Monthly Archives: April 2015

Battlegroup Overlord (05/04/2015 – Tom)

When I said we were going to give these rules another go soon, I hadn’t really planned on it being the next day. However, a quick re-read through the rules overnight and an AAR written by the author on his website clarified a lot of things including artillery, so we swapped sides and lined up with the same scenario and forces as yesterday.

Tiger presses towards objective

Tiger presses towards objective

I started off where I left off on reinforcement rolls, only managing to get the Tiger on on turn 2, but I pressed him forward hoping he would make an impact – he was an unknown quantity because in yesterday’s game the Germans had beat me up without him 😦

British armour around central farm

British armour around central farm

The British armour wisely skirted around the farm out of sight of the Tiger and took out my recce 250/9 in the process.

Panther and Panzer IV take on British armour

Panther and Panzer IV take on British armour

I responded by bringing on a Panzer IV and a Panther, who both moved and shot but missed (of course).

First blood to the Sherman

First blood to the Sherman

The first shot from the Sherman took out the Panzer IV.

Second blood to the Sherman

Second blood to the Sherman

The second shot from the Sherman pinned the Panther – damn.

Tiger guards the road

Tiger guards the road

My Tiger rounded the bend and put 2 rounds into the Sherman guarding the crossroads. The first shot failed to spot while the second missed – oh well, it was only a 75mm Sherman – what’s the worst that can happen when it returns fire? I took a morale counter to unpin the Panther, leaving it free to fire next turn.

M10 lines up flank shot on Panther

M10 lines up flank shot on Panther

Except this gave the M10 Wolverine the chance to slip around and get a side shot on the Panther – he spotted, hit and penetrated, so down went the Panther.

Tiger taken out by 75mm Sherman

Tiger taken out by 75mm Sherman

The Sherman at the crossroads lined up 2 shots on the Tiger, and amazingly penetrated its front armour, leaving it a smoking wreck.

Central farm held in strength

Central farm held in strength

I was running out of options. The British now held the central farm in strength and had both their 17pdr armed tanks on the table. More low reinforcement rolls saw my Pak 40 deployed along with some infantry to hold objectives, while another Panzer IV skulked about in the woods trying to foil being spotted. It’s only shot pinned the Sherman 75mm which had destroyed its mate.

Firefly tries to finish of Panzer IV but misses

Firefly tries to finish off Panzer IV but misses

This Panzer IV’s concealment worked against the Sherman Firefly but the 6pdr in the farmyard got a round through and brewed up the Panzer IV. I drew yet another morale chip, but perhaps things were looking up – it was an air strike. The Sherman which destroyed the Tiger drove past it to rain H.E. on the Pak40 – one of the rolls destroyed the gun so it was now useless and the crew abandoned it.

6pdr finishes off the job

6pdr finishes off the job

With little confidence on my turn (and a low order roll) I picked up the dice and rolled a 6 – an air strike in the form of a FW190 with bombs (and a large one at that) had arrived. The British MGs on overwatch tried to drive it off but were unsuccessful and the large bomb scored a direct hit on the M10 Achilles, destroying it and pinning the units around it.

Achilles destroyed in air strike by FW190

Achilles destroyed in air strike by FW190

It was too little too late – with no orders left I conceded at that point. Although we were quite close in terms of morale points lost each, I was heavily outnumbered and hadn’t even got all my forces on the table, while the British had. In this game certainly there was less in the way of infantry action than last time, but that was probably due to me rushing my armour on with my low reinforcement rolls and the British having to respond in kind. I would like to see more infantry combat though, and I notice that in “platoon” level games you can take 2 platoons of infantry so maybe we’ve just put too much armour in our forces – something to try out in the future perhaps.

These are a highly enjoyable set of rules which produce a fun game. It will be interesting to compare them with Panzer Grenadier Delux, but that’s unlikely to happen too soon as Saturday week is our big day out in the show calendar – Salute in that London. I’ll hopefully find the time to take enough photos to do a report (unlike last year!)

Battlegroup Overlord (04/04/2015 – Tom)

Board Layout

Board Layout

Finally, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and we have the time to get the 15mm toys painted over the winter onto the table. I also want to use these figures to try out the “PanzerGrenadier Delux” and “I Ain’t Been Shot Mum” sets, but for this game we chose the “Battlegroup Overlord” rules, which come recommended by Sgt Steiner (see his blog on my blog list for some great reports) and Mr Pentland, whose wonderful artwork illustrates the rulebooks. (that’s a lunch he owes me 🙂 )

The theatre was Normandy, the game size was Platoon – each side had a basic infantry platoon with extra supports on each side, along with some armour support in the form of 3 Shermans, a Sherman Firefly, an Achilles and a Wolverine for the British and 3 Panzer IVs, a Panther and a Tiger for the Germans. We played the first scenario from the rulebook, where each side bumps into each other via their recce units and reinforcements arrive on the table via a random D6 roll each turn. Corner deployment meant that we were playing lengthways across the table to start with.

German Recce

German Recce

Each building on the table was an objective – in a nice twist you can’t ignore these as you lose force morale with each building the enemy captures, and lose instantly if he controls all 4. You can also win by breaking his battlegroup through losses or pinning units, forcing him to counters which deduct random amounts from his force morale or give random events.

