I got another one in! It's the afternoon of 24 August 1944, and this morning Able and Baker Companies (with plenty of support) opened a hole in the just-waiting-to-collapse German defenses. LtCol Mac throws the rest of the battalion into the breach, hoping shatter the German defenses. But Oberst Fritz is crafty (cunning? slimy?), and he held back enough of his initial force to have at least a semblance of a 2nd line to hold back the Allied onslaught, knowing they need to keep the US tanks bottled up in the bocage for as long as possible.
While 'formal' resistance is expected to be relatively light, I really want to capture the Allied experience of German tank-hunter teams popping out of nowhere to hit Allied armor with Panzerschrecks or Panzerfausts at point-blank range. So, any time a US command roll fails and the dice are doubles (including blunders), a German tank-hunter team will magically pop onto the map and get a shot at the nearest US vehicle. This would prove to be very costly.
Task Force Commander: Bn XO, Major Legan
Charlie Company CO: Capt Ronan
1st Plt: Lt Lemmey
2nd Plt: Lt Herzbleu
3rd Plt: Lt Poller
Wpns Plt: Lt Evahnkeath
Armored Recon Plt (split into two, three vehicle sections): Lt Tangoe
3rd Tank Plt (five M4 Shermans): Lt Salt
*891st Tank Co CO, Capt Travers, is also present, in his HQ M4 Sherman.
SPG Section (two M7 Priests): Lt Lasthuzzer
Tank Destroyer Plt (3 M10 Wolverine GMCs): Lt Ithoriel
*Wpns Co CO, Capt Leon, is also present.
ATG section (2 x 57mm ATGs)
Engineer Plt: Lt Lionstar
3rd Plt, A Co: Lt Womble
Lt Tangoe can't see, but knows something is bad wrong. He needs to move up, get LOS, and maybe call in some air or arty. But he fails his command roll (CR). I'm playing as only Company Commanders, the CO, XO, FO, and Recon PC can call for fire, so the other Recon section is no help here.
But they pass another CR, and all three 76mm armor-piercing rounds find their target. One Panzer gets optics damage and is pinned, one gets its main gun knocked out, and one receives running gear damage and is pinned. Not bad considering the Panzers are hull-down behind the wall.
They're trying to swing left to get flank shots on the Panzers, so Salt's section takes the lead, swinging out real wide to the left before... failing their command roll. Travers then leads the 2nd section a little shallower than Salt's, getting into position to fire.
Meanwhile, Oberst Fritz shows up, driving his Kubelwagen up to the Panzer position and trying to rally them, unpinning two of the tanks.
First the PzSchreck fires at the Stuart, knocking it out, followed by a rifle squad cutting loose a PzFaust at the scout car, knocking it out. Then another rifle squad fires at 2nd Plt, getting a hit and pinning a squad, and the Soufflee mortars get a hit and a pin on another 2nd Plt squad. Ouch...
Seeing we've got big problems, the XO rushes forward and calls for arty on Soufflee; fail.
Captain Ronan manages to unpin 1st Plt's skitzy squad and get them moving up Hwy 1 to catch up with the rest of the platoon, but then he fails, WITH DOUBLES!!!
Lt Salt, lightly injured while getting his tank shot out from under him, brushes himself off and mounts T3, taking command. He gets two rounds of fire on the German squad, racking up several hits and causing it to run.
**Apparently I forgot about adding a Tank-Killer**
Meanwhile, Captain Leon moved over to the pinned (from blunder) M7s and was able to rally one of them.
So, this is the point where I remembered to bring on another Tank-Killer resulting from Lt Herbleu's blunder/sniper attack (it's pretty crazy that I've rolled so many blunders in two games, and both had a sniper attack whack a Plt Cmdr). So, a German rifle squad with PzFausts came on fired at Ithoriel's vehicle. He wasn't as lucky as he has been, but he still managed to get away with only running gear damage.
Then Evahnkeath's 60mm mortar went to work again. First he targeted the rifle squad in the trench (bottom right), getting one hit and pinning it. Then he turned the tube on the Fricassess machine guns, getting two more rounds of fire. The first eliminated a machine gun, the second got a hit and pinned the other machine gun. Then he passed another command roll and turned the tube on Hill 50, getting a hit and pinning its remaining machine gun! Awesome.
On the positive side of the ledger, I have two fully functioning PzJgr 4s in the treeline (top left). However, there are two Shermans on their flank (bottom left), with another coming up from Hill 40 (bottom center/right), and two M10s at the Chateau (center) and another coming up Hwy 1 (far right). The two M7s nearing Soufflee aren't much of a conventional anti-tank threat, but those big shells can certainly raise hell on optics, armament, engines, and tracks. Not to mention the ever present threat of artillery and Jabos.
Oberst Fritz decides it was time to call it a day.
8 Rifle Squads (~80 men) 1st Plt: 12 men, -1 squad
3 PzSchreck Tms (~18 men) 2nd Plt: 8 men, PC WIA
3 MG-42 Tms (~18 men) 3rd Plt: 26 men, -2 squads and bazooka
2 80mm Mortar (~12 men) Wpns Plt: 6 men, - MG Tm
1 Plt Cmdr (~6 men) 3rd Tk Plt: 1 KO, 3 damaged (2 bailout), PC WIA
3 Pz Mk IV KO Recon Plt: 3 KO, 3 damaged (1 bailout)
1 Pz Mk IV dam/abandoned SPG Section: No losses
1 PzJgr IV dam/abandoned TD Plt: 2 damaged
Lt Herzbleu, 2nd Platoon, C Company
Lt Salt, 3rd Tank Platoon, 891st Tank Company
Lt Evahnkeath, Wpns Plt, C Co, who remained cool under heavy enemy fire to personally direct the fire of the platoon's 60mm mortar section, delivering timely, accurate, and decisive supporting fire.
Lt Poller, 3rd Plt, C Co, for leading his platoon down Highway 1 through intense enemy mortar fire, taking Hill 40 under intense machine gun fire, then leading the close assault to eject German forces from the treeling between Hill 40 and the village of Fricassee.
Lt Salt, 3rd tank Plt, 891st Tank Co, for leading the attack on the enemy's central armored position, then on Hill 40, then commandeering another tank after having being wounded while having his tank shot out from under him, and continuing the fight, ultimately participating in the flanking maneuver which forced the enemy to concede the field.
Another fun game, even more than yesterday's, but another long one! I'm not sure how long I can keep up these marathon wargaming sessions, but it's been a real blast. This game went smoothly, and I really liked the addition of my 'Tank-Hunter' rule. I believe I will stick with it for all my future pursuit/exploitation fights, and drop it for all the set-piece attack/defend and counterattack-type fights.
If you're wondering why the TD Plt and SPG Plt only had three and two vehicles, respectively, it's because I only have three M10s and two M7s in my collection. Similarly, I only have six M4 Shermans, and the only Pz Mk IVs I have are early models with the short 75mm, which is why I used Mk IIIs (w/long 50mm) as proxies. I'll fix this someday, but I've got a lot of painting to to before I order anything else.
Anyhoo, I hope you liked it!