D-Day Global Campaign

Flames of War Global Campaign

Train Event Beyond the Seine 106th vs 116th

150 POINTS
Axis
Oberst Nagten
VS Axis
BEN
Second game in our tournament

Swiss tournaments frequently produce 'Blue-Blue' or Feldgrau-Feldgrau and Saturday was no exception. Ben is one of our leading players but favors the Soviets. The theme precluded Soviets so he went with Germans, choosing the 116th Panzer from the old Ardennes book as his model.

His force included only tanks and artillery - a force from 2nd Battalion 16th Panzer Regiment with StuGs and MKIV, augmented by PzIV (70), Nebelwerfer and Scout cars.

I maneuvered and he attacked. We ended up fighting CONTACT in the ruined railyards north of the Seine.

My old friends, the Windhund. Doubtless Guderian was watching

Since this wasn't an escalation tournament, the 'home team' was once again KG Kralle of 106th PZ Brigaden

106th Pz Brigade's KG Kralle returns - 10 PzIV, 10 251/1, 6 251/7.5, 4 251/Flam, 3 251/15mm, 4 120mm mortars, 6 FK40, and 2 Stukas

My picture taking skills get challenged in tournaments so I ask you to pay not attention to the models in the next two pictures as they represent different stages of the fight. Look at the terrain Ben was dealing with

Left flank - location of the railroad station and two objectives. The rail lines were no cover/no cross, appropriate for a railyard.

The battle's left flank was more tank friendly, and in planning my defense, I kept that in mind.

The right flank was a maze of craters, and unsuitable for tank actions

I set up first. My Stummels went right into ambush; my reserve was the MKIVs and my 251/15mm . The FK40s defended the right flank objective. They were pretty much guaranteed to stop any assault by his heaviest tank, the PzIV (70). For those of you unfamiliar with the beast it comes with a Panther gun and FA=8 or 9 depending on variant, but side armor 3. Essentially a StuG on steroids. Slow-moving. To assault onto the objective after I placed the guns, Ben would have to first work his way past their shooting. A PzGren platoon fully tricked out with 'Fausts reinforced that flank.

My left was held by the flame tracks, and the PzGr company HQ, and the 1st Platoon of the PzGren company. The mortars and the Stukas went into the center.

The opening moves

Back to that first picture. Ben's on table force was 2 platoons of 3 StuG and the StuG headquarters of 2 tanks (as the 116th used a StuG company in place of the No.3 company in 2nd Battalion, this StuG company can have a two-tank HQ. He placed his Nebelwerfers and scout cars to cover the other objective.

Ben's plan, related in the post mortem, was to squeeze my defenders on the left flank objective. To do that he put one StuG platoon on the hill overlooking the rail station, and pushed up the center with his HQ and the other StuG platoon. The objective opposite my right flank was covered by his scout platoon and the Nebelwerfers.

Ben rolled for reserves, got none

Ben blitzed and advanced full in the center, bringing his strike force to the rail crossing. He managed a shot against one of my command tracks and destroyed it, but couldn't get to my Stukas or realistically reach my artillery. Ben fired his Nebelwerefers at my FK40s, ranged in on 3rd attempt and got one hit. My 120s added to the chaos by shooting ineffectually at his StuGs.

I have a nice picture of my thumb for this next event, so refer back to a previous picture. If you look at the second picture above you'll see on its left a pair of FK40s and some rubble. In front of that rubble was 16+ inches from Ben's attack in the center and just inside my deployment zone. I dumped the Stummels there, successfully blitzed, moved a couple normally to improve their shooting, and dumped 10 dice at 4's and 5's (some were shooting through cover) at his command group. Five hits, and he managed to shift the extra hit to a StuG that had front position. Two StuG's died and one bailed, and the other two shots bounced.

Meanwhile my 1st Platoon and the HQ (which had unpinned, but the FK40s did not) dove into the apartment block, evicting any remaining tenants. I didn't have an obvious target for the platoon. But on the far right, my Stukas ranged in on first attempt on a tall tree and killed one Nebelwerfer, bailed one scout car, and my 2nd infantry platoon was well across towards that objective.

Situation on turn 3 as Ben's surviving center vehicle proceeds to its doom

Ben got the PzIV(70) as his reinforcement on Turn 2. He placed it in center to my right, and went after the Stummels, while pushing the assault guns further forward. The assault guns tried to pin my 120s, and managed to do so, killing one with MG fire. The PzIV70s did not do so well, roll 3 dice on 5's and missing. Ben's Nebelwerfers did not recover pin but the scout car remounted. Ben also shot at and killed one of my teams in the apartment complex. But, as he pointed out later, he chose to remain on the hill so as not to be flanked when reinforcements arrived. His scout cars chose to remain gone to ground.

Stock photo of PzIV(70)

Much of game play on wide open boards is about tempo. Ben's 2nd StuG platoon was far enough from the objective on my left that it would take three turns to contest, starting with his 3rd turn. I had the flamtracks to stand that off for perhaps one turn. My calculation was that would allow enough time for my infantry to move over to center court and participate in the destruction of his StuGs. Really hate leaving bailed tanks on the table. So 1st platoon and the HQ moved on foot to the next building on the right, with a follow me stuffing all nine stands in the building for cover. Then my Stummels zipped around and flanked the StuGs, ignoring the PzIV(70)s. After all, an AT8 shot was sufficient to kill them, why sweat AT14?

On my right flank, the infantry platoon pressed forward to a position for assaulting the scout cars and/or the PzIV(70). The FK40s provided some long range fire onto the PzIV70's a bailed tank would provide a convenient target for assault. My infantry poured in fire with MGs into the scout cars - lots of hits but no bails. The PzIV(70)s didn't cooperate either.

The Stukas shelled StuG platoon #2 to no effect, and then my Stummels killed both StuG's that were in assault distance of 1st Platoon. Why couldn't they have bailed one?

I debated an assault on the right flank, and finally decided to stick my toe in the water by attacking one scout car. His defensive fire killed one stand, and the other scout cars were blocked, while the assault occurred on the opposite side of the woods from the PzIV(70)s thus ineligible to fire. Ben's defensive fire killed a stand and my swing missed the scout car. But his counterattack roll failed, and he lost a scout car and a Nebelwerfer anyway. And I had stands contesting the objective.

Turn 3 on the other flank

Ben's force was in trouble. The core of his company was 3 StuG unit and a PzIV platoon, which now arrived from reserves. Left unopposed, my infantry was virtually certain to force the right flank objective. That requires the PzIV to join in the counterpunch against that penetration. His company commander is in serious trouble, and has to get away from my infantry. The PzIV 70s are too slow to be much help, and can't wander too far from my right flank because I might get a reserve there this turn, and that would neutralize his reinforcement. And then he can't really race to the left flank objective as originally planned, because 1-4 puts a MKIV platoon in position to catch him in the open.

My infantry platoon melts under his guns, but not quite enough to break, and one team remains in contest distance. His PzIV(70) manage to kill a Stummel and bail another. The StuG commander kills another 120mm mortar.

So now it's my Turn 3. 2nd Platoon refuses to unpin but manages to dig in. Its halftracks are sent to the rear due to distance and suicide issues. The Fk40s take a couple warning shots on Ben's MKIVs but don't hit. And my reserves arrive producing a platoon of MKIVs on my left flank. Drat. But that's another opportunity - I can kill his remaining StuG platoon and bag his commander, winning by breaking his army. And I also notice Ben's observer sitting in a woods next to the left flank objective in Ben's zone. Time and distance - a full move by the 1st Platoon and HQ, plus a second move plus assault plus consolidation will move them into contest distance on Turn 4...

So, I order the counterattack on the left flank, driving straight for that observer with 8 stands of infantry trailed by halftracks, moving to left of the signal control building by the crossroads. My panzer platoon moves up and takes some shots at Ben's StuG, and my Stukas remind him of their presence - to no immediate effect. I stand pat on the right. The Stummels hunt down his CO, rolling four dice, hitting twice, penetrating twice. Burning tank. A couple more shots winged into the PzIV(70) to no effect.

The counterattack goes in - Turn 4 left flank

Ben's been playing long enough so he could see what was coming. Moving the surviving StuGs out of cover would give him the joy of machinegunning my infantry but would place him flank on to at least 8 AT 11 shots. Plus any reinforcements. So he hid. He also had to dash the PzIV(70)s to have any chance of contesting on the left flank. He almost instantly lost the game by pulling his MKIV out of contest distance of the right flank objective, and recovered the mistake (but had to leave the contesting tanks where the FK40s could see them. That forced him to use the Nebelwerfer on the FK40s, which he pinned. That, at least, would keep me from moving them closer to get more shots.

My infantry, now dug in and gone to ground, survived the withering hail of fire.

Bringing me to turn 4. On the left, my MKIV's blitzed and the lead pair made a full tactical move to reach the crest of the hill, giving them a shot at Ben's StuG. A Stuka attack devastated the railroad station and killed one and my MKIVs killed another. As I started to move my infantry to contact in the center, Ben stopped me and rolled last stand on the StuG platoon, which ran.

We shook hands. 8-1, FH 106

Again, wish I had the skills to model like this.

HOT WASH

The Stummels were the big heroes of this fight. I use mine aggressively if they can participate effectively in the combat, on the theory that any shots at Stummels are not at MKIV. They work surprisingly well against friends, and they love to munch on the current Allied meta of M10s in large numbers. I had originally intended to send them against the right flank in company of No.2 Platoon but the sudden opportunity in the center was enough to change plans on the fly.

Smoke was not necessary in this fight. The Stuka's get an honorable mention. And 2nd Platoon's officer, if he survived, is a Hauptman today.

On Ben's side, I think his critical mistake was calling for 'attack' against my army. Maneuver would have been preferable. Ben doesn't want to be game defender, but being forced to attack with reserves in the offing wasn't a lot better. The 116th list, being confident veteran, is expensive, and in terms of teams he was actually outnumbered with no realistic way of preventing flank attacks on his tanks. Even with all his troops on the board, he couldn't defend two objectives and attack a third.

Again, wish I had the skills to model like this.

HOT WASH

The Stummels were the big heroes of this fight. I use mine aggressively if they can participate effectively in the combat, on the theory that any shots at Stummels are not at MKIV. They work surprisingly well against friends, and they love to munch on the current Allied meta of M10s in large numbers. I had originally intended to send them against the right flank in company of No.2 Platoon but the sudden opportunity in the center was enough to change plans on the fly.

Smoke was not necessary in this fight. The Stuka's get an honorable mention. And 2nd Platoon's officer, if he survived, is a Hauptman today.

On Ben's side, I think his critical mistake was calling for 'attack' against my army. Maneuver would have been preferable. Ben doesn't want to be game defender, but being forced to attack with reserves in the offing wasn't a lot better. The 116th list, being confident veteran, is expensive, and in terms of teams he was actually outnumbered with no realistic way of preventing flank attacks on his tanks. Even with all his troops on the board, he couldn't defend two objectives and attack a third.

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Oberst Nagten
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