So here is the second game we played this weekend. This was to be the game where I wanted to test an infantry heavy game with few armour and no AT-guns.
Again I need to apologize for the picture quality. While the picture quality was slightly better than from Fridays game, it is still far below par.
We set this fictional game somewhere on the Cotentin Peninsular in the days after the D-Day landings using the “Take the Hill” scenario from the main rules. Fitting enough, there was a hill in one corner of the table with a small village. The rest of the table featured some corn and wheat fields, grazing cows, roads, hedges and small woods.
The Americans (played by Martin) consisted of a forward infantry HQ, a regular quality infantry platoon (HQ, three fire teams, three BAR teams), a medic, a .50cal HMG team, an artillery spotter team mounted in a jeep catering for a battery of off-board 105mm howitzers, a Greyhound scout car and two M10 Wolverine tank destroyers.
The Germans (played by me) was made up of a Veteran Panzergrenadier platoon (HQ, three infantry sections, three MG-42 LMG teams), a medic, a tripod mounted MG-42 HMG with extra loader team, a Panzergrenadier foot scout patrol, an on-board 8cm mortar team, an artillery spotter team catering for another two 8cm mortars off-board and a StuG IIIG.
Both sides were able to deploy 50% of their forces at the beginning of the game, with the rest arriving as reinforcements at the beginning of turn 4. The German defenders deployed the StuG behind the village on the hill road, the HMG team on the their left flank in the corn field, the Panzergrenadier scout team in the bombed out semi-building with the spotter team in front of them in the garden. One of the LMG teams deployed on the upper floor of the detached building, with the HQ on the lower floor and the 8cm mortar behind. Four of these units started in ambush positions, but I completely forgot to make use of that (which cost me dearly), so I will not even mention which ones.
The Americans deployed three vehicles on the road leading onto the table, with the M10 being front, the spotter jeep bringing up the rear and the Greyhound sandwiched between them. One of the infantry teams was in the field to their right one on the road on their left. In the field to the left there was also the Forward HQ and a BAR team.
The Americans went first and there was a general advance of the infantry. Then the artillery spotter called in fire and that one really hurt. Both barrages were aimed at the bombed out semi and were virtually spot on target. This resulted in the loss of two Grenadiere from the scout team, the spotter teams Kübelwagen went up in flames and both the recon section and the spotter team were pinned down by the fire. No idea why I did no pre-empt this with a mortar strike of my own using the ambush option! Both the Wolverine and Greyhound moved forward with the intention of adding their own firepower to the carnage, but the M10 failed to spot the target house amidst all the explosions and the Greyhounds HE shot missed.
In general the Germans decided to let the Americans get closer so their only action for this turn was for the pinned troops to stick their heads out again.
The Americans went first on the second round again. And once more the artillery was spot on. And this time the tank destroyer and scout car added to the carnage. While the Grenadiere lost no man, they withdrew deeper into the ruins for protection. Far worse off was the spotter team, which was wiped out. Otherwise there was only a further advance by the infantry. The StuG decided to interrupt the move of the infantry advancing towards the village with its only round of HE ammo, but that one missed wild.
Now the Germans got into action. I finally remembered, that my mortars could also be directed in by the Grenadier HQ, which they promptly did. While the first salvo scattered a good deal this was actually quiet good, for one round went straight into the open-topped tank destroyer (I rolled double sixes for my anti armour roll) setting it aflame.
The second salvo scattered too, but it came down amidst the infantry, causing little physical damage, but pinning them down. In the end the salvo pinned the artillery spotters, the forward and platoon HQ´s as well as the BAR section. Now the StuG rumbled through the village and fired its roof mounted MG at the infantry advancing towards the village, sending them for cover as well. So essentially, Martin was down to two un-pinned units!
As a result the Americans did virtually nothing but get up again after the mortar barrage, which Martin did exceptionally well, rolling for 5 unpinned units! The only real action was a further advance of the infantry fire team on their left flank. At this point the HMG team in the corn field decided to take them under fire, only to find them out of range.
With initiative passing back to the Germans, they decided to fire their off-board mortars once more. And again the results were horrible for the Americans. The Greyhound took a round trough its open turret, too (I rolled another double six!). The fire team, forward HQ and spotter team all went to ground again, the HQ and spotter team each taking a casualty for good measure, too.
The StuG shifted its MG fire to the BAR section in the fields, but failed to make an impression. At the same time the on-board mortar team relocated out of the shadow of the house to fire at the American infantry advancing on th village, but failed to spot them in the hurry.
The next round saw the arrival of the reserves. The American reinforcements arrived on the table and began to move forward. The most interesting was the second M10 now present, which took a shot at the StuG at once. Fortunately for the assault gun, it was only a glancing hit and did no damage. Otherwise there was not much going on, except for the American fire team advancing on their left flank which decided to try their luck with the HMG team. But before they could fire, they failed to spot them. HMG team, seeing this decided to spring their trap and fire at their adversaries, but they too had problems spotting them behind the hedge with all the smoke drifting over the battlefield.
I rolled well for the Germans and all the remaining troops made it onto the table at once, beginning their track from the table edge. The on-board mortars opened up once again, this time wiping out the spotter team, ending the threat of American artillery for good. In addition they also wiped out the forward HQ and the BAR team. Now the StuG decided to fire back at the Wolverine, it turned, fired and missed. In desperation, the on-board mortar team fired at the M10 and now they got lucky, too. They too scored a direct hit and destroyed the tank destroyer (this time I rolled a five and six… not bad for one day!).
But there was one more thing. With all the American losses they had to draw a lot of chits, one of them being an air support counter, meaning that next round the Americans would get support by P-47 Thunderbolt.
And the fighter made quite an impression the next round firing its rockets at the StuG and blowing it to smithereens. Once more the American infantry wanted to fire at the HMG team and once more they failed to spot them. The .50cal opened up on the Grenadier scout team in the house and caused them one more casualty. But this was about it for the Americans.
Now the Germans picked up their attack again. With the majority of the American troops now on their left flank, the German HQ moved out of the building into the yard to get a visual on them and started to direct the off-board mortars in. The attack pinned the American infantry en route to the village and the HMG team, but most importantly killed off two of the .50cal crew sending the last man fleeing and this also brought the whole American battlegroup to its breaking point, ending the game.
All in all, we had an extremely entertaining game, dominated by artillery and mortars. This definitely showed us the need for some counter-battery options.
Otherwise we talked long and hard about ranges. With the Battlegroup rules being written with 20mm in mind, we have constantly been thinking about whether to adjust ranges or not. The more we play, we feel that the ranges are fine as they are. They could be a bit longer to be realistic, but then again not so much that they would warrant a multiplication by even by 1,5. Why? Well the way ranges are right now, it allows for nice maneuver warfare, which in turns results in nice games. Once we were to multiply ranges by more than 1,3 this would be lost, even on a large table. Anything below, would make the change virtually cosmetic. So for now we will keep things the way they are. And this is not just the perception Martin and I had, but also something Julian, who has only had experience with 20mm so far, voiced. So we cannot be too wrong! 😉