Friday, 16 April 2021

Kampfgruppe Scholtze, Panzer Lehr campaign, Game 6

The finale, a meeting engagement scenario as the Germans push for Le Desert and US try to stop them. Tank duels in the bocage wouldn’t be my pick of games, I find, from bitter experience, they bog-down in the hedges with tanks just firing back and forth from across a field, with little real movement. It can become just rolling dice at each other, until one side hits. Anyway, restriction of the theatre aside, time to get some Panthers rolling.

Here is the German Force:

ELEMENTS OF 2nd BATTALION, 901st PANZER GRENADIER REGIMENT and 1st BATTALION, 130th PANZER REGIMENT 
(All Vets)

4 x Panzer V Panthers            12    1 is an officer

SdKfz 250/9                    1    scout, mortar spotter

Recon Team - 3 men in SdKfz 250/1    2    scout, all have SMGs, 1 Pzfaust

Panzer Grenadier PHQ - 4 men    3    officer, mortar spotter
in SdKfz 251/10

Pz Grenadier Squads             4    D3 Panzerfausts
5 men with MG-42, 3 men with MG-42
in SdKfz 251/1

Pz Grenadier Squads             3    D3 Panzerfausts
5 men with MG-42, 3 men with MG-42

Battery of 2 x 80mm mortars        0    off-table

Total                    BR 25 + attachment    2 officers, 2 scouts

Roll once for attached support (rolled 16)
D20 Roll    Attached                BR
1-5        Sniper team - 2 men        +1    Sniper-Scout (Elite)

6-9        FHQ - 4 men in Kubelwagen    +3    Senior Officer, mortar spotter,
                                all have SMGs

9-15        Recon Team             +2    Scout, 1 Panzerfaust,
        - 3 men in SdKfz 250/1            all have SMGs
            
16-18        Grille SP gun            +2    

19-20        Forward Observer - 2 men    +1    Officer, Artillery Spotter
        -2 men in Kubelwagen


Artillery Support
Battery of 2 x 80mm mortars (off table)

4 x 1st Priority Artillery Requests (max of divisional level), if Forward Observer attached

and here is the US.

ELEMENTS 1st BATTALION, 47th INFANTRY REGIMENT AND C COMPANY, 899th TANK DESTROYER BATTALION, 9th INFANTRY DIVISION AND F COMPANY, CCA, 3rd ARMOURED DIVISION

(All Regs)

2 x M10 Tank Destroyers                    4

5 x M4 Shermans                        15    1 is Officer, *reserves    

Jeep Scout Team - 3 men in Jeep            2    Scout, *reserves

Infantry Squad - 7 men, 5 men with BAR        4

Rifle Team - 4 men                    2

Bazooka Team - 3 men with bazooka            1

MMG Team - 3 men with .30 cal MMG        1

Foxholes for 25 men                    0

1 minefield                            0

Total                        BR
29 + attachment    1 officer, 1 scout

Roll once for attached support (10 rolled)
D20 Roll    Attached                BR
1-8        2 M8 Armoured Cars        +4    2 Scouts, * reserves
        and
        Forward Observer - 2 men in Jeep    Officer, Artillery Spotter

9-14        2 M8 Armoured Cars        +6    2 scouts, * reserves
        and
        Armoured Inf Squad            D4+2 bazooka shots
        - 7 men with bazooka
        and 3 men with MMG in M3 HT    

15-20        Armoured Inf Squad        +7    D4+2 bazooka shots
        - 7 men with bazooka             * reserves
        and 2 men with MMG in M3 HT    
        and
        Armoured Inf MG Squad        
        2 x 3 men with .30 cal MG
        in M3 HT            


Artillery Support
4 x 2nd Priority Artillery Requests (maximum is Division), if attached

and the scenario special rules

Platoon-level:
Roll 2D6 for Orders

Soft Ground: Wheeled vehicles which move off-road treat it as Dangerous Terrain. On a 1, roll again. 4+ OK, on a 1-3 Bogged down and immobilised. Half-tracked and tracked vehicles move as normal.

