Thursday 23 May 2013


This is our demo-game from Triples on Saturday 18th. Unfortunately I could only make the Saturday, but it was a fun day, a great game and garnered lots of interest from passers-by, as well a few questions from those already playing Battlegroup, who needed some issues clarifying (all part of the service). Thanks to all who stopped by for a brief look-in, or in a few cases, a far longer watch.

The layout from the US deployment corner

The game was set during Operation Cobra, during the American breakout, as a US cavalry group raced south to try and snatch some useful bridges over the river Sée. Also moving into the area to shore-up the German position was 116th Panzer, and their recon battalion was also seeking to grab and hold those same bridges. It was a 600pts platoon game, US Armour vs Panzer division.

The German force was:
From recon battalion 116 Pz Div:
Forward HQ in 250/3                                                      
Forward Observer Team in Kubelwagen                               
2 x 120mm mortars (off table)                                   
234/1 Armoured Car
234/2 Armoured Car
234/3 Armoured car
222 Armoured car           
Armoured Pz Grenadier Platoon in SdKfz251/1s
3 squads with 1 Panzerfaust each
3 MMG teams with MG-42s
80mm mortar team                        
StuH42 assault howitzer                                                                                               
2 x Pz IV Gs
Supply Truck                                                                     
Totals 34 BR        2 officers             4 scouts

The US force was:
Task Force from 2nd Arm Div:
Forward HQ in M20 armoured  car           
Forward Observer team in jeep                               
4 x 2nd priority art requests                         
Light Tank Platoon - 3 x M5 Stuarts
2 x Recce jeeps with HMGs                        
M8 Armoured car                                           
Armoured Infantry Platoon                        
upgraded to regulars
4 x M3 half tracks
57mm AT gun with loader team, Beep tow          
M21 mortar carrier                                         
Combat Medic                                                 
2 x M10 Wolverines                                       
Supply Truck                                                     
Totals:   41 BR     4 officers             3 scouts

The two objectives

 The flying column of M5s en-route

We deployed within 20” of opposite table quarters and first turns quickly passed with little combat, as first the panzer grenadiers in their half tracks, and supported by the 222 armoured car raced over the girder bridge and deployed into the farm and building at either side of the bridge. In two turns they were in place, as behind them the rest of the Germans readied their 80mm mortar, and got into position on the southern bank. 

First Germans cross the river

Meanwhile, the US forces rushed the stone bridge, leading with its fastest units, the three M5s, which fanned out around the southern bridge end and would have to hang on as the armoured infantry moved up behind to support. The main US attack would be against the girder bridge and the bulk of the armoured infantry made its way passed the village and their awaited the arrival of their armoured support.

As the M5s do likewise

 The rest of the stone bridge defence force attempting to catch up

 Germans secure the end of the girder bridge

 Panzers arrive behind the recce troops

First turns complete, shots began to be traded in turn 3. German 80mm and 120mm mortar fire began to harass the stone bridge, and the first casualty was an M3 half track, blown off the road by a direct hit, sending the surviving infantry scampering for cover in the hedges and leaving them pinned. A recce jeep crew was also pinned, exposed right in the middle of the stone bridge.

 The approach to the girder bridge

US return fire was from their own mortar halftrack, which harassed the girder bridge, but to little real effect. He second recce jeep, lurking towards the rear, began to flay the German held building with .50 cal fire, and would continue to use area fire from their position all game. My plan here was to hold the stone bridge with minimal forces and fence with the Germans to keep them at bay long enough for the main attack on the girder bridge to capture it, and win the game. To this end, and given the slim hope of knocking out their targets, the M5s loaded up HE into their breaches and started using it for area fire, and managed to suppress the StuH42 as the manoeuvred into position at the edge of a woods.  A result!

 Puma on Ambush fire, awaiting should an M5 stick its nose out.

