“We heard engines, and suddenly there were Jeeps in the courtyard, and these huge American fellows, like giants, with their Thompson guns over their shoulders, were already making friends with our nurses. I don’t know whether the Americans put their tallest men in the front line, or if this was by coincidence, but these fellows were close to two metres tall, all of them.”
With a new book comes a new mission; Armoured Fury!
As part of our D-Day:German Forces coverage, I thought a meeting of the US Paras and the German Beach Defenders was in order and that this new mission would show case them well. The mission itself is perhaps one of the more complex produced, there is a lot to it, however that means that are going to be loads of tactical considerations. While it appears like a straight defence, the fact that the defender can counter and grab objectives of their own shows that the attacker has to be really careful. Here is the scenario:
We decided that the US Paras would be attacking with following 100pt force:
Facing them would be the following Beach Defence Grenadier Company and as you can see you get quite a bit for your points;
HQ – two SMG teams
Platoons 1, 2 and 3 : 7 x Rifle/MG, Panzerfaust and 2 x Panzerskrek
3 x 8cm mortars
3 x PAK40s
2 x Tigers
3 x Stugs
1 x Sd Kfz 250 scout troop (2 x 2cm 1 x mg) * due to models not out yet I used wheeled recce.
4 x FlaK 88s with the “Pakfront” Card
As the German player I elected to keep my StuGs and Tigers off table, allowing me to have a mobile reserve.
Key to my deployment was the use of spearhead. Striking out to the area opposite my deployment area, I managed to produce a defensive belt strung across the board, making maximum use of my independent team 88s (thanks to the PaKfront card).
I weighted my defence towards protecting my forward objective but I deployed with enough to stop my opponent dashing down the flank towards my rear objectives.
Here the old mine field card would have been quite handy allowing me to place three minefields (roll when trod on to see if they are real or not), however the two my opponent then gets to place could really have hurt me especially if strung behind my troops to restrict my reserves coming up to my objective.
The Yanks left their tank, aircraft and guns off table. The US feared the German 88s and Pak40s (rightly so) and therefore wanted to whittle them down before the Shermans came on. The M10s deployed ready for a game of find, seak and destroy on the hill.
With no reserves , the Paras dashed forward and used follow me to get into and around the buildings, aiming for a turn 2 assault. The arty fired (oops we forgot that they can’t do that on a meeting engagement)., killing a stand of infantry around the objective and pinning both of the grenadier platoons guarding it. The M10s blitzed onto the hill, targeted a 88 nest and even, amazingly, hit it but to no effect (remember they will also have to re-roll firepower due to being nests).
Both German platoons failed to unpin, even with re-rolls, however the Germans pinned both platoons of Paras with a combination of arty and MGs, but with no casualties. The recce started to relocate to support the defence of the objective; their 2cm guns and MG will be useful defensive fire.
Still no reserves and the central para platoon (lacking the formation commander’s motivation) failed to unpin. What was going to be a double assault is reduced to a single platoon effort, there is a lot on that platoon’s shoulders now. They moved up ready to assault the grenadiers around the objective while the artillery pinned an 88 nest and killed another team, they also bailed a SdKfz250. The maths looks good for the assault, especially as the crop field means most defensive fire will be a 5+ to hit. The assault charges forward but take five hits and are pushed back, but luckily with no casualties.
The Germans respond by still failing to unpin; a real “head in hands” moment. The Mortars start to engage the pinned paras in the house, ranging in and taking a team. The recce failed to remount but continued to move, getting the active two into defensive fire range of what is sure to be another Para Assault. The Grenadiers focused on the paras in the crops along with the 88s who pour in HE rounds as well, but as the chaos clears only a single fire team is dead, mainly due to the concealment.
Finally, the Shermans arrive and move up the road to engage the 250s. Between them and a couple of shots from the M10s, who still are without much else to do, they are both blown to pieces, which makes the defensive fire situation a bit different.
