Tuesday 26 January 2021


Overnight from the 10-1ith July, Task Force X pulled back its armour and was replaced in the line by troops of 3rd Battalion, 120th Infantry and various supporting units of 30th Infantry Division. Meanwhile, the Panzer Lehr division launched its attack, with the 902nd Panzer Grenadier Battalion striking through Hauts-Vents. At dawn, the panzer and supporting armoured grenadiers hit the US troops.

This was a largely game (platoon-level), here are the special rules and forces. I adjusted the German force as it had some odd choices in it. A Flammpanzer III (?) - none in Normandy, and a Grille, which I didn't have, so replaced it with a Marder.

Platoon-level: Roll 2D6 for Orders

Dawn Attack?: The German player can choose to attack at night, using the Night Fighting rules, or at dawn. In a dawn attack, all US reinforcements enter on turn 1.

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: In a dawn attack, 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.

Objectives: 1, house on northern table edge.

(All Vets)

Pz IV H Platoon (4)                    12    Officer

StuH-42                            3

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

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

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

Marder                            1    

Total                        BR 26 + attachment    2 officers, 0 scouts

Roll once for attached support (+/-2) (Roll 14)
D20 Roll    Attached   + BR
1-3        FAO Team - 2 men in Kubelwagen    +2    Officer, Arty Spotter

4-11        2 x Recce Teams            +4    Scouts 2, Mortar Spotter
        4 men with MG-42 in SdKfz 250/1

12-17        PzGrenadier Squad in SdKfz 251/1    +4    D3 Panzerfausts    
        5 men with MG-42, 3 men with MG-42

18-20        Flakpanzer 38(t)            +2    

Artillery Support
Off-table 1 x 80mm mortar
4 x 1st Priority Artillery Requests (maximum is Divisional request), if FAO attached. 

  (All Regs)

2 M4 Shermans                    6    

2 M10 Tank Destroyers                4    Enter on Turn D4+1

FHQ - 3 men                    3    Senior Officer

Bazooka Team - 3 men                1

Sniper and Observer                1    Sniper-Scout

Inf Squad - 7 men, 5 men with BAR *        3    * Reduced strength

Bazooka Team - 3 men                1

MMG Team - 3 men with .30 cal MMG    1

Foxholes for 20 men                0    3+ cover save

1 Minefield                        0        

                           BR 20 + attachment  1 officer, 1 scout

Roll once for attached support (rolled 5)
D20 Roll    Attached   + BR
1-3        3 x M8 Greyhounds        +3    Scouts 3, Enter on Turn D4+1

4-8        Recce Jeep with MMG- 3 men    +5    Scout, Enter on Turn 1
             M4 Sherman  

9-10        2 x M8 Greyhounds        +2    Scouts 2, Enter on Turn D4+1

11-14        Infantry Squad in truck        +6    Enter on Turn D4+1
                 2 Bazooka Teams, each
                 - 3 men in Jeep with a Bazooka

15-18        3 x M4 Shermans            +9    Enter on Turn D4+1

19-20        M16 Half Track            +1    Enter on Turn D4+1    

Artillery Support


Attacking through these hedges (impassable to vehicles except at gates or by blasting gaps), then the only hope of reaching the objective (the building on the northern table edge) was with infantry attacking on foot. The vehicles could shoot them in, but not go with them. The road was still blocked by the minefield, and the wrecked M8 which we agreed could be pushed into the ditch by a heavier tank (if it survived the mines) but not a half track. Too risky! The shortest distance was via the scenario’s allowed flanking attack from the east. This then would be my main strike, the rest would engage and try to pin the US down and destroy what they could to avoid it redeploying and helping the defenders in the woods, which would the first major obstacle.

The US deployed into the hedges and their foxholes, a scattered of infantry with the armour and M10s behind in the hedges and woods. First obstacle. remove the armour from the woods so the half-tracks could arrive and debuss infantry into it for a rush to the building, without being destroyed.