Allied Air Superiority: German player must roll a 6 for any Air Attack counter.

German Advance North extra VPs: If the Germans exit 3 or more armoured vehicles off the northern table edge they gain +5 campaign victory points. If the German’s advance no armoured vehicles off the northern table edge, the US player gains +5 campaign victory points.

US Reserves: The M4 Shermans are reserves and enter via the US table edge on turn 4+D3.

The Jeep team, M8 Greyhounds and Armoured Infantry are reserves and enter via the US table edge on turn 2+D3.

Flanking Recon:
The SdKfz 250/9 and Recon Teams (base or attached) may enter from up to half way along the western board edge.  

Supply Truck: After all other units are on the tabletop, both sides may include a single supply truck, entering from their table edge.


Google Earth provided the right location for the battle and I replicated it onto the tabletop, with a minor change (one side lane to Bon Vouloir was enough). 

For a plan, I picked a  flank to attack (up the right) with a small diversion force on the left (including the flanking recce units). Hopefully they would draw some US forces away from the main attack and if not, then be enough to sneak 3 AFVs off the US table edge for the extra campaign victory points.

The game started with the initial US forces deployed, up to 3/4 way down the table all infantry in foxholes in the hedges and the two M10s on ambush fire, one covering the road from the back. The Germans would roll in on turn 1. Except, well, 4 orders in the first turn (double 1, first roll of the game, good start!). I kept it simple and sent the tanks in first, defying the M10’s gun to crack Panther front armour. The infantry would follow on turn 2.

The lead M10 found itself alone against 3 Panthers and, clanging one shell off a Panther’s gun mantlet, scooted back across the cornfield rather than lose the uneven fight. The US infantry mostly got on ambush fire and waited.

With a better command roll this time and the Germans advance got underway, pushing up the table, with the panzer grenadiers behind the tanks (as cover in the open crop field), US rifle fire had little effect on them, and the handy Grille arrived to blast the hedgerow with direct HE, but the US remained steady in their foxholes. The Panzer Grenadier Platoon HQ leapt from their 251/10 to get the radio up for mortar support but bursts of .30 cal fire pinned them in the hedge. Mortars would have to wait.

On the left, the solo Panther spent a few turns forcing the bocage and moved up, unopposed with US infantry in foxholes watching it - oh for a bazooka! It’s MG and HE fire would then get them pinned.

The main attack Panthers rolled on, with much questioning by the US commander of just how he was supposed to stop them… with no artillery support available and the M10’s underwhelming gun his best shot. Yep, tough one, maybe switch to HE for suppression? The US bazooka team managed to score a frontal hit and pin one big cat, so that was something! The bazooka team then took off through the cornfield to the woods behind, MG fire whipping past them, but they made it.

On the left, with the US infantry pinned, the flanking scout units arrived along the lane, debussed the 3 man scout team who’s close assault on the foxholes killed 1 American and the rest surrendered, nicely mopped up! ‘Hande Hoch, Yankee!’. The scout team then jumped back into the 250, only for the M10 covering the road to change position to get a LoS, fire and … ouch, hit! Boom, the 250 suddenly vapourised and all 3 guys inside with it, for 2 chits. Rude! That was carnage and the first setback.  

Turn 4 and the US Shermans rolled in, 5 off them, deploying to meet the big cat's advance, I was halfway up the table now. Mortars got firing on their hedge-line and pinned the M10 and wiped out the unlucky bazooka team with their only direct hit all game. Counters were mounting, and the draw had not been kind to either of us in a game of find the 4s and 5s.

On the main road, the 251/10 was tweaking the M10s tail and laying down some suppressing HE, which worked, pinning it with pesky 37mm fire. On  the right, both sides now lined the hedges with tanks and infantry for the main event, who can hit first? Predictably, the Panthers started the 75mmL70 execution, KOing 3 Shermans quickly, but irritating US MG and rifles kept my infantry hugging the ground and then the panzer grenadier squad ran out of ammo on the special counter (too much MG-42 fun for them). The ammo truck was behind, so moved up help (and we forgot the wheeled vehicle's bog-down rule).

