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Panzer Lehr attack London! (1750pts, 5-2 Axis win) 
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Following the capture, and death during the ensuing rescue attempt, of Major Grosskopf, Hauptmann Georg Rennenkampf was given a field promotion to Major, and allowed to retain the ill-fated 3. Kompanie, I./901. PzGrenRgt.

Generalleutnant Bayerlein, both literally and metaphorically turning his back on Northants, threw out light screening elements to the north and northwest, and focused most of his forces toward London. Tanks, heavy artillery, and a Luftwaffe bombardment breached the Outer London Defence Ring, and lead Panzergrenadier forces scattered the hastily assembled Home Guard near Rickmansworth. Major Rennenkampf pushed on, and next clashed with the British near Sarratt. If he could take this village, he would then push on to Northolt, and Eastbury Park, an RAF Coastal Command HQ.


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Summary

1750 Hold the Line, Parachute Company vs Panzergrenadiers Lehr (5-2 Axis win)

A combination of movement to counter the Axis schwerpunkt and troops arriving from reserve led to the Allies moving in the open, whereupon artillery took its toll. The British, having lost three platoons out of eight and with limited remaining anti-tank capability, conceded in Turn 8.


Army Lists:

Parachute Company (from A Bridge Too Far)

  • CHQ + Sniper
  • 3 full strength Para platoons
  • Full strength assault platoon
  • Mortar platoon: 4 tubes
  • Anti-tank platoon: 4 6-lbers
  • Heavy anti-tank platoon: 2 17-lbers (NB proxied by 25-lber artillery)
  • Artillery platoon: 4 75mm howitzers, plus Corps artillery support
  • Sporadic Typhoons

Panzergrenadiers Lehr

  • CHQ: 2i/c with Panzerfaust
  • 2 full strength Grenadier platoons with 3.7cm gun upgrades
  • Heavy platoon: 1 HMG section
  • Anti-aircraft platoon: 2 SdKfz 10/5 flak halftracks
  • Recce: 1 patrol of 3 Pumas
  • Rocket platoon: 3 15cm Nebelwerfers
  • Artillery platoon: 4 10.5cm guns
  • SS Heavy Panzer Platoon: 2 Tigers (Tiger Ace skill: Schnell!)



Deployment:

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North is to the left of the picture; the Germans were attacking from East to West (bottom to top). Objectives were placed between the hill and the field, 8" behind the half-way line, and between the churchyard and the house by the dirt road.

The British elected to hold both artillery platoons, the assault platoon, and one para platoon in Reserve, with the 17-lbers in ambush. Two para platoons were deployed on the flanks, with the 6-lbers covering the foremost objective.

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Para platoon and 6-lbers

The Germans deployed their artillery on the flanks, well spread out to avoid counter-battery fire or aerial bombardment. Grenadier platoons were placed on the flanks, with the North (left flank) reinforced by the Tigers, and the South reinforced by Pumas. The HMGs and Flaktracks were placed in the centre to be able to respond to threats as needed.

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German deployment

Turn 1:

The Germans launched a general advance, which was slightly frustrated by one Tiger bogging on a low wall. Even its wide tracks were unable to get it free. The Grenadier platoons remained tightly packed as they moved out, while the Pumas spread out to neutralise sites of potential ambush.

In the shooting phase, the 10.5s failed to range in on the southern Para platoon, but the Nebelwerfers successfully ranged the northern Para platoon on the hill, pinning them but failing to kill, and killing one 6-lber team. Importantly, the gun platoon had been deployed in extended line, meaning that removing one from the chain left the end-most gun now out of command. No other firing was conducted, as all British teams were dug in, gone to ground, and over 16" away, and would thus need 7s to hit.

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Germans advance, Pumas in the lead

In the British turn, the first reserves responded quickly to the German threat, with the 75mm guns arriving and deploying out of sight at the back of the board. Their staff team brought with them the heavy radios needed to direct the other sector assets. In addition, a Sniper revealed himself in the woods near the Nebelwerfers, and took aim at their spotter. The RAF, on the other hand, failed to clear the heavy cordon of German flak, and stayed away. There was no other movement, although the southern Para platoon began considering a redeployment away from the comparatively open flank and into the more defensible buildings.

