Saturday, February 20, 2016

Operation Jupiter Batrep #2, Horseshoe Woods


On to the second fight of Operation Jupiter.  In the last fight, A Company of The 5th Westchesterfords North Riding Rangers of the Highland Coldshire Guards (5th WNRRHCG), led by Major Dillon and his 2iC, Lt Cooman, successfully assaulted the Les Duanes Farm Complex, kicking out the German 1st Company of the The 457th PanzerGrenadier Abteilung Sauer und Krauthammer, led by Captain Sorensen and his 2iC, Lt Weidthaus.  Following on from the farm complex, 5th WNRRHCG is getting closer to Hill 112 (the ultimate objective of the operation), and must clear the nearby Horseshoe Wood.  This fight will see Major Travers, and his 2iC, Lt Rownan, lead their B Company to clear the wood of the German 2nd Company, led by Captain Keipers and Lt Teigner.

Real life, it's still 10 July 1944, and it was D Company, 5th Battalion, Dorset Regiment, 130th Brigade, 43rd Wessex Division, supported by tanks of B Squadron, 9th Royal Tank Regiment, vs 5th Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 10th SS Panzer Division.  Once again, I should be using Churchills but I don't have any, so Shermans will have to do.  In real life the Brits were able to push the Germans out of the wood, but they took very heavy casualties in vicious, hand-to hand combat.

Overview, north is right.  Do not ask me how the Brits attacked Les Duanes farm from the north, but are attacking Horseshoe Wood from the south (the Brits will start in the top left corner of the table).  I'm sure it makes sense in real life, but I haven't seen a map of how it's situated.  You can see there's not much to the table, just a wood.  The Brits have to clear the wood of Germans; the Germans can begin the game anywhere, and will begin dug-in.  The Germans are once again very outnumbered, but the Brits don't know exactly where the German defensive positions are.  The way we will handle this is, the Brits will start with their whole force on the table (top left), then begin moving in skirmish line towards the northwest (bottom right) corner of the table.  Each turn I will move all the Brits, and whenever the boy is ready, he will declare and place his troops on the table, then start the game up with the normal 5Core activation roll.

Opposing forces, with Germans on left and Brits on right.  As before, all the troops are Pendraken 10mm, the tanks are Takara plastic pre-paints.  While the troops are individually based, they are treated as units rather than individuals, so that each five guys is actually representing a rifle squad (more specifically a team, but it's just easier to consider them squads; don't worry about it! ;) ).

The British: at far right is Major Travers' command group, then a 2" mortar team, four rifle squads, and two Sherman tanks armed with 75mm guns.

Ze Germans, with Captain Keipers' command team at far right.  He has only two rifle squads, each with two Panzerfausts, which are his only anti-tank weapons.  At left is an 80mm mortar team, which has ammo for 4 fire missions.

A look, roughly southeast to northwest, at the British starting positions.  Left to right are rifle sections 1 through 4, with Major Travers and the 2" mortar team in the center, backed up by Tank 1 (T1) and T2.

Another look at the whole table, this time showing Brits at top left, and actually the Germans do start with some troops on the table, their mortar team (bottom right).  But it really didn't matter because the boy chose (wisely, in my opinion) to not begin firing with them until contact was made.

First move, Brit infantry advance into Horseshoe Wood.

Second move, getting deeper.

Third move.

And the boy's had enough, he can't wait any longer and plops his commander and two rifle squads onto the table.  The Brit rifles are 1st through 4th from top right to bottom left, with T1 at top left and T2 at bottom left, CO and mortar at center left.  The Germans have their CO at far right, 1st Squad at top right, and 2nd Squad at center.

The fight starts with the German mortar (bottom right) firing on the Brit 3rd Section (top center)...

The poor kid; NOTHING!!!

But then a ferocious firefight breaks out in the dark woods.  The German 1st Squad fired on 2nd Section, putting them 'men down' and pinning 1st Section (top left).

The German 2nd Squad then fires on 3rd Section...

