I finally made the trip over to Deeside Defenders HQ at the WINGS social club in Broughton, mainly to have a look around, and as a side benefit I got in a game of Flames of War against one Ian Shaw. 1750pts was the points limit, and I plumbed for panzergrenadiers because I felt they would both do best against an unknown opponent (I knew it would be British and from Tunisia/Sicily/Italy but not which company). They were also the best painted option and I didn’t want to show up the side to the next nearest club.
I went for a mix of platoons and capabilities, with panzergrenadier platoons and pioneers forming the core, backed up by mortars and the AT capabilities of some PaK40’s, some 88’s and a platoon of StuG F/8’s. The opposition had one tank, 15 times – 15 Shermans! It didn’t look good. We rolled up Breakthrough as a mission, with both of us quite rust regarding the rules – Ian hadn’t played 3rd Edition but luckily it made no difference.
I was obviously defending, and sent the pioneers scurrying for the nearest objective, with a panzergrenadier platoon and the mortars (both virtually defenceless against the Shermans) going towards the trees by the other. My PaK40’s and 88’s covered the main approaches, with the StuG’s backing up the PaK40’s. Ian adopted a refused flank tactic, sending most of his armour towards the PaK40’s and StuG’s rather than face the 88’s, the rest covered the advance.
However despite his weight in numbers he appeared hesitant (I don’t think he had used the army before), and although I lost a StuG to an early shot the others and the PaK40’s had a field day against British armour in the open. One of the 88’s was smoked by the Shermans most of the time, but the other got an angle to join in and the burning British tanks mounted up. The StuG’s got into trouble once, but Ian’s re-game expectation of winning by destroying my army rather than claiming an objective ended when they both remounted and continued to cause damage. By the time turn 6 arrived the Shermans had managed to destroy the PaK40’s, but were still over 24” from either objective and Ian conceded.
Analysis: I was fortunate that I had picked the 88’s rather than artillery or more anti-personnel weaponry, probably out of a sense of paranoia, and they helped pick off the Shermans at long range. The enemy tanks thankfully stopped to deal with a mortar spotter, then tried to cope with the well dug in and concealed PaK40’s and their StuG backup, which were able to pick off the British platoons piece-meal. The vast majority of the army did absolutely nothing but dig into defensive positions around the objectives due to their inability to damage the enemy armour. A good kill ratio; 5 teams (the PaK40 platoon, a StuG and a spotter) for a return of seven Shermans, two platoons and a 2ic I think.
|The scene at the end of the battle, the StuG's to the left have just watched the PaK40's wiped out from the wood in front of them, the burning Shermans stopping short of the objectives around the far wooded areas.|