I sent a Pz IV and Marder for the job, whilst mortaring the wood as best I could, which wasn’t greta with 1 80mm mortar. Elsewhere on the table we traded a few shots and not much else. One lucky hit immobilized a Sherman, and crew rolled a 1 and abandoned it on the morale test. The woods was the crucible of the fight.

My Pz IV rolled on and the ambushing M0 missed it (rolled a 1) - first luck. The Marder arrived and got the M10 in return, ten switched to HE to shell the infantry and was soon out of ammo and withdrawing (just 4 shots). The Pz IV traded fire with the Shermans, both missing, or failing to spot… until I had enough orders in a turn to risk the ‘251’ rush. On they came at speed, 2 squads and MG teams disembarking into the woods. The first squad moved up and Panzerfausted the Sherman side on – it was burning. The rest rushed through the woods to the northern edge. I kept the redeploying US bazooka teams at bay with tank and 251 MG fire, pinning them down in the hedges. His reserve Sherman failed to spot my grenadiers (twice) and in return, it to got a surprise panzerfaust through the front glacis and was also burning. My MG-42 teams moved up and brought the house under heavy fire, pinning the sniper team and FHQ inside. The US were, at this point, in big trouble and their dice rolling was just terrible. Cover saves of 3+ were repeatedly failed. 4+, no chance! 3, 3+ cover saves on US infantry teams resulted in 3 1s, pinned and a dead man. It broke a bazooka and MG team…

The second M10 repositioned to try and hold the farm, and was lucky when my last panzerfaust missed it, but it also ran out of ammo and was down to just an MG. With the MG-toting German infantry now at the hedge just outside the house objective, and panzers moved up to fire on the building up the road, including the StuH’s 105m gun, the weak defence was pinned and about to be close assaulted. They had to unpin, and that last BR counter draw broke the US force.

It had been a one sided affair. The US got overrun, nothing went right, his tanks and tank destroyers missed with every shot they fired, his cover saves were freakishly awful. After 6 or 7 turns it was over, US broken on 25 BR. Of their 30 BR, the Germans had lost 9 on 3 counters (and 1 of them for out scouted, and 1 for the objectives, so just 1 for unpinning). The 902nd’s attack had not lost a single unit. Crushing. I don’t think it can go much better. They didn’t know what hit them!

That win gives the Germans a maximum 10 VPs for a 11-0 lead after 2 games. Also they now have a +/-4 attachment credit for future rolls.

For the next game I’ve decided to swap around the published order. Game 3 would be over the same battlefield as 3rd Armoured counters, but game 4 actual happens first, with a Panzer Lehr recon grouping getting behind the US front lines. We’ll do that as a squad-level game 3 before the larger US counter-attack in game 4. 

StuH, its task was to hit the target builling at maximum range, along the road.
US infantry in their foxholes
Hauts-Vents farm, the HQ for launching the attack. Waiting for the off....
Working past the wreck of yesterday's air attack... Opel Blitz shoved out of the way.

Leading the main attack, to take-out the US armour in the woods, Pz IV and Marder in tandem

Marder vs M10... Marder got him!

On the other flank, the other M10, it had to  pullback to the objective building to try and help hold it.

Infantry assault disembarks into the woods - schnell!, schnell!

Panzerfaust KO's the Sherman, not being on mabush fire, it was vulnerable.

Armoured build-up, but with the road blocked, it has nowhere really to go.

Panzer grenadiers reach the far side of the wood, no pausing in the quick dash for the objective

Marder pulls back, out of ammo.

Cleared the woods, more wrecks for the next battle at Hauts Vents.

Hit, immobilized and abandoned. Sherman left in German hands.

Reserve Sherman, another 'faust victim, now cover for an MG team, blazing into the target building.
US counters.... ugly reading

German counters... nice!

































