Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Peipers Charge - Game 2

Peipers' Charge Game 2 of 3

Following on from our first game, we now have concluded the second game in the Peipers' charge scenario found in July's Wargames Illustrated.

The Game

This game went on for a long time and so many turns. This being the case I will not do a usual turn by turn account.

The table was set up as per the scenario and the Americans deployed. Right on top of the German entry point was a choke point. A single bridge was defended by a US blocking detachment who not only placed barbwire on the far side of the bridge but also mined the road over the bridge. A trench line sat off to one flank an this set up cost the Germans valuable time.
ME262's attempt to prevent engineers from blowing up a bridge.

German infantry attempt to clear the way.

The Germans had reached the exit point in game 1 in 8 turns, they now had a further 8 turns to reach one of 2 exit points. This was going to a tough ride and the game started badly taking 6 turns to fight their way past the blocking detachment, loosing 2 Panzer IV's and a Panzer grenadier platoon.

The German infantry had been depleted trying to force the way through the blocking detachment causing heavy casualties. mean while whilst the infantry were being slaughtered the Fallshirmjager platoon cleared the mines from the bridge and the first panzer platoon started crossing headed by Peiper him self. With the loss of 1 infantry platoon and another down to half strength along with the remnant's of a Panzer IV platoon, it was left down to the Panzer's who had to go in and hit the trench line hard.
German Panzers cue up to use the bridge whilst trying to dislodge the stubborn US detachment.
Mean while the Americans blew the bridges preventing a straight run, so the attack had to turn towards the only bridge left leading into a town defended by a towed AT battery and a Armoured rifle platoon. With the Panzer's now crossing unhindered they raced towards the well defended town.
Slowly the rest of the column arrived and the Siggs started to pound the buildings. Shot after shot hit the buildings but the US infantry proved to stubborn and would not yield.
US engineers blow the first bridge.
A Panther platoon grinds the defending  US detachment  asunder.

The Luftwaffe's super fighters had better luck and a solitary ME262 managed to locate the towed AT battery in a wood and strafed the platoon killing 3 guns, with the final gun crew running away in fear that they would be next.
The assault on the town defended by the Armoured Infantry was not going to plan.  Shot after shot failed to find its target and those that did the Infantry just shrugged off. After a few turns the Germans committed a Panther platoon. This did not go well and the defensive fire from the Bazooka's left 4 burning Panthers. After a couple more turns of fire eventually a building was cleared of infantry that had been blocking the bridge and the Panzer's rolled into town. The last Panzer IV platoon crossed the bridge and assaulted one of the houses forcing the infantry inside to retire. With two tank platoons in the town pounding the buildings at point blank and fire from the Sigg's finally became too much for the US infantry who surrendered.

ME262's attack the towed TD platoon killing 3 teams.

Ooops...That tank assault did not go well.

Panzer's start to pour into the town.
It was now late in the evening and after the Panzer's had cleared the town we called it a day. All that stood between the exit and the Panzer's was a couple of stands from the engineer platoon who were slowly trying to move across the table to block the Panzer's route to the exit point.

With the Germans missing the turn dead line this meant that the US now started game 3 with their reserves on table from turn 1.

Post Game

Geez that was tough, The roadblock so close to the table edge caused me a major headache, I either had to go through the minefield or through the infantry defending it. It is amazing how tough a 4 team unit can be. They saw off 2 Infantry platoons and the remnant's of a Panzer IV platoon before I decide to commit the Panthers. Maybe I should have done that turn 1 but I hoped to be able to clear the infantry without exposing my tanks.
Unable to bring the maximum of 3 units a turn that I was allowed cost me time, and time is not what I had. The Me262's saved the day taking out the towed Tank destroyer platoon who had deployed as a result of me killing the security teams.

With the bridges being blown, it forced me to take the only route left open, straight into a town full of Infantry armed to the teeth with bazooka's....

