Sunday 28 July 2019

Erfundensdorf, game 4. Advance along the HelmingstraBe.

We have resumed our FotR (roughly April ’45 I think) campaign set at the small (made-up) town of Erfundensdorf, from earlier in the year. The arrival of Spring and the cricket season meant Friday evenings were not longer free for BG gaming, so we put it all on hold until autumn, except for this Saturday evening… basically, we had some free-time so sneaked in the next game.

So far, the US armoured division attempting to surround and take the town has won all the previous 3 games, but have only really been facing some ersatz equipment, local Volkssturm and a single veteran fallschirmjager company stiffening them up. The US tanks and recce taskforces have captured 3 approaches to the town itself and today would be after the main road from the north-west, HelmingstraBe… and clearing the German strongpoint holding it at the Rubelzahn farm.

The defenders (me) would again be the last of the FJ, a platoon dug-in into foxholes, behind log barricades and holding the well-fortified farm. They had a Hetzer, PaK-38 and an ’88’ with them covering the road which was also blocked by a minefield. Reinforcements would come from town in the shape of more Volkssturm and 2 Jagdpanzer IVs (only L48s though). My big hitters were off-table 150mm Nebelwerfers.

The US’s heavyweights of Taskforce Elgar were tasked with clearing the farm and road. An M26 Pershing platoon, backed up by M36 Jacksons, an armoured infantry platoon, off-table 105mm guns and a flanking force of 3 more Shermans and one of the infantry platoons tracks. Their mission had a high priority because from here they can encircle north of the town and cut-off the road leading east, where German reinforcements are on the way, fail here and those tanks will get through automatically… breakthrough and they can fight the next battle to try and stop them in campaign turn 2.

This would be the last of the 4 morning battles before moving into the afternoon.

We used the Strongpoint Attack scenario, slightly adapted, with roughly 750 pts each in a platoon-sized game.

It started with the US dropping in their first arty fire, to little effect and the FJ all getting onto ambush fire. A 105 shell did pin my 88 - unlucky.

The first turns would be cautious, with the US lacking orders (twice rolling double 1), and some long range AT fire from me to no effect. The US decided, given his tank-heavy force, that KOing my AT guns would be his priority and targeted them with lots of HE suppressing fire, keeping their heads down. A few turns of rest-bite from the US arty soon ended and farm was under fire, spotted by the armoured infantry platoon HQ away at the back - an easy day’s work for those guys.

I had off-table 150mm Nebelwerfer fire to launch and did so, causing some pinning and destroying an unlucky Pershing with a direct hit. My PaK-38 got a shot off and KO’d a Jackson that had ventured out of the woods and into the open ploughed fields. So far so good, but my 88 couldn’t get any shots off, and when it did, failed to spot (a lot of smoke and dust from those arty and werfer strikes obviously).

The US infantry pushed towards the farm but, in a rookie move, dismounted from their M3 in front of a 2 ambush-fire waiting MG42s. Caught in the crossfire the squad routed, leaving the M3 to trade bullets for the rest of the game. Short on infantry the attack was stalled, but hammering away at range. Both sides had an ammunition problem, no supply trucks on either side. My lurking Hetzer peaked out at the farm to take a shot, glanced a shell of a M26’s front armour and was hit by 90mm return fire from a Jackson, brewing it up. Oh well, it only had 1 shot left anyway.

So it went, a duel at long range. The US flanking force drove in and added their weight of fire to the shelling, and the arty zero’d the farm and pounded it to rubble, pinning most inside. My Volkssturm platoon arrived, woo-hoo, with 1 squad launching a quick counter to hit a Pershing with their ‘faust., only to again glance but pin it. More werfer fire, more pinning, 1 M3 half-track destroyed and the US chit counter was building. Then disaster for me, my Pak-38 was hit by Pershing HE fire and the gun destroyed - the crew ran… drat. Then an AP shell hit my ’88’ (a 6 rolled) and smashed a 90mm hole through it… again the crew ran. Double-drat.

All I had left was my 2 JgPazner IV, and as they rolled on to engage, an ambush fire long range snipe from the distance Jackson (in the woods) hit and KO’d one on the table edge… 90mm guns are rather good. My last AFV fought until out of ammo, hit and glanced off a Pershing, then KO’d a Sherman … then withdrew ammo pins empty. I had no AT shots left and was being pummeled. When a FJ MG team was machine gunned down the resulting chit broke my BR total of just 32. I had inflicted 36 BR loss of the US, but their total was 44, still 8 short. My defenders had hung tough and fought it out, but in the end, they had to give up that farm, another narrow US win.

Here are some pics of the actions. On to game 5, Taskforce Elgar trying to intercept my reinforcements before we get to the grand finale of the campaign, game 6 and storming the town itself from various directions in an ultimate Hexenkessel.

HelmingstraBe and the Rubelzahn Farm from above. 
FJ deployed at the bottom awaiting the US heavy-weights.

