British defence. Flying column up the cente to the woods. Reinforcements along road and to the farm.
17 pdr covering fire behind.
Sunday, and the players and forces had gathered (those that could make it). I ended up switching back to being a German commander, which was fine, as I picked the Fallschirmajger forces anyway, and using my other German models to create the third German players forces as well.
We two German players gathered in the scout-hall kitchen to discuss the plan. It didn’t take long. Firstly, we needed to get to an objective fast, but the Fallschirmjager forces was footbound. If they were in reserve they’d be walking to battle all day and not get there, as well as using up a lot of orders in doing so. They just had to deploy first, and any chance of quickly bouncing an objective was gone with them. Converesly, the Brits had 7 (!) scout units, and would be taking first turn (we had 2 scouts). They’d be there first anyway, even if we used a different force to lead the attack. A tactical defeat before we’d even placed any models... but we’d just have to except that we’d have to fight our way onto an objective.
The Fallschirmjager would lead and attack the farm from out right flank. The main assault would be against the woods, then the crossroads, using the Panthers and tank riding Volksgrenadier (but upgraded and carrying MG42s and extra panzerfausts – which all turned out to be dud!). The third force would be split, half to support the Panthers, including the Jagdpanther and Hetzer, the other half to back up the FJ, with StuG and Ostwind. They too would be carrying grenadiers, this time with MG42s, extra MGs and panzerfausts. I counted 14 MG42s in our forces...
Conversely, the Brits had the speed to easily bounce the objectives. They started with their Cromwells in column on the road and motor infantry with them, followed by a veteran carrier section, all to take the woods, by using their speed on the road.
The farm would be the task of the following reserve platoon, with its support in more carriers, and a few of the Shermans. The 17pdr Shermans and Achilles would be hanging back to use their range to cover the two forward thrusts.
It was game on...
Fallschirmjager trudge across the soggy fields. Platoon HQ in place to call in 120mm mortar fire. 20mm AA on ambush against the arrival of the RAF. Jagdpanzer IV lurking in woods on ambush too, against inevitable arrival of enemy armour.
British deployment, the flying column. German pre-registered target point right in the middle! But they all moved before we got the chance to shoot.The Brits got first turn and raced off down the road at the double quick. Those Cromwells shift.
OP directed off-table 88 artillery pins the leading tank, stalling the column.
Brits occupy the farm in force under mortar and 88 fire. Unlucky carriers going up in smoke!
StuG arriving and getting a bit stuck in the Hohe-Ley ditch.
Facing the three Panthers, two Cromwells in the woods - good luck!
Hetzer, finally unpinned. It nailed a Sherman at maximum range... good shooting from the little guy! Its only real contribution to the war effort.
Panther attack presses on, having debussed their riders, who scattered and opened a wither MG42 fire into the woods, as 75mm rounds whipped through, that wood became very bad for the Brit's health. 4.2" mortar fire failed the stop the big cats.
British armour using the road to move up fast, behind the farm, and safe from long range German AT fire.
Off the back of a lorry, Achilles and HQ Cromwell resupply ammo bins from the second OYD.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, I think its pretty secure... if still under occasional mortar fire.
Disaster strikes, a flukey direct hit and penetration by a 4.2" mortar ends the Jagdpanther's battle, it was rubbish anyway and missed with every shot, despite being another panzer ace. Still, call up the FAMO to fix it or tow it away.
Re-armed (for the second time) the panzer ace Panther presses on into open ground, no 17pdrs left to stop him, and some Volksgrenadier are still keeping up. Next stop, the Sextons!
But it had reached 5.30pm, and it time to stop. 6 hours of gaming had resulted in a close fought battle. German BR total of 76, with a bonus Endkampf chit at the end (when we just 7 points from breaking) raising that to 84. We had lost 70 BR. 14 away from the breaking.
The Brits started with 92 BR, and had lost 74. 18 from breaking. They held 2 objectives (the farm and crossorads), the Germans held 1 (the woods). So, by any measure, a hard fougth and very close win to the Brits... although we had actually inflicted more losses on them. The Germans hadn't lost a single AFV to enemy gunnery, only the Jagdpanther to an unlucky mortar hit, and the Famo towed it away off the table anyway (to regain us 3 BR). As tank battles go, it was a German win, but it hadn't been enough to sever the important road to Xanten.
Given the time, energy, etc, I think the re-armed Panthers would have caused even more havoc. The British armour was down to the bare bones of 75mm armed Shermans, and the three big cats could have pressed on for the crossroads. But that's a big IF...
Brilliant game, great fun for a sunday afternoon, and a tough struggle between two well matched forces. The Brits did pull about 8 special counters (3 aircraft but only 1 showed up), which helped there end score too. Thanks to the Brit players, Sean, Ken and Russ, and Fuzz for the Germans - one day that Ostwind will die... it lives a remarkable charmed life, the Brits missed very shot at it. I even hate it, and it was on my side.
My ME-262 didn't show up though... no big surprise there then. One day!