Monday 25 January 2021


The first Battlegroup game in a 6-part mini-campaign using the Skirmish Campaigns book ‘Heroes of Omaha and Panzer Lehr’. These games are set during Panzer Lehrs brief counter-attack on July 10th-11th near Pont Herbert and the Vire river. Game 1 is the advance by US Task Force X towards the crossroads at Hauts Vents, whilst beset German infantry of Kampfgruppe Heintz try to stop them. Behind, Heintz knows Panzer Lehr are moving into place to strike the next day.

The book gives forces for the scenario, so I just converted them to BG, with BR ratings et al. I also changed the map, from Google Earth investigations, to  something closer to right, I think, than book has it (not miles off though).

Here are the two forces, special rules and the random tables from which each side gets an single attachment, rolled before the game. This keeps the forces unknown until you start, and is good for replay-ability.

Squad-level: As a squad level scenario, remove all 5 counters from the BR counters before the game begins.  

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 immobilized. Half-tracked and tracked vehicles move off-road as normal.

Off-table fire from East: Any US unit that ends its turn in a field with an open edge to the east comes under fire from a 75mm anti-tank gun to the east. The fire counts as a single shot at maximum range. It may be Suppressing or Aimed Fire. Max 2 shots per turn.

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.

Objectives: 1, in farmhouse at Huats-Vents.

(All Regs)

1 Platoon HQ Squad - 4 men in Kubelwagen    3     Officer, mortar spotter

Infantry Squad - 5 men, 3 men with MG-42         3    (start with D3 Panzerfausts)

Infantry Squad - 5 men, 3 men with MG-42        3    (start with D3 Panzerfausts)

HMG Team - 3 men with tripod MG-42        1

PAK-40 with 4 crew and truck tow            3

SdKfz 10 with 20mm flak and ammo trailer *    1    *as loader team

FAO - 2 men                        1    Officer, Arty Spotter

Foxholes for 20 men                    0    3+ cover saves

10” barbed wire                        0

2 Dug-outs, under bocage                0    2+ cover save, for MG Teams only

1 Minefield                            0

Total                            BR 15 + attachment    2 officers, 0 scouts

Roll once for attached support (rolled 15)
D20 Roll    Attached  + BR
1-4        PAK-38 with 4 crew and truck tow    +3

5-9        Sniper + observer                +1    (Vets) Sniper-scout

10-12        CHQ (FHQ) - 3 men in Kubelwagen    +3    (Vets) Senior Officer, Mortar Spotter

13-14        sIG33 with 3 crew and truck tow    +2    + loader team

15-17        Pzschreck team - 2 men            +1    *D6+1 shots

18-20        Mortars Spotter Team - 2 men        +1    Mortar Spotter

Artillery Support
3 x PRTPs
Off-table 2 x 80mm mortar
2 x 2nd Priority Artillery Requests (maximum is Divisional request)

* Ammo trailer, counts as a loader team    


1 M8 Greyhound AC                1    Scout

M4 Sherman Platoon (3 tanks)            9    Officer

Arm Infantry Platoon HQ in M3            3    Officer, Mortar Spotter
10 men with a Bazooka*

Arm Infantry Squad in M3            3    Mortar Spotter
10 men with BAR and Bazooka*

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

                     BR 19 + attachments    2 officers, 1 scout

Roll once for attached support (rolled 16)
D20 Roll    Attached  + BR
1-6        FAO Team - 2 men in Jeep        +2    Arty Spotter, Officer
             Jeep Recce - 3 men in Jeep            Scout (note, no pintle-mounted MG)

7-14        2 x M8 Greyhounds            +2    Scouts

15-18        Engineer Squad - 10 men in truck    +3    Engineers
, with flamethrower, mine detector, D6 demo charges (5)

19-20        2 x M4 Shermans                +6    

Artillery Support
Off-table - 1 x 81mm mortar from M21 Half-Track
3 x 1st Priority Artillery Requests (only if FAO team attached, maximum of divisional request)

The game was a cracker… for US, routes through the bocage were hard to find. The engineers blew a hole through a hedge to allow access into the woods (still counting as dangerous terrain to cross), but the German minefield on the road, covered by a Pak-40, made the obvious route very lethal. The engineers would be busy blasting an alternative.