 US end of the table, heavy wooded, then open fields.

FJ dug-in to foxholes screen the farm

First incoming shells scream in. 105s... 

FJ 88 awaits on ambush fire, with a loader team, in a gun-pit. 

The farmhouse strongpoint, spotters and MG teams

Pak-38 on ambush and the rest of the platoon. This 'hedge' had a ditch, making it hard cover.

Hetzer gotta hetz...

... or not. Ko'd in the farmyard by 90mm return fire. 

Armoured infantry claim an objective (marked by KO'd Sherman), on the edge of the woods. 

 First werfer strike

Victim of the PAK-38... TDs ain't tanks!

US infantry support dismounts from track, under ambush MG fire. .30 cal team forgot its ammo!

Squad out! Pinned, then MG42s cut them to pieces quickly.

 88, pinned again

 2nd werfer strike

M26s push on through the ploughed fields on their left, firing as they come.

 Volkssturm break cover to sneak a 'faust shot... hit, glance, pin... run-away. 

 Jgpanzer IV arrives and dies... long range sniper shooting from a Jackon at 60". 

Good shootin' Tex! TD does it's job. 

 Volkssturm reinforce the farm, hiding in the barn from incoming artillery. 

US armour in place, shelling and MGing all before them. 

 Last of the defenders runs out of ammo, time to go... another small patch of the Third Reich lost.

Thursday 25 July 2019

Next NorthAG playtest

Another trial game of NorthAG, this time to really test out the Warsaw Pact 'Breakthrough' special rule... which allows them to press on across the table to exit it, and win a gane that way, rather than in a straight stand-up fight. It is optional though, so the NATO player won't know until during the game if the WP are playing breakthrough or not. I got the drop on NATO here until his reinforcements started to roll in to block me - bound to happen, and it wouldn't be much of a game if I just raced off the table before he could react and it was game-over! No... this worked well, and despite heavy (huge) Russian tank losses, it almost worked. I got 9 units off the table edge (so 9 counters for the NATO side) and that almost broke him... but not quiet. In the end the losses cost me just too much... 18 from 20 tanks KO'd... but it is the motorised infantry you want to get through...

Another good game, very little to alter this time, no gunships showed up at all this time (my CAP helped here)... and my AA finally scored a first kill, SA-13 finally gets Gazelle scout helo!

Here are some pictures from the charge... a real close quarters brawl in the end as the British fought desperately to stop the breakthrough, and used every '66' they had in the process.

CAP - was useful this time, no aircraft to shoot down, but stopped a Lynx turning up. 

Russian BRDMs in the woods, 1 got away, 1 broke down and was abandoned.

Scorpions come forward to inspect the wooded ridge, and threaten the objective up there. 

Sagger team cover the ford on my right... small diversion here to hold Brits whilst and launched my tanks and BTRs at the left flank.

 The diversionary tanks... facing 3 Chieftains, best play hide and seek. 

Chieftains guard the ford, Sagger missed then ran out of ammo. 

Red armour coming over the wooded ridge on my left.

Timed rocket strike hits the objective and dug-in Brits near the Schloss! 

Scorpions meet their match on the ridge, then turn and run.

Brits claim the Schloss objective, resupply Stalwart arrives to re-arm the MILAN team.

Red armour heads down into the valley and races for the far table edge. 

First MRP follow the tanks. 

SA-13 get to the high ground before locking-on to the Gazelle and downing it! 

Red armour reaches the far hill, as the reach the hill line, the Brits are waiting on ambush fire. 

Brits have rushed into place. Rear slope defence. 

Brits secure the village, and set up their Rapier battery. 

Kaboom, the hill turns into an inferno. First wave taking a beating, but the breakthrough is still on. 

Following nfantry threatening to get clean through.
 One tank gets through and off the table edge, past the dismounting British infantry.

 Whilst the battle for the hillock, a brawl at under 10", continues.

 Another one survives the inferno and gets off the table... but it wasn't quiet enough. Exciting though, which is the point.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Here come the Rebs!

A long-time back burner project that has been, on and off, the painting tray for the past 2 years... but it is finally done. Woo-Hoo! or Yee-Har!

My Confederate Army for ACW, and mainly the Longstreet rules. It is a basic force, with everything needed to play a Longstreet campaign against my Union forces. So now I have brigades for both sides... always nice to finish a big project... 4 Infantry regiments, 1 Cavalry regiment, 2 3 gun cannon batteries and limbers and command stand, sharpshooters and 'hero' marker.  Most are Perry miniatures, metals and plastics, with some Foundry and Dixon included as well. Future expansion will be another cavalry unit and a fifth infantry unit... more men in grey/brown sludge!

It has been too long for a game of Longstreet... so these Rebs will get a first run out soon. Phone camera obviously struggling at this focal distance... hence the blurriness (oops).