On the left, with one Sherman blocking the route though, I could get some AFVs off the table, I need three, so sent the 251 and passengers racing that way, as the Panther led the way to deal with that Sherman, but missed. The 250/9 followed. Then, disaster, the Panther took a chance and risked the Shermans ambush fire at close range as it waited for it to come through the gap in the hedge. Over confidence resulted in a 75mmL40 round through the side and a KO’d Panther –second set back. That left the 250/9 and 251/1 facing a Sherman, so, err yep, time to run-off. That sneaky advance was aborted, there would be no getting off the table there. The retreating 250/9 was later hit by the Sherman, its 20mm cannon little use (failing to pin) and also burnt. Recce section eliminated. That Sherman had single-handedly saved the objective on that flank.

The final US reinforcements arrived on turn 7. Two M8 Greyhounds came down the road, one hitting the 251/10 and wrecking it. My counter’s total were now high, at 23. I wasn’t going to risk unpinning anymore, which left my platoon HQ mortar spotters pinned and out of the game. As the 80mm mortar fire on the hedge ended, the Panthers and Sherman and rearmed M10 traded fire, with misses, and my tanks ran low on ammo. One switched to HE and even a HE round was good enough to destroy a Greyhound from the side. The second M8 was KO’d when the panzer grenadier squad leapt from their half-track into the hedges by the road and sent a Panzerfaust the armoured car’s way… Kaboom! Both were now burning in the road and after that counter, the US stopped unpinning too. It was close, the next counter would surely end it.

But, for the next 2 turns, with only a few unpinned units on both sides, we could not force a counter on the other side, deadlock. My Grille pinned his last M10 with a big HE blast… and 1 Panther was pinned by another glancing 75mm Sherman round. Maybe it would end with one side fully pinned down?

Ok, time to break the deadlock and take a risk. I unpinned, drew a 4 (tut) and was on my breakpoint of 27. But at least I could use my units again. The infantry pushed on, into the cornfield heading for the woods on the right, where a Sherman was smoking and 3 US infantry lurked with M1 rifles. Their ambush fire failed to pin (phew) and my men closed in on them. MG fire to pin them, then a close assault to get those three stragglers and end it. Except my MG’s bursts failed. So, to assault or not an unpinned enemy, risky, we could break both squads. Ah, go for it! My veteran panzer grenadiers when into the woods, throwing stick grenades and wiped out those US stragglers. Their return fire killed 2 men, leaving a vital morale check… it was passed - phew! Counter to him, none to me… and after us both sitting on our breakpoints of 3 turns, it was over. The narrowest of German wins.

But, in terms of campaign points, the winning margin was 0, so 0 VPs for the Germans and, as no AFVs escaped off the US table edge, then +5 VPs to the US… for the loss. So the campaign ended with the Germans on 18 VPs, to the US’ 11.

It’s been fun, but time to get out of Normandy and do something else. The Bulge or FotR for the ETO for a bit… but I have a plan for a Tunisia game and the next mini-campaign will be Ostfront, once I complete the revamp of my Russian forces. 

The action...

First command roll.. good start!

Start with the tanks... on they come.

Waiting for them on ambush fire

Panther searches the hedgerow for the M10 (he's behind the tree!).

Shoot, and scoot, off back across the cornfield, gun covering to the rear.

Lone left flank Panther breaches the first hedge line.

Infantry support arrives, use the big metal box as cover... Grille re-arming behind.

Platoon HQ (and mortar spotters) come under .30 cal MG fire and are pinned.

On across the crop field, one Panther covering on ambush fire (marked by white smoke on gun)

Recce flankers arrive on the left, down the Bon Vouloir lane

Made it across, with no losses. Now for the main fight...