The early turns passed quickly with the US getting on the table, under harassing mortar fire, some pinning, and the engineer’s deuce-and-a-half instantly bogging down in the mud. They;d be on foot from now on, humping their demo-charges about. The US’ first advance into the woods encountered the first MG bunker under the opposite bocage and it proved very tough, not failing any cover saves as .30 cals, M1 rifles and 75mm HE lashed it! The returning MG and mortar fire got some US troops and half tracks pinned and that cost a few BR counters to remove. The US replied with their single mortar (M21 half-track, off-table, but as I have a rarely used old converted one, it came on the US table edge), targeting the Hauts-Vents farm, but doing little, except one wild round did unfortunately kill my Panzerschreck team, sneaking up through the ditches – boom, urgh!, first German KIAs. Stalled, unwilling to risk the unpinned MG-42 bunkers at short range, it seemed Task Force X would not get far today. That was until they pulled an Air Attack counter and passed the check. Jabos! In came a P-51 and bombed the crossroads, pinning the Pak and an MG team. With the ambush-waiting Pak suddenly out of action, for the moment, an M8 decided to risk the minefield (not waiting on the engineers would were themselves now pinned by mortar fire on the road junction, in a ditch). The kamakazi armoured car sped down the lane, and – boom! Destroyed… can’t roll a 1-2 when you need to. Its smoking wreck was now another obstacle in the lane.

As US fire built-up against my two forward bunkers, I unpinned and pulled the MG teams out, and they withdrew before being lost, heading back to main line of resistance, job done. The US aircraft was sudden back, and it strafed the lane behind the farm destroying an Opel Blitz (the Pak’s tow)… that counter, along with 1 for the air attack and 1 to unpin the Pak-40 meant trouble, with only 16 BR, my counters rushed up for 6, to 15 – Eek! That Jabos would win it. Except, my 20mm flak (on SdKfz 10) opened up and hit, pinning the P-51… did the US have the BR to risk unpinning? It seemed not… because the P-51 never returned. I was hanging on by 1 BR point, still mortaring away and preying his mortar didn’t hit anything. It didn’t - due to a failed comms tests (HT must be re-arming), and then, as his infantry pushed on to the next hedgerow, my grenadiers opened rifle fire from ambush, breaking an .30 cal MG team as they were setting-up in the hedge. They ran, and the chit taken broke Task Force X – Yes! A German win, by 1 BR point. I had just, only just, held Hauts-Vents. It was very tense at the end.

It was small, squad-level game, and lasted less than 2 hours. US loses were about 12 men, 1 ‘crazy’ M8, 1 bogged down truck. German looses, about 8 men and 1 Opel Blitz.

The way the campaign VPs work from the book, I have changed. Instead of its more complex method, we agreed campaign VPs would equal the winning margin on BR (so here, 1!), maxing out at 10. Other scenario special bonus as written would apply (so in this scenario, +5 VPs for 4+ US AFVs KO’d by the Germans – not a hope of that here). The winner also gets ‘attachment credits’ to spend on changing his attachment roll result in future games. + or - 2 to the Germans for the first win.

With the board set-up (it took longer that the game), we decided to go for Game 2 the next day. We’re in lock-down, so not like much batter to do and the board was up. So, Sunday would see Pz Lehr strike, over the same table. Wrecks (and bogged truck) remain in place, I added a few craters were the most mortaring had occurred and where the P-51s bombs hit.

Germans wait for the approach of Task Force X
Road blocked by a minefield and covered by my main AT weapon

US engineers arrive first and de-buss as their truck gets stuck.

Bocage MG-42 bunker

Sherman moves up to thr wire and tries to suppress a bunker. Engineers would later blast the wire open.

