Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Panzer Aces 6mm Batrep with Hell Hath No Fury


So, this is it, the first battle report from our new campaign, "Panzer Aces."  The campaign will be played out using 6mm forces, and we will follow two brothers leading a tank platoon with the fictional 52nd Panzer Division, from Barbarossa in June 1941 to the bitter end in May 1945, all on the eastern front.  The platoon will start in Pz IIIFs (short 50mm guns), then graduate to long 50mm guns (Pz IIIJ, March 1942), to Pz IVG (December 1943), Pz IVH (June 1943), and end with the Panther (November 1944).  They will face an array of Soviet vehicles, guns, and troops, from the little T-60s all the way through the JS-2s.

Hans (the elder brother and platoon commander), a Sergeant and commander of the Tank 201, and Franz Mueller (the younger brother), a Corporal and commander of Tank 203, are from a small village in Bavaria.  They joined in the inter-war years, both in the infantry but volunteering for the blossoming Panzer Corps when the opportunity arose.  They were members of the 4th Panzer Division during the blitzkrieg through Poland and then France, performing well.  This led to their promotions, and when, following the fall of France, the formation of the 52nd Panzer Division was being formed, they both volunteered as it secured spots for them to become tank commanders.  Their platoon is comprised of four tanks split into two sections of two tanks, one led by Hans in 01 and one led by Franz in 03.  Tank 202 is led by Corporal Heine and Tank 204 is led by Corporal Schultze.

After much training and preparation, today is the day of invasion, 22 June 1941.  German forces, massed on the frontier in Poland opposite the Soviet lines, moved forward in the pre-dawn darkness, and then a ferocious artillery barrage was unleashed.  As the barrage pounded Soviet forward positions and the sun crested the horizon, airplanes of the Luftwaffe filled the skies, destroying Soviet aircraft on the ground and further pounding the Red Army.  Wehrmacht infantry poured through the Soviet front line, largely a walk through but with pockets of intense fighting.

The company commander called his platoon commanders together at approximately 1100; in two hours we march on the Soviets.  The infantry have opened holes in the lines and now the panzers will strike.  Our guidance is to pour through the holes created by the infantry, do not get bogged down!  We will push, moving to encircle the Soviet formations, and then we will continue to push, cutting them off and destroying their rear echelon elements, we must keep them off balance.  We will move forward through here (tapping map), advance along this axis (tapping map), advancing on this bridge (tapping map).  The Soviets will try to throw up new defensive lines, but these must be smashed on the run, the bridge must be taken (slapping the map with his swagger stick)!

**This is the first scenario from the Hell Hath No Fury book, "Dawn Patrol," while the bridge will be the next fight.

Overview of map, left is north, west is bottom.  The Panzer Platoon is at bottom center right, while the three poker chips are blinds (or 'PEFs' in NUTS!/Hell Hath No Fury speak).  The road is for decoration only, not conferring any movement bonus, while there are two hills and numerous woods that block line of sight.

The Panzer order of march is: Hans in 201, Heine in 202, Franz in 203, and Schultze in 204.

The mission begins.  The German platoon will follow the road, pushing east (top), having already pushed through the gap in the Soviet frontlines.  Overhead reconnaissance has warned them Soviet forces are in the area and attempting to organize a line of defense.  So far Hans and the platoon sees nothing.

The road march continues east (top).

The Panzers continue forward; Hans spots something off to his left (top), but upon further inspection it was just a flock of birds (PEF was spotted and the roll came up with nothing).

So the platoon continues forward (the spotted PEF was behind the clump of trees at far left).  The German tanks are near rounding the corner of the right-hand hill...

Pushing forward at speed, Hans (in 201, bottom left) sees nothing as his eyes are on the road ahead, but Cpl Schultze (center, in 204) calls out "Contact!!!"

"Two Red trucks towing guns!!!"

Hans (bottom left) calls 201 to a halt and snap fires at the lead truck; the round hits the truck, but goes straight through the canvas and out the other side!  The Soviet truck simply shrugs it off.

Franz halts 203 (third tank in line) and fires on the second truck...

KA-BOOM!!!  The truck is destroyed (white puff at center), and the gun crew bails out, determined to leave the field (top left).

But as this action is taking place (the Soviet trucks are off camera to right), the last remaining PEF creeps forward (top left).  The blue beads mean a 'slow reload' is taking place, i.e., the main gun is not ready to be fired this turn, but will be ready next turn.  White beads mean they have to try to reload next turn.

And this is revealed to be four enemy ATGs already deloyed (top center) and three rifle squads with Anti-Tank Rifles (ATRs, bottom left, in treeline).

201 (bottom center) pivots and fires its coax machine gun, but the rounds go high.

Cpl Heine's 202 (bottom center, with 201 just above and 203 barely visible at bottom right) turns and fires an HE round, knocking out a Red ATG (white puff at top center), though the next gun returns fire...

The enemy round bounces off 202 (bottom center right); Cpl Heine and his crew are unshaken and return fire with their bow machine gun, knocking out a second enemy gun, but a third returns fire...

Another enemy round strikes 202 and fails to penetrate, but this one is enough to convince Heine he needs to fall back (red bead at bottom center, from shell bursts at top center left) and have a think on the overall tactical situation.

Trying to seize back the initiative, Franz leads 203 forward (center, from bottom left) and fires on the remaining truck (top right)...

The truck (bottom right) is destroyed, but the ATG crew had already gotten out and set up.

Cpl Schultze pulls his 204 up next to 203 (bottom left), but the enemy ATG that just set up spots them and fires...

