With a morning pass granted by the long haired general, I was recently able to get a game in with both the US and German Bulge books. Paul, my opponent, will be coming along to the UK Nationals in September and wanted to try out a German force. While I won’t be competing (just being a ringer for uneven numbers), I thought I would come up with a good strong list to present it a challenge. Of course afterwards we both remembered the Nationals are 95pts not 100pts!
We both chose an Attack stance and rolled up Encounter. Paul was the attacker and we both spaced out the objectives in the typical fashion. For reserves I had one of my 76mm Sherman platoons alongside the 75mm platoon, with Paul opting for two platoons of three Panthers.
Onwards to battle
I won the roll off for first turn and quickly set to work advancing the Shermans on the right flank. My aim was to aggressively take the objective, ganging up on the solo Panther HQ. I engaged the halftracks, brewing three up and killing a few stands of passengers in the process. Alas, I only bailed the HQ halftrack. NB We forgot no artillery on turn 1 for the attacker and I dropped smoke. Luckily the dice gods realised and Paul’s rolls shooting through it didn’t even come close!
In reply Paul started to flank his Stummels (I did not see that coming) and advanced his Drillings, even managing a cheeky side shot but to no effect. The remaining halftrack also fled. His Panther hit my Jumbo but, thanks to mistaken target, it bounced off and, as I said earlier, his Stummels were dismel with their rolls and the one that did hit was easily saved.
On his left flank the recce and wirbelwinds advanced. The plucky AA ripped open a mortar carrier and bailed another, which failed to remount and ran off next turn; can’t trust these reluctant 3AD types. Meanwhile his two 8cm mortars ranged in but, with re-rolling hits, didn’t do any damage.
The reply from the Shermans was pretty nasty; they killed three Stummels and bailed another. At that point my luck failed and I double bailed the HQ Panther but it, in turn, managed to stick around. Adding insult to injury, the Wespe was only bailed as well. The Priests got their range but failed to kill anyone.
With the HQ Panther remounted along with the Wespe, Paul continued to engage my Shermans, killing one and bailing the Jumbo. His Stummel remained bailed but stubbornly refused to flee thanks to the For the Reich rule. The Priests became the subject of a lot of fire from the AA and PZIV/70s with one being blown apart by the AT14 round; slight overkill there! This meant I now lacked any artillery to dig out that infantry. Finally the Drillings started to make a run for my right flank objective which was unguarded.
With much glee, Patton allowed me to re-roll my reserve dice and I managed to get my 76mm Sherman platoon on my right flank, where they merrily engaged the easy ickings that were the Drillings. Yet again the 76mm Shermans failed to kill the Panther HQ, the ability to swap shots with a nearby tank team really made it hard to shift. That said it did lead to the demise of the Wespe, so his ablative armour is no more.
Paul’s lone Stummel was still bailed but again stuck around. On my left flank he knew he had to be bold. There was no point picking away at dug in infantry and more Shermans were coming. He therefore attacked.
Under the cover of a smoke bombardment he charged his PZIV/70s and Scouts into my pinned infantry. My plucky bazooka team managed to hit both times, brewing up an armoured car and bailing a PZIV/70. Despite both assaults killing a US team, I managed to counter attack (impressive on 5+) which lead to another destroyed armoured car and another bailed PZIV/70, which were later captured. This brave Band of Brothers held them off and it was now only a matter of time until they failed their last stand. On the right flank the Panther missed and the remaining Wespes went for flank shots with no hits either. The surviving Drillers continued to drive for the objective; Pauls knows I must deal with them.
With the start of Turn 4 the remaining Shermans arrived and advanced up the road engaging the Wirbelwinds, blowing one up and bailing another. In Paul’s turn they failed to remount and fled. The combined shots of five AT13 76mm Shermans finally destroyed the HQ Panther; I can’t believe it took four turns! The Drillings were also reduced to three bailed vehicles while the Priests dashed to secure my objective.
Paul’s recce fled, however the PZIV/70 held. He also got three Panthers on table as reserves and right where he wanted them on my right flank. They quickly destroyed another 76mm Sherman.
As we entered Turn 5, I realised the second objective was open and started to advance two Sherman platoons towards it. I was incredibly lucky and destroyed two Panthers with the AT13 76mm Shermans and forced the remaining one to flee.
Paul had almost nothing left, his remaining Panthers came on and provided overwatch of his objective from the hill. The single PZIV/70 was all that was stopping that formation breaking.
In the final turn I assaulted the lone PZIV/70, destroying it. I also decided to reverse back and assault the infantry. This went poorly with the Fausts killing one and bailing another. These lads had passed three turns of last stands as well. Paul called it there. His force was down to a single HQ stand, two stands of infantry and a pair of mortars.
This was a great game that was actually pretty close at times. Had my reserves arrived the opposite side of the table those drillings would have been on my objective. Also without that reserve re-roll they would have been at least a turn later. The sheer volume of fire needed to kill that Panther was crazy.
My biggest mistake was fixating on the right objective. Once I had effectively dealt with mobile forces I should have swung to the left and gone of after the objective behind the building that was undefended. It just takes too long too dig the infantry out when your arty is gone, and, as I found out, German platoons with double Fausts are scary in assault.
Paul is now wondering if to go for a very blunt instrument list for Nationals. Same Panther formation but with 2 x SS King Tigers is bang on 95pts.