Shermans begin to deploy off the road

M10 pinned by 37mm HE whilst covering the road.

Scout team rounds up GI prisoners from their foxholes in a close assault on the pinned squad.

In position to engage from the small wood.

Last on, the resupply truck, heading to re-arm the M10.

250/9 heads forward to see if there is way through on the left... could be!

The US hedge line defence thickens

251/10 makes itself useful up the road,

German main attack ready to trade fire with the Shermans

After a bit of mortaring the hedgerow first

On the left, ready to roll for the US table edge, but the 250 just got smoked!

The culprit... pesky M10, the Panther dealt with him.

M8s boldly rush up the road (again)... the leader got my 251/10

US defence against my main attack. Armoured Infantry have reinforced.

Argh! Panther gets bush-whacked from the side, PB... only panzer lost today.

road to le Desert filling with wreckage

Too much MG-42 firing... 'ammo!!'.

The Panthers do their thing....

On queue... resupply Opel Blitz.

Grille adds a few big blasts, and handily pins the last M10.

250/9 can't escape, behind infantry deal with the second M8, then were pinned by M3 MG fire.












Monday, 8 March 2021

THE PANZER ACE, PANZER LEHR CAMPAIGN, GAME 5

The penultimate campaign game, and squad-sized engagement as a German probe, led by a single Panther, heads towards Le Desert and encounters American troops holding a small road bridge (over a stream) at a farm, south-west of town. The Germans must push up and clear the road, take the bridge (the only objective) and try get vehicles off the far table edge. The US infantry force must hang on and wait for their M10 reinforcements, which would also be accompanied by a forward observer team with access to the divisional 105s.

Here are the forces and scenario special rules

GERMAN FORCES - ELEMENTS OF PANZER LEHR DIVISION
(All Vets)

Panzer V Panther with panzer ace        4    elite

StuG III G                        3

PzGrenadier PHQ - 3 men in heavy car    2    officer

Pz Gren Squad                    4    D3 Panzerfausts
- 5 men with MG-42, 3 men with MG-42
in SdKfz 251/1

Pz Gren Squad                    3    D3 Panzerfausts
- 5 men with MG-42, 3 men with MG-42

20mm Flak, 4 crew and truck tow    2    see special rule    

Total                        BR 18 + attachment    1 officer, 0 scouts

Roll once for attached support (15 rolled)
D20 Roll    Attached                BR
1-5        Sniper team - 2 men        +1    Sniper-Scout (Elite)

6-9        FHQ - 4 men in Kubelwagen    +3    Senior Officer, all have SMGs

9-15        Recon Team             +2    Scout, D3 Panzerfausts,
        - 4 men in SdKfz 250/1            all have SMGs
            
16-18        Flamethrower Team - 2 men    +1    with FT

19-20        Forward Observer - 2 men    +1    Officer, Artillery Spotter
        -2 men in Kubelwagen

Artillery Support
3 x 1st Priority Artillery Requests (maximum is Division), if attached 


US FORCES - ELEMENTS 1st BATTALION, 39th INFANTRY REGIMENT AND A COMPANY, 899th TANK DESTROYER BATTALION, 9th INFANTRY DIVISION

(All Regs)

1 M10 Tank Destroyer                    3    *reserve

Bazooka Team - 3 men with bazooka, in Jeep    2    D3+2 shots

Infantry Squad - 7 men, 5 men with a BAR        4

Rifle Team - 4 men                    2    

MMG Team - 2 men with .30 cal MMG        1

57mm AT Gun with 4 crew                2

1 minefield                            0    may not be on a road

Foxholes for 20 men                    0    

Total
                        BR 14 + attachment    0 officers, 0 scouts

Roll once for attached support 
(6 rolled)
D20 Roll    Attached                BR
1-8        M10 and                +3
        Forward Obs Team
        - 2 men in Jeep                Officer, Arty Spotter

9-14        M10 and Infantry Squad        +7
        - 7 men and 5 men with BAR
        in a truck

15-20        Armoured Inf Squad        +6    D3+2 bazooka shots
        - 7 men with bazooka
        and 2 men with MMG in M3 HT    
        and
        Flamethrower Team - 3 men
        in Jeep        


Artillery Support
4 x 1st Priority Artillery Requests (maximum is Division), if attached

 

SCENARIO SPECIAL RULES

Squad-level: Roll 1D6 for Orders. Remove all 5 counters from the BR pot.

