About two weeks ago, we finally played a big game at my place again.
I still have a lot of love for the late war period and I felt that Fall of the Reich would be a good change from all the early war and Pacific games we played at Martin’s place during those two years.
I did not want the usual urban fighting or hoards of T-34s you often have with these games, so it was Americans fighting the Germans on the eastern front in Thuringia.
The Americans would be a war weary bunch from an infantry division. A commander in a 76mm Sherman, a radio team, an artillery spotter for some off-board howitzers, a truck mounted platoon of infantry, a Sherman platoon (three 75mm versions and an Easy Eight), a M-10 Wolverine and a Greyhound.
The Germans were led by a commander in a Panther l, radio van, dispatch rider, artillery spotter for two (on board) howitzers (banned by a few Fallschirmjäger cut off from their parent unit) by was a platoon of Panzergrenadiere on foot, a platoon of StuG IIIs, some bicycle mounted fusiliers. The big hitter was a PaK 44 (K81/2). I know these did not see action in that part of Germany, but I wanted to give it a spin.
The mission was for the American to break the Germans by turn eight. Anything else would be a German victory. We had two objective markers. One close to each deployment zone. The Americans would start on the forested hill, while the Germans would set up in the village.
When rolling for starting forces the Germans were really lucky, getting everything on the table except for two infantry sections, one LMG team, all the StuGs and their supply truck. The infantry was spread out over the buildings and the orchard on their left flank. The large PaK was also deployed at the edge of the orchard with its flank covered by a building. The radio team and artillery hid behind builings, while the Panther, fusiliers, and a Panzerschreck team formed a mobile reserve inside the village.
The Americans were faced with almost the exact opposite. They hard to start with their scout forces (Greyhound and a sniper team) and only two additional units (the artillery spotter and one of the Sherman’s).
The Americans decided not to push their luck moving down the road covered by the PaK, but went down a fire break in the girrest instead. They came under some inconsequential artillery fire by the Germans. Both sides managed to secure their objectives on the first turn. Unfortunately the American player drew the Endkampf counter. With the Germans being forced to draw five counters they had lost about 45% of their Battlerating on turn one.
The second turn was mainly an artillery duel with the Americans pining the PaK and some of the supporting infantry while the German artillery took out the American spotter. Again the Yanks got lucky on their chit, drawing a breakdown counter, which they played on the Panther. Now the Germans were past the halfway mark when it came to their battleratind ad lost their only tank.
With a steady stream of reenforcements coming in for the Americans and the PaK being temporarily out of action, they pressed their attack. The American commander, now taking care of spotting, had problems getting in contact with their artillery which lead to a short lull in the fire. The German spotter had problems getting in contact with his artillery , inspire of the presence of the radio van, but the dispatch rider took care of that. But it seems, that the coordinates were already out of date, since the German artillery proved ineffective.
The Yanks kept on pressing forward along the road now. The PaK did its best to keep them at bay, but seemed unable to hit the broad side of a barn.
Only when on of the American trucks dropped infantry off in the field infront of the PaK did things heat up. They had missed the LMG hiding under the roof of the house next tonten field and had to pay a heavy price for that. Especially when the riflemen next to the gun joined in.
Between their fire almost a complete fireteam perished, while the other and a .30cal team got pinned. While one fire team managed to mount an ineffective attack later on, the rest of the game would see them pinned and slowly worn down under the crossfire.
Now the Americans would try to press into the town with their tanks. But the advance was piecemeal, due tongue drawn out arrived of troops on the table and the fact that both the force and tank platoon commander had to call in the artillery.