11 May 2012

North Africa campaign turn 7 summary

Last weekend the campaign escalated to 1250pts.
So I brought along my Tiger and some AA trucks while dropping the PzIII H platoon. I also included the tank ace Wilhelm Rettemeier as my company commander.

Played against Patrik who ran his US paratroopers supported by 2x M10 tank destroyers, 3x 17pdr's some artillery and a bunch of infantry with Bazookas and stuff.

We both had the limited Air support as well.

The scenario was "surrounded" and Patrik defended. I must say that it was a nice break to play a 1vs1 game after the last two "big battles" which had more or less sucked. For once the chance of achieving victory was pretty much 50-50 between the both sides. I had a "throw away" flank in the south where my 2nd in Command led 2 Panzer IIIH firestorm troop tanks, and a platoon of Pz IIF.

In the north I had my Tiger, two AA trucks and Wilhelm Rettemeier leading the Panzer IIIJ platoon. The US popped the 17pdr's as immediate ambush while holding their M10 platoon lurking somewhere near their recon jeeps.

The way things had been deployed I figured that my best chance was to attack head on with my "throw away flank" (or should I call them my forlorn hope ? ) against the 17pdr position which would dominate the southern half ot the table. I threw what I had at it, only managed to pin down the platoon despite firing with a total of 7 tanks (both main guns and MG's).

I knew that if that 17pdr platoon died then my south and northern troops would attack the right flank and avoid the lurking M10 tank destroyers - while being able to annihilate the US artillery platoon. But no, I scored a lot of hits on the guns but then failed all firepower rolls.

In the north I tried to move towards the left flank immediately. I also knew that if I moved my Tiger forwards it would pop the M10 tank destroyers and it would not only be attacked by airplanes but by M10's and possibly 17pdrs. So the Tiger remained in place hoping that the enemy would pop the M10's and attack the Rettemeier PzIII J platoon. That did not happen.

My PzIIF platoon made the overconfident choice (stupid as it may seem) to assault the 17pdr's which scored 3 hits and destroyed 3 tanks immediately. The 17pdrs then proceeded to destroy 2 PzIII H and bail the 2nd in command which fled. The remaining PzII tried to move around on the flank and assault the guns again but got shot at by 1 17pdr and blew up.

The game was not lost just yet, if I could only pull off my attack with Rettemeier and his PzIII J platoon. I did manage to destroy the artillery platoon but in the mayhem of assaults and counterassaults and defensive fire all PzIIIJ tanks were destroyed and Rettemeier fled. The artillery was destroyed but there were only my AA trucks left to try to capture the objective and the amount of infantry nearby and the freed up 17pdrs guarded that one quite well.

The game ended wih my Tiger getting destroyed by enemy air support. Patrik summed it up quite well - it was pretty much all about the 17pdr platoon in the south. He also said that I had bad luck while he had good luck in critical situations throughout the game. The funny thing is that I blew up and destroyed more stuff with MG firepower than I did with my 4+ main guns.

I really won't bitch and moan since this was a rather fast paced and even battle that I rather enjoyed despite losing it. You could clearly see all important events and it was not impossible to win on the outset or even after I lost my "forlorn hope" northern flank. It was a good game.

Since we were finished after less than 90 minutes we decided to play again. So we threw together a 1400pts battle outside of the campaign (since Patrik did not have 1500pts US airborne painted up just yet). I played with everything I had except for my AA trucks and air support.

The battle was Hold the Line and Patrik got to defend again. This time he had only his hidden M10 platoon and artillery on the table. 1 infantry platoon in Ambush and the rest of the infantry and AT guns in reserve.

I had 2 turns before the enemy started to receive reinforcements, and it was rather far to the objectives. I decided to risk it and make a dash for it. So I moved 1 platoon of PzIII H and my PzII platoon on the double really threatening the left flank and the closest objective which I would be able to reach the next turn. The middle and right flank simply moved forwards through terrain towards the enemy.

This forced the enemy to pop their infantry ambush, which destroyed 2 PzII tanks and bailed 1 with Bazooka shots. One of the M10's tried to take on the Tiger but missed, the other M10 scored a hit on the PzIII tanks going on the double which got destroyed. Then allied air support destroyed another tank and made the last PzIII H flee off the table. US artillery didn't do anything.

The fun thing about the bailed PzII tank was that it was fired at by 2 bazookas for 4 turns , hit several times but didn't become destroyed or panicked enough to flee off table - while the remaining PzII waited outside of bazooka range and watched it all.

Tiger and PzIII J tanks managed to destroy a single M10, making the remaining M10 to move backwards across the field out of close range. The left flank was destroyed and stuck. Soon my Tiger also got hit by a bomb and blew up leaving it up to the PzIII J platoon and the company commander who destroyed the last M10 and started firing at the artillery guns. The ridiculous thing now was again the amount of main gun hits and only 1 destroyed gun. Soon infantry from the left flank and arriving infantry reserves secured the threatened artillery and with repeated assaults managed to destroy the last tank platoon I had. Thus ending the game.
It was a gamble to race ahead, but it was either a successful dash or watching 2 infantry platoons and AT guns arrive and dig in near the objectives in which case I would never be able to take them. Again not a frustrating defeat like in previous multiplayer big battles where it looked and really was impossible to achieve anything. But in the end still a defeat.

Patrik commented about my army after this game acknowledging the difficulty to play with the stuff I had. I'm pretty much set on selling this force once the campaign is over.
I will paint my two remaining FiB Tiger tanks and FiB German infantry in Late War colors and use them for Victory Decision instead. I also realized I had 2 still unassembled PSC PzIII H tanks which would serve well in Victory Decision as well. I'll stick to EW in FoW.

A few other battles going on in the background. One with Americans vs Italian paratroopers where the US ended up winning. The third battle going on was a sea invasion of Sicily which German paratroopers were holding with the help of 88's and bunkers along the shoreline. After 12! turns the paratroopers had won and the allies trying to invade were brutally pushed back.

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