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.
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
Mortar Fire Support - 1 x 80mm mortar (off-table), if attached
US FORCES - ELEMENTS OF TASK FORCE Z, CCB, 3rd ARMOURED DIVISION
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
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! |