Veteran tanks of the US 2nd Armored Division race inland from the beaches, quickly linking up with the paratroopers, who have held out so far. But Jerry isn't sleeping and hastily assembles a force of elite Fallschirmjäger and assault guns to counterattack. As the best of the best approach a small village, there's no telling who will come out on top...
Despite the Americans' swiftness in reaching the outskirts of the village, Fritz beat them to the punch and aggressively moved his troops into position to take it. Fallschirmjäger and assault artillery moved to seize the village, while the StuG battery's commander threatened the other flank, with the StuG platoon as the central element to provide firepower wherever it was needed.
The German guns roared to life first and displayed their incredible skill; despite the long range and the Americans' concealed positions, three shells hit home and tore one of the 75mm Shermans to pieces. The rest of the unit thanked god (the church had blocked line of sight to all but the one vehicle) and got ready to strike back!
The American tanks rumbled forward, making excellent use of the available cover. The 76s would flank Jerry to the left, making life difficult for the outgunned and outnumbered StuG commander, while the 75s swung around to face the village center - out of sight of the StuGs and facing the infantry and StuH head on.
As planned, the fast and heavily armed 76mm Shermans made short work of the enemy commander. In the village the Fallschirmjäger were pinned down by mortar shells and their supporting assault artillery had trouble placing effective hits on the paratroopers foxholes.
In contrast of the stellar gunnery of the 76 platoon, both the command tanks and 75 platoon failed to score a single hit on the StuH showing its side armor. But how hard could they fight back against twice the numbers with their slow loading, two-part ammuniton?
Two explosions later the Americans had their answer: both HQ Shermans went up in flames, with the crews barely making it out. Following their supporting tanks' example, the Fallschirmjäger slowly crawled toward the enemy Shermans as well, readying their Panzerschreck. After a few near-misses and bounces, they convinced the Shermans to slowly retreat and spew their .30Cal and .50Cal machine-gun fire elsewhere.
The StuG platoon was caught in the open by the rapidly charging 76s. Two shells hit, one destroying an assault gun outright, while another one was abandoned by its crew. With his commander gone already and two vehicles down, the acting platoon leader decided to withdraw the remaining vehicle. The tide seemed to have turned for good!
The Fallschirmjäger however had a reputation to uphold and wouldn't quit, just because they had lost 60% of their armor. The infantry pushed through the village to drive back the remaining two Shermans, while the StuH turned to make sure the American paratroopers kept their heads down.
By turning however, the remaining German tanks had opened up their weak side armor to the American tankers. The 75mm Shermans were unable to maneuver into a favourable position; to the front, Fallschirmjäger angrily waved Panzerfausts and all other routes were blocked by buildings and the wreck of their command group.
The commander of the 76mm platoon though was a hard charger and hastily gave an order to "just go". While the platoon advanced in a quite disorganized fashion, they managed to get the German assault guns in their sights and, with one of the unlikeliest hits ever witnessed by any of them, actually hit.
The game went back and forth quite a bit. Losing a Sherman at the very beginning by three hits on sixes was a heavy blow to morale. Especially because much of the US tanks' success would hinge on succesful Blitz orders, of which they failed quite a few.
Taking out the StuG commander and subsequently enough of the StuG platoon to force a test was a relief, especially when they actually failed the 3+ roll to remount and then the 3+ roll to pass Last Stand. With the StuG gone, the Americans could now push into the village more aggressively, but the Fallschirmjäger pushing back and actually having one of the Shermans bail out (which would have been catastrophic had my opponent decided to assault) almost cost me the game. That is because the paratroopers are a Support Unit and do not contribute to formation morale. Had I lost the 75mm Sherman platoon as well, that would have been the game for me. My opponent on the other hand, running a StuG Battery, had no such worries; all of his units were part of the formation.
I was really lucky with the final hit of the 76mm Sherman platoon (1 hit on 8+), that caused my opponent to not drag out the game unnecessarily and surrender. The Fallschirmjäger Platoon still could have threatened my 75mm Shermans, but his lone StuH would have had to test every turn anyway, so I could've driven away and won anyway.
- 50 points are enough to make for a fun game, but every team lost gets the heartrate up!
- I underestimated the Panzerschreck and my opponent's determination of putting it to use a bit
- His StuH could have caused great damage firing bombardments into my paratroopers, but didn't, as they weren't part of my formation. Still I consider this a missed opportunity by him. On the other hand, having them move forward allowed him to kill off 2 of my 8 tanks.
- 76mm Shermans and stabilizers are amazing, but you have to minimize effects like long range and concealment to make up for the stabilizers.
- Keep your commander close to your units, and try to not have him be the easiest target. :D We both last our HQ rather ungloriously...
All in all it was a fun game and a fantastic start for our participation in the campaign!
Cpt. Harry Notcher, 66th AR, 2nd AD