M3 pinned by mortar fire.

US forces move through the woods and engage the MG bunker opposite, to no-effect.


Bombs away!
Kamizake charge! Dead M8...

Engineers clear the wire, and are pinned by 80mm bombs raining in.

Rare tabletop time for my old M21 conversion.

P-51 strafing victim

Mortaring the farm house, didn't get the FAO team inside.

US counters

German counters, 15 from 16, the narrowest of wins

Friday 1 January 2021


A small (550 pt) game using the Wacht Am Rhein book and its Roadblock scenario.

I’d be commanding a German reconnaissance battlegroup moving over the Ourthe river and encountering an ad-hoc US infantry battlegroup forming the roadblock at the hamlet of Misramont, around its castle-like chateau and church. Here are the two force lists:


Armoured Recce Inf Platoon        181 pts    16-r    Scout 2
2 men + stretcher team in Sdkfz 250/1                       Off, Mortar Spotter
SdKfz 250/11
4 MG teams (4 men) in Sdkfz 250/1s
with MG42s and a Pzfaust                36 pts

SdKfz 234/1 armoured car                22 pts        1-r    Scout
SdKfz 250/8 aemoured car                27 pts        1-r

Panzer IV Platoon (3)                        150 pts    9-r    Off, Mortar Spotter

Grief Team                                        31 pts        2-v    Scout 2, BELs, Disguise
3 men in Jeep with demo-charge

Captured M8 Greyhound                    21 pts        1-r

2 x 80mm mortars                                54 pts        0    off-table

Timed 150mm Nebelwerfer Barrage  30 pts    0    Turn 3, on school house

Totals                    552 pts    30 BR    2 officers, 5 scouts


Wild Rumours                            10 pts            +0    Roll D6

FHQ (3 men in Jeep)                  23 pts            3-r    Senior Off, Art Spotter

Infantry Platoon                        80 pts          7-i    Off, Art Spotter
MMG Team - 3 men                    16 pts         1-i    
Bazooka Team - 2 men                15 pts         1-i
57mm AT Gun- 3 men with loader team    46 pts        2-i    Beep tow
Light mortar team - 2 men            12 pts        1-i

M4 Sherman Platoon (3)            140 pts           9-r    Off, Art Spotter

Improvised Barricades x 2            10 pts            0    4+ cover
Foxholes for 20 men                      20 pts           0    3+ cover
Minefield x 1                                 20 pts            0
Improvised Roadblock x 1            5 pts              0
AT gun dug-out x 1                        20 pts           0    3+ cover, for AA gun

Supply Truck x1                            8 pts            1-i    resupply

90mm AA gun with loader team    69 pts         2-i    in dug-out
and M4 HS tow

2 x 2nd Priority Artillery Requests    20 pts       0    3+

Totals                    544 pts    27 BR    3 officers, 0 scouts

Before the battle began, the roll for the US Wild Rumours resulted in no BR change and the Low Cloud Cover meant all air attack chits would have to be re-rolled (if an aircraft arrived). That suited the Germans just fine.

The Germans began, entering the table on the left and right led by their Pz IVs, avoiding the central killing zone of that 90mm AA gun. Only the disguised vehicles entered here, hoping to sneak into the US lines and cause some havoc (and some pinning). This didn’t work out. An ambush fire .30 cal MG team rolled a 6 and opened fire on the suspicious jeep and wiped it out at PB range. The rumbled captured M8 made a dash for cover but was caught by a Sherman on ambush fire, hit and burnt. Damn, the ruse had failed badly and cost me 3 counters in the process.

Other things had started to go wrong too, after its initial fire my supporting mortars went quiet. In fact, 1 stonk was all I got on 4 more failed comms tests (good grief) and the spotter was pinned in his SdKfz 250 for 2 turns… so that was it for mortar fire. On turn 3, my timed Werfer strike hammered down, caused pinning, and a few infantry losses, but again, less than an amazing impact. My support fire had not got the Americans well pinned for my attacks.