The round skips off 204's front glacis, but Schultze and his boys hold firm and return fire, though the round hits short.

Hans' 201 (bottom right) is reloaded and quickly unloads on another ATG (explosion at top center).  The HE round strikes short of the gun...

But is close enough to convince the gun crew to fall back and hide behind the smoke of a nearby knocked out gun (top center, from bottom right).

Hans then maneuvers 201 right into cover (center right, from road at center; 203 and 204 are at far right).  Cpl Heine gets 202 (bottom center) back in fighting shape and they begin creeping left to re-engage.

While the Soviet ATGs in the north look to get in fighting shape; the gun at far left manages to reload, but their brothers at far right try to rally but decide it's time to leave (far right, from red bead at center).

The enemy infantry (far left) finally get in on the act.  They fire their ATRs at the back deck of Cpl Schultze's 204 (bottom right, next to 203)...

The first round misses, but the second hits.  It ricochets off, but Schultze realizes they've got problems and orders his driver to gun it (far right, from shell bursts at bottom left).

Feeling a bit saucy after driving 204 off, the enemy infantry charge ahead (center, from far left, with the two red 'tracers' showing their previous shots).

And while Schultze decision to have his driver race his tank away form the threat behind them, it caused bigger problems by getting closer to and turning their flank armor to the last remaining Soviet ATG in the south, which promptly fired on 204...

The round struck short (far right) of 204), so Schultze simply ordered his driver to keep on trucking, turning left and following the woodline (red bead at top center, with 201 at left and 203 at bottom center.  203 is staring down that ATG just off camera to right).

Cpl Heine orders 202 (bottom center) to push forward and come around the hill, where the immediately spot the Red infantry in the open.  Heine orders the enemy engaged with the tank's machine guns...

The Soviets aren't hit, but they quickly move out of LOS of 202 (off table to bottom left) by moving to the east side of the wood and hiding (top center).  But then they look over to the south (right) and spot 204 sitting there (top right)...

Cpl Schultze spots the Red infantry and once again orders his driver to gun it, breaking contact (bottom right, from top right, with 201 at center and enemy infantry to his left).

Hans orders 201 left; they creep forward, peeking around the wood until the last enemy ATG in the northwest comes into view.  The well-trained Germans (Hans and Franz are REP 5) get the drop on the Soviets (it's early war and mostly I'm giving the Soviets REP 3; sure, it's not fair, but it does a good job, in my humble opinion, of modelling superior training and command and control).  201 sends an HE round out and the ATG is destroyed.

The Soviets are down to one ATG (opposite Franz' 203 in the south) and the three hunkering infantry squads.

The radio crackles, with the company commander informing Hans the panzergrenadiers are on the way and admonishing him for not pushing through the Soviet screen faster.

Back to the Mexican stand-off in the south; Franz' 203 (left) and the last remaining enemy ATG (right, white bead) are staring each other down.  The Soviets are moving quicker, but then their loader slams his hand in the breech while closing it...

While Franz stands tall in the turret and orders 203 forward, machine guns blazing.  At extreme close range the gunner fires an HE round into the mess of vehicles, guns, and men, knocking out the last Soviet anti-tank gun!

Hans reforms the Panzer platoon (right) as the panzergrenadiers push up the road (left) to get at the hunkering Soviet infantry (top center).

And then Hans pushes his tanks forward, up the road to the west (top center left) as the panzergrenadiers dismount to clean out the Soviet infantry, who promptly surrender (bottom center), mission accomplished!

Sorry if that was a bit of a letdown for all you treadheads out there, but I don't control what the PEFs turn into (though I did write up my own PEF table in order to have infantry, trucks, guns, and armored cars, rather than just tanks), and I feel like it was a pretty realistic engagement for the early push through the Soviet lines in the opening stages of Barbarossa.  If you're missing tanks, I can promise you at least one enemy tank (and a monster, at that) will be present in the next fight.

We had a great time, the boy is already asking me when we can play again, and we look forward to getting another fight in this coming weekend.  I plan on playing about eight engagements per 'stage' of the war, so eight for early Barbarossa, eight for the autumn/winter push on Moscow, eight for spring/fall of 1942, eight for the relief of Stalingrad, eight for the spring of '43 and Kursk, eight for the defensive battles that winter, eight for Bagration/summer '44, eight for the breakout fights of that winter, and eight for the end, which will probably go through Hungary and end in Czeckoslakia, though I'm also toying with going on a different route and getting trapped in the Baltics.  I will not be doing Berlin.



  1. I really like how you're doing this, especially the evolution of the armor. Pretty nifty!

    1. Thanks DSG, glad you liked it. I'll do my best to keep it going, see if we can get through the whole war.


  2. That was excellent. I've tried Hell Hath No Fury straight out of the book, and the groups of Shermans are outclassed and outnumbered in just about every game. The outnumbering here seemed to have the right balance of danger and weakness. Would it be possible to share your encounter tables and rues for AT guns and infantry? or are they lifted from other THW games? Thanks.

  3. Kap'n,

    Thanks, your batreps were some of the ones I read that got me to try these rules. I made my own "PEF tables," I'll put them in my next batrep (which should be up in a few days).


  4. Co-op is fun with the kids. And it was a great introduction to the rules, nothing to hard to overcome. Looking forward to more 6mm WW2 reports 'cause I really like that scale too.

    1. Definitely fun playing with the boy, and we were lucky that the scenario wasn't too taxing. Still trying to get the next game in this weekend, but it's getting late...