I was hoping the 150mm Sigg's would do the job but no, the damn infantry shrugged off hit after hit. It is amazing how strong infantry can be against armour when they are in buildings. I was unable to move into the town without assaulting the two buildings nearest the bridge as the infantry inside used their invisible force field to prevent me from passing them.

I was a bit rash sending in the Panther's but they were the nearest unit and I had to force the issue, all I can say about that is next time I see Americans in buildings with Bazooka's I'm going home.
The panzer Iv's with their Shurtzan were the way forward as they had the spacial save which would allow them to tackle the bazooka threat and they did in style, surviving several hits during the assaults.

Peipers' charge in the magazine is played over 3 tables, side by side. Unfortunately we do not have the space for that so opted to play the single games instead and unfortunately the writers did not think too well about how the Americans would deploy and how it would affect single table games.
The Blocking detachment deployment area was 12" square right on the table edge and my opponent took advantage of this but left me just room enough to fit a Panzer IV on table, he could have if wanted to have placed the minefield on the table edge and I would have been in real trouble.
If we had been playing over 3 tables there would have been room to flank this obstruction and bring the columns weight of fore to bear as it was the Germans suffered.

The Me262's as said, saved a protracted fight to the death with the relocated 76mm guns. These had a commanding view of the battlefield from a wood towards the town I was struggling to clear. If these had been lobbing long range shots at me, I would have lost quite a lot more.

Lastly the USAAF and their impact on the game. The only impact the Thunderbolts had when they turned up was in them hitting the ground after being repeatedly shot down by the Whirblewinds.
So how the authors of the scenario managed to loose anything to them is beyond me, These stayed at the heart of my army and provided an affective umbrella against the air attacks.

The end, well all most....

Total German Casualties

1 full Infantry platoon.
3 infantry teams from the 2nd infantry platoon.
5 Infantry teams from the Fallshirmjager platoon.
4 Panther's.
4 Panzer IV's.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

FOW - Battle for Hondegham

The Defence of Hondeghem:27th May 1940

By the evening of the 26th May the defence of Hondeghem was in place. Two 18 Pounder guns, I and J Sub-Sections were placed outside the village on the Rue de Staple. The other two guns, K and L Sub Sections were placed close to the village church, to be used as defence in depth. All guns were to be used in the anti-tank roll. The HQ location under command of BSM Millard can be seen in the sketch map below and had its communication vehicles parked to the side. The rest of the soldiers were were tasked with digging in and blocking roads. By the end of the day most were placed at strategic positions throughout the area which in the main were looking out of second floor windows armed with Bren guns and A/T Rifles.

This is the second game I played of this, The first was using Rapid Fire (See earlier post) to which I use dthe map within the rules. A little bit of research and I made up a table to represent the above.

Looking from the South East towards the outskirts of Hondegham
German Forces: C/V
Co in Pz1 CMD tank
1 platoon: 3 Panzer 1
1 lorried platoon:
cmd std + 50mm mtr
3 sections each: 3 rifle teams
3 lorries
Above deploy within 12" of the table edge.
Immediate reserves (Start with 2 dice), scattered deployment (1,2 enter via South West road, 3,4 enter along deployment edge, 5,6 enter via South East corner)

They must arrive in following order:

1st: Armoured Infantry Platoon:
cmd stand + 2 sections each 1 halftrack with 2 rifle/Mg stands.
2nd: Weapon platoon:
Cmd stand + 1 section: 2 HMG stands + 1 Section: 2 81mm mtr's
2 Lorries
3rd: Inf Gun platoon:
Cmd std + Observer std + 2 75mm IG + transport
4th: Reduced Infantry platoon:
Cmd stand + 50mm + 1 rifle section of 3 Rifle stands
5th: Panzer Platoon:
3 Panzer 38T
6th: IG platoon:
Cmd Sig33 IG auf panzer 1

The Outskirts of the town must be at least 24" away from the German Deployment area.

Looking down the South West road towards the outskirts of the town.

