Sunday, January 22, 2017

Operation Jupiter 14 - Crest of the Hill

Introduction
This is game 14 in replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).   I played this one on a 4'x4' table using 20mm. The background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Normally I play these solo but for this game I played with the 12 year old son of a friend.  I had played a few WW2 20mm games with him before over a period of several months (this is the 3rd of those games).  He has been asking to play again for the last year or so but only realised late 2016 that it had actually been two years since we last played!  Badgering for two years, not one :-(  The stars aligned and he came over during the Christmas break and we got three games in (game 13, 14 and 15 in the Operation Jupiter book).  We have a few people staying with us at the moment so there was no room to get out the half a table tennis table I normally use so I used the dining table that gave a 4'x4' area.

Rules used
Games 13-15 are using a revised company level rules, still at 1:3 for infantry and 1:1 for everything else.  The revision is I have done away with roll to hill, roll to kill and gone with rolling 1-3 dice with a die roll of 4-5 is one "success" and a 6 is two "successes".  The number of successes determine the result.  I have not written these up well enough to post them but they exceeded my expectations and they worked really well.  Reasons on why I switched  away to this mechanism is at this rambling blog post.

Scenario
The British have a foothold at the crest of Hill 112.  The Germans attack to try and drive the Germans from the crest.. The Germans have 6 turns to destroy 51% of the British forces.

Even though I am using card activation with a turn ends on a joker, we opted to only increase the turn limit to 7 turns as the table is quite short, and on the first turn the joker is ignored.

Troops
Note that although I am playing with 1:3 ratio and the scenario is at 1:1, I fielded the same number of figures and vehicles as the scenario e.g. the 10 person rifle squad became a 10 figure platoon.

British (L---)
1 Company HQ
    4 figures
1 Platoon
    1 platoon HQ (1 figure)
    3 Sections (3 figures each)
1 Company Sergeant Major (CSM Smith) with PIAT (counts at a vet)
3 Universal Carriers
1 17pdr AT gun

Germans (me)
1 Kompanie HQ
    5 figures
2 Zugs
    1 Zug HQ (1 figure)
    3 Gruppe (3 figures each)
1 MG42 team
1 PanzerIV (while it could enter on turn 1, I read this wrong and thought both came on in turn 3)
1 Panzer IV (enters turn 3)
2 Fire missions of 80mm mortar

Germans are all regular

Deployment
British deploy the 17pdr at the rear of the table, some units along the wall of the orchard and a forward element on the other side of the road.

British deployment.  Brits must set up the the left of the blue line.
All infantry are not dug in and so can be spotted with LOS.  In woods/orchards spotting distance (in my rules) is 8".

Game
Note that I use card driven activation.
Also note that I took only a few pictures for this game - it was a very fast game and I was busy playing!

The Germans move on a Zug on their right flank.  The British open up and kill one. 

the 1st German Zug enter on their left flank and the British section hiding behind the wal open up immediately.
All of Germans, except the tanks, move onto the table.  Panzers are due turn 3.  Note in the picture below I,as the Germans, have advanced on a wide front.  Not to spoil the outcome but...time is limited and I would have been better off focusing on making sure the British could not hide in the orchards and then clearing them out from the rest of the (open) terrain using the orchard as a base.  This translates to I should have moved 1st Zug to the orchard.  While my tactic seemed sound of using each Zug to support the other and waiting to concentrate depending on where the British are, there is just not enough time!!!

The Germans move on their remaining forces, except the Panzers
(turns 2 and 3)

The German 1st Zug on their left flank charges the British section and kills 2.  I think this was the last decent fire group I managed to accomplish in the game.

1st German Zug is over the hedge on the left flank!
The remainder of the Brit Platoon behind the orchard hedge fire after the German Zug has crossed the hedge.  They kill one and pin the Gruppe and another Gruppe is suppressed.

(turn 4)

The British section with the Platoon HQ (one figure) moves into the orchard.  There work has been done - seen where the Germans are, cause a bit of damage and then go and hide and survive until the turn limit is up.  Excellent tactics by the 12 year old (better than my line them up and move them forwards). The remainder fire at a German section and kills another figure.

Immediately they are over the hedge they are fired on with one Gruppe pinned (brown marker) and another suppressed (green marker).
The German Company HQ moves 6" up the hedge and fires on the British section at the corner and kills one of them and suppresses the rest.  Again, L--- has left the section to hinder my advance with the unit of my left flank.

CSM Smith fires and pins the German Kompanie HQ.  

(turn 5)

The German Kompanie HQ fires again at the British section at corner and KOs another one.
The British section and Platoon HQ (Lieutenant) are moving to meet up with the Company HQ; the remainder of the other British sections move into orchard as well.  The Germans are running out of time - there is a whole bunch of British in the middle of the orchard and I have no idea how I am going to get there in time and inflict enough losses to win.  Hint:  I didn't have an idea..

A British section and the Company HQ is holed up in the centre of the orchard.
The 1st G Zug fires at a) Smith, who is killed and b)  the suppressed section that remains suppressed


(turn 6)

The 2nd German Zug moves up into the orchard and the British Company HQ spots them, fires and KOs one and pins the rest of the section.  The British section then fires and suppresses the other section. The Germans may not be charging in melee just yet...it is close to the end of the game, and was actually the last infantry action of the game

The German 2nd Zug comes under fire by the British in the orchard
1st German Zug  runs across the road to get to the orchard.  The 17pdr opens fire as they moved across the road.  A section is suppressed.  The German just cannot seem to engage the British fast enough! 

Germans suppressed by the 17pdr as they cross the road (green marker = suppressed)
Then, Germans finally bring the Panzers on!  i never had enough activation cards - the end of turn card came out just at the wrong time for all the previous turns and why I like card activation - you just have to prioritise each turn. 

The Panzers arrive to late for the party!

Tturn 7 ends quite quickly with one move to the Brits and the the end of turn card.  Called it a game at this point with a win to the British played by L---.  Time just ran out for the Germans.

Verdict
Another great game.  Well done to L--- playing the British on timing his move into the orchard.  Note sure if I had bought the tanks on any earlier it would have made much of a difference.  One possibility I overlooked that would have given me a chance to win would be going straight through th the orchard first - once done, everything else is open terrain and the British would have nowhere to hide.  I should have been a lot more aggressive  - time is really against the Germans.

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