3rd Section falls back (red bead at top left, from explosion at center), but 4th Section (bottom center) returns fire on the Germans...

Forcing them to fall back (red bead at far right, from explosion at bottom left).

T1 rumbles forward (now that the game is on, every time one of my tanks moves I have to roll to see if they bog down; in a pretty incredible streak of good luck, neither of my tanks ever had a problem), and the German 1st Squad launches a panzerfaust!

The German rocket misses, and T1 practically sticks its muzzle into the bunker before opening fire.  But the tough German infantry are well protected by the log bunker and suffer no ill effects!  Meanwhile, 2nd Section tries to recover, but they've taken too many casualties and melt away (casualty figure at far left).

Major Travers moves over and rallies 1st Section (top left).

And 1st Section bravely charges ahead on the Brit far left flank.  The Germans open fire at point blank range...

But the plucky Brits press forward through the hail of gunfire, then return fire, putting the German 1st Squad out of the fight!

German mortar (bottom right) begin falling on 4th Section (top left), putting heavy casualties on them.

While Captain Keipers sprints to the rear to rally his remaining rifle squad.

But the attempt fails, and the riflemen fall back (red bead at bottom right, from three guys at top left).

Major Travers presses forward the attack, leading T1 and 1st Section forward (top right), clearing the first bunker and looking to get around the German right flank.

While on the other flank Lt Rownan pushes T2 ahead and gets 3rd (top left) and 4th (center left) Sections back in fighting shape.

And then 4th Section moves up, leading the way for T2 (center left).

Captain Keipers falls back and successfully rallies his rifle squad.

And the German infantry pushed ahead into a good firing position.

Game note: but then the kid gets screwed, rolling up a Scurry.  He doesn't need to move, he needs to shoot!  Ahh, the friction of war! ;)

So, rather than sit there and get pounded by T2/4th Section (far left) and flanked by the CO/T1/1st Section (top left), he does the only sensible thing and retreats his riflemen back into the woods next to his CO (center right).

Lt Rownan pushes the British force hard ahead in the west (center)...

While Major Travers does the same in the east (top right).

The German mortar team again pounds 4th Section...

Forcing them to fall back (red bead at top left, from explosion at bottom right, with 2" mortar at center left), leaving the T2 without support!

As the German riflemen surge forward, T2's bow machine gun chatters...

But the Brit MG fire misses, and the Germans launch a panzerfaust...

The Sherman is immobilized, and the crew bails out, taking the 2" mortar (red bead at top left, next to the hunkering 3rd Section) with them.

With T2 smoking at top center left, T1 (center)rumbles forward in the dark wood.  The German infantry (far left, with German CO at bottom left) see the British tank advance, but decide to hold their last panzerfaust until they get a better shot.  T1's 75mm gun roars, but the high explosive round misses in the dense forest.

1st Section (center) pushes forward past T1, but the German squad opens up...

The Germans bullets miss their mark, and the Brits open fire, but they miss too!  Major Travers moves his command group to a more central position (center, between the two bunkers).

**Game note: the poor kid can't catch a break, he rolls another Scurrry.  He really needs to shoot then fall back...

So Captain Keipers does the only sensible thing, having his rifle squad (bottom center) and command group (bottom center right) fall back next to the mortar position (bottom right).

T1 and 1st Section pursue them (top center).

On the British right, 3rd Section moves ahead to rally 4th Section (red bead at center, with 2" mortar at far left and CO at top right), but only gets them up to pinned.

So Major Travers moves over and successfully rallies them.

And then 4th Section pushed ahead (they are just below the burning T2, with 3rd Section, then the CO, then the 2" mortar behind them).  T1 and 1st Section are at top right, the Germans just off camera to right.

Once again the German mortar team pounds 4th Section, putting heavy casualties on them (top left).
The German mortar team is now out of ammo, so they pack up and leave (bottom right).

The German rifle squad (center) pushes ahead, drawing fire from the Brit 1st Section (bottom right).

But the Germans brave the small arms fire and fire their last panzerfaust at T1...

The rocket skips off, forcing T1 to fall back and hunker (top right, from explosion at center), and pinning 1st Section (yellow bead at bottom center).
The Germans are now out of tank-killing weapons...

The British 1st Section, still pinned, fires on the German rifle squad, missing.

And the Germans return fire, putting 1st Section 'men down.'

On the British side, T1 (top center), 4th Section (bottom center), and the 2" mortar (off camera to left) all successfully rally.  The German squad sits tight at far right.

But then they open fire, unleashing a vicious torrent of fire on 4th Section (bottom left)!

You've got to be kidding me.  In 5Core games, 1s and 6s are pretty good...

At bottom right, 4th Section is knocked out, while 3rd Section takes heavy casualties (white bead at center), and Major Travers' command group and the 2" mortar are forced to fall back (top left)!!!  Please remember that 1st Section is also 'men down', off camera to right.

With that, Major Travers shot a look at Lt Rownan, who grimly nodded.  Travers dropped his head, muttered a curse under his breath, then pulled his flare pistol and fired it aloft, signalling his men to call off the attack and fall back...

Well, an unlikely, big turn at the last second victory for the little man!  I won't pretend it doesn't sting a bit, but he did good.  Once again I got off to a quick start on him, and he had some untimely activation rolls, but he hung in and did the best he could, until he got a super lucky shooting roll that just blew my socks off!  They say such things are common when playing children...  All I know is, I can't wait for the next fight, it's already set up upstairs, where we plan on playing another four games this weekend (two on Saturday, two on Sunday).  Only time will tell if we can keep up this pace.

In any case, the Germans won a tactical victory in Horseshoe Wood, but ultimately were forced to concede the wood as the Brits fell back, reorganized, then began dropping 25-pounder artillery shells on the wood in preparation for another attack.  The Brits will not push on for the Chateau de Fontaine.

Brits: Defeat, 25 WIA/KIA, 10 POW, and one Sherman knocked out.
Germans: Victory, 15 WIA/KIA.

Captain Keipers and Lt Teigner were decorated for valor during their defense of the Horseshoe Wood.

Next fight coming up as soon as possible.



  1. Another great AAR. That one was nip and tuck. Great dice roll to end it though.

    Cheers, Andy

    1. Yeah, the boy pulled it out, totally unexpected and left me a little miffed (not that I showed it to him). His ego isn't nearly as fragile as mine ;)


  2. Good game...simple set up but very exciting results!

    1. Jim, thank you Sir! Yeah, I was little unsure how to handle the set up, but it's straight out of the book, and a historical scenario, so I went with it.

      We've been having a lot of fun, just sort of winging some of the rules stuff to make it work for the scenario. As in this one, where he didn't place his men, just let me move forward until he was ready to do battle.


  3. At least you had the Germans set up in the woods, not like when I did it and put them in the fields :-( I think the Brits have a tough gif in this scenario - There is just not enough Allied troops to last long enough. Great report and i am glad the boy won, even with two scurries. What I like about the Operation Jupiter scenarios is haw fast and fun they are - you just get stuck in, create a decent narrative and then it is over an hour so so later! Looking forward to the more reports that are coming.

    1. Shaun,

      Yeah, we really got it on in the woods, it was ferocious, and I was really proud of him hanging in there through those scurries, and not just hanging in, but rolling with the punches, withdrawing to trade space until he had an opportunity to strike.

      And like you said, the Brits don't really have enough infantry to pussyfoot around, you've got to push those tanks forward, into Panzerfaust range, as the terrain is so close and they are your major firepower. I do laugh at myself though about that damn 2" mortar. I know doctrinally they were used to lay smoke, but with that close terrain and two Shermans in my pocket, the last thing I needed was something to further constrict lines of sight/fire!

      And I agree, the scenarios in the book really are designed to start at that moment when the shooting starts, and so they go quick, which you and are certainly big fans of.

      More on the way.