The map I used as inspiration for my battlefield.
Perspective of someone for whom it isn't just little bits of plastic and metal on a tabletop.
The battlefield, looking east down the road from Mortain, past the southern flanks of hill 316
As we both had german armies, it was decided that I would take the role of the Allied bridgehead in this exercise, with my supported grenadier company, while Matt would attack from the east with his combined grenadier and panzer IV companies.
I used my armoured car platoon to throw a blocking force out into the cornfields in the valley, with my main force perched on the hill, while Matt set up his artillery units on his right flank, his initial panzer forces on the central road, and a platoon of supporting infantry in the field to his right.
While his mortars and 105s hurriedly calculate firing solutions, the infantry and armour cautiously probe forward, with a second grenadier platoon entering on his left flank to secure his second defensive objective.
My grenadiers grimly prepare to take the brunt of the attack, while my mortars range in on the 105s, the main apparent threat to my position at this time. My armoured cars begin to work their way back around to prepare a possible salient down the attackers' right flank
Matt's force fail to get a reserve platoon on his second turn, so his infantry attempt to dig in where they are, while the armour continues to advance cautiously and take potshots at the dug-in defenders. His two artillery platoons manage to range in but do little damage . On my turn, I continue to work my armoured cars around behind my line and hope for early reinforcements. My mortars drop a devastating repeat bombardment on his 105s and take out two guns.
Matt receives his flammpanzers from reserves and dashes them up the road to the front of his force, while his panzer IVs continue to take potshots and his mortars start to do some damage to my blocking platoon in the valley. The 105s fail to unpin after their heavy losses.
I fail to get any reinforcements on my first turn of trying, but no matter. This is what my ambushing pak40s have been waiting for. I pop my ambush and unload on the approaching flammpanzers, destroying............one. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, my mortars switch target to his mortars and manage to take out one tube, so now both his artillery units are pinned, along with his first grenadiers and grendier HQ.
The flammpanzers trundle forward, with his quickly unpinned infantry in close support, but can only bring one of my defending infantry teams into range of their flamethrowers. Taking 15 dice of flame, that team is burned to a crisp, pinning the platoon, while the mortars pin the pak40s. The panzer IVs continue to harass the blocking grenadiers, to little effect.
To my delight, on my second try, I get not one, but two reinforcing platoons. My tigers come on right next to the flammpanzers and my infantry guns arrive behind my blocking grenadiers. I couldn't have planned it better myself. The pak40s and tigers , with the help of two panzerschreks in the house in front of the objective, take out another flammpanzer and pin both of the remaining two. My mortars reduce his mortars to a single tube, while my infantry start to take out the occasional team from his supporting grenadiers.
Probably the clear turning point of the game, neither of Matt's flammpanzers manage to remount but they stay on the field. He mounts desperate assaults with his grenadiers and the panzer IVs behind the treeline, but both are repelled. He gets his Panzer IIIs as a final reserve and, afraid of the tigers, sends them up his left flank to try and push to the far objective.
I recieve my armoured flak tracks as a final reserve, who join up with the armoured cars to start moving up on the objective under the 105s, which are promptly destroyed by my mortars. My tigers and pak40s start whittling away at the remaining flammpanzers and panzer IVs, while my grenadiers hose down the pinned remnants of his first grenadier platoon.
Abandoning his primary objective, Matt makes a final do-or-die effort to break through my blocking platoon with his panzer IIIs and panzer IV HQ, but both assaults are repulsed by concentrated 'schrek and 'faust fire, despite being pinned by the initial machine-gun fire.
I respond by raking his armoured formation with fire from my infantry guns and tigers..............
........ while my scouts and mobile AA claim the undefended objective. Game over.
We agreed that Matt's main downfall was not having a clear picture in his mind of what he wanted to achieve from the start of the battle. He probably would have had a much better chance of success if he had simply massed his forces on his left flank and driven for the far objective, leaving his infantry to guard his right-flank objective and perhaps start a cautious advance up his right flank under cover of hills and buildings. I would still have been able to place my pak40 ambush to reinforce the valley, but he could then have added his flammpanzers to the right flank push and I would have had a much harder time stopping him. He also was very cautious in his first 2-3 turns, when a confident advance could have overwhelmed me before I was able to get any reinforcements.
Army Lists Used In This Battle
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