For the first time since April 2012 I nearly came close to facing my nemsis – Alex commanding John Frost and his fearsome British paras! As it happened he didn’t take Mr Frost somewhat thankfully, especially given that the meeting in April was in the Ardennes game at Deeside where 1,000pts of Alex’s paras wiped out most of 4,000pts of my German armour!
Yesterdays battle was the first 1 v 1 game id played against Alex and I was looking forward too it. I picked a balanced army of panzergrenadiers with a couple of Tigers, some PaK40’s and 88s in support, together with the usual HMG’s and mortars. The Brits were a bit stretched to make the points, relying on a platoon of Cromwells and a toy from a kinder egg (their air force) to make up the numbers to 2,000pts.
The scenario was hasty attack, and Alex won the roll, choosing to defend. Having placed the objectives far apart I succeeded in throwing him off balance by lining up the bulk of my on-table forces to target the far right objective – so he set up his instant ambush 6pdrs covering the approaches – before turning left and speeding off the opposite way. The 6pdrs spent the rest of the battle trying to get line of sight on the Tigers and half tracks heading to the left hand ford and the objective (a destroyed Panzer IV) near the woods there, under mortar fire the whole time. The rest of the Brits army fared little better, arriving from delayed reserves in the centre of the board, and forced to manoeuvre through a gauntlet of fire to reach positions they could affect the battle.
|The Germans switch flanks, from the right towards the ford at the top left of the river.|
|The German strong left attack.|
The Cromwells in particular trundled onto the board and straight into a crossfire between the Tigers on one side, and the 88’s on the other, with the PaK40’s directly in front! A brave attempt by a para platoon to re-enforce the beleaguer troops in the wood on the far left was cut to pieces by the Tigers and halftracks machine guns, before the assaults went in by the panzergrenadiers on foot. Due to the halftracks embarrassingly bogging down en-masse in the river the first platoon went in unsupported and was wiped out after inflicting 50% casualties on the woods para defenders. The second panzergrenadier platoon was hit by deadly British mortar fire on the ford itself, and severely weakened. Fortunately for my grand assault the armoured panzergrenadiers – having survived the 6pdrs attentions which had wrecked all of their transports - were just numerous enough to use their flamethrower to good effect, before the last of the second panzergrenadier platoons recovered from the mortar fire and wiped out the enemy to claim victory.
|The halftracks bog down as the first panzergrenadier platoon gets wiped out in the wood, and the second takes the mortar hits|
|The final assault.|
I was pleased with my initial ‘dummy’ and setup which left many of the British fighting nothing or slogging across under fire to try and get into battle. I felt my army selection also went well, although it could have been more problematic had the enemy be an armoured force. The mobile 2cm AA guns I took proved their worth shooting down the kinder egg planes twice when they threatened the advance. Alex was unlucky in where his reserves turned up, and also how many times the kinder egg showed its propeller – the first two turns of being shot up obviously didn’t appeal!
The Cromwells were easy kills for the Tigers and 88’s, and needed to be used in a different role, head on attacking the heavy German tanks didn’t work. Finally the paras in their wood guarding the objective gave me a real scare, and cost me 2 platoons and 19 out of 22 teams of my panzergrenadiers to wipe out one platoon! If my last ditch attack hadn’t worked my only chance would have been a long-winded process of bringing my reserve pioniers over from the far side of the board for a last assault. Overall an enjoyable game, worth fighting again.