Monday, May 28, 2018

Blood & Guts, Tunisia, Fight #10


It's 1220 on 10 April 1943, and following the Platoon Sergeant, SSG Thomas, leading the squad up to an Observation Post atop Hill 475 (off camera to bottom left in the picture below), the acting platoon leader for the battalion's attached Tank Platoon, SSG Smith, is leading CPL Grunhard up near Point 33, an unnamed collection of Arab huts.  The squad's OP had spotted enemy tanks moving north to south, so SSG Smith split the platoon, taking his and CPL Grunhard's tanks up to Point 33, and sending SGT Ross and SGT Snow's tanks further south.  Rolling in from the west, SSG Smith immediately spotted dust clouds from the incoming panzers; he quickly directed his two-tank section to take up hull-down positions on a nearby hill.

Overview, north is up. There's a few hardball roads running through Point 33, and mud huts scattered across the battlefield, as well as a smattering of low hills and scrub.  The two US tanks are at top left, the three panzers at top right.

The troops are all 6mm (1/285) from GHQ, and I'm using the new "What a Tanker!" rules from Too Fat Lardies.  I'm having so much fun, I need to put another order in with GHQ to get some more troops.  I'm going to order a couple 76mm turrets for my Shermans, a pack of M-10 Wolverines, a pack of Stug IIIs with skirts, a pack of Marders, a pack of Panthers, and a single Tiger hull and turret (the separate hull and turrets is why I need to order direct from GHQ), and I figure that could actually take me through the whole rest of the war.  I suppose I should buy some Pz IVHs with skirts, but might just try and get by with the Pz IVGs I'm using in these games.  I played the first two What a Tanker games with my older boy, but he was playing with his little brother so I actually played the next two solo...

The two M4 Shermans, commanded by SSG Smith (bottom) and CPL Grunhard (top), looking to get into hull-down positions on that nearby hill.

The three German Panzer IVGs, moving north (right) to south( left) at speed, blissfully unaware of any nearby Americans on account of the squad having taken out their patrol in the last fight. Let's get to work!

The Yanks push ahead, rather lethargically...

The German tanks push ahead, but their leader, Sgt Kamp (bottom right) slows as he sees something off to the right (top right is where the Americans are raising dust, from behind the hill).

CPL Grunhard pulls his tank forward into some scrub, "CONTACT!!!"

CPL Grunhard's tank (bottom center) has acquired Panzer 2 (top center, with Panzer 3 just right of it, and Sgt Kamp's panzer at top left).  "Target, panzer four at five hundred yards, moving right at 90 degrees, load AP, fire!"  "On the way!"

The round is long (top right), but the loader immediately slams another round into the breech (far left) and the Sherman's 75mm gun roars again!  The round is just short, but close enough to shake the crew up a bit (actually a hit that bounced, -1 Command Dice).

Sgt Kamp (bottom center) looks on as the target, Panzer 2, pushes through (left, from the two shell bursts at bottom center left).  Panzer 3 has acquired CPL Grunhard's tank (top right) and immediately cuts right (left), shudders to a halt, and fires, narrowly missing the Sherman!

With CPL Grunhard's Sherman under fire (top left), SSG Smith pushes his tank right (far left top), where he spots Sgt Kamp's panzer (far right top, with Panzer 3 at right and Panzer 2 at bottom right), just as the veteran German commander pulls to a halt and fires, missing SSG Smith's vehicle.

Panzer 2's commander rallies his boys and pushes forward, not making it very far in some soft sand (bottom left), as Panzer 3 reloads (center bottom) and sends another round at CPL Grunhard's tank, but being hull-down is really paying off as another round misses!  Sgt Kamp has his tank reload and push up to the cover of a nearby hill (far right).

CPL Grunhard (bottom center left) orders his gunner to fire on Panzer  3 (top center, with Sgt Kamp's tank behind the hill at top left and Panzer 2 behind the buildings at top center right), and the 75mm armor piercing round slams into the German tank, damaging its optics.

CPL Grunhard then pushes his tank down, off the shelf (far left), as SSG Smith's tank (bottom left) fires, reloads, and fires again at Sgt Kamp's panzer (top right), missing twice!!!

With his subordinate perhaps being overly aggressive (top left), SSG Smith follows suit, directing his tank forward, but it doesn't make it very far as the driver had to be very careful moving down the steep slope (center).

