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Paras repel Panzer Lehr rescue (5-2 Allied win, Northants) 
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Corporal
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Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:58 pm
Posts: 179
Location: Bristol, UK
Following on from the capture of my CO in the previous battle (q.v.), we decided to play a rescue mission. 6th Airborne had fallen back to their stronghold in Northamptonshire, so, calling on some old friends, Panzer Lehr set out on a rescue mission behind enemy lines. The game was 900pts, and we decided Cauldron was a fitting mission.

Summary

900 pts, Panzergrenadiers Lehr vs British Parachute Company. 5-2 Allied Victory.

Both sides played very cautiously, the Allies apprehensive about the German Tigers, and the German halftracks scared to get near the 6-lbers. An eventual assault got the Germans onto one objective, but they had taken too many casualties, and failed company morale.



Lists:

Parachute Company
  • CHQ + 3 PIAT
  • 2 Full Para Platoons
  • 4x 6-lber
  • 4x 75mm pack howitzer
880pts

Panzergrenadiers Lehr
  • CHQ
  • 2 Minimum Grenadier Platoons
  • 2 Allied SS Tigers (Fearless Vet; Tiger Ace Skill: ROF3)
900pts

The Germans formed a Kampfgruppe, giving:

CO in halftrack
2i/c, 4 MG teams, 2 tank hunter teams, 3 halftracks
2 platoons, each including 1 Ptn Cmd SMG, 2 MG teams, 1 tank hunter team, 2 halftracks
2 Tigers



Deployment:

Image

This aerial photograph shows most of the map, oriented with the North to the top of the photo. Major areas - the Church, manor house, café, and farmyard, are identified. Objectives were placed on the west side of the cafe, and in the farm yard.

The first para platoon, with all three PIATs attached (a total strength of 11 stands, 4 of which were PIATs), deployed in the café and the cornfield, close enough to contest both objectives; 6-lbers were, unsurprisingly, chosen to be held in immediate ambush.

Image
British Deployment

The Tigers rolled to start in the North-East corner, and the Kampfgruppe got to choose, so elected to join them. Both (now seriously understrength) grenadier platoons were held in reserve.

Image
German Deployment, apparently photographed with very shaky hands

The 6-lbers revealed their ambush, inside and in the grounds of the manor house near the church.




Part One: Sitzkrieg

Turn 1:

The British elected not to move or fire, trusting on their hidden positions to keep them safe.

One Tiger advanced to within 16" of the 6-lbers (having been fractionally outside), the other held position. Despite needing 6s to hit, they managed two, and killed one 6-lber. The halftracks, on the other hand, realising that they were within the effective range of the 6-lbers, withdrew to cover until the Tigers could neutralise the threat (i.e. ran away scared).

Turn 2:

The British kept their heads down again. In fact, this remains the case until turn 5, so I'm going to skip the Brit turns for a while.

Both German reserves arrived this turn, and took up positions in the field as well. The Tigers pounded the building containing the guns some more, but failed to find their target.

Turn 3:

The German halftracks move a little and re-organise, but do not substantially advance. The Tigers hit twice against the gun teams, but fail to score a kill. By this point, I remember to Stormtrooper them forward at the end of each turn, too.

Turn 4:

Tigers hit, but fail to kill, and advance again in the assault step.

Summary so far:
German reserves have arrived.
British casualties: 1 6-lber.





Part Two: Intermittently Competent Assaults

Turn 5:

Finally, the British tank terror wears off (from the player, rather than forces). 75mm guns arrive from reserve, but more importantly, the large para platoon realises that the Tigers are within assault range, and move out of their foxholes. In the shooting phase, two PIATs are in range, but neither manages to penetrate the German armour, so they assault instead! Defensive fire kills one rifle team, but two PIATs make it into assault range, but promptly miss. Now, this is important, so I just want to emphasise this (and by which I mean "rub it in"). In the open ground of the churchyard, two teams of veteran tank-hunters ran up to 120 tons of German steel... and didn't hit a thing. Good work, chaps.

However, this should have been where I was grateful for my good luck, and withdrew. Instead, I was suckered into thinking "I can take these guys". Granted, my first counter-attack did kill the two assaulting PIAT teams. But the counter-counter brought four more teams (two rifle, two PIAT) into assault range. Now, it's worth pointing out (for reasons of mockery) that the PIATs did, in fact, miss again. But Gammon bombs managed to bail one Tiger, and, realising that the odds were eventually against me, I decided to break off before losing the second one. The paras, in turn, consolidated back behind the churchyard wall.

In the German turn, the Kampfgruppe dismounted (to maximise the number of teams firing) and advanced into 16" range, but combined fire from the Tigers and Kampfgruppe scored several hits on the paras, but only managed to kill one team.

Image
One bailed out Tiger is captured, and the other withdraws.


German Casualties: Tiger platoon: 1 tank.
British Casualties: 1st Para Platoon: 2 Rifle/MG teams, 2 PIAT teams. 6-lbers: 1 gun.