Soft Ground: Wheeled vehicles which move off-road treat it as Dangerous Terrain. On a 1, roll again. 4+ OK, on a 1-3 Bogged down and immobilised. Half-tracked and tracked vehicles move as normal.

Allied Air Superiority: German player must roll a 6 for any Air Attack counter.

Flak Ammo truck:
The German 20mm Flak has unlimited ammo whilst its truck tow is within 4” of the gun. If greater than 4” then the gun has 2 shots of ammo piled with it.

German Advance East:
For each armoured vehicle the Germans move off the eastern table edge (the US table edge), the US forces must take 2 BR counters.

US Reserves:
The M10 and any attached units are reserves and enter via the US table edge on turn 1+D4. Rolled turn 3.

Objective:
The stone bridge.


 

The game started with the Germans arriving and moving up cautiously, the Panther would just take the road, infantry to storm the the first house and clear it of bazookas, with the flak gun getting into place on the left to bring suppressing fire on the next farm and woods ahead. A steady advance was the name of the day. The StuG and scout team would be on my right, a distraction to draw those M10s away, hopefully, and provide some more suppressing fire.

There was little action, but the 20mm flak’s truck at least didn’t get stuck in the mud (forgot that rule when deploying - oops!, but got away with it).

Things soon heated up when the 57mm AT gun opened fire on the Panther from ambush fire and missed. The German infantry responded, 251 raced forwards and de-bussed its infantry, that took the buildings, whilst their MG team pinned the bazooka team lurking in foxholes just beyond. The Panther returned fire with MGs to no effect.

My infantry rush now provoked a storm of fire from the US positions, M1s, BARs and the .30 cal lashing the building, wiping out the MG-42 team and pinning the rifle squad, also with losses. Their plan had been to concede the house but then concentrate fire on it to wipe-out anything that moved in. It had almost worked. The 57mm gun fired all it could at the Panther (1 glance) and the 251 (missed). On my right the 250’s scoot forwards was pinned by rifle fire from the hedge, drat. The StuG returned fire with a HE shell, that kept some US heads down. My surviving grenadiers pulled back out the house, 2 men left from 8… ouch!

On turn 3, the US M10s and FOO team arrived and pushed forwards to join the front line. 1 M10 headed into the farm, the other to my right to face the StuG – good. With the house empty, the brave US bazooka team saw a chance, ran in and fired at side shot into the Panther outside, hitting, and rolling a 3 for penetration (2nd glance). Unlucky. The bazooka team would not survive the return fire coming at them from the 251, rifle men and platoon HQ which had now moved into the small orchard outside.

The lucky Panther now turned its turret on that 57mm gun, spotted it and a single HEAT shell was deadly accurate, destroying the gun. Good shot. Bazooka and AT gun gone, it was down to the M10s now. That didn’t go so well either, on the right, as the M10 moved up to the hedgerow to engage the StuG, my scout team (now unpinned) had taken up position in the hedge, Panzerfaust primed. The TD moved up and, whoosh-boom! M10 hit and destroyed… it was clear things were rapidly turning against the defenders.

They certainly had, the FOO team moved into the farm to get their radio-up, only to be pinned by 20mm flak ambush fire. It was just US rifle fire coming from the under the hedges now.

