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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FOW: US Armored Rifles vs German Panzer Lehr

From August 23/08

My US Armored Rifles attack Tom's LW Panzer Lehr Panzer Grenadiers in Fighting Withdrawal in the Normandy Bocage.

Sorry for the blurry pictures. My office has "Virginia Style" lighting and thus is never very bright... this is an apartment we rent, but I am very
into the idea of putting up some sort of overhead lighting... if anyone has any suggestions for doing so cheaply, easily, and unobtrusively, I would
love to hear them!

U.S. Armored Rifles 2nd armored division
2 full strength platoons
2 4 tank sherman platoons
1 section Armored recon
Armored Mortars
M7 Priests

Panzergrenadiers, panzer lehr
3 panzergrenadier platoons
4 Panzer IVs
4 Armored cannons
Artillery battery


-the view from the South, looking North
(The objectives are the turretless tiger in the upper left, the road in the bottom left, and a barely visible objective behind the bocage due west of the church)

The small village of St. Valencia sat nestled on the outskirts of the bocage country. Holding the location would provide the U.S. with
the ability to link up elements in the North and South, making supply runs considerably shorter. The task of capturing the village came to the 1/41st armored infantry battalion, with Item company at the tip of the spear. Opposite them was Kamfgruppe Thomas containing an assortment of forces, mostly from the 902. Panzergrenadierregiment, 5. Kompanie.

Word from Division was the krauts were gearing up to initiate a staggered withdrawal, thus the attack was to commence immediately to try and capture the town while forcing a breakthrough and allowing the rest of the 2nd Armored Division to inflict as much mayhem as possible before the enemy had withdrawn. The blitzdoughs were on a severe time crunch.

-The panzergrenadiers make preparations to receive the assault and allow time for their forces to withdraw

-Halftracks come forward to provide covering fire, and be available for a speedy exit

-Defensive positions are established in the bocage

-The view from the East, where the Americans will be attacking
(Visible objectives: The turretless tiger, and the horse drawn cart. The cart was placed by the U.S. player and is thus subject to removal. The Tiger was placed by Tom, and is thus there for good)

-The Germans feverishly pack up their equipment, preparing to withdraw.

-A Priest battery prepares to fire a mission.
(note- all artillery is technically across the volga... but we didn't want our models collecting dust)

-In the early morning light the Americans assemble and begin advancing into the town

-4 Shermans find a gap through an outlying forest, and begin advancing even before the order is given.

-Tanks lead the way with armored rifles close behind

The majority of the US force is deployed on the right. Both tank platoons and one armored rifle platoon are deployed in the more open terrain of the North, with the hope of swinging around in a stinging right hook to capture the objectives. A second armored rifle platoon is deployed in the center, in the middle of the bocage to keep the road through the center in U.S. hands, and keep the Germans seperated. The mortars likewise deploy in the center, ready to bring smoke where needed. Meanwhile, the armored recon platoon deploys outside the town on the U.S. South/Left flank to keep the panzergrenadiers honest.

German forces have 1 panzergrenadier platoon on each objective, the cannons in ambush, and the Panzer IVs deployed to the South, in the village. They will need to use the road to link up with their forces to the North, and the U.S. Armored Rifle platoon is on the move to cut them off.

Except for a well aimed artillery barrage on the armored rifle platoon in the center, no major combat happens yet.

-The armored rifle platoon begins advancing, hoping to cut off the panzers from linking up

-The U.S. forces in the North begin a broad advance

The Panzer IVs, now stuck on the road in the bocage are hit by a Time on Target barrage from the Priest Battery. Though no destructions occur, one is slightly damaged. Despite an intense artillery barrage moments earlier, the infantry in the middle are just barely in range of and, with the coaxing of the CO, grit their teeth and assault the tanks. They manage to capture the damaged tank, but the other 3 pull back. The infantry take up positions in the bocage.

-The Americans manage to knock out a Panzer IV

-Then take up residence in the bocage.

To the North, the Shermans capture the high ground, and put an observer out of commission.

-From here the Shermans have a commanding view of the battlefield.

-The Armored recon keeps a close eye on the village, watching for any movements

In the North, the other Armored Rifle platoon, still in their halftracks, stumble upon a well concealed ambush from the self propelled cannons. The Germans held until the M4 halftracks were in very close range, and manage to knock out every single one. The platoon takes massive casualties, but the lt. manages to rally the survivors.

-5 halftracks are destroyed in the blink of an eye. Very few soldiers escape unscathed

The Armored rifles in the center advance across the board, and prepare to assault a panzergrenadier platoon in the opposite bocage with support from a tank platoon. A Time on target barrage manages to knock out a panzer IV, an armored cannon, and a squad of panzergrenadiers, forcing them to put their heads down and making their defensive fire far less effective against the incoming GIs.

The Shermans on the hill manage to knock out another panzer IV, forcing the remaining one to think better of the battle and withdraw early.

The central GI platoon continues the advance, and charges over the bocage, forcing the panzergrenadier platoon to pull back. The U.S. is now very close to achieving their objective, but the Germans still have a slightly weakened panzergrenadier platoon and 3 cannons contesting.

-The GIs force their way into the bocage with support from the tanks

The Germans, despite orders to continue the withdrawal, begin moving up reinforcements. The panzergrenadier platoon holding the center objective begins advancing towards the Northern objective. Meanwhile, the armored cannons fire at point blank on one of the sherman platoons. Unfortunately, they only manage to damage one of the tanks.

-Panzergrenadiers on the move

-The view from the South at the bottom of turn 3

The Americans must capture their objective now, or the German withdrawal will begin succesfully. The central armored rifle platoon charges forward, inflicting casualties on the panzergrenadier platoon holding the objective. They draw in the armored cannon platoon as well, but a few well aimed bazooka shots, plus 1 well aimed 75mm shot from a sherman finish them off. Though the assault is succesful, the panzergrenadiers withdraw out of range into a wood, still contesting the objective. At this point the courageous (or foolish) tank commander of the shermans on the high ground orders to assault into the woods. Two of the tanks throw tracks on the way in, but the other two manage to get in close and mix it up. Only a handful of men and the panzergrenadier CO remain to face the tanks, but even the old man can't motivate them to stay. They first fall back from the tanks, but then continue to fall back. At this point, a general panic erupts in the remaining German troops and they all begin a disorganized retreat.

-The shermans and Armored Rifle platoon meet on the objective.

The battle ended a 5-2 (the battered armored rifle platoon also managed to participate in the final assault, but lost someone due to defensive fire, and after the assault failed their morale).

The Bocage was entirely on the U.S. side this battle. It allowed me to keep his tanks out of the fight for the most part, and provided my platoon coming up the middle with plenty of cover. Tom didn't withdraw a single platoon... but failing FOUR morale checks in a row cost him the game at the end (the check + re-roll to counter assault the tanks, and then the roll + re-roll for being below half strength at the end of the assault step). Had he made that I would've had to shift my assault to the central objective, and I don't think I could've taken it.

Veteran armored rifles are insanely awesome. They just keep going and going.

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