, now unpinned again, came round again, skimming the lake. Again my flak hammered and in an uncharacteristic display of good, dice, 2 more hits and 2 more damage points, the P-47 was shot down! It nosed into the lake in a huge splash and that's 2 counters for the US player.

It wasn’t enough though, more 105mm shelling at the hotel and my second FJ squad being wiped out was enough to see my defenders over their BR total. The Volkssturm and FJ survivors retreated back towards town. The US had reached only 20 from 30 BR… so a solid win. They had their objective and the route into town from the south was secure. We’ll do it all again, on the other side of the lake in game 2, where a US recon troop is probing the south-eastern route to town and looking to capture the reservoir’s dam. My Volkssturm will be trying to put up a better fight next time (with some better dice, I might burn these ones!).

Here are a few shots of the action, and our campaign map. 



US recce armoured car hits a mine on the road and starts the battle. 

Roadblock  and MG team in foxhole

 The battlefield, a narrow fight

 Seehotel

Here they come, the US armour as arrived

Jumbo leads the way through incoming mortar fire.

Piper Cub spotter, a pain in the butt... flak truck below, trying to hit it. 

StuG arrives along the road at the hotel, lining up the distant Shermans

Oh.. great... Jabo inbound hot!

P-47, armed with 8 5" rockets

Buzzing the hotel

US armoured infantry (leaving their half racks behind) to advance on foot through the woods. Pinned. 

Shermans stack up on the track

Back in the hotel grounds, my resupply Maultier arrives and makes bee-line, risking incoming 105 fire, for my StuH. 

No more StuG, hit by 2 5" rockets.

One brave Sherman rushes the minefield and survives. 

My flak truck blasts the P-47 out of sky on its second pass.  Hurrah!

Maultier meets StuH to re-arm in the trees. 

 Volkssturm continue to be pounded by arty fire in the hotel grounds. This would be second line of defence, but their morale gave out before the US advance reached them. Time to go!