For our second game of the weekend when we should have been at Bovington, we played through the Defence Line scenario from the main rulebook, where my American Paras with Sherman tank support debuted, trying to push some Fallschirmjagers out of a village in the Ardennes. Both sides had 600 points.
The German sniper was the only unit pinned by my ineffective initial bombardment. My Greyhound armoured car took off up the road only to be met with a PaK43 on ambush fire. A single spot and penetrating hit did for it.
The American FAO had come on with recce troops and called in barrage when the 88 revealed itself – although on target, the barrage failed to pin it.
In their turn the Germans called in a 120mm mortar barrage which a scored direct hit on the command Stuart and just succeeded in pinning it, only for the officer to later fail another morale test and abandon it – it was not to be the American’s day.
On the next American turn another Stuart managed to avoid a stalking Panzerschreck only to be shot in the rear by a Panzerfaust and destroyed.
By the time 3 Shermans arrived the 88 was back on ambush fire, taking one out immediately and avoiding the return fire from the other 2 Shermans and off-board artillery.
Luckily the barrage did catch the armoured car in a direct hit and destroyed – lucky as it was the only unit which could spot for the German mortars (the Germans had forgotten to put their FAO on as part of their initial deployment).
Meanwhile the American infantry were struggling to make headway against the dug in German Paras supported by an HMG. One American Para squad took 5 hits in the open but I for once remembered the fall back rule, so they took 1 casualty and fell back 10″ to the edge of the board pinned.
Then another American squad broke, and with 3 Shermans knocked out before the German’s reinforcing armour had even arrived, I conceded.
The small size of an Overlord American Para platoon definitely counts against them when attacking well dug-in troops. The Germans were so far forward that the FAO could not safely bring down artillery fire on them so concentrated on the further back defence line on the other flank with the intention of outflanking the forward defenders with the Shermans. The inability to damage or even pin the PaK43 88mm meant that this strategy ended in disaster. Another cracking game of Battlegroup and a chastening debut for my American Airborne.