The Germans pressed forwards again, the StuG hammering the hedges for all it had to silence the US infantry. The Panther rolled up, more machine guns blazing, only to get a mine strike – eek!. It hit and rolled a 4 to penetrate (3rd glance) and passed its morale test. Still going, much to the US player’s chagrin. The last M10 at the farm lined it up and scored 2 hits, only for glances 4 and 5… and the Panther was at least pinned. But it would not die. To add insult to injury the US artillery failed to respond to calls for its fire on failed comms test.

With the Panther and 20mm flak pinned (by rifle fire from the farm), it was down to the StuG this turn, which emptied its ammo bins of HE and destroyed the US’ .30 cal teams foxholes at short range. Another counter and the US were on the brink of breaking. The Germans unpinned in a short turn and drew, an Air Attack. When the luck is with you… makes a change for me.

The US player knew the writing was on the wall… the M10 fired again, hit and glanced again (6th glance) and pulled back rather than take the inevitable return fire. The FOO was screaming into his radio for fire and, rolled a 1… no fire again, the 105s hadn’t fired all game.

In the German turn, guess what? Air Attack, rolled a 6…incoming Bf-109, and its strafing, which hit nothing, but was enough to see the US abandon the position and pull back to Le Desert, broken.

The Germans had lost 12 of their 20 BR, so a solid win, and a disaster of a game for the US, who had rolled badly (especially the armour penetration rolls), and drawn badly as well. The panzer ace was battered but still rolling, a beast today. So, 8 campaign VPs to the Germans, making it 18-6 with the finale to come. In all, we were playing for no more than 1.5 hours, but, yeah, a bad few hours for the US forces.

A few pics of the action…

GoogleEarth of the location, L shaped table today. Germans moving on from the bottom. US have 2/3rds of the game and reinforcements from the top.

Recreated on the tabletop

Waiting by the farm, covering the road and the minefield which blocked an advance on anything but the road.

The bridge and farm. I think the stream here runs under the farm in a tunnel.




Foxholes under the hedges.

The panzer ace moves up to the first house, infantry in close support to take it.

The StuG rolls up on the right, 251 behind just got pinned by rifle fire.

German infantry in the house's small orchard after pulling back out of the house, which was a bullet magnet. More pinning required to get into it.

M10 'Ace in the Hole' heads through the farm to take on the Panther... good luck with that!


20mm Flak (in the scenario its a quad, but I don't have a dismounted quad, so downgraded to my FJ 20mm). Pinned by rifle fire from the farm, but it did useful work spraying bullets around. 


Scout team de-buss into the hedge. 'Hans, bring the Panzerfaust.'

Got him! M10 KO'd.
StuG empties its ammo bins into the hedges by the bridge, job done! US MG team wiped out.
The road to the bridge is clear.




Sunday, 21 February 2021

DIRECT FROM DETROIT, PANZER LEHR CAMAPIGN, GAME FOUR

A third battle on the same tabletop lay-out, as the US make their next advance towards the Hauts-Vents crossroads. This was another ‘squad’ sized game (but a larger one than game 3). For random support, the US added 2 M8s to their force (one was an M20, as my US collection only has 2 M8s, I need to get another one). The Germans added a handy Panzerscheck team.

GERMAN FORCES

1 x Pz IV H                            4    Panzer Ace, (Elite)

PzGrendier PHQ - 3 men in SdKfz 251/10        2    Officer, Mortar Spotter

PzGrenadier Squad                    3    D3 Panzerfausts
5 men with MG-42, 3 men with MG-42

PAK-40 AT gun with 4 crew and truck tow        3

SdKfz 250/9 armoured car                1    Scout

Foxholes for 15 men                    0    3+ cover save

1 minefield                            0        

Total                        
BR 13 + attachment    1 officer, 1 scout


Roll once for attached support
(20 rolled, modified to 17)
D20 Roll    Attached                  BR

1-5        Sniper team - 2 men        +1    Sniper-Scout (Elite)