British Forces Defending the town:
CO + 2IC Territorial R/T
Rifle Platoon: Cmd std + 2" Mtr std, 3 sections each: 2 Rifle/MG Std's + 1 ATR Rifle Stand
Artillery battery: RHA (Deploys either end of the town at end of roads leading into town)
Cmd stand + 2 Batteries each: 1 18pdr gun F/V
Delayed reserves: Regulars C/V
Rifle platoon: Cmd std + 2" mtr + ATR
3 sections each: 2 rifle/Mg stands
2 Lorries

British Deployment special rules
18pdrs deploy at either end of town facing down roads.
British Platoons may deploy sections out of command distance of other sections/HQ, but must deploy with in command distance within the section. All Out of command Sections/Guns are classed as in Command distance for all motivation tests and movement.

Victory Conditions
Germans win if Both guns are destroyed before Turn 10
British Win if at least 1 gun survives to Turn 10.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Defence of Hondeghem:27th May 1940, Rapid Fire

I decided to dig out an old set of Rapid Fire rules as a friend commented how he used to enjoy playing with them.
Remembering that there was an Early War scenario with in the pages of the rule book; I wanted to see if I was able to convert it to FOW and see what the different out comes would be if played with both sets of rules.

The Defence of Hondeghem

Looking towards Hondeghem from the German entry point.

German Order of Battle:

1st Wave
Panzer platoon: 3x Panzer 1
Lorried Infantry Platoon: 36 Figures

2nd Wave
2 Infantry Sections in Half tracks: 20 Figures
1 Towed 75mm IG
1 Lorry with 2 HMG's

3rd Wave
CO in Panzer 1 command
Plt HQ in Half track with 37mm: 6 Figures
1 lorried infantry Section: 10 Figures
1 Lorry with 2x 81mm Mortars
Panzer Platoon: 3x Panzer 38T
4th Wave
1 Towed 150mm IG
1 Towed 75mm IG

British Order of Battle

CO; Captain N.B.C. Teacher
'F' troop 2 18pdr Guns + CO: 10 Figures
2 Dragon towing vehicles
Radio Truck
Searchlight detachment with 4 Boys ATR: 38 Figures

Reinforcements (from turn 5): 2 trucks with 14 figures.
18PDR protecting one of the roads into Hondeghem.
The 18 Pdrs were set up protecting the two roads into the town that the Germans would advance down. The Infantry were split into 3 squads and spread evenly across the front of the Town using the houses and walls as cover.

Turn 1 saw the first of the German forces to arrive. 2 of the Panzer 1's moved straight down the road towards the town halting near a farm allowing 2 infantry sections to de-bus from there transport and move up behind the Panzer's. The 3rd Panzer 1 escorted the last infantry section to the top road into town, as to force the 18 Pdrs to split there fire. The British opened fire with the 18 Pdr's but failed to find their targets.
Panzer 1 advancing supported by infantry.

Looking down the second road towards the waiting 18pdr.

Turn 2 saw the expected reserves failing to turn up, so the Panzer 1's cautiously moved towards the town as the infantry fanned out. The panzer 1's started to fire their machine guns at the 18 pdrs to no effect. Like wise the 18pdrs were struggling to find their mark, missing the panzer 1's. A lucky Long range shot from an ATR in a house lightly damages the lead Pz 1.

Turn 3. With the arrival of the Second wave the Germans advanced more openly. The armoured infantry in their half tracks roared up the road behind the Panzer 1's whilst the 75 mm moved to find a better position the other side of the farm, and the HMG's de-bused and moved through the farm. The panzer 1's manage to kill one of the gun crew of the first 18 Pdr. The Battery CO promptly takes the dead gunners place.
Germans advancing along either side of the road with the Panzer 1's almost at the town.
Again even at point blank range the 18pdr's are unable to hit the Panzer 1's. luckily for the British an ATR found it mark and heavily damaged a Panzer 1 stunning the crew for a turn. Both sides suffer light casualties amongst the infantry from a smattering of rifle fire.

