Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Operation Jupiter Batrep #7, Chateau de Eterville

All,

During the initial attack on Eterville, the Brits fought their way into the village, but were stonewalled and forced to fall back after incredibly ferocious hand to hand combat.  However, the ensuing air and artillery barrage and follow-on tank-infantry assault easily brushed aside the few remaining defenders.  This left B Company, under Major Travers and with Lt Rownan as his 2iC, of the 5th Westchesterfords North Riding Rangers of the Highland Coldshire Guards (5th WNRRHCG), to push the attack through to the next objective, the Chateau de Eterville.  The chateau is defended by the 2nd Company of the 457th PanzerGrenadier Abteilung Sauer und Krauthammer, commanded by Captain Keipers and his 2iC Lt Teigner.

In real life it's 10 July 1944, and it's A and B Companies of 4th Battalion, Dorset Regiment, 130th Brigade, 43rd Wessex Division vs 2nd Battalion, 22nd SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, 10th SS Panzer Division.  In real life the Brits were able to take the Chateau, capturing the battalion surgeon and aid post for the German 2/22 PzGren Regiment.

Overview, north is left and is the British baseline, while south is right and is the German baseline.  At center right is the objective building, the Chateau de Eterville.

The opposing forces, Germans at left, British at right.

The Brits, with Major Travers and Lieutenant Rownan's Command Group at far right, four rifle sections, a PIAT team, four Bren carriers, two M4 Shermans, and two M10 Wolverines (I think they are actually supposed to be Achilles with 17-pounders, but I treated them as Wolverines with 76mm guns).

Captain Keipers and Lt Teigner's Command Group is at far right, then two rifle squads, each with two Panzerfausts, along with one Pz Mk IV and one Pz Mk V, better known as the "Panther."

Starting positions, with Brits stacked on the left and Germans spread thin along the right.  The Pz IV is at far right, the Panther at top right, with 1st Squad in the clump of trees just above the Chateau, and 2nd Squad behind the wall at center top.  The German CO, Captain Keipers, is behind the wall to the right of his 1st Squad.

Looking north at the Brit start line, everybody lined up and ready to go.

Looking south to north at the German positions.

The boy wins the roll to see who goes first again, makes me go first.  I get to move all my units forward, but all his units are unspotted and so I don't get to fire.

The Brits are off to the races.  Nothing fancy here, just hey-diddle diddle, straight up the middle.  I don't have many turns to take the Chateau, so can't really mess about too much in the woods at left, not to mention I've got a bunch of vehicles and those woods are impassable to vehicles.

On the German left, the Pz IV comes out of his hiding spot (bottom right) to take up a firing position on the advancing Brits.

While on their right, the Panther creeps forward to do the same.

And then it's go time.

The Pz IV (bottom center) fires an armor piercing round at the British number two tank (T2, top center)...

But he totally misses!!!  T2 (bottom center, with T1 at bottom left, Bren Carriers 3 and 4, or B3 and B4, at left center, and 4th Section at bottom right) returns fire...

Smoked, no survivors!

On the German right, the Panther (bottom center) takes another shot at T2 (top center).

The round misses, but forces T2 and B4 to fall back and hunker (bottom left, from explosions at center right).  T1 (center) returns fire.

The Sherman's round skips off the front glacis, but forces the Panther to fall back behind the building and hunker (from explosion at far left).

Two shots, killed the Pz IV and pushed the Panther back.  My dice are hot so far!

The Brits push hard ahead, looking to quickly overwhelm the defenders (the two German rifle squads are still unspotted) and take the Chateau (top center, with German 1st Squad just to its left, and German 2nd Squad just to their left).

But B1 and B2  (center), with T1 (bottom center) and 1st Section (bottom left) not far behind, rush straight into the two German squads (German CO at top right).

While, back in the rear, Major Travers and his command group fall back to orally T2 and B4.

T2's commander shouts down to Major Travers: "Sir, I think we've got a problem with our flux capacitor, it really needs to be looked at."

And then T2 (bottom left) pivots and runs off the map.  The Command Group mounts up in B4 and pushes to catch up with the assault troops (center, between the two M-10s).

The German 1st Squad darts into the Chateau (bottom left) from their clump of trees (bottom right).

The Panther tries to self rally, but fails (bottom center, falling back around the corner from the red bead).

**Game note: I cut the boy some slack here: we rolled a dice, with 1-2 the Panther runs off map, 3-6 it stays, but backs up with its ass-end facing my units (top).  He got lucky and the tank stayed on the table.

I'm not totally heartless...

The German CO, Captain Keipers, decides to leave the cover of the wall (bottom right) and sprint towards the Panther (just visible behind building at top left).  But the boy's sprint roll is absolutely terrible and the German command group doesn't get far (center left).

**Game note: the boy's bad luck continues, he rolls a Firefight.  Not the worst thing that could happen, but he needs to be shooting and scooting against such a force that's so much larger.

Captain Keipers and Lt Teigner sprint the rest of the way to the Panther and rally it.