The attack on my right started well, my Pz IV KO’d a lurking Sherman with it’s first shot, and then droving clean over US foxholes, ignoring their grenade throws to pin it. It was round the back… until a 90mm AA shell winged its way and rolled a 6! Hit - dead! I was hoping to have that thing well pinned down in the first turns. Still, it needed 6s to hit, how many can it roll?

On my left, my tank's HE got his 57mm AT gun pinned and hosed down his infantry with MG fire. When another Sherman nosed forwards by the schoolhouse, we traded AP shots, missing until a Sherman shell glanced off the Pz IVs armour and stunned the crew inside. German APC MG fire was raining on the defenders now, but good cover saves were keeping them firing back, trying to pin my open-topped APCs. One BAR squad was wiped out by heavy pintle-MG fire. On counters taken it was even(ish).

That was the last of the good news. US reinforcements had arrived, more infantry and another Sherman. With no targets the M4 HS tow moved up to drag the 90mm gun into a new position, at the rear of the walled paddock. My flanking reinforcements refused to show, I couldn’t roll a 4+. Time was now running out, I was taking a counter each turn. I couldn’t wait, so was forced to push forwards against my better judgement. The US troops were largely unpinned.

In response, the US FHQ got on his radio and called for some fire support. His divisional 105s quickly responded, with lethal accuracy. Smack on target (1” of deviation), the guns caused multiple direct hit, destroying a Pz IV and my 250/11… I was close to breaking now. Then the 57mm AT gun, for so long pinned, had the final say, 3 shots (with loader team) - 3 hits! My last Pz IV was KO’d in a fusillade of 57mm fire… and that was it. With the tanks all gone, my battlegroup pulled back to find another route, and ask some stern questions of their mortar support (WTF guys?).

I broke on 31 from 30 BR, the US had only reached 21 from 27… so  a solid(ish) win in the end. That artillery impact was decisive, a heavy stonk, very timely and crushing. 

That's it for 2020, a year to forget. Stay well all, and Happy New Year, lets hope it's better one. 

90mm gun in the centre of the table. Bushes represent it is dug-in (I don't have a position large enough for the model)   

On ambush fire, in a dominant position. IDF would usually deal with that... but not here.

Last resort in the school house.

The Germans arrive, led by a Pz IV on the right

Pz IV rolls right over them... following infantry carriers will deal with the guys in the foxholes.

Lurking by the chateau. It hit, but was unlucky to be KO'd by accurate return fire from the Pz IV on a Heroic Action.

On the left, the first tank noses out of the woods to open fire with suppressing HE.

Captured M8 burns after the Sherman targeted it.

57mm AT gun pinned by HE fire. It took a while to get back into action, then scored 3 hits in open Order, and killed the command Pz IV in a furious volley of shells.

Chateau Misramont, held by a rifle squad.

.30 cal MMG in foxholes. It spotted the disguised Grief team and filled them full of holes at PB range.

German armour on the left, in the woods. Support fire into the village from the Pz IV and SdKfz 250/11.

Trading fire with them, a Sherman, which broke down after being pinned in the werfer barrage... badly shaken up I guess.

Sherman commanders tank arrives and covers left, where half tracks are appearing.

Werfer impacts on the schoolhouse, killing a few infantry inside, but not breaking them.

Victim of the 360o field of fire we allowed the 90mm gun. It weas a lucky hit tbf, it's only one all game.

Trying to clear-out dug-in infantry, a 250 is pinned by return fire. 

half tracks and armoured cars, using 20mm fire to try and suppress the village, not very effective.

Do or die... the infantry carriers press in from my right. A desperate gamble with time running out. 

The other US artillery strike, just pinning, but enough to slow me down.


US FHQ arrives and parks up. 'Pass me that radio!' Two words - "Fire Mission".