Last week I finally managed to get the last few platoons of my Panzergrenadiers finished, starting with the Panzerwerfers, I then forced myself to finish the 2nd Panzergrenadier platoon before I tackled the 2 platoons of 251/22’s. I still need to tidy up some bits and apply some decals but the army is now pretty much done, other than a few bits and bobs of platoons I now want to concentrate on getting my British Armoured Regiment in early war finished, then after that I need to look at some sort of force for an Italian Campaign the Preston lads are running in August. It will probably be Grenadiers as I have 2 Open Fire platoons not yet painted so a good excuse to get them finished.
Here are the last few pictures;
Plus a quick Army shot.
So, now that the list was finished I wanted a game, sadly I have no 1650pts events coming up so this list might just be used at the club for a while, the next event for me is at the UK Games Expo and it’ll be 1500pts Late War. So on Friday, I was able to get a game in against Leonardoffury himself, Mr David Green. Dave brought a Confident Trained Sherman list from Overlord with 4 (!) platoons of Shermans, I was pretty happy with this matchup though as it confirmed my idea of not being worth it to roll out any Panzer IVs/Hetzers or even Panthers as the 4 Fireflies would have cut through them so quickly.
After setting up the table we rolled up a scenario and got surrounded. I wasn’t looking forward to this, with a lack of a true ambush I’d have to stay gone to ground a lot and it would be difficult to cover two objectives from potentially two directions of attack.
The plus side was one area of where the objectives could go was full of buildings, so Dave placed one objective on my northern side with hills and cornfields and reluctantly placed the second amongst the buildings, however there were buildings within 4″ of the objective so this would be easier to defend.
My deployment was pretty straight forward, keeping the larger platoon of pak40s in immediate ambush, I played a single platoon of infantry covering each objective, point one platoon of pak40s towards the western edge, kept the nebelwerfers close to the northern objective, I wouldn’t be firing them much as the enemy would be pretty close pretty quick for smoke and the HE doesn’t have great anti tank. Finally the pak40 jeep platoons were deployed at various positions along the road running through town so they be able to redeploy quickly.
Dave responded by equally splitting his Sherman platoons, on the western side Dave deployed 2 Sherman platoons and the Stuart Platoon, and on the eastern side was the Heavy Mortars, 2 Sherman Platoons, the Armoured Car platoon and the SP Bofors. I had 3 Pak40s facing the western flank so was able to immediate ambush and put my platoon of 4 facing the heavier onslaught to the east.
I made my recce moves first and positioned one Armoured Car patrol down the street to flank the advancing Shermans, another patrol moved up to threaten the Bofors SP guns and possibly bag an early platoon. A third patrol kept itself mostly central.
Dave kept his Stuarts in place but rolled up the armoured cars through the wood to start making way towards my lines. And with that, we were off.
The west side Shermans had mostly good positions but moved into 16″ range so they could hit the Gone to Ground Veterans, The Stuarts hesitated moving up as they did not want to get flanked by the 234 cars hanging around the town. The Bofors SP guns considered moving to engage the 234s but having realised they have Awkward Layout, Dave pulled them back to avoid flank shots (and thus forcing me to make firepower checks to kill them). The Eastern platoons of Shermans used the hill to slowly crawl round but they were not in a great position.
In the shooting step, a few things opened fire however due to being gone to ground nothing of value was hit, and things that were hit made their saves.
In my turn, I pushed up the central platoon of 234s to start working their way westwards and flank the stuarts, after much contemplating I decided to push out and bag the Bofors SP guns with my 234s, the Pak40 scored a hit which destroyed a truck, but the machine guns from the other did little.
The core of my defence stayed gone to ground, I didn’t have a great number of targets in the open and nothing was at short range so I’d get a small number of shots on 4s and everything else would be on 5s, I decided this was too risky to give up my gone to ground and whilst no recce platoons had moved within 16″ I would get another turn before I need to start shooting.
Stormtrooper wise, the 234s that shot at the Bofors used their Stormtrooper move to dart back behind the house.
Dave pressed on with the attack, Western Sherman platoons advanced and a couple of them could spot the concealed Pak40 234 down the road, the Stuarts also push to get within 16″ but one bogged in the woods. On the Eastern side the Shermans started to peek around the wood so that a few of them were now with 16″ of a couple of Pak40s.
Dave opens with, the Recce Jeep proves too difficult to hit however a couple of 6s are rolled against the Short Pak40 251 platoon, firepower rolls covert the two hits into kills
The Shermans that poked round the hill have a couple of shots into the smaller pak40 platoon, to my annoyance Dave rolls two 6s to hit, and with no chance of an armour save it results in two dead Pak40s, the remaining one passes his “Enjoy the War” check, however I will now have to start shooting as if I hold out much longer I will lose much of my firepower.
The Bofors that remained moved further back to try and get into the woods, the Armoured cars also pushed through the woods and one bogged whilst moving around.
In my turn the Pak40 jeeps harassing the Bofors moved out to try again to kill the remaining AA truck, the Pak40 Jeep in the centre of town opted to return fire as the Shermans that shot at him previously, whilst his command jeep moved to stay out of line of sight of the Stuart platoon that was advancing.
I opened fire with with the remaining Pak40 and managed to knock out a Sherman, the Jeep in the centre of town also fired and knocked out another from the same platoon, not too bad. I would certainly lose the Pak40 half track in the next turn but i’d made a dent in one platoon which was a good trade.
