A first game against James at Deeside saw my Panthers finally get another outing after their last appearance in April at the big Ardennes game. After filling 50% of my 3,000pts with 8 of these monsters I supplemented them with 10 Panzers IV’s, a couple of FlaK36’s, two platoons of pioniers (including one armoured) and some AA guns and scouts on motorbikes. The opposition predictably had some Shermans, but only 8, with half being of the 76mm variety (nasty stuff), backed up by 3 lots of artillery, some paras, some infantry and some Stuart light tanks.
The scenario rolled up was Fighting Withdrawal, and James won the right to decide whether to attack or defend, and with a plan in mind he chose defence, setting up the objectives and deploying first. I deployed second, picking my right side to attack down, but leaving he FlaK36’s and scouts to provide a threat on the left.
The Battle: I automatically got first turn and sent my armour storming forward so fast that I swiftly overran the position James had earmarked for his ambushing tank destroyers! I was forturnely that the enemy artillery and airforce were off colour slightly during this advance, and my Panthers and Panzer IV’s wiped out the two batteries on the right while the pioniers prepared to launch their assault on the paras guarding the objective. The Shermans traded some fire with the Panthers from a wood that they were using as cover from the FlaK36’s. The Stuarts meanwhile abandoned their post guarding the far left objective to try and get a flank shot or two on the Panthers, before changing their minds and heading to the FlaK36’s while my scouts slipped past them.
The assault went in, and failed as the pioniers bounced off. A second attempt, this time by the half tracks, was more successful and caused the remains of the paras to retreat, although not far enough to leave the objective unguarded. The tank destroyers arrived and joined the Sherman 76’s in firing upon the Panthers and Panzer IV’s, with both taking casualties. The Panthers were able to take out the tank destroyers before they fled (my morale checks were average as usual), while the Stuarts took fire from two Panzer IV’s as they approached the FlaK36’s. The paras would not be shook off, and when turn 6 dawned they retreated with a smile and the objective as James removed both. Unfortunately he hadn’t spotted the threat from my dismounting scouts, who, having sneaked past the Stuarts, had beaten them back to the left hand objective and now sat pretty – victory was mine!
|Initial setup, Germans to the left.|
|German armour storms forwards.|
|Tank destroyers arrive.|
|Scouts claim the day.|
Analysis: It was a hard fought battle, with my armour storming across the field on the right in such force that James struggled to find any stopping power, however his paras stalled my assault long enough for him to remove the objective. If he had then seen the threat from my scouts then his Stuarts would have been able to cover the left hand objective and victory would have been his instead in what was a very close, and entertaining, game. Forgot camera again so stuck with iPhone pictures, damn.