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


  1. Great AAR. Loved the photos of the action. Nice to see USAAF getting in on the scrap. No flood of Tigers and Panthers, another good point...and loved the old M21. That's an idea I just have to nick. Well done, more like this please!

  2. I've converted some of the Skirmish Campaign books to Battlegroup aswell, they do give a great game that is surprisingly close.

    1. Yes, with a little work. I have played the Utah beach book, with various rules, and always thought the scenarios were really good.I'm not usually a fan of Normandy bocage games, too restrictive, but the interesting scenarios make up for it.

  3. Great looking game, encouraging me to get WW2 back on the table.👍

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