 The M5s take mortar fire and duel with the StuH42

There was something of a Mexican stand-off at the stone bridge, still under mortar fire, as both sides jousted at range to little effect. German infantry moved up through the buildings and got into Panzerfaust range, but missed with their one shot and an M5 lived to fight on.  Behind both sides their reinforcements arrived - two Panzer IV Gs for the Germans (dated, but still a big danger on this table) and 2 M10s (and ammo truck) for the US. The Panzer IVs headed out cross country for the stone bridge, whilst the M10s split up, one to each bridge, only for one to suffer an engine failure and breakdown on the edge of town before it could reinforce the M5s - who would now face the approaching German armour alone (oh dear!).

 One M5 heads off to harass the Panzers' approach, it soon came back

 M10 covers the main street. It then broke down and was immobilised here

The battle had basically split into two smaller battles, one at each bridge. With both sides seeking to hold with a smaller force and attack with the stronger one. The German attack had become somewhat distracted, as the two Panzer IVs chased a single M5 cross country, it fired HE to harass them then used its speed to run for cover, and the bigger tanks rumbled on, one being pinned by the HE fire (another result!). Meanwhile, fire from the StuH’s 105mm howitzer failed to damage the Stuarts, and their return HE fire failed to pin it, in an ineffective exchange of fire. As the ‘tanks’ duelled, so the US infantry which had survived the destruction of their half track got back in the game and rushed the bridge, through falling mortar fire and strafing MG fire they made the headlong dash, and by a small miracle got through unpinned, although three more GIs had to be left for dead on the bridge, now joined by a burning jeep, also hit by mortar fire and destroyed. The 120mm bombardment was incessant and most awkward. So far both my requests for divisional fire had been turned down (to my discuss and chuntering  of ‘do you want these bridges or not?’).  My poor M21 81mm mortar halftrack was struggling to do much in return, and starting to run low on ammo too. 

 The end of the girder bridge, before the US attack began

 US recce jeep laying down .50 cal area fire

Mortar fire hits the bridge and destroys the M3 on its way to support the M5s

The infantry rush the bridge on foot, past the wrecked recce jeep which didn't make it

At the girder bridge things started to get hot. My still mobile M10 moved passed the church and, braving plunging MG fire at its open turret, plugged a 251 with its first shot. My M8 armoured car swung out into the road to open fire, only for waiting 20mm fire from a 222 to pin it. The main attack was about to go in, but had to hold another turn, with M3s waiting on reserve move ready to make their move in the German’s turn.

M3 moves up into positon, from where its troops would attack and capture the farm

 Panzer IVs still on the way. This one is pinned by HE fire, marked by the wounded crewmen

 More wild mortar fire, as the M5s hang tough

The order to go came next turn, as finally some 105mm artillery opened fire on the bridge and farm. Shells shrieking in, and the Germans where heavily pinned, most running for the cellars no doubt. More .50 cal fire added to the barrages, as a second 251 took a direct hit from the arty and was smashed to bits in the farm courtyard. With the Germans struggling against fierce US firepower, the M3s moved up. The first rifle squad raced for the orchard, disembarked and ran for the far wall to take cover, within striking distance of the farm. Their supporting MGs and 60mm mortars moved into the church graveyard and started hitting the Germans with even more area fire. The enemy were entirely pinned, except a single 234/3 which came across the bridge, but unluckily hit an old mine and was destroyed. The end of the bridge was starting to look like a German scrap yard.

 Pinned by 20mm fire, the M8 looks down the road to the girder bridge

 The second M10 lays fire into the defenders of the girder bridge, and scored two 251/1 kills

With the girder bridge under so much pressure, and unable to return fire, the German mortar fire switch to help the defenders. Spotted for by the forward HQ (in his 250/3 across the river), 120mm mortar shells soon had my attacking infantry cowering for cover as well.  It was hell out there!

At the stone bridge I made the decision to risk my 57mm AT gun in rush to support the M5s, those Panzers IV were closing in, and had now opened fire, but missed. The guns tow hooked up the gun and raced over the bridge. Next turn it was deployed and on ambush fire, only for an unseen lurking MG-42 to spot it and open fire, wiping out the exposed crew in a blaze of fire. Drat! My M5s were still alone, but remarkable, all still fighting.

