FGM Lieutenant General
- Nov 5, 2009
- Johannesburg, South Africa
I guess enthusiasm amongst some players to complete their battles is petering out as we have a clear winner now?
Great AAR - sounds like a tense and fun battle.The battle between @Nathangun and myself was a dusty and close-fought engagement, with the map being so open both of us went for mobility over troop numbers.
Battle between @Nathangun and Stafford AAR
End of turn 1.
To that end I brought a reduced company of mounted rifles in six M5 halftracks and a couple of carriers, four Shermans, and a 6 pounder concrete bunker.
Nathangun brought an armoured Panzergrenadier company supported by a Pz IV, a Stug, a Marder, two Stummels, a 37mm support halftrack, a 20mm AA halftrack, and a partridge in a pear tree. Other vehicles were two mortar halftracks and a half dozen troop carrying 251 variants.
With the bunker located on the edge of my setup zone it covered a sizeable portion of my side of the map, its main job being to guard my left flank while I worked my Shermans on the middle and right. The bunker purchase paid off immediately as it nailed one of the enemy 251s rushing into town, killing all but one occupant - scratch one enemy squad.
The Gustini farm is located on a plateau, the top of which commands all to the north and west of it, controlling it would be vital while denying it to my opponent who would certainly have the same idea. With this in mind I rushed one Sherman along the edge of the map while firing smoke rounds from all Shermans to provide some cover - the route was at least partially vulnerable to fire from the enemy area as they moved towards the village. Nathans Pz IV did manage to loose off a couple of shots as the Sherman climbed the hill but fortunately both missed. The other three Shermans rushed to the edge of the woods to intercept the expected movement of an enemy vehicle to the Gustini farm, sure enough a halftrack made the run and despite dodging half a dozen shots as my tank gunners got their eye in, they secured the kill just as it reached the edge of the CP.
Meanwhile one platoon in halftracks headed for the village, dismounting on the reverse slope just short of the village. I did not intend to directly challenge the village immediately, only to provide a threat in being.
The other platoon headed for the lower woods, I expected that my Shermans would make significant use of the area and I wanted to deny the enemy infantry the chance to get in there and threaten my armour with Panzershrecks and various other skulduggery. The mortars set up at Abruzzi farm.
With the Sherman atop Gustini hill and the bunker having just taken out one of his halftracks, my opponent now had a serious problem so long as the Sherman remained up there. Nathans Pz IV and Stug were in a position to challenge it, but rather than tempt fate with an important piece on this chess board I moved the Sherman into the shadow of the nearby buildings. It also managed to destroy one of the Stummels during this time.
Nathan still had his Marder on the edge of his setup zone, and now engaged the Sherman. At a higher elevation and some 700m range I felt confident to take this fight, the Sherman loosed off several shots, one coming perilously close to the enemy vehicle but no dice. The Marder backed up and became obscured in dust (dust being a recurring feature in this game) as the Sherman spotted the enemy 37mm halftrack trying to flank around to where my halftracks were parked and nailed it in a single shot. As the Marders dust cleared it opened fire again, the Sherman could see the Marder and was constantly shifting from 'aiming' to 'firing' but never fired as several enemy shells tracked closer and closer. At this range I felt reasonably confident that the Shermans armour would keep out the german 75mm, unless the Marder got a lucky shot. The Marder got a lucky shot. Despite all the angled armour on the leading edges of Sherman tanks, the Marder managed to nail one part that wasn't angled - the base of the turret. Four out of five crew made it out and I'd lost my ace in the hole.
Meanwhile two of my other Shermans had been moved closer to the village to support the halftracks there, and they set about softening up the village buildings. Enemy halftrack had dropped their passengers on the far side of the village so direct mortar fire was called in to unknown effect.
The Pz IV had moved up to the village to support the effort there, but noticing that it was distracted once again by the Sherman on the hill I endeavoured to remove this threat by pushing both Shermans near the village forward in an effort to take it out, both moved up... one lost its commander to a burst of MG fire from one of the infantry squads hidden in the buildings, paniced and backed up, popping smoke.
