We rolled for the mission and came up with Encounter.
Brian was running US 3rd Armored Division tanks, and I was running trucked panzerpioneers.
US 3rd ARMORED DIVISION
2x HQ Shermans + Recovery vehicle. Add dozer + cutters
4x M4A1 Shermans
4x M4A1(76) Shermans + cutters
5x M5A1 Stuarts
Armored Mortar battery
Full M10 Tank Destroyer battery
Full Armored Engineer Platoon
HQ + HMGs + Mortars + Schreck + 2 fausts
3x Combat Platoons w. 1 flamer + panzerfausts
3x Panzer II Lucks
Brian decided to start with his Engineers, 76s, and tank destroyers (carbine teams only) on the board.
I chose to begin with 1 panzerpioneer platoon, the panzer II Ls, and the Panthers.
The board. You can see the German forward objective on the right, and both US objectives deployed in the center top and top left. The German rear objective is just out of frame in the south behind the house.
The German near objective
The German far objective
The near objective
Panzerpioneers deployed on the german right.
Panzer IIs and HMGs deploy on the German left.
Panthers and mortars deploy in the center. The mortars never fire a shot through the entire game.
Engineers deploy on the German left.
The Green machine deploys in the US center, ready to push through the bocage
The game begins with the Panthers rolling forward and taking shots at the Shermans
The panzer IIs race to the flank to fire off machine gun rounds into the engineers
Pioneers dig in
The engineers take light casualties
The panthers knock out one 76
The AOP has no purpose other than to look neat
The Americans shift to the German right.
Then push through the gate into the bocage cell
The panthers, wishing to avoid being flanked, fall back across the bocage
The battlefield form the German left
The Americans prepare to crash through the bocage
The panthers can't get any shots off, so sit tight.
The first reserves arrive in the form of US Stuarts. Brian double times them across the backfield to reinforce the Engineers who are under constant fire from the Panzer IIs
The panthers still have no shots
The threat of the stuarts forces the panzer IIs to redeploy
The US bulldozer crushes a path through the bocage, allowing the green machine to follow
The battlefield from the German right.
The panzer IIs move into the bocage. The US carbine teams of the Tank Destroyers lurk in the adjacent cell.
The tanks are at a standstill.
More US reserves arrive! 4 Shermans come barreling down the road.
The US tanks in the center continue advancing.
The panzerwerfers, having only arrived from reserve in the previous turn, bring down a barrage on the engineers and shermans. Killing one stand of infantry and bailing a tank.
US Mortars arrive from reserve.
The panthers cover the panzerpioneers who get out of their foxholes and dive into the bocage
The US tanks lurk in the adjacent cell
The center of the board
The Stuarts prepare to swing around into the German flanks. You cannot see the HMG deployed behind the bocage to the right of the gate.
The US company commander comes forward and blasts a Panzer II.
Panzerpioneers arrive from reserve
The forward pioneers take up position.
On the German left, pioneers come on from reserve directly in front of the US Shermans!
Panzerwerfers hit the engineers again
German flamethrower + panzerschreck knock out 1 sherman and bail another.
And then the pioneers fail their tank terror check to assault! grrrr
The Shermans, Engineers, and Stuarts all retaliate. The pioneers ar punished.
The pioneers pushing deep into the enemy lines are hit by a mortar barrage temporarily stopping their advance.
The Panzer twos nip at the Stuarts, and knock one out!
The remaining panzerpioneers try to get out of dodge
The panthers crush into the bocage and race forward knocking out the Company commander (who jumps into the 2iC's tank).
The pioneers use their flame thrower to knock out a 76 and bail another. And then, even with the company commander, fail their tank terror!
The US company commander calls smoke in on the panthers, and springs his M10 ambush. The M10s swing around and open up with their 50 cals on the pioneers, killing one stand.
The pioneers on the German left continue being pummeled.
The embattled center
The German company commander calls in panzerwerfer fire, knocking out an M10.
The M10s swing to the German left, just behind the bocage.
US Shermans push deep into the German lines
The US again call in smoke on the German lines to suppress the company commander's ability to call in fire form the werfers.
Shermans and Stuarts are rolling up the German left!
The Panthers cross the bocage, knocking out the 2iC and the last 76. The panther commander gets stuck belly up.
**though I failed to get a picture of it, at this point Brian moved his Engineers out, but left both of his HMGs exposed to my own HQ HMG section that everyone (including you) have probably forgotten about. Both Engineer HMGs fell, knocking the platoon below half. They promptly ran off!
The US Shermans approach the rear German objective. The Objective is held by panzerwerfers (two of which crossed the bocage to escape 75mm stabilized death), and a platoon of panzerpioneers.
The Panzer IIs try to escape the marauding US Shermans
But unfortunately, the Sherman gunners have no problem knocking them out
The Panthers race forward, MGs and cannons blazing. They knock the M10s below half who then flee the field!
The pioneers in the rear dig in
The M10s disappear, but not before knocking out the belly up panther
The battlefield from the German right
The US Shermans are tantalizingly close.
At this point it's gotten late. I've lost my Panzer IIs and a panzerpioneer platoon. Brian has lost his engineers, M10s, and 76s. Brian attempts to concede, but I refuse to allow it. His 3 Shermans in my deployment zone are just as much as threat as my Panthers in his. I consider the game a draw. I do think my company is in a better way than his, but the game is still far from a foregone conclusion.
BRIAN'S CLOSING THOUGHTS:
Looking back here are a few things I messed up on. First off I should
have kept my engineers out of sight. I lost to many stands holding an
objective that was not in any danger. They could have sat happily and
safe behind the hedgerow until they were needed to plug a gap. Tank
destroyers in bocage are a mixed blessing. It is nice to have the free
movement of the infantry before they pop but in reality it can be
difficult to move them into a flanking position to deal with the big
cats. Once they are popped you basically have to wait for those
panthers to go belly up before you have a chance to deal with them. I
liked having the dozer and should have made more use of it. I also
should have remembered that the carbine teams from the tank destroyers
get cautious movement. Biggest take home message is that you can't
play a bocage from hell game on a weekday. I think we could have gone
for another hour, and as always a killer game on a great table.