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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hermann Goring Panzerkompanie vs. US 1AD Tank Company in Blind Domination

by Randy Elliott

I don't know about you guys, but my regular gaming buddy, Mike Richards, and I have hit a wall with the "normal" FOW scenarios...  We've been playing with our Italy lists for over a month now and really enjoy the games that we're getting from this particular match-up.  The issue that we've encountered has been with the standard deployment.  You put something down and he counters it...  That's okay for most games, but occasionally, its really nice to have no idea where the opposition is going to manifest!  Our good I-95 friends, have provided the perfect solution - Blind Domination!

In this excellent scenario, you use hidden deployments.  Your company approaches a disputed area that has several objectives with a range of point values for their control. We had 8 OBJs, ranging in value from 1-3pts, for a total of 13pts.  We decided that the first one to control 9 undisputed points at the start of their turn would win.  Of course, if your company broke, that would be the game as well.  Given the nature of deployment, we decided that a company MC could not be forced until Turn 3, after the arrival of all the platoons.  We did come to play, not get quick win!  We didn't track platoon losses.
For deployment you need to assign points of entry for each platoon and their turn of arrival, anywhere from turn 1-3, by which time your entire company is on-table.  Normally the areas are broken into 12" blocks, but we were also tired of playing on the standard 6'x4' table and up-scaled to a 8.5'x5' table!  This would give us six, 17" deployment zones.

We rolled off and I won the choice of sides.  I opted for the side closest to the town.  Mike won first turn.

Mike ran the following CV Hermann Goring Panzerkompanie from Fortress Italy:

HQ - 2x P3M (PzIII M)
Pz Plt 1 - 4x P3M
Pz Plt 2 - 4x P3M
Pz Plt 3 - 3x P3M
Schwere Pz Plt - 2x Tiger I (Tiger Ace - re-roll bogs)
HG Assault Gun Plt - 3x StuG G
HG Hvy Pzspah Plt - 2x 8-rad
Total:  1745pts

I ran a CV US 1st Armored Div Tank Company from Road to Rome:

HQ - CO M4 Sherman, 2iC M4 w/improvised armor (both 75mm)
Sherman Plt 1 - 3x M4A1(late) (76mm)
Sherman Plt 2 - 2x M4A3E8 (E8) 1x M4 (75mm)
Sherman Plt 3 - 1x E8, 2x M4
Lt Tank Plt - 3x M5A1 Stuarts
Recon Plt - M2 Halftrack w/.50cal, 2x recon jeeps w/AA MG, 3xRifles, Bazooka
TD Plt - 2x M-18 Hellcats, recon jeep , 2x M20 scout car 
Total:  1770pts

This is the table at start.  The OBJs were each road exit (four - 1pt @), the two multi-level hills( 2pts @), the church on the hill (2pts) and the town center(3pts.)

We had all off-road movement require a bog check and crossing linear obstacles, moving in woods, plowed fields and moving across slopes required a second one!  it was very muddy!

Recon Moves - Recon elements both move towards the town.   It occurs to me that he's got an advantage in firepower with the recon...
Domination Points:     German - 1  US -1
Turn 1 - sees the German recon moving into town and firing  up my guys.  Of course, the jeeps pass their saves, but the "armored" vehicle goes down with the loss of both the platoon commander & bazooka!!!
I return fire and manage to bail one 8-rad.  Next round is going to hurt after he remounts that bailed one...

Domination Points:     German - 1  US -1

German Turn 2 - Mike drives his Tigers & CO right down the road towards the town and brings in a P3 platoon in the far corner, I suspect to pick up that easy OBJ. Unfortunately, he bogs two of four...  He lights up one of the jeeps even after failing to remount the bailed 8-rad.  I pass MC to hang around! 

Domination Points:     German - 4  US - 1
US Turn 2 - My CO & 76s come in on the road heading into town and the tank platoon with 2, E8s comes in at the farther end of the table, close to the road.  Thankfully, I have Wide Tracks as I bog one E8, but he recovers.  My surviving recon jeep pulls back behind the buildings, putting himself into range for a promotion to platoon leader by the CO during shooting.
My 76s snap off a couple shots at the 8-rads and zap the bailed one!  Yeah, I'm a bully.

