I was back in Belfast for the Bank Holiday weekend, so David and Adam once again set up a game for me to join in using their beautifully painted 20mm Normandy forces. The scenario was based on a Rapid Fire Normandy one where the Poles were trying to prevent a German breakout from Falaise while a German relief force attempted to break in – effectively the Polish were surrounded but only had to stop a certain percentage of German vehicles breaking out to win. Battle group breakpoints were in the 80’s so it was very unlikely that the Poles would be broken so could more-or-less ignore losses and concentrate on being speed bumps.
I joined forces with Adam and Leslie – we took a Polish platoon each and we spread the armour and support weapons among our platoons on the hill. Everything on the hill was dug in, but we decided to take the fight to the Germans and send some troops off the hill to occupy a couple of buildings overlooking the road – this decision probably won us the game.
The Germans opened the game with a Nebelwerfer barrage which landed pretty well smack in the middle of the Polish positions on the hill. Bad dice rolls meant that only a few units were pinned, though one was an FAO which would cut down on the Allied artillery response. The Germans then sent a Motorised platoon up the road towards the buildings but couldn’t quite get into them, so a brave Polish squad accompanied by a PIAT piled into the building on their turn. Over the next few turns there would be a protracted fight for the building with the lone Polish squad holding out against all the odds for much longer than they should.
The Germans had supported the infantry with a lone Tiger which trundled up the road – 2 AP shots from a Firefly on the hill both spotted and hit but just failed to penetrate – the Tiger was pinned however, so that was good news for our Shermans. When a truck was destroyed by a mortar, the morale counter came up as a “mine strike” which the Poles gleefully played on the Tiger. The glee soon vanished when a ‘1’ was rolled for effect, which allowed the Germans to move the mine strike to the Sherman Firefly which had just fired – the mine easily destroyed the Sherman. The British duly took another morale counter for the destroyed Firefly, drew another “mine strike” and played that one back on the Tiger. This time there was no escape for the Tiger – it blew up and the road was blocked.
The FAO was unpinned then assaulted and destroyed by a German squad which occupied their dug-out. Every Allied machine gun which could be brought to bear opened up on them, but amazingly 3 survived and crucially one of them had a Panzerfaust. He drew a bead on the nearest Firefly and blew it sky-high.
The other Allied FAO on the hill spotted a platoon of Panzer Grenadiers on an out-flanking manoeuvre and called down a barrage of 5.5 howitzers on them. Though I rolled badly for the direct hit, all 3 half tracks were pinned and the Germans seemed to forget to unpin them by taking a morale chit over successive turns – we Allied commanders never pointed it out to them either.
Also conspicuous by its absence was the next Nebelwerfer barrage, but again it wasn’t our job to point out that surely the tubes must have been reloaded by now 🙂
Meanwhile events had been proceeding nicely for the Poles on the other side of the hill. The German relief force attempted to clear their end of the road, but one of my squads had occupied another house along with a PIAT team, and these troops stopped the Germans in their tracks. The PIAT destroyed 2 Panzer IVs while the infantry kept the attacking German infantry pinned down. Two StuG III then arrived, but before the PIAT team could complete their hat trick we had to call time.
So ended another cracking and eventful game with David and Adam’s 20mm troops and terrain. There seemed to be a lot more morale chit draws which were events rather than BR losses then usual – in fact after 2 Mine Strikes were drawn in a row “morale chits” were renamed to “mine chits”. We’ve pretty much got the artillery rules down pat now, so there was not the usual digging through rule books when a barrage landed – I even remembered that rocket artillery get an extra dice – and I wasn’t even playing the Germans! Questions did come up around house assaults again, so we’re hoping to get these cleared up on the forum.
Thanks to all involved and I hope to get back to Belfast soon for another game – unfortunately Sgt Steiner was posted to another part of the front when this game was being played – hopefully he’ll be around for the next one.