The recce Jeeps starting down the Bofors opened fire and the Pak40 Jeep brewed him up, that was one platoon gone, using their Stormtrooper to advance up.
Dave was now in a difficult position of whether to advance more tanks and have less shots against my Paks, or to finish off the crippled platoon but stall his advance, he decided to wait out a turn, and opened fire at the non-gone to ground Pak40 whilst trying to smoke the other platoon, one square of Smoke covered 2 Pak40s leaving 4 shots at concealed and long range in return.
Despite needing 5’s and 6’s with re-rolls on some, and about 6/7 shots, he managed one hit which was enough to kill the Pak but confirmed his choice was the right one.
The Armoured Car platoon pushed through the trees in a position to take off gone to ground next turn, however my infantry platoon covering the southern objective had been using the last two turns to push up towards the centre and a couple of teams were within 10″.
Over the western side of the battlefield, the Stuarts were now starting to take away Gone to Ground but the main guns and machine guns of the Shermans did very little, a couple of Shermans moved up to return fire on the Pak40 jeep which was hit and destroyed but his mate in the Command jeep couldn’t be seen so would use the next few turns to “tactically withdraw” to a safer spot.
In my turn, after much deliberating, I decided to play aggressive and move out to assault the Armoured Cars, I could get 4 teams within assaulting range and two connecting on the first swing, I need to get through the defensive fire but its only 6/7 shots so in theory its do-able.
The 2 Pak40s who were smoked moved up to shoot at the western platoon of Shermans who were approaching, and scored a hit, which converted, but the 4 shots from the stationary Shermans all missed, so it was highly likely they wouldn’t be there next turn.
I’d commited to moving up to assault so my PanzerGrenadiers went in, only 3 hits on the defensive fire but two stands were killed, I got a swing and was able to take out an armoured car but the other one missed, David thought about breaking off but decided to try and counter assault, one Car pushed up and squished another team, I had another attempt to counter assault but my one team in range missed, and then in Davids return assault he destroyed the team, this put my platoon on a Morale check and I failed two out of the 3 Enjoy the War checks and then in the next turn the Command team automatically fails its sole survivor test. Not exactly a good trade off.
I was on the back foot now, the south eastern objective was uncovered but not an area Dave was threatening, I had a couple of Jeep platoons in the area to re-deploy if needed, but I needed to keep them free to move. Dave moved one of the Sherman platoons that was 2 tank strong into the town down the road towards that Objective, but still a good few turns off. All the remaining Shermans opened fire on the Pak40s left in the cornfields and through the combination of Semi-indirect fire or close range shots got rid of them all. It was expected. I was now 3 platoons down on an 8 platoon force, so I had to be REALLY Careful with my Jeep platoons.
My turns were now pretty much limited to moving my Pak40 Jeeps, one of them moved and fired down the road to kill a Sherman however his solitary mate passed his platoon morale check so it would be unlikely i’d get that platoon unless Dave made any mistakes.
The other platoon moved back from the southern side of the board towards the centre of the town to support incase one of the platoons was killed, the single 234 jeep moved behind a build to contest an objective if needed to keep the game going.
Dave advancing on his good positions opened fire on the Infantry, removing a team or two, and the Panzerwerfers who hadn’t achieved a thing in the current game, scoring enough hits to wipe out all 4 Panzerwerfers, the command then automatically running away due to Enjoy the War. 4 platoons down, next one puts me on a morale check.
A few more Shermans from the western side had started making their way through the town or through the southern side of the town, it would seem that the main attack on the infantry would come from the east.
In my turn I mostly moved back my Pak40 Jeeps, I had one take a single shot at the single command Sherman that Dave had left in a position however it missed.
The hour was getting late, and it was unlikely I was winning the game at this point unless we timed out, with enough time to sit and remove Gone to Ground and fire main guns, Dave decided to make the last charge and push the infantry off the objective, after measuring and seeing only 2 panzerfausts in range, he laid down some smoke and pinned the infantry to give him his best chance, still, one shot was enough to bail a Sherman going in, but the 1IC and 2IC had joined the platoon to make it a large assaulting platoon.
His initial assault was good, but it only killed two teams, the German 1IC joined up and the platoon counter assaulted, however with TA6 the 3 hits turned into 2 bails and 1 dead tank, Daves counter assault got another team but again the counter assault finished off the rest of the tanks, the remaining Germans quit the field after the assault, and it was enough to break my company as they had no 1IC or 2IC left, however the dead platoon of Shermans was my 2nd platoon killed of Daves so it was enough to make the game a 4-3.
Thoughts on the list / Game?
All in all, the list played out like I figured it would, the Pak40 half tracks are very fragile but the AT15 of the fireflies kinda proved my point, whats the point in paying for medium (or even heavy) armour when your opponent has the tools to cut through it?
It would have been nice to have a real ambush and open up with 8 AT12 shots at something, but I crippled a couple of Sherman platoons in firing dribs and drabs. The main difficult was defending on two fronts and only one immediate ambush meant I would likely be facing the wrong way and unlike tanks who can turn their turrets, the 251s do struggle in that record.
Still, I’ve read a lot of peoeple saying surrounded is weighted towards the attacker and that might be true, so to get a 4-3 out of it is an achievement.