And the Panther quickly pivots and fires at T1 (top center).

The Sherman is immobilized and the crew bails.

The German 2nd Squad, previously unspotted, opens fire at point blank range on B1, but totally misses!

While the German 1st Squad fires from the Chateau (far right) on B3...

Forcing it to fall back (red bead at center left), and pinning 3rd Section (yellow bead next to B3).

1st Section (bottom left) and B1 (center) fire on the German 2nd Squad, to no effect.

And then the number one M-10 (W1, bottom center) fires a 76mm HE round into the Chateau...

Forcing the German 1st Squad (red bead at bottom center) to fall back out of the Chateau.

Major Travers and his command group moves up to 1st Section (bottom left), while B1 (center right) fires on the German 2nd Squad, pinning them.

And then Major Travers leads 1st Section into close assault!

The German 2nd Squad is put out of the fight (casualty figure at center right).  1st Section moves up (top center) while the CO sits tight (bottom center) and the PIAT team (bottom left) moves up through the wood.

**Game note: the boy rolls Firefight AGAIN...

His 1st Squad, hunkering behind the Chateau, rallies itself back into fighting shape.

The Panther fires on B2 (top center, with T1 burning behind it).

The vehicle is damaged and the crew bails.

On the Brit left, the PIAT team dashes up (far left), while Major Travers decides to join 1st Section (center).  They are beginning to stalk the Panther (top right).

Furthering the development of the trap, W2 (bottom left) moves up in support (1st Section is at far left, Panther at top right).  B1 moves right (bottom right) towards the German 1st Squad (off camera to right).

But the Panther react fires...

Forcing B1 to fall back (red bead at far left, from explosion at far right).

The German 2nd Squad again moves into the Chateau (far right), and W1 again pumps a 76mm HE round into the building, putting the German squad "men down."

The PIAT team hops the wall and sprints up (bottom left), while Major Travers and Lt Rownan lead 1st Section forward (center, with Panther at top left).  The noose is closing.

With the German 1st Squad disoriented and dealing with casualties in the Chateau, the British 2nd Section dashes in there to clean them out (both squads are in the Chateau)...

But the Germans put up a desperate defense and defeat the British riflemen!!!

Wow, that was uncalled for.  And with winning the close combat, the German squad is no back in fighting trim.

**Game note: the boy rolls up a normal activation, but with a random event: "redeploy."  So one of his units will be able to move without drawing react fire.

And the boy knows just what he wants to do: 1st Squad darts out of the Chateau (bottom left), up to the bushes and burning Bren carrier...

Where they promptly fire a Panzerfaust at W2.

The Wolverine (top right) is immobilized and the crew bails out, while B3 (bottom left) is pinned.

Very interesting...

Meanwhile, back on the right, the boy has become aware of the trap: he can sit tight and either get a HEAT round from my PIAT team (top right) or close assaulted by my CO and 1st Section (center), or he can move left and have to deal with react fire from my remaining M-10.

He chooses the armor on armor option and has his Panther move left.

With tanks burning to either side of his lane of fire, W2 (bottom center) launches a 76mm armor piercing round at the Panther (top center).

The Panther is immobilized!

Captain Keipers and Lt Teigner dash down and rally the crew back into fighting shape.

But W1 (bottom center) fires again...

And this time the Panther is knocked out.

The British infantry push forward and capture the remains of the German 1st Squad, while Captain Keipers and Lt Teigner move their command group away in order to survive to fight another day.

With the disparity in forces this was always going to be a rough one for the little guy, but he hung in and made some aggressive plays to do as much damage as he could.  Which was pretty significant.  Nevertheless, Major Travers and Lt Rownan were able to push their troops ahead to take the Chateau de Eterville.

Casualties:
British: 20 WIA/KIA, one M4 Sherman knocked out, one M10 Wolverine knocked out, and one Bren Carrier knocked out.
German: 15 WIA/KIA, 5 POW, one Panther knocked out, one Pz Mk IV knocked out.

The boy is in good spirits, having won one of two fights this weekend (so far).  But we played a third, and the rubber match was another knock-down, drag out fight.  I'll post it as soon as I can.

V/R,
Jack

2 comments:

  1. I set up the scenario like you did and wondered why the wood and farm was there. I then went back to the scenario images and there are some tracks running through the woods! I have to redo half the board :-(

    I think this is a fairly balanced scenario and your boy had a chance, if you hadn't picked on his tanks.

    Great reports. Keep them coming.

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    Replies
    1. Shaun,

      No kidding? I hadn't noticed anything running through the wood, I'll have to look again.

      I got incredibly lucky popping the Panzer IV west of the Chateau! It was hull down behind the wall so all I threw was one Kill dice, came up a 6. Most fortuitous. And with that gone, plus my numbers advantage, I figured it was only a matter of time before I corralled the Panther. Even there I got pretty lucky, immobilizing it then killing it.

      I'll post the next one tonight, then play some more this weekend. Hope all is well.

      V/R,
      Jack

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