6-7        FHQ - 3 men in Kubelwagen    +3    Senior Officer

8-15        MMG Team                 +1
        - 3 men with tripod MG-42    

16-17        Pzschreck Team - 2 men        +1

18-20        Mortar Fire Support        +0    1 x 80mm mortar


Artillery Support
Mortar Fire Support - 1 x 80mm mortar (off-table), if attached

US FORCES - ELEMENTS OF TASK FORCE Z, CCB, 3rd ARMOURED DIVISION 
(All Regs)

3 M4 Shermans                    9

M8 Greyhound                    1    Scout

Arm Infantry Platoon HQ in M3            3    Officer
, 9 men with a Bazooka*

Arm Infantry Squad in M3            3   
9 men with BAR and Bazooka*

Arm Infantry MG Squad in M3            3
2 x .30 cal MMG Teams - 3 men       

FAO - 2 men in Jeep                1    Officer, forward observer

Total                 
       BR 20 + attachment    2 officers, 1 scout


Roll once for attached support (+/-1)
(6 rolled)
D20 Roll    Attached                BR
1-5        Recce Jeep Team - 3 men in jeep    +1    Scout (note, no pintle MG)

6-10        2 x M8 Greyhounds            +2     Scouts

11-15        Engineer Squad - 10 men in truck    +3    Engineers
        with flame thrower and mine detector and D3 demo-charges

16-20        M16 AA half Track            +1               

Artillery Support
5 x 2nd Priority Artillery Requests (maximum of divisional requests) 

 

Scenario Special Rules

Soft Ground: Wheeled vehicles which move off-road treat it as Dangerous Terrain. On a 1, roll again. 4+ OK, on a 1-3 Bogged down and immobilised. Half-tracked and tracked vehicles move as normal.

Allied Air Superiority:
German player must roll a 6 for any Air Attack counter.

US Reduced Strength Squads:
* Reduced strength. Roll D6 at the start of the game. 1-3, reduce by 2 men. 4-5, reduce by 1 man. 6, full strength.

Poor US Artillery Targeting:
Each time the US fire any off-table artillery or mortars, roll an extra D6 for the distance it deviates. So, accurate is 2D6, normal is 3D6 and wild is 5D6!

Objectives:
1 at Haut Vents Crossroads

Squad-level:
Roll 1D6 for Orders

 

The US attack started cautiously, not much happening, the infantry squad moved up and deployed into a bocage on their left, a few Shermans rumbled forwards and the first artillery barrage was radio’d up, which hit the farm (not the crossroads as requested). The 3 x 155s (ouch) smashed the place up and a direct hit wiped out my platoon command squad that was in the farmhouse, first blood to the attackers, I;d lost my 1 officer, but the counter drawn was a ‘Confusion’ special and it pinned a Sherman (‘Hey, Hank, I think we’re in the wrong place’). US shelling around Hauts-Vents would be a big factor in the game, as the Germans had no response. 105s and 155s would hammer the area and make the defence, err… fraught!

The Germans got onto ambush fire, covering the road and fields, and waited.

The US attack moved up, the first Shermans appearing to open fire with HE into the hedges. One pinned the Pak-40 and so, with it unable to fire up the road, the M8s made a move. One (actually the M20) raced over the road junction to their right but once it hit the muddy field rolled a 1 and got bogged-down in the field’s gateway. The other rushed up the road, failing to notice the grenadier squad (and 2 Panzerfausts) on ambush fire, but they rolled two 1s to spot and the M8 drove right past the unwary squad! It rushed the crossroads (another kamikaze M8).

The Germans responded, the 251/10 moved up the lane and shot the M8 at PB range, its 37mm gun good enough to KO the armoured car. My MG-42 team pinned down the US infantry and my panzer ace moved out, took a pot-shot (missed) at Sherman and headed to were he could get in the fight. The 250/9 did likewise, seeing the chance for an easy kill on the immobilised and vulnerable M20. This move brought more US artillery, more pinning only this time, but things were getting hot. The Pak-40, now unpinned, swung round and with a greats hot hit its first Sherman (6 rolled), KO-ing it! Yes. The counter drawn was a Air Attack! No! Thankfully it didn’t show, small mercy.

