2 times Canadian, 2 times Polish National Team representative on FoW ETC
On 17th of September 1944 started the greatest airborne operation up to date. In nine day’s it would be over with British and American forces failing to achieve a breakthrough into the Rhineland.
Shan Morris has donated a wonderful Holland table to the ETC, and as we got the Stewardship over it – what better way was there to celebrate it, then to do a climactic battle report.
So I’ve asked P. and StaryKur to take part in the battle report. They would each prepare their 1780pts lists without knowing what they were up against – only that they were to choose a force that could possibly appear during Operation Market Garden.
P. came up with an Inns of Court Armoured Car Squadron:
StaryKur actually came up with 3 lists, out of which I’ve chosen Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers that would represent elements of Panzerbrigade 107:
We played Breakthrough, and StaryKur decided to take the 2 table quarters located along the main road.
Germans deployed Panzergrenadiers and PaK40’s to block avenues of approach on both flanks and Panthers in a position to control a large portion of the British quarter. This meant 6 PaK40’s and 3 Panthers on overwatch over a large field with limited or no concealment.
So P. decided to put both platoons of Cromwells and his moto-pioniers into reserve, and deployed the artillery and recon elements of his force.
The Proud German Commander StaryKur ready to blunt yet another British Attack.
Recce Moves: Recon starts to move up hill to enter the nearby village.
1st British turn- move
Recce moves further down the flank. AEC’s take firing positions behind a tree line. Artillery fire has no effect.
1 platoon of PaK40’s shift position along the road-rise. Panthers and Grenadiers move towards the objectives.
2nd British turn
Recon continues down the Flank.
AEC’s fire at PaK's - at long range semi indirect - killing 2 behind the road, the Daimlers add some more fire but without effect. Artillery hits another PaK killing it. After suffering such intensive casualties the platoon flees.
2nd German turn
Panzergrenadier platoon digs in on the closer objective, another panzergrenadier platoon and Panthers move closer to British reserves entry area.
British turn 3
1 Reserve arrives – and these are Cromwell tanks, which immediately take up a defensive position, breaking any LoS to German Panthers (they must have heard the old soviet saying “Strike deep behind enemy lines, dig in and wait for winter…”), but taking aim at infantry and halftracks: killing 2 infantry stands and 1 halftrack.
Sextons bombardment bails a Panther and kills an infantry stand.
3rd German turn
3.7cm SP AAA guns enter from reserve and make swiss cheese out of two Daimlers.
Both infantry platoons are unpinned, but the Panther does not unbail.
2 Panthers move in to take aim at Cromwells and manage to kill 1, but fail to gun tank the Challenger and fail their storm trooper move – they are now left within 10” of the table edge.
Reserve roll on 2 dice, and both turn out to be 5+. “God Bless Field Marshal Montgomery!”
The infantry platoon takes up position to assault, and the 2nd Cromwell platoon moves in to put fire on the Grenadiers, and the Challenger to aim at the Panther. Out of 4 Challanger shots 1 Panther goes down, while Cromwells put 1 Panther behind smoke, and machine gun the infantry.
After a repeat bombardment the Panthers are now at 1/1/1, operational/bailed/destroyed and the Panzergrenadiers are pinned.
Then the Support Platoon assaults, taking defensive fire from 1 halftrack, 1 smoked Panther and 2 pinned SMG teams -- they make it through, losing one of their number. The Panther manages to get away, and 2 German infantry stand strike back. Long story short – 3 British infantry stands make it thru alive, with 2 German dead, and a bailed Panther destroyed. Thanks to the German counter attack the Brits could pile in and get in close enough to destroy the Panther after consolidation. The last Panther decides to stay and fight.
4th German turn
4 Pumas arrive out of reserve to bring destruction and mayhem to the British striking out of their deployment area. They kill off some more of the recon vehicles, but that is not where the fate of the battle will be decided.
Now with not much more than a single Panther to try to take back the objective. StaryKur launches a desperate attempt to destroy the support platoon holding the objective.
But it can’t change the outcome:
At that point we concluded the game – the Germans did not have any more forces that could contest the objective now in British hands.
Probably the deciding factor for how the game ended was that StaryKur entered into the 10” zone from the table edge from which the reserves would enter. The arrival of 1 and 2 reserves on turns 3 and 4 did help P. to quickly solidify the victory. The decision to counterattack with 2 German infantry stands rather than break off, also helped the British Support platoon move forward and claim a bailed out Panther – which combat wise gutted the Panther platoon.