The end of the bridge begins to look like a scrapyard

The endgame was upon us. Now the German attack on the stone bridge began, with both the Panzer IVs closing up to the M5s, and one was hit and destroyed. The StuH42, now re-armed, also joined the advance on the stone bridge. Their problem was lack of infantry support. The grenadier squad close by was pinned, and then assaulted by four bold GIs who passed their experience test, and smashed through the door, grenades flying and M1s and Thompsons rattling. The German squad broke, and suddenly there was no more German infantry around.

The US attack was also going in, I used tactical co-ordination to get my pinned assault squad moving, and they leapt the orchard wall and assaulted the farm, overruning the defenders who quickly surrendered to the GIs. The farm was in US hands, whilst the opposite building was being plastered in heavy .50 cal fire, .30 cal fire, 60mm mortars and 76mm HE from the last M10. 

After all the fierce fighting, my Americans were close to breaking at 34 from 41 BR. The Germans had a similar number of counters, it was close. The German armoured attack pressed on again, and another brave M5 was destroyed desperately holding the bridge. The Puma, which had spent the entire came waiting on ambush fire, now broke cover and raced pell-mell for the bridge. It was on the bridge and there was nothing to stop it ahead except my immobile M10  but the Puma’s 50mm gun destroyed it with a clean hit. The Germans were breaking through!

But so where the US, their continued assault was presaged by another 105mm barrage (at last), which smashed into the bridge area and left a lot of its defenders pinned. Those US guns were doing the business now. My assault squad was pinned again and this time refused to come out of the cellar back into the maelstrom, whilst my M8 AC was back in the fight but only managed to glance its 37mm AP shells off the 222 (are these guns any good for anything?).  More .50 cal fire, this time direct, spotted the last pinned German MG team and cut them down from the half track’s pulpit. The last act of my turn was for my last infantry at the stone bridge (4 men), having just cleared the building, to rush back out to the bridge with their bazooka. The rear of the Puma on the bridge made a choice target. He took aim, kept his nerve (despite a StuH 42 coming up the road merely yards away) and sent the Bazooka rocket up the Puma’s exhaust, destroying the armoured car. With that loss the Germans broke, and the US had won the bridges.

 The 222 pinned, but still in the thick of the fight

A Panzer IV about to catch an M5 at short range in the flank

The StuH42 presses towards the bridge through the smoke and flames. 57mm AT gun knocked out by MG fire, its Beep tow then fled the table to save itself - and me a counter.

 The Puma rushes the bridge and makes it

 Then knocks out the still re-arming M10 with a great shot

 But it's caught from the rear by a bazooka shot - God bless the infantry. 
They saved the day and won the battle.

It was hard fought and very, very close. My battlegroup had just 3 BR left, one more counter would have finished me (probably). The Germans had taken less counters, but their slightly lower BR had cost them.  The bridges over the Sée were in US hands, and the following Shermans could roll up and exploit my recce group’s hard-won gains.

Special mention needs to go to M5s, which although (probably fairly) are much maligned, they put up a great fight, using mainly HE shells for area fire, and MG fire against those harassing grenadiers. One survived its duel with a Panzer IV, which had probable delayed too long in their attack, and should have pressed hard a turn or two earlier, because the stone bridge had been so weakly held, and once over it, I had nothing to stop those Panzers rolling all over me.


  1. Great AAR, love the scenario. I also enjoyed chatting to you on the day. Thanks

  2. Great looking table, nice painted models and a great AAR. I hope I will play my very first game of Battlegroup Overlord soon.

  3. Nice game report, I was at the show and your game looked great,wished I'd had more time so I could have stopped and had a chat.

  4. A gripping battle report and a very close run thing, well done that bazooka team.
    Your photography is excellent which shows off your wonderful terrain and figures to their very best. The mortar explosive markers look great and I will be copying.
    Who makes the bridges please?
    Thanks for sharing,

  5. Great looking game and my group are really enjoying the rules.

  6. Playing the fusiliers of 116th Recce battalion was great fun. This game showed me that often the best games don't have a Panther or Tiger in sight. We lost by only 3 BR just reaching our total with the loss of that Puma. If only the Panzer IV had managed to penetrate the side armour on that Stuart - curse those poor dice roles.