Domination Points:     German - 4  US - 1
German Turn 3 - Mike pulls his recon out of town, but until I move up, it still belongs to him.  His Tigers roll forward and begin to blaze away. He brings on the rest of his company and manages to bog 4 out of 11 vehicles...  The 2iC and three P3s and the other four tank P3 platoon come in to reinforce the center and seize the 2pt, hilltop OBJ.  The StuGs arrive on the far hill to interdict any attempt by me to move across that open area. 
US Turn 3 - My Stuarts arrive at the far end and move towards the OBJ on that far end.  I bring in my last Sherman platoon and 2iC along the road leading into town and bog the E8, but I swing the rest towards nearby hilltop OBJ.  My recon pulls back towards the same locale.
Domination Points:     German - 7  US - 1
German Turn 4 - Mike's 8-rad pulls back down the road to secure the road exit, allowing the P3s to move forward.  That tank platoon becomes split by bogs.  It's operating as two elements as the Tail-End Charlies attempt to reunite with their forward element. Mike tries to push forward, but he bogs an amazing 6 out of 12 tanks requiring bog tests... He gets two StuGs moving towards the church OBJ.
Mike's shooting is ineffective.  We're trading shots between the Tigers & 76s.  It'll come down to who gets the first "6!"
US Turn 4 - I pop my TDs on the hill, the Shermans next to them un-bog the E8 and the platoon moves forward, only to bog another tank on the hillside.  I try to move the two E8s up onto the church hill, but bog one.  The second moves into position to bring the Tigers under fire.  In town, the gun duel between the 76s and Tigers continues, but one 76 moves to fire up the P3s approaching the town from the left road.  My 2iC moves into the town square, behind the fountain.  Stuarts seize the OBJ road exit.  The recon dismounts and moves up behind the hilltop OBJ.
My shooting takes out one P3 on the road and bails the other on behind it.
Domination Points:     German - 4  US -7
 German Turn 5 - Mike's terrible luck with bogging continues, but he pushes forward as he can.  Realizing that the church OBJ will be pivotal, Mike begins to maneuver the StuGs and CO that way.  The Tail-End Charlies from that left P3 platoon close to within command range, but the back one bogs during its ST move.  Critically, the closest StuG to the path up the hillside also bogs.

Mike's shooting takes two tanks, one of which is the 2iC, who displaces into a 76! (What a shame...)  He also bails one Hellcat.

Domination Points:     German - 4  US -7

US Turn 5 - I dig in my recon rifle team.  I cannot un-bog the E8 at the base of the church hill.  The Stuarts move back towards the action.  I run the 75 Sherman over towards the church as Mike's StuG prepares to ascend the pathway.
My shooting manages a P3 bail, but I also kill a P3 and a Tiger!
Domination Points:     German - 4  US -7
German Turn 6 -  Mike continues to concentrate his P3s and StuGs towards the church hill.  Mike realized that he was going to have to take down the Shermans on that hill.  He would get a shot off with his StuG and his CO's P3.  The P3s over to the left were unable to advance as Mike wanted to use the operational one at it's full ROF against the Hellcats.  The other couldn't un-bog...  
The surviving Tiger continued to fire ineffectively at the 76s Shermans. The P3 to the left fired up and bailed - again - the same Hellcat.  On the other end, the StuG bailed the E8 on the hill.
Domination Points:     German - 4  US -7

US Turn 6 - I remount the Hellcat and the E8 on the church hill.  The E8 at the base of the hill remained bogged.  Stuarts move up.  I gamble and move out the 76 on the left side of the square to bring the Tiger under fire.  This will give me 6 shots needing a single "6."  
My shooting sees me miss the other Tiger as Mike's 2iC valiantly takes the hit for the Big Cat!  That'll hurt me next round...  More importantly, though, I bag the StuG on the hill.  The one in the woods had bogged during its ST.  My Hellcats hammer that left P3 platoon, bailing the operational one.  Mike easily made the MC with his HG re-roll!  My E8 & 75 on the other end of the hill from the Hellcats take down one P3 on the opposite hill. 

The end of the turn sees me in control of the church OBJ.  That gives me enough to win, if I can hold on...
Domination Points:     German - 4  US -9 

German Turn 7 - Mike remounts his bailed P3 on the left, but cannot un-bog the other tank.  He gets pretty much everything else moving, except... for the crucial StuG!  It fails to un-bog and Mike will not be able move to contest the OBJ next to the church.  He would have to shoot me off with his AT9 long 50s.
Mike manages to take down one Hellcat - finally!  He bails two 76s in town.  Lucky rolling on my part as they were Tiger hits!  On the critical hilltop, he cannot knock out the two active Shermans.  Game to the US at the start of the US Turn 7.
End Game Domination Points:     German - 4  US -9

Mike and I both enjoyed the game.  The scale was really nice.  Even the Tiger had to move into shooting range!  We both could not believe the high proportion of bogs that Mike rolled.  Clearly he was severely hampered by that turn of events.  He never was able to mass and maneuver his platoons as he had wanted to.  His P3 Horde is scary when it's a free-wheeling mass of Rhur-meggedon looking to drop on top of my Detroit's Finest!  We decided that we really loved the deployment and will keep playing with that for a while.  The large board is in for the next round of games as well.  We're going to go with "standard" mud reducing the movement to Slow Going, but we will retain bog tests for obstacles, woods and crossing slopes.
All together another fun game of FOW!

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