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.

 

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9 responses to “Battlegroup Overlord (04/04/2015 – Tom)

  1. Hi Norman, nice report, nice kit and cigar mat looks the part.
    Re German 2-part squads a house rule we use is to allow them to operate as per Brens ie as inherent part of squad but with option to split off as separate team (once they so they cannot ‘rejoin’ as such during game).
    I understand the thought behind having the MG34/42 as separate fire-base but seems silly at times especially when maneuvering forward prior to combat ensuing.
    Did you use vehicle ammo limits ? again we dispense with this (except when a low ammo counter appears) as not in keeping with low level tactical feel of rules.

    • Hi Gary, I’ve ordered a mat without roads to pick up at Salute for more flexibility, but I really like them. On the MG34 squads, that’s a really good house rule – must give it a go. Ammo limits – yes, we did use them. My son (an RPG player BTW 🙂 ) complained about the book keeping and to be fair nothing survived long enough to run out of ammo. I like the intended effect of the rule but it didn’t stop us shooting off 2 shots per turn when we could. I liked your low-on-ammo fix borrowed from BGPzG but the worry would be that it wouldn’t happen often enough. Anyway, another report to follow when I get it typed up. Cheers, Norman

  2. A great AAR to read, and looks good too.

    I have only played a few games of BKO and ,similar to Sgt Steiner, we dispense with ammo limits and after our last game had thoughts about treating the German squads similar to the Brits.

    • Thanks for the kind words Shaun. Sounds like everyone has come to the same conclusion around the MG34 squads. I’ll probably give the ammo limits another go or 2 before I decide. Cheers, Norman

  3. Hi Norman

    Great game, except for the losing bit, typical fancy die rolling by Tom. Did you think it comparable, but different from CoC? I must admit I like both equally. It will be interesting to see how it looks against Ain’t been shot. I’ll leave a comment in you blog tonight.

    Oh did I say I have started a new vassal game with Gary, Barbarossa to Berlin. I haven’t played before so it will be fun. Want to start a game? The NPWS ended with the allies in Paris and Madrid in 1705…. Which was nice. Actually he kicked Marlbrough out of Paris and then needed 3-6 to take the city, and he rolled a 2. Even if he got Paris it was still all over for him as I had enough VPs to get an auto. Great game though I really like it. Cheers David

    Sent from my iPhone

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    • Hi David, I like CoC for 28mm and BGO for 15mm – I’ll probably try Panzer Grenadier before IABSM. Even though this was a “platoon” action in BGO terms, it felt larger. I was thinking that the armour dominated a bit and that we should really add another platoon to each side to spark more infantry action.
      NPWS is a fab game and each time I’ve played it it’s gone down to the wire. I’m sure I told you about my taking of Vienna as the French on the first card of a turn then Nick throwing every army he had at my supply lines – I survived, but only just. I’ll let you know about Vassal – I don’t seem too motivated on the boardgame front at the moment but no doubt I will recover my mojo soon. 🙂
      Is there a club game on 30th May when I’m over in Belfast? Wouldn’t mind giving BGO another go. Cheers Norman

  4. Might be a good Idea for the thee of us to meet up for a game either at Feldwebel Steiner’s or the club. Also I like the house rule for the german squad, I’ll try it out next game.

    Sent from my iPad

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    • Hi Gary, Thanks – I’d really like that. I may be going to the Pro12 final if Ulster are in it and I can get a ticket, but that doesn’t kick-off until 18:30 – won’t go if we aren’t it (well my nephew might drag me along if Muster are 🙂 ) I’ll pencil it in – understand about your shifts of course. Cheers, Norman

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