Turn 6:


The second para platoon arrived from reserve; however overwhelmed by the volume of fire arrayed against them, the first platoon failed to unpin, and elected to Go to Ground. The 75mm guns, having arrived and unpacked, fired on the Kampfgruppe, hitting two halftracks, and managing to bail one of them.

In the German turn, the halftrack managed to bail back in, and the Kampfgruppe, in extended line, began to move into the woods across the road from the churchyard. Once again, there was lots of shooting. This time, it was entirely ineffective.

Turn 7:

Seeing the flank of the Kampfgruppe exposed, the second para platoon advanced toward them at the double. Repeat fire from the 75mm guns managed to kill one halftrack this time.

Image
One halftrack burns as the Kampfgruppe positions itself to support the remaining Tiger

With the second platoon now out of position to defend the 75s, the German second platoon raced at the double 36" along the road toward the southern board edge. Once again, fire raked the positions of the para platoon and 6-lbers. Leutnant Becker's Tiger scored one hit, and the gun team failed its save, but I then failed my firepower check. Would these guns not just die? I wished I'd brought some smoke instead of such expensive tanks.

Image
A grenadier platoon makes full use of the road to re-locate to the southern board edge

Turn 8:

The second para platoon turned round and moved cautiously through the woods toward the flanking halftracks. 75s bombarded again at the Kampfgruppe, who had cautiously spread out in the mean time, and managed to pin them, but failed to score a kill.

Moving at full speed, the Grenadiers got away from the paras, and into assault range of the 75s (subsequently, Seb remarked that he should have attacked to where I was going to be, not where I was. The old Space Invaders problem.) Preparatory fire killed one gun and one command team, and a further gun team was killed in the assault. There were no teams eligible to counter-assault, but, as the guns would have been destroyed had they tried to break off, they chose to stay in the fight whilst the mobile teams worked their way closer. Counter-countering, the halftracks killed one more gun and the staff team. Failing their motivation check to counter-attack again, the 75s broke off, and then failed their platoon morale.

German Casualties: Tiger platoon: 1 tank.
British Casualties: 1st Para Platoon: 2 Rifle/MG teams, 2 PIAT teams. 6-lbers: 1 gun. 75mm guns: DESTROYED.


Turn 9:

Intent on avenging their comrades, the second Para platoon advanced on the marauding halftracks. Shooting was unsuccessful: rifle fire pinged off harmlessly, and whilst the PIAT managed to bail one vehicle, it immediately remounted, before the paras' assault went in. Defensive fire scored only three hits, but, in another show of poor luck, all three saves failed. The assaulting teams managed to bail only one halftrack, but as they broke off, this was enough to force a morale check, which they duly failed.

Image
Paras catch up with the halftracks.

In the German turn, halftracks moving around the side of the church added their fire to that against the Paras, but to no effect. The Tigers finally managed to add to their score, taking out a second 6-lber.

German Casualties: Tiger platoon: 1 tank. 1st Grenadier platoon: DESTROYED.
British Casualties: 1st Para Platoon: 2 Rifle/MG teams, 2 PIAT teams. 2nd Para Platoon: 3 Rifle/MG teams. 6-lbers: 2 guns. 75mm guns: DESTROYED.


Turn 10:

The second para platoon fails to unpin after their assault, leaving the first platoon looking exposed.

Wanting to force a resolution one way or another, the German grenadiers surge forward in assault. The small grenadier platoon on the flank attacked first, but was destroyed in its entirety by defensive fire. The Kampfgruppe, with CO attached, attacked next, and eventually killed almost all of the first para platoon, but at the cost of almost all their own men. They finally fought on to the objective by the cafe, but subsequently failed platoon morale and broke.

This took the Germans below half company strength, and, with the CO having been knocked out in the assault, the game was over.




Post-game Analysis:

Both sides were too defensive, but, in my defense, to Front Armour 1 vehicles, 6-lbers are bloody scary! I really should have brought smoke; that would have (potentially) neutralised them significantly if not entirely. I could have also done with a larger assault platoon - threes and fours of halftracks at a time just aren't enough!

In terms of deployment, I should probably have split my forces in order to draw a response from Seb. Allowing him to stay dug in and gone to ground really plays to his strengths as Paras.

I eventually used my mobility to reasonable effect on the flanks, but, for all the use they were doing in the centre, probably should have sent more forces. I might have been able to hold off the second para platoon, and then maybe flank back in to the middle decisively. But at the time, I was very concerned about keeping a large number of MG dice available to stop anyone assaulting my lone remaining Tiger. Having lost one, I got very defensive about the other!

Seb's post-game comments were that he'd felt very pressured by the Tigers, and didn't know how to deal with them, which goes to show that both sides can get a completely different read of the situation. I was very concerned about the PIATs; he was concerned that Top Armour 2 would bounce too many of them; and we both underestimated Gammon Bombs!

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Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:25 am
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