In the shooting phase, one 6-lber gun fired at the Pumas, who successfully disengaged. The single shot the gunners managed to get off sailed comfortably wide. The other in-command gun fired at the HMG platoon in the centre, bailing out the 2i/c's halftrack, and causing the platoon to dismount. The Sniper, despite his re-roll to hit, missed the Nebelwerfer spotter.

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75mm guns arrive from reserve

Summary: Germans advance under cover of an artillery bombardment. British fire is ineffective, but reinforcements are already arriving.
British casualties: 6-lber platoon: 1 gun.
German casualties:


Turn 2:

The bogged Tiger failed to un-bog, and the pinned HMGs in the centre failed to unpin. All in all, not an auspicious start. However, the HMGs platoon, realising that they were over 16" away from the enemy, simply called their halftracks back, remounted, and advanced into cover. The rest of the German force also continued to cautiously advance, with the exception of the re-organising Pumas.

In the shooting phase, the Nebelwerfers manage to hit the lone 6-lber on the far north flank, but to no effect. The 105s were more successful, ranging in on the southern para platoon, and killing one team. Combined MG fire from the Tigers and grenadiers scored two hits on the Sniper, but his hide proved impregnable to such small bullets - a shame for the Germans that the Tiger's 88 missed!

The Assault platoon arrived in the British turn, intent on taking the fight to the enemy. The RAF however showed no such determination, and once again stayed away. Realising not only that was their position weak, but that they were now squarely in the sights of enemy artillery, the southern Para platoon withdrew to the shelter of a nearby ruined building.

Changing his point of aim, the British Sniper sighted in on a different Observer team, this one from the 10.5cm guns. However, despite scoring a hit, it proved not to be fatal. Similar ill-luck dogged the 75mm guns, which scored hits on one 10.5cm itself, as well as the collocated spotter, but failed to score any kills.

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More British reserves arrive.

Summary: Germans continue to advance, undeterred by desultory British fire. The Assault platoon arrives to further reinforce the British position, but once again the Germans suffer no casualties.
British casualties: 6-lber platoon: 1 gun. South para platoon: 1 Rifle/MG team.
German casualties:


Turn 3:

During this game I was to have remarkable consistency with bog counters. I never had more, and rarely less, than one counter on the board at all times. I managed to unbog the Tiger from what was, frankly, a very small wall indeed, only to then bog the HMG platoon commander's halftrack as they tried to enter the wood in front of them. I also made extensive use of pinning counters, with my 10.5s failing to unpin this turn. The north grenadiers advanced to form a firing line in front of the Sniper's hide, whereas the South grenadiers advanced very aggressively into assault range of the facing para platoon, daring them to make any move in the face of massed MG fire. The 10.5s had unpinned, and the spotter on the southern flank advanced cautiously out of range from the 75mm guns' aiming point.

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South Grenadier platoon spoiling for a fight

The shooting phase was uneventful, with both Nebelwerfers failing to find a target, and the line of MGs arrayed at the Sniper failing to make their mark. So it fell to the Tigers, in the assault phase, to close to short range and drive him from his hide. It turned out 60 tons of German steel was enough to convince him to sneak away and quit the field - and who can blame him?

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A Tiger, where a sniper used to be

The sound of guns was enough to draw the rest of the Para company into battle, with the mortars and final Para platoon both arriving this turn (but still no sign of the air force). In addition, the 17-lbers finally sprung their ambush, revealing themselves behind the walls of the churchyard. There was no movement, just a torrent of fire, as the 17-lbers and southern para platoon took aim at the threatening grenadiers. However, only the PIAT and one 17-lber managed to find their targets, destroying two halftracks, although with only mixed success against their passengers. The surviving grenadiers hurriedly regrouped under fire as their halftracks fled to the rear, but kept their heads low. The 75mm guns, meanwhile, repeated their bombardment on the (now sole) gun under their ranging point, but failed to even score a hit.

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Grenadiers dismount under fire

Summary: Germans crush the sniper's hide in their advance. The final British reserves arrive.
British casualties: HQ: 1 Sniper team. 6-lber platoon: 1 gun. South para platoon: 1 Rifle/MG team.
German casualties: South Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 2 MG teams, 1 tank hunter team.


Turn 4:

Both the 10.5cm guns and the southern Grenadier platoon failed to unpin, so both elected to stay where they were and go to ground. The flaktracks, forgetting that they only had 16" range shooting at ground targets (I'd forgotten that the +8" is for anti air fire only), moved into 24" range of the 6-lbers.