Turn 4 saw the arrival of the Third wave, with the Pz 35(T) (I used Panzer 35(T)'s in error but hey they are similar tanks to the 38(T)) moving to assault up the middle as to provide cover for the two routes of attack. The now de-bused armoured infantry advance towards the 18 Pdr which now fires direct HE at them killing 3 (Ouch). The Exchange of rifle fire continues to no great effect and once again the German armour avoids getting hit.

Turn 5 began with the arrival of the fourth wave, which moved along the road to find a good firing position. The crew of the 18pdr on the top road were mowed down by the flanking Panzer 1, with the sole survivor sucomming to an grenade thrown by the advancing infantry. The gun on the bottom road suffered several more casualties and the two flanking infantry squads also took a few too many casualties from the massed machine gun, rifle and direct HE fire from the advancing Germans.
The British now hard pressed are relieved to see that reserve infantry sections arrive, which race towards the town. The Searchlight command runs towards the surviving 18 Pdr which is under attack by the Half tracks and the accompanying infantry. The British left flank Infantry pulled back into a house as they were suffering far too many casualties from an advancing infantry section. One of the infantry men in the middle squad run over towards the 18 Pdr using the wall as cover and throws a grenade at the armoured infantry section killing 3, along with 3 more casualties from the 18 Pdr firing HE at point blank range and another 1 from the Searchlight commander leaves the Armoured infantry with a morale test.
In revenge the right flank infantry fire their Boys ATR at the flanking Panzer 1 and with luck blew it up, at last the first armoured casualty. The ranks of the German infantry who had thrown the grenade was raked by machine gun and rifle fire causing heavy casualties.
The Germans put the British under pressure.
Turn 6 See's the Armoured infantry fail a morale check and they retire from the battle field. The remaining panzer 1's push into the town and the German infantry platoon start their House to house clearance. The defenders now struggled to prevent the German infantry breaking into the houses that they were defending and heavy casualties were suffered on both sides. The German Armour machine gun the last 18 Pdr but do not kill enough of the crew. The panzer 35(T) decide to fire over the heads of the infantry but cause no casualties. The British now have to take a morale test for the guns to which they pass but only just. The Searchlight commander helps man an 18 Pdr to keep it firing. May be due to the crews inexperience it fails to hit anything...AGAIN!. The Infantry have better luck with the AT Rifles claiming another Panzer 1 and one of the Pz35(T) and force the German Infantry to take a morale test.

The view from the top road as the British reserves arrive.
Turn 7 and the German Infantry grimly hold on and carry on their assault of the British positions, turning the tables and forcing the British to also take a morale test. The 150 mm SIG decides to fire upon the 18 Pdr reducing it and its crew to a smouldering crater. Without the 18 Pdr to hold up the advance the British were now in trouble. Meanwhile the German Mortars find there targets and cause casualties amongst the advancing  British reserves. The Searchlight platoon pass their morale test and grimly hold on causing more casualties on the German infantry.  The reserves arrive just in the nick off time to throw an AT grenade at the surviving Pz1 which in turns blows up..."Howzat!" shouts the throwing soldier who used to play for England's cricket team as a bowler before the war.

Turn 8, "They think it's all over.... but it is now!!" The German infantry fail a motivation test and fall back the British have held on. Without any supporting Infantry the German armour is unable to forces the British Infantry from the buildings so pull back to await more troops.
Final German positions, the town still in British hands.
Post game
Rule wise as I was not ofey with all the rules as I last played them 15+ years ago, so I was trying to read the rules as I went along. It got quite messy when it came down to the house clearance and I defently got some of the rules wrong...  Okay maybe a lot wrong.

I played the 18 Pdrs as Non AT guns which added a -1 to the dice roll which meant they could not hit the armour at long range. To be honest the dice throws were the most apauling I have ever seen them, throwing a  5 or 6 was elusive until the British morale time, when they threw 6's.

I would like to play this game again after reading the rules some more, but first I have to do it again with FOW v3.
coming soon to a blog near you:

The Defence of Hondeghem:27th May 1940, FOW