Thursday, June 5, 2014

WW2 20mm West Front Goodwood mini-Campaign Game 6

Introduction
I have setup a 1/2 a table tennis to play a 7 game mini-campaign set over 2 days at the opening of Operation Goodwood. This is game 6.  Game 1 and some more background, see this blog post.

Scenario 6 - Assault on Frenouville
Grenadier Guards need to clear the reinforced town of Frenouville to clear the road through it to Vimont.

Overview of the table at deployment - Brits on the left, Germans on the right.


The story so far - Germans have won two (blue), British have won three (red)
Troops
Germans
2 Veteran Panzer Grenadier units
     1 Veteran Panzer Grenadier HQ
     3 Veteran Panzer Grenadier squads (each 6 figures + MMG)
1 FAO in Kubelwagon
Dedicated Artillery - 2 x 105mm
3 PanzerIVH

Reinforcements:
3 JangpanzerIV

+ surviving Tiger IIs from Scenario 2. I did not add the Tigers as the board would be too crowded.

British
2 Squadron
    2 Shermans
    1 Firefly
2 M10 Achilles
1 Motorised Infantry unit
   1 Infantry command in M5 half-track
   3 Infantry squads in M5 half-tracks (each 9 figures)
   3 PIATs
1 Infantry unit
   1 Infantry command (5 figures)
   3 Infantry squads (each 10 figures)
   1 PIAT team in Bren carrier
1 FAO in sherman HQ
1 FAC in Dingo Armoured Car
Dedicated Artillery - 3 x 25pdrs

+ surviving Cromwells from game 5. I did not add the Cromwells as I did not add the Tigers for the Germans.

Scenario changes
Game is supposed to be on a 8'x6' but I am playing on a 4.5'x5'.  No changes to accommodate this, it will just be cramped!

Deployment
Not a lot of room for deployment here.  The British split into two broad groups - one unit of Shermans and the motorised infantry to take on the centre objective; the other to advance up the right flank for the objective there.

The Germans setup to attack through the centre and the left with some infantry holding the objective on their right.
Deployment. Four objectives marked with an X - wheatfield corner, centre house, house on bottom left and hedge at top right.
Early Game
Turn 1 was an advance on both sides.  Turn 2 sees the British get a card first and decide to run a halftrack down the road and unload infantry into the objective building.  Another card and they run another halftrack and unload behind the building.

Two units of infantry charge up the road and take the centre objective.  It ended badly.
Bit of a gutsy move and may not pay off (spoiler: it didn't), but infantry is harder to dislodge from hard cover and the building is an objective.  Germans then machine gun the building with vehicle MMG fire and cause them to retreat to the orchard and are pinned.  Germans infantry advance into the building and also the other objective building on their left flank.


Some of the German units in the woods.  If they didn't move, they did not get spotted and acted as great reserve during the game.
The British units that advanced to the centre building objective was a big mistake - the other unit behind it is later also pinned and pulls back into the orchard.  Over the next few turns they take artillery and vehicle MMG and other infantry fire and are reduced from 20 original figures down to about 8.  But they pass all their morale checks and stay in the orchard.

Meanwhile, in the second turn the M10 Achilles unit had activated.

The M10s at the bottom and there commanding position on the left flank.  Same there was not much to fire at (except the burning tank at the top right).
Long range fire at a Panzer IV.  1 in 9 chance of destroying it (works out to a 5+ to hit and a subsequent 5+ to KO).  Rolled a 5 followed by a 5.  The other Achilles misses.  This was the only hit by the M10s for the next three turns and the only tank KO's by the British in the entire game.

A closer look at the only German tank destroyed during the game.
The Jadgpanzers came on in turn 2. The Jadgpanzers are in soft cover and they have better armour.  I decide to move them in on the right flank, facing all the British tanks.  The Germans are a bit armour-weak there, especially after losing a PanzerIV.  I did consider bringing on the left flank to  make that very strong but losing the right flank impacts three potential objectives. The Shermans facing them run and hide behind the orchard and start to assist the other flank.