In the shooting phase, the north Grenadier platoon fired on the lone 6-lber, successfully making their firepower check to beat its gunshield and score a kill. The Tigers attempted to add to this by firing at the body of the AT platoon, but all hits were saved. Pumas, supported by the Company Commander, fired at the southern Para platoon, hoping to soften it up so the Grenadiers could assault. 6 hits were scored, pinning the platoon, but not a single die would pass its firepower check.

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A 6-lber gun before being machine gunned

The paras, recognising the threat in front of them, failed to unpin. Movement was sparse, with the Assault Platoon and the reserve Para platoon moving up the centre, but little else. Once again, the British chose to focus their efforts on shooting. The Mortars fired at the southern Grenadier platoon, killing one MG team. A hit was scored against a nearby Puma, but to no effect. Recognising a possible target, one 17-lber tried to fire at the Pumas, but once again they disengaged from fire and the single shot missed. The other 17-lber fired at the Tigers, but both shots went wide. Success did finally come for the 75mm guns, however, which successfully killed the one 10.5cm gun under their aiming point.

Summary: Germans advance cautiously and try to set up an assault. British split their fire between the centre and flank.
British casualties: HQ: 1 Sniper team. 6-lber platoon: 2 guns. South para platoon: 1 Rifle/MG team.
German casualties: South Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 3 MG teams, 1 tank hunter team. Artillery platoon: 1 gun.


Turn 5:

The German turn began with an upswing in morale on the southern flank, with both the grenadiers and 10.5s unpinning. The northern grenadiers, now free from the immediate threat from AT guns, re-organised themselves to spread out and avoid artillery fire, with some teams taking up position in a nearby building. The southern grenadiers re-organised too, but this time into a firing line, with the maximum number of teams ensuring they could draw line of sight to the Para platoon to their front. Artillery once again opened the shooting phase, with the 10.5s killing two teams from the reserve Para platoon in the centre. Nebelwerfers tried to support this, but failed to range in. Massed MG fire against the 6-lbers had no effect, but the Tigers managed to score one kill with their 88s. However, the gunners proved stubborn, and passed their platoon morale check.

So we came to the building to the south. Grenadiers and Pumas opened fire, managing to kill one more team, and then, before the smoke could clear, the grenadiers charged forward. Defensive fire was ineffective, and the initial assault killed two teams. The counter-attack however piled in, with the four Para teams managing to kill the only two German teams in range. The morale check to counter-counter-attack failed, and the Germans broke off for now, licking their wounds. However, they passed platoon morale, and stayed in the fight.

Finally, in the British turn, a die came up 5+ for air support! Tally bally ho! But, despite having taken so long to line up an attack run against the 10.5s that was free from flak, the Typhoons came in too high, and missed with all their rockets, before corkscrewing away, dodging flak as they went. This was to be all we saw of the Air Farce all game. The southern paras decided against a counter-attack attempt whilst the Pumas remained in range to add their MGs to defensive fire, so elected to lay low.

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The RAF conduct a high-altitude pass

The German grenadiers to the north had dispersed just in time; a barrage came down from the 75mm guns, which killed one team and two halftracks. Mortars attempted to add to this, but while they managed to hit, they scored no kills. The sole remaining 6-lber managed to kill one flaktrack, which not only hadn't realised it wasn't in range (I'd been rolling to hit, but failing, so it never became a game-balance issue) but also hadn't managed to storm-trooper out of line of sight at the end of the previous turn. The 17-lbers, recognising the threat rolling toward them (moving reliably by Stormtrooper in every assault phase), fired at the Tigers, but the sole shot that hit equalled the armour value, and failed even to bail it.

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Artillery fire rains on the Grenadiers

Summary: Germans assault on the south edge but are repulsed by the counter-attack. The RAF make their sole showing, but to no effect.
British casualties: HQ: 1 Sniper team. 6-lber platoon: 3 guns. South para platoon: 4 Rifle/MG teams. Reserve para platoon: 2 Rifle/MG teams.
German casualties: North Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 1 tank hunter team. South Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 5 MG teams, 1 tank hunter team. Artillery platoon: 1 gun. Flak platoon: 1 halftrack.