We placed our recce units (which can also spot for on and off-board mortars) and we were away. The Germans rolled quite poorly for arrivals initially, and as they weren’t motorised like the British, they had to foot-slog their way across fields and through hedgerows to take the first objective (a hayloft). Interestingly, a German squad is split into 2 sections and it takes a separate order to activate each. With only 1 order remaining after this, the Germans put the recee 250 on overwatch to cover the road.

German squad take 1st objective

German squad take 1st objective

The British had 5 units arriving, so the mobile Carrier Platoon, a squad of infantry in a halftrack and a Sherman deployed – the intention was to use the infantry’s mobility to seize and hold the 2 objectives on the right flank while the rest of the force arrived – they had reckoned without the successive 1 rolls for reinforcements over the next 2 turns though 😦

Carrier platoon and Sherman wait at crossroads

Carrier platoon and Sherman wait at crossroads

Things then started to go wrong for the British. Reinforcements slowed to a trickle so the lone Sherman decided to take on the Panzer IV covering the road. He managed to hit it, but the double 1 rolled for damage merely immobilised it. In return the Panzer IV put 2 rounds into the Sherman and that was the end of that.

Motor squad survives fire from Panzer IV

Motor squad survives fire from Panzer IV

In order to secure the central farmhouse before the foot-slogging German infantry could reach it, a Motorised squad drove across the road towards it. The immobilised Panzer IV on overwatch fired but missed the half track, so the infantry inside disembarked and took control of the central farmhouse.

Panzer IV threatens flank - PIAT responds

Panzer IV threatens flank – PIAT responds

In response, the Germans sent a tank and infantry towards the furthest two objectives while their Panther came on and moved towards the immobilised Panzer IV. With a Panzer IV and infantry threatening the 2 right flank objectives and a 1 rolled for reinforcements, the British had to do something drastic. The PIAT from the Carrier Platoon was chosen to “volunteer” to take on the approaching Panzer IV – after rushing up the road in their carrier while dodging 20mm cannon fire from the 250 they deployed behind the hen house. This triggered more overwatch fire, this time from an LMG, but they managed to survive that as well. They then rolled a tough to hit roll (moving and target moving) and a high damage roll to blow the Panzer IV up. How we laughed – medals all round – until the German morale counter drawn was revealed as air strike 😦 At the start of the next German turn a German plane might turn up. To seal off that flank, the British sent their Firefly up the road towards it to confront another Panzer IV.

PIAT survives overwatch LMG Fire, deploys and fires

PIAT survives overwatch LMG Fire, deploys and fires

An air strike was by no means certain to arrive (needs 5 or 6), but of course the German dice roll of 6 made sure it did, and another roll revealed it as a FW190 with bombs – great. More great dice rolls followed, so by the time that Fokker zoomed away, every British unit in the centre (including the infantry in the farmhouse) was pinned.

German draws counter but it's an air strike - everything pinned as a result

German draws counter but it’s an air strike – everything pinned as a result

2nd Panzer IV advances

2nd Panzer IV advances

More German armour moved up while they also moved their artillery observer to the hilltop to get a better view. The Panther continued its advance but revealed its side armour through a gap in the hedge when it stopped.

Panther advances

Panther advances

I rolled low again for arriving reinforcements (another 1!), but hoping to re-enact my stunt with the PIAT I deployed my towed 6pdr,  raced the Loyd carrier across a field, unlimbered and fired 2 quick shots into the Panther’s flank. Because they were rushed shots, both missed (moving before firing and firing at a moving target negatively affect the to hit roll), and with that went my last chance of staying in the game. I drew a morale counter in an attempt to unpin D6 units, but another roll of 1 meant only the Firefly could be unpinned.

6pdr deploys and fires at Panther's flank but both shots miss

6pdr deploys and fires at Panther’s flank but both shots miss

With the Sherman Firefly just unpinned and unable to respond, the Germans were able to destroy it and threaten the 4th objective so I conceded.

British FOO calls in a 25pdr strike

British FOO calls in a 25pdr strike

These really are fast-play rules – even without knowing the rules and struggling to fathom out the artillery sequence, we came in at under 3 hours – that said, we didn’t see a lot of artillery action in this game. For all their attempts, the British artillery observers only ever managed to get into contact with the 25pdr battery once which resulted on a mere pin on the Pak40 anti-tank gun, while the one time the Germans fired their mortars the spotting round scattered too close to their own troops, so the fire for effect order wasn’t given. The air strike, which uses the same rules framework as for the artillery was another matter – every unit in the beaten zone pinned and zooming off for another pass next turn – I hadn’t twigged that units on overwatch can attempt to drive it off through MG fire, but then I never had enough orders to do this 😦

Motorised infantry are really useful when faced with unmotorised infantry – if you have enough orders you can move the transport, disembark the infantry (an order for the vehicle) then the infantry can take their 2 actions. We didn’t see a lot of infantry firing but what we did see seemed to give plausible outcomes – I like the fact that infantry suffering more than 1 casualty can choose to fall-back to cover, taking only 1 casualty but ending up pinned.

Based on this try out, I’m definitely going to give these rules another try very soon.