The Shermans hide behind the orchard from the Jagdpanzers.  The infantry from the ruined building are hiding in the orchard, although they rout soon after this picture was taken.
So moving the JadgPanzers here was a mistake as their 75L48s do not have the range to engage much. They begin moving across to the other flank - the German right flank is fairly empty and did not need the bolstering after all.

On the British right flank, the British are advancing, but so are the Germans.

The British right flank looks quite good from the British perspective.  It does not end well here either!.
The British fail to spot the movement in the buildings and keep advancing.

The British advancing toward the building (and objective).  They also rout shortly after this picture from fire from the building.
The Germans open up from 6" away.  10 dice needing a 5+ to hit on each (due to soft cover).  It is not going to be great.  It was really bad - 8 hits on the British unit and they rout.

The Germans that were in the building that fired on the British in the previous picture.  In the picture the infantry are behind the building, but are really in it.  The building do actually have a removable roof, but I have a terrible habit of forgetting there is stuff inside - if I cant see it, it isn't there!
Mid-Game
The mid game opens with the Germans controlling the game.  They have 3 of the 4 objectives, have units in reserve in the woods and are in a comfortable defensive position.  The British are reacting to the Germans, not in a great position and are down a unit and some others units are battered.  The Germans had got inside the British decision cycle and it showed. On the British plus they completely control half the table, but that half has one objective and no terrain.  Hopefully we will see the British gaining a bit of the initiative or it will be over soon.

Germans in the house on their left flank are routed under intense British vehicle MG fire and artillery. A great run on the dice from the Brits.  The two British units pinned in the centre orchard take a lot more hits and both are routed. Another good run on the dice but this time by the Germans - payback for the previous rolls.  These two British units belong to the same four unit infantry battalion. The battalion has lost over 40% of its units (2 of 4) and rolls a battalion morale check.  They fails and pull back off the table.

Note the lack of any infantry in the picture - half of the original British infantry is gone.
It then became a battle of the tanks as the British were not going to expose the British infantry - there is not much of them left (one battalion).  Some Shermans were KO'd and the last Sherman left pulled back (off the board).

Tank graveyard behind to orchard - The one destroyed M10 missed twice and succumbed to the advancing Jagdpanzers that can be seen in the background
One M10 was pinned and one destroyed by the Jadgpanzer IVs that advanced down the left flank.

A shot of the Jagdpanzers advancing up the empty flank.  They are the L70 version but the scenario calls for the shorter L48 version, which is what I used them as.
There was an British aircraft attack on one of the building that caused 5 casualties but the remaining German veteran infantry just shrugged it off (passed all 5 morale checks from each casualty!).

The British finally get to the objective building, and more in support behind them.  unluckily, the force morale check is not passed at this point and the British pull back.
At this point I realised that the British forces had 3 of their 6 units out of commission.  I rolled for force morale and they decide to pull back (a 4+ required to pass but failed).

A view at the end game.  The British are really hemmed into one corner of the board.  The Germans (played by me) did an excellent job of forcing the British player (played by me) to react to what they did.
Verdict
Well, that did not go as expected but was enjoyable nevertheless.  And my rules seem to be working as I expect them to.  The table was very crowded and there seemed there was always multiple targets to choose from for any unit firing (this went for both sides).

I can pin the British loss down to my stupid move of advancing to capture the objective with the British infantry.  They were quickly kicked out, and soon disappeared.  I should have played the more careful, slower game and used the tanks to more of an advantage to assist with moving fowards (wow, combined arms, who would have thought).  But I can be an impulsive player as times, especially when solo playing.

The British had it hard anyway - the German were able to store a lot of reserves back in the woods for possible counter attacks.  I think even if I had played it better, the Germans would have managed, barring unlucky dice rolling,  to kick the British out of any gains.

Onwards to the last game - a quite open table. 

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