Turn 6:

The Tigers - unusually - moved in the movement phase this turn to put them inside the British board half. Hopefully this would be enough to ensure that the victory conditions wouldn't take effect yet. The lone flaktrack retreated out of the line of fire and moved to cover the artillery against further air attack (and to prevent losing an "easy" platoon).

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Tigers advance into British-controlled territory

The British had begun to clump in the churchyard, with 17-lbers, Assault platoon, and reserve Para platoon all vying for space at the walls. This was too tempting a target to resist, and the 10.5s and Nebelwerfers both ranged in. The Nebs were unsuccessful, but the 10.5s claimed one kill from each infantry platoon, with only the big guns remaining unscathed. The Tigers, recognising the threat that lay ahead of them, but unwilling to push forward without fully securing their flanks, poured fire onto the 6-lbers, and finally managed to kill the remaining teams.

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British troops bunch up

In the assault phase, despite having managed to score no kills against the defending paras, and not even managing to pin them through weight of fire, the southern Grenadier platoon gamely assaulted again, determined to remove the defenders from their position. Although defensive fire killed one tank-hunter team, the assault got through, and killed two defending teams. At which point, the paras decided that enough was enough. Three motivation checks in a row: counter-attack, British bulldog, and platoon morale all failed. However, the Germans fared little better. Having consolidated, they clearly considered their job done, and at a high cost, and not only failed their platoon morale, but also failed the re-roll with the CO attached. The assault ended up successful, but costly.

The Assault platoon, reeling from their bombardment, failed to unpin, and so decided to dig in instead. The reserve Para platoon were luckier, and managed to unpin before moving into the church to take cover. Artillery fire once again focused on the north Grenadier platoon, with both the 75s and mortars scoring hits, but only the mortars managing to score a kill (and even then, only 1 stand). The 17-lbers scored two hits on the Tigers; one was harmlessly deflected and the other penetrated but failed the firepower roll and only bailed it.

Summary: Germans assault again, leading to the destruction of both platoons. Tigers destroy the 6-lbers.
British casualties: HQ: 1 Sniper team. 6-lber platoon: DESTROYED. South para platoon: DESTROYED. Reserve para platoon: 3 Rifle/MG teams. Assault platoon: 1 Rifle/MG team.
German casualties: CO: DESTROYED. North Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 1 MG team, 1 tank hunter team. South Grenadier platoon: DESTROYED. Artillery platoon: 1 gun. Flak platoon: 1 halftrack.


Turn 7:

The HMG platoon, which had spent several turns faffing in the woods due to bogging, finally advanced to the edge and prepared to fire. They added their fire to that of the north Grenadier platoon against the facing Paras. Three teams failed their save against the hail of fire, but all three firepower checks failed, leaving the platoon unscathed. Artillery attempted to repeat the bombardment of previous turns, but the only team to be hit was the command team from the 17-lber platoon. This was enough however, to tempt a Puma with line of sight to take a shot at the platoon. There was only one valid target, but it was enough. The Puma's shot found its mark, and the platoon, now down to a single gun, failed their morale check and fled!

The beleaguered British forces rallied one more time and attempted to counter-attack the threatening forces. The Assault platoon unpinned and advanced toward the Tigers, and the reserve Para platoon exited the church en masse (did you see what I did there?) and took up defensive positions at the wall, opposing the advancing Pumas. The mortar platoon, intent on giving their allies the best possible chance, smoked the Tigers. However, even through the smoke the HMG platoon were close enough to give supporting fire, and the Assault platoon took three hits as they charged in, killing two teams. Of the initial six teams, three remained, of which two were in assault range against the Tigers... and both missed. The Tigers arrogantly disengaged through the Assault platoon, moving toward the reserve Para platoon. On the south flank, the Para 2i/c had been hiding out near where the Para platoon had perished, and emerged from his hide to attempt to deal with the Pumas. However, his assault missed, and the counter-attack quickly finished him off.

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The assault platoon prepares to attack the Tigers...

Summary: German fire routs the 17-lbers. The Assault platoon and 2i/c each assault, but to no effect.
British casualties: HQ: 2i/c, 1 Sniper team. 6-lber platoon: DESTROYED. South para platoon: DESTROYED. Reserve para platoon: 3 Rifle/MG teams. Assault platoon: 2 Rifle/MG teams, 1 Flame-thrower team. 17-lber platoon: DESTROYED.
German casualties: CO: DESTROYED. North Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 1 MG team, 1 tank hunter team. South Grenadier platoon: DESTROYED. Artillery platoon: 1 gun. Flak platoon: 1 halftrack.