The other Sherman moved up on a hunt command with armoured arc, spied the Pz IV, aimed, 'firing'... but didn't actually fire again, as the Pz IV spotted the danger and drew a bead on the Sherman just as the latter began its reverse movement, nailing it squarely in the turret. Belatedly the Sherman let off its round which sailed harmlessly over the commanders cupola. Why it never fired when it had a clear line to do so I'll never know, just CM things I guess. The Sherman had survived the 75mm round to the turret surprisingly with no casualties, but the gyrostabiliser, smoke mortar, radio, and optics were all destroyed.
Recognising an opportunity with both my tanks not being in the happiest of states and the smoke clearing, Nathan made a play on my centre force, the Pz IV and Stummel pushed through the middle of the village while the 20mm AA pushed around on the north side. The Pz IV advanced first, spotted and took aim at something in the vicinity of my mortars, then wore a 75mm shell to the face as one of the Shermans let fly, apparently with little effect as the Pz IV then punched a shell clean through one of my halftracks and backed up. The Stummel then pushed forward but was riddled with 50 cal fire from one of the other halftracks for its trouble, killing the gun team and the remaining crew bailed out. The 20mm AA let loose some desultory shots in the direction of my mortar teams and the bunker, surprisingly scoring a penetration - but to little effect.
One of the Shermans then spotted it through a gap in the smoke and ended it with several rounds.
During all this time the Stug had been hanging around in the northern woods area, perhaps with the 20mm AA managing to get some shots into the bunker possibly injuring or shaking up the crew, it now pushed forward and engaged the bunker directly.
The first push forward having failed, Nathan regrouped to try again, this time with the Marder coming in hot on the right flank, however I had left one Sherman in the lower woods area in anticipation of a push here, as the Marder moved forward to gain a firing solution, the Sherman exited the woods with target arc ready, and fired true.
The Stug, still engaging the bunker, was having trouble hitting the bullseye - however despite eight or so shots in its direction the bunker had been unable to spot the Stug, so was not returning fire.
Finally the Stug slotted the shell, knocking out four of the six crew, the remaining two hung in however, as the Stug prepared to fire again the gun team finally spotted the Stug and fired just as the shell entered the bunker knocking out the last two members of the crew, the 57mm shell flew straight and true and hit.... the Pz IV in the village. While I was not aware of it as nothing but the bunker crew were spotting the Pz IV, the shell actually caused the harried Pz IV crew to bail out. Surprisingly the bunker gun was still intact, only the crew had been wiped out, I planned to recrew it using one of the mortar teams later.
With the bunker removed and now running out of armour and options, Nathan pushed the Stug forward around the west side of the village in a final do-or-die attempt to eliminate my centre force, now coming under mortar fire and the infantry teams forced to scatter. The sole Sherman to the south, fresh off its Marder kill and another 251 that made a gallant attempt to rush to the Gustini farm, pushed around the east flank of the village in order to bring it under fire from the rear - the dismounted Pz IV and several 251s remaining in the village.
While a solo Stug against two Shermans and a couple of PIAT teams rushing to intercept might seem like good odds, with both Shermans buttoned up, one without optics and the other without a commander I elected to play it safe until my other Sherman could work around to take the Stug from the flank, I ordered my Shermans to lay smoke and delay the confrontation.
With the smoke not blooming quickly enough, the Stug crested the ridgeline and immediately lost its commander to MG fire from one of the Shermans, it then turned and backed up in a panic while the Sherman followed it up with a 75mm shell, ending its troubles and with it, the game as Nathangun hit the surrender button.
On the Ukrainian Front my battle with @Mad Mike has just over 5 minutes left. About half way through it looked like my German army had the Russkies stalled, then I lost two Pz IV in one turn and a third a turn or two later and it's all to be fought for.
Picture shows two of my knocked out Pz IV's, destroyed by a T-34 in the forest. You can see what I think is a Matilda right of the forest and an immobilised T-34 in the distance, behind it (re-crewed). Mad Mike has brought 3 x T34, 2 x SU-152's and a Matilda so he's armour heavy.
Thanks for the game @DoubleD , for the first half I was really in trouble.