With no Pak covering the road, the next M8 followed the first in a rush towards th crossroads (what is with these crazy armour cars?), but this time the grenadier squad was ready and a Panzerfaust from the hedge (on ambush fire) left it another wreck on the road, now littered with smoking Greyhounds.

The Germans were ahead on counters inflicted, but my low BR total wouldn’t last unpinning from US artillery strikes. A few turns of failed requests or comms test helped me here, a respite, phew! The 250/9 moved up to get a line of sight at the stranded M20 and hammered at it with 20mm fire, missing, or then failing to penetrate… argh! When a Sherman moved to the hedge to engage it, so it was time to go, and the little halftrack raced off for the cover of the farm’s orchard - damn, it didn’t get the kill, rubbish dice.

The US started to push up, their platoon HQ squad moving up on their right, debussing and heading across the field for the farm. Here, only my Panzerchreck team on ambush fire waited (not much use against 9 men with a BAR). They pulled back, but a suppressing fire shot from a .30 cal MG pinned them down. I rolled a 1 for a cover save, lost a man, pinned, and that was team done… he dropped the ‘schreck and legged it. Now unhindered, the US infantry squad ran to the farm’s out buildings. I had moved the 250/9 and its 20mm fire failed to pin them in the stable block (must have thick walls). In return, the US infantry moved the bazooka up and – Whoosh! Boom!. No more 250/9, it was burning in the orchard. Another 105 arty stonk pinned down the  units around the crossroads and the German defence was down to basically a Pz IV and a 5-man squad, which, faced by a Sherman, with no ‘fausts left, got out of their foxholes and withdrew.

I had to risk unpinning, but with only 2 BR left it was dangerous. I drew, a 3… drat!Time to go. The Panzer Lehr units pulled back and left the shell cratered fields at Hauts-Vents to the Americans. They had won, with 6 BR still to spare. So, 6 campaign victory points to them for the win, so the campaign is now 10-6 to the Germans.

A solid(ish) US win. I don’t think the scenario really gives the Germans too much hope of winning it outright, it’s just a case of reducing the US VPs as best you can in the longer campaign. 6 was an ‘average’ result, a few chits more would have helped (maybe not the air attack), but with no IDF and under that US artillery fire, its a matter of how long can you hold out, not winning. I got away with the Pak-40, the Pz IV and the 251/10 and some men, to fight another day.  

First Shermans move up towards Hauts-Vents.

250/0 lurks behind the farm, my mobile reserve.

Defending the orchard around the farm, the /10 soon moved out leaving just the 'schreck team.

MG-42 team in foxholes on my right, covering the field and keeping US heads down in the opposite bocage.

M8s, risk the muddy ground and wait to rush down the road for the objective.

Wreck from the early games. All were in place as extra terrain. e added some craters too, around the most shelled areas. 

Getting into place.

155s rain on the farm, the hidden Pz IV was lucky, the HQ unit in the farmhouse, not so...

Pz IV moves up to cover the field and road.

Another kamikaze M8 (see game 1), rushes the crossroads, only once the Pak-40 has fired.

M20 tries to lead the way, but gets stuck! Immobilised, but somehow survived.

Close encounter. SdKfz 251/10 rounds the corner and deals with that M8 at PB range. Hurrah for the door-knocker (for once).

250/9 comes forward to try and get the M20, and fails... terrible dice. It then pulled back fast rather than duke it out with a Sherman.

Next 105 stonk. Incoming! Life around this crossroads is difficult.

Pz IV seeking to get into the action.

250/9 retires to the orchard, put soon finds itself needed again.

US infantry make it to the farm's stable block through 20mm cannon fire.

and deal with it! Bazooka takes out 250/9 in the orchard, the farm has fallen.

Next 155 stonk causes a lot of pinning, and the attrition of counters to unpin costs the Germans the game. Fear the 155!