Turn 8:

The Tigers wheeled round to join the Pumas, trapping the Paras between steel on one side, and heavy machine guns on the other - an unenviable position. In particular, the Assault platoon looked dangerously exposed, even with a wall to their backs. However, the smoke had still not cleared from the previous turn, and the HMG platoon, plus elements of the grenadier platoon firing through the smoke, failed to score a single hit from 24 dice. On the other hand, Grenadiers with a clear line of fire scored five hits from six dice, of which three saves failed. However, the bulletproof cover was to save them... this time. The Tigers and Pumas split their fire, with one Tiger and two Pumas firing at the centre Paras, and the other two vehicles firing at the ones on the far north flank, with each group scoring one kill. The 10.5s added to this by successfully ranging the north Paras and killing two teams.

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Tigers push through and form a Panzerkeil

Summary: Germans manoeuvre to create a hammer and anvil. Concentrated fire begins to whittle away the remaining platoons.
British casualties: HQ: 2i/c, 1 Sniper team. 6-lber platoon: DESTROYED. North para platoon: 3 Rifle/MG teams. South para platoon: DESTROYED. Reserve para platoon: 4 Rifle/MG teams. Assault platoon: 2 Rifle/MG teams, 1 Flame-thrower team. 17-lber platoon: DESTROYED.
German casualties: CO: DESTROYED. North Grenadier platoon: 2 halftracks, 1 MG team, 1 tank hunter team. South Grenadier platoon: DESTROYED. Artillery platoon: 1 gun. Flak platoon: 1 halftrack.


At this point, three platoons down, with the others at or near half strength, and recognising that his ability to deal with my armoured forces was limited, Seb conceded.
Man of the match for the Germans was Hauptmann Becker in his Tiger. Although the 10.5s were the most mathematically efficient, reclaiming exactly their points in British casualties, the Tigers simply dominated attention in the centre, and advanced indomitably throughout, deflecting everything that came their way.




Post game analysis:

That went well for the Germans! I actually felt like I earned that win, instead of just scraping by. I controlled the flow of play more, and although I ended up waiting to assault for a few turns due to pinning, it didn't end up counting against me too badly. If I'd been able to join my CO to the assaulting grenadier platoon from the start, it would have been better simply in terms of rolling more dice, but assembling a large assault platoon as Germans is always going to be hard to do.

Amongst the points Seb made to me was that I was too scared to dismount my Grenadiers where sometimes they would be more effective on foot. That's clearly something I need to take into account for the future. I also arguably over-relied on my Tigers. They successfully bounced off everything that came their way today, but it could easily have gone the other way. At least this time I've learned not to get caught in protracted assaults with Tank Assault 3 troops.

On the other hand, I also have to criticise some of Seb's use of infantry. The northern Para platoon, for example, did not move from their foxholes or shoot at anything all game. They constrained my ability to manoeuvre, but weren't at any point involved in trying to win the game, just trying not to lose. I recognise that the Paras' strength in defence is that, dug in and gone to ground, they are near-impossible to shift, but there has to come the tipping point where they move over to the offensive for the killing blow.

However, a key part of the issue was that he just couldn't roll worth a damn on the day. Just look at the number of morale checks he whiffed, and the critical assaults that failed to connect. I felt like I made good use of movement to control the focus of the game, but that wouldn't have counted for anything if the dice had been hot. I guess the aim should always be to have to roll as few dice as possible in order to be able to win.

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Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:29 pm
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I didn't mean it as criticism! I just tend to view half tracks as tasty grenadier pinatas (at least if I have enough AT on hand). And yeah, by the midgame you controlled the battle field. I need to work on my active, rather than reactive strategies.

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Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:10 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:58 pm
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Oh no, criticism is fair and (generally) fairly received - if I'm going to fill pages with my personal point of view, the least I can do is record a few lines of what you said after the game!

(Otherwise people might consider the German message to be biased propaganda, and we can't have that.)

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Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:46 pm
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Lavallin wrote:
Otherwise people might consider the German message to be biased propaganda, and we can't have that.


Why not, seems par for the course normally. Anyway, good fight Lavallin, i especially like the city terrain that you guys had.

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Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:29 am
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