Luckily the paras in the crops unpin, however platoon two continues to hunker down in the building and refuses to move. The commander is not taking chances this time and lays a perfect smoke screen along the Paras assault, allowing them easily get in with no casualties. The single round of assault is vicious mowing down three German stands and forcing the defenders back. As the Yanks consolidate, they spike the 88 blowing its barrel open. The foothold is established.
Sensing a serious issue the Germans rally and unpin both platoons. The HQ moves up into SMG range as a rumble is heard; the Tigers arrive!
The weight of MG and rifle fire rips through the Paras, aided by the ambushing Pak40s. A very lucky artillery round, the defenders backed off to exactly 4 inchs from the objective so it wasn’t danger close, blows the Para HQ teams away, leaving nothing but a smoking hole. By the end of the turn only two para stands remain in the field. The remaining 250 quits the field.
The US guns arrive. However, due to their slow dash, they spend the game creeping forward with no effect. The P47s also arrived, engaging the Tigers and bailing one. The Shermans form a line, engaging the German Tigers without effect. The M10s, who have done little but waste ammo veruss the 88, start to relocate towards the US right flank sensing Tiger targets. The central Paras still remained pinned, stern words are being had. First platoon holds its ground and digs in. The US mortars bagged a Shrek and pinned the 88.
The Germans respond by going on the offensive. Third platoon, which had been protecting the flank, starts to advance towards the hill vacated by the M10s as the StuGs dashed and “follow me” up the flank towards the objective. The Tiger remounted and secured the objective. Between it and the AT guns, a single M4 is blown up. However the Para first platoon is wiped out. Second platoon digs in however first platoon, with only three teams left, have apparently lost their entrenching tools in the recent assault. The mortars fail to range on what is becoming known as Para house.
The Paras finally unpin and advance into the forest ready to assault. They need to redeem themselves. The M10s and Shermans fail to hurt the Tigers, who now are sitting pretty on the objective. The rockets of the P47s this time fail to hit. As the Paras charge out the wood they are surprised by the weight of fire as six hits are scored forcing them back into their cover.
The Germans continue their advance as the infantry take cover at the hill and the stugs behind it, soon to move onto the objective. Another M4 is blown open and one bailed. The paras sustain casualties; between this turn and the assault they are down to half strength.
Sensing it is now or never, the Shermans advance, engaging the Tigers at close range even as the P47s unleash a rocket attack. Again no effect, although a stand of grenadiers is killed in the attack, reducing first platoon to bad spirits. The M10s relocate to counter the German advance, killing three stands of infantry with their 50cals. Finally the para assault gets through, cutting through second platoon, forcing them back and capturing another 88. The consolidation has the Para on the objective again.
The Germans third platoon starts to engage the M10s but miss, as do the StuGs. However they are now on the objective. The German defenders pour everything they have left into the paras reducing them to a single stand while the Tigers and two Pak40s wipe out the Shermans. The first para platoon, now combat-ineffective, falls back, their morale finally broken.
With the US objective under German control and only M10s to take it back next turn, plus a single stand of infantry facing two Tigers and the remaining Pak40s and infantry, the game is called there.
7-2 to the Germans.
What a great game. The spearhead really changed how we thought the mission would play out. Micheal wanted to bypass my defenses and force me to move, which is not great with green, confident, aggressive infantry with a lot of guns. However the recce allowed me to create a solid defensive line. Unfortunately it didn’t have much depth and we saw how every successful assault really hurt the Germans. Once that assault gets in those beach troops will suffer.
The US were hugely unlucky with their unpinning rolls. Had second platoon unpinned in turn 1/2 I think the game could have gone a very different way.
Once again my Tigers, which are perhaps my favorite German unit in LW V4, did everything that was asked of them. Core force wise the biggest change I would make is to replace a panzershrek in platoon 1 and 2 with a HMG and add a HMG to platoon 3 (losing the lucky card which I always forget to use). I definitely lack defensive fire against infantry.
Overall I think this is an amazing defense force, and I can’t see it picking any other stance, I just don’t want to attack with it!