Earlier this week it was my pleasure to run a small intro-game to help out a friend looking to learn the rules. So, I devised two 250 pts forces for a meeting engagement, somewhere on the road to Argentan, between a US Armoured Division battle group and a Panzer Division battle group (that would be me). I tried to include most of the elements of the game so he would get a good overview.
Having set-up a quick the table, we set to it, with the Germans taking the first turn and rolling up to the central farm, seizing the objective, but little else.
The Americans also boldly pushed forwards, on their left an M8, Sherman and tank riding infantry seized one objective, and an MMG team seizing the third farm building from wheer they could lay down suppressing fire, before the remaining two Shermans and tank riders pushed into the large wheat field, leading the attack.
Already the US command and control (4 with a re-roll) was having its effect over the German's mere 2 (and no re-roll). It would proof important throughout ( a good point to make to a newbie).
Reinforcements arrived, in a the shape of my Panzer IV squadron, with one heading left to support the farm’s defenders, one heading right to lead the attack on the US-held building, and the third (command) remaining as my mobile reserve - just in case.
The US reserves also arrived en-masse, a frightening looking battery of 3 M7 Priests rolled into the fields, along with their supply truck and an M8 HMC.
Battle was joined for real as the US artillery bombardment opened up on the central farm, causing suppression but few losses (at first). On the German right my attack immediately faltered under suppression from US MG fire from the M8 and the infantry squad, whilst the Sherman and Pz IV traded shots, and neither could hit a barn-door! Still, my attack wasn’t making any headway.
The crux of the battle would be the central farm, and the US troops showed uncharacteristic boldness by dismounting from their two Shermans behind a curtain of tank MG fire (one tank wiped out an MMG team with 2 direct hits!). As the infantry moved up, the artillery hammered down just ahead, and another MMG team was destroyed, and my own OP team suppressed. The farm suddenly looked under serious threat (and the third and final objective falling would cost me the battle), so my command Panzer IV revved-up and rolled out in the that direction. The lead Pz IV appeared hull down on a hillock, only to miss the Shermans, and then take 2 hits in return, but both deflected off – phew!
Just as it seemed the last 4 German infantry couldn’t hold the farm from 20 US infantry, a FW-190A swooped in – hurrah! It was the first aircraft I’ve had arrive in ages. It dropped its bomb and missed, but came around next turn (and subsequent turns) to strafe the cornfield and keep the threatening infantry squad suppressed. The second US infantry squad on their right moved up and wiped out another German infantry squad, leaving me very low on infantry indeed.
My OP, at last unsuppressed, finally got through to his 105 battery and they also hammered the cornfield, lucky destroying a Sherman with a direct hit! The US Priests kept up their fire too, and the farm was an unhealthy place to be, and my lurking Jgpanzer IV was suppressed.
With the FW-190 out of ammo and returning to base, the US infantry pressed their assault and wiped out my infantry squad at close quarters, taking the outbuildings and leaving my OP team defending the farm alone (well the Jgpanzer IV was close-by, but it had no anti-infantry weaponry at all!).
Aerial recce shot of the the Germans deploying into the farm and moving right. Panzer IVs yet to arrive.
German infantry and Jgpanzer IV (completely wasted by me) reach the central farm.
The Shermans are engaged from a hillock by a distant Pz IV.
Note the first infantry squad have reached the farm walls, where the FW-190 would keep them suppressed for the next few turns.
Things where still close, with the US just having the edge in morale, but then came the decisive turn. A P-47 streaked in! Eek, its first bomb run scored a direct hit on the Panzer IV on my right, blowing it to iddy-biddy bits! That lost me 6 morale and suddenly left me just 1 from breaking.
Another bad command roll (3!) left me in deepening trouble... my 20mm flak missed the P-47, which was circling around and lining it up. Then my Panzer IVs’ MGs failed to pin the US infantry, leaving it in bazooka range. The next US turn must be the last, and so it proved. The P-47s many blazing .50 cals tore the flak half-track apart and the bazooka team did their worst and my second tank exploded. That saw the end of the game, the Germans broken and routed, the Falaise gap one step closer to closing.
US infantry close-up to the farm and prepare to clear it, as the P-47 arrives.