Panzer 2 moves up on left (far right), while SSG Smith's tank reloads and dashes right (center left) to meet him.  Panzer 3 reloads and creeps forward (far right), while Sgt Kamp pivots right and zooms around the flank, taking up position to use the hill as cover (top center right).

With Sgt Kamp's panzer (top left) concerned more with SSG Smith's Sherman (off camera to right) and out of the fight with CPL Grunhard's tank (bottom center), the American Corporal focuses on Panzer 3.  The Sherman shakes to a halt, "Fire!!!"

And Panzer 3 is no more!!!  CPL Grunhard's Sherman reloads.

Not exactly sure what happened, but hearing bits and pieces of what sounded like bad news from Panzer 3 (far left, burning just below the buildings), Sgt Kamp dashes his panzer forward (center right), where they acquire and fire on CPL Grunhard's Sherman (top right, with SSG Smith's tank at the crossroads at top left).  The 75mm armor-piercing round misses, and the German crew reloads!

They fire again, but this time the round ricochets off the front glacis of the Sherman!

And while Sgt Kamp's panzer (top right, behind some scrub, just left of the hill) is engaging CPL Grunhard's Sherman (top left), Panzer 2 zooms onto the scene (bottom left), turns, and fires on the Corporal's tank.  The round bounces off the side of the Sherman's turret and the crew reloads and fires again...

But the round is short, throwing sand and debris over CPL Grunhard's battle-scarred Sherman!!!

Totally unfazed, CPL Grunhard pushes his Sherman forward (far left, from the hellstorm at bottom left), straight at Sgt Kamp's panzer (top left, just below the hill, with Panzer 2 at top right and SSG Smith's Sherman at far right).  The Sherman's 75mm gun roars, but the round misses, throwing up a tall cascade of desert sand!  As the crew reloads, CPL Grunhard is incredulous that his gunner missed a tank at 150 yards.  "Fire, and don't miss this time!!!"  CRACK!

BOOM!!!!  Sgt Kamp's tank goes up in flames, CPL Grunhard's second victim of the day!

And while CPL Grunhard's tank (bottom left) is busy brewing up Germans (far left and top center left), SSG Smith's tank hauls ass right (far right), looking to get on Panzer 2's (top center right) flank.  The turret swivels...

And the Sherman fires at point blank range at the German's side armor, but the round bounces into the sky!!!

The commander of Panzer 2 (bottom right) is in an impossible situation, with Amerikaner tanks to both sides (CPL Grunhard at top center, SSG Smith at bottom left).  His gunner is already lined up on CPL Grunhard's tank, so they fire...

Blasting CPL Grunhard and his crew straight to hell...

With CPL Grunhard's tank ablaze (top left), Panzer 2 pushes forward (center, from the white puff just right of it) and swings its turret left, towards SSG Smith's tank (bottom left)...

But it's no use: SSG Smith pushes his tank forward, getting on the German's rear, and fires...

Knocking out the third German tank.

With panzers burning at top center, far right, and bottom left, SSG Smith orders his tank north (center left), to check CPL Grunhard's tank (top left) for survivors...

But there are none.  CPL Grunhard and his crew racked up two kills, and each man is awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, albeit posthumously.  But there's no time to mourn; the battalion net comes over the radio, warning of more German tanks pushing south, east of Point 33.  SSG Smith radios SGT Ross and SGT Snow to make sure they received the alert, then turns his tank and dashes south to meet them.

For the next game of What a Tanker, coming right up!



  1. Cracking stuff- you certainly get a bit game on a small board with 6mm.



    1. Thanks! Yeah man, I just cut 6’ x 4’ down to 3’ x 2’ and changed inches to centimeters, works like a champ.

      Turning turrets (hell, keeping track of turrets!) is a bit fiddly, but it actually doesn’t come up that much, 60 degrees is pretty broad from 3 feet away and only moving ~6 cm per activation.


  2. A brilliant report as always. I do like your terrain - very simple but very effective. Nice minis too! I hadn't thought of using WAT! with 6mm tanks but it really gives as sense of scale and range.

    1. Thanks Jim, I’m nothing if not simple! ;)

      I wanted to go with 10mm, maybe in a 4’ x 3’ board, but 6mm in the 3’ x 2’ lets me sