Geoff and I got together to play FUBAR a week ago. It’s an interesting mission, that involves many force choices that are not what him or I would normally make in a “normal” game. However, we were both excited to try the mission as a recreation of Omaha Beach. We played the mission, but something wasn’t right. Why did the attacker get to walk up half of the board without hinderance from fortifications? Why am I deploying my minefields and wire in the back half of the table? Thanks to you wonderful folks, we determined that the “hinterlands” start at the end of the beach. Now, everything made sense. The rules, the fortifications, the minefields and the wire. We had to play the mission a second time.
We set the date and the rematch was on. Once more unto the breech, dear friends.
After playing the first game, I realized that the dedicated sMG34 section was ok, but brittle. The 5cm PAK 38’s, while strong, would now need to cover about 75% of the table before firing. I replaced these two platoons with a single platoon of MG42 teams, along with integrated sMG34’s. My reserves would be 4x Panzer IV and the MG42 equipped platoons. If things went my way, I’d have the full force on the table by turn two, and worst case by turn four.
I considered looking at a Fortress Europe Grenadier company and even a Panzergrenadier company. Both did bring better quality men, but much less of them.
Fortifications were different. I took one 8.8cm Anti-tank bunker, one 5cm gun nest, one 2cm AA gun nest, and 4 MG Tobruk pits
My deployment plan was to rely on the fortifications to do the heavy lifting. The Tobruk pits would be forward, with wire covering the flanks. The 8.8 would be centrally located, with preferrred coverage to the right flank. The 5cm nest would cover the left flank. The 2cm nest would back up the 8.8. The 8cm mortars were placed in range to cover all of the beach and self spot on the right flank. The HQ would take position in the buildings to spot for the mortars should he hit the left flank. One beach defense platoon would cover each objective, setting up slightly behind to attack any infantry that entered the hinterlands. The reserves would reinforce whatever flank he pushed.
I was confident that I wouldn’t lose before turn nine. I still felt I would lose, but was hoping for a 6-3 defeat.
The early turns of the game were favorable for me. Two of the four Tobruk pits were able to open fire immediately and the mortars were able to range in. Turn two resulted in the MG42 equipped platoon to come on board, which meant that turn three would bring the Panzers. The Americans made it off the beach, only to face withering fire from the pits, forcing two platoons to retire to the floating reserves. Enemy mortars were able to land and begin to range in on the right flank grenadiers.
As much as I tried to keep them on the beach, infantry hordes are relentless. I focused on the lead platoons to reduce their strength and force them to the floating reserves, but there’s only so much that can be done. Under a well timed smoke bombardment, the Rangers are able to assault the Grenadiers, and without surprise, the Rangers push the Grenadiers out of their foxholes. It’s not a complete annihilation, but losing the foxholes hurt. However, the Panzers were close, and I expected to retake the objective. The Americans then cluster on the objective and attempt to dig in, but fail. Additionally, skilled mortars take out the HQ units who had repositioned in an attempt to help rally the Grenadiers.
Here is where I made the biggest mistake of the match. Eager to shoot my opponent, I forget to move my tanks into assault position. The rangers had lost their bazookas, so a Tank Assault would have cleared the objective and allowed the Grenadiers some relief, hopefully digging back in. Without surprise, the MG fire not backed up by an assault leaves the objective in American hands. It also keeps the tanks far enough away to allow Naval Guns to take aim at them. The first round of Naval Gunfire bails out a Panzer, which will never remount.
At this point, I was worried I was going to lose again before turn 9. The right flank was gone. I still had remnant of the Grenadiers there, there reinforcements, mortars, and the Panzers, yet I now had veteran Americans in foxholes gone to ground on the objective. Additionally, Geoff had already started to attempt to move some forces down the beach to push on the left flank. It was turn 7. Luck was still on my side, as I managed to pin down the flanking infantry on the beach, and kept them pinned down for two turns. Geoff then sent them to the floating reserves, and returned them to the right flank. The Rangers continued to clear the way, engaging Grenadiers and Mortars, slowly taking them out. Naval Gunfire continued to chase the Panzers around, taking one out. I managed to repel three different assaults as the Rangers tried to push to the center of town.
At the start of turn 10, the outcome is pretty much solidified. The Americans are too far away from the left flank objective to claim it. They could theoretically break all of my units and win by force destruction, but that seemed unlikely. All I tried to do here was stall for time. However, at the top of turn 12, two Panzers (remember, I failed to remount for about 4 to 6 turns) were in position to at least contest an objective. With some luck, I might be able to snatch a 6-3 win from the jaws of a 6-3 loss. I moved in, and defensive fire from bazookas took out the Panzers. I shook Geoff’s hand. The day was won, yet again, by the Americans.
If this was any other day, I’d have rescheduled the game. I think I tore a rotator cuff two days prior, and was in a lot of pain. It was difficult to reach across the table and Geoff helped out a lot. However, I enjoy the global campaign so much, I’d deal with the pain.
This mission is fun, and I think faithful to the events that took place on Omaha Beach. Between voluntary removal and my attacks, I feel like I sent about 8 platoons packing. However, since his force was 100% infantry, every I infantry stand eliminated was only a temporary respite. Additionally, I don’t think I’ve ever played a Flames (or TY) game with so much infantry on the board. It makes for a LONG day. The game took about 4.5 hours to go finish. Maybe, if I wasn’t in pain, a 4.5 hour game would seem so long, however, 4.5 hours of 3+ infantry saves is a difficult scrap. If I ever play this mission again, I’ll not play at the 50 vs 100 point level.
Looking forward to week two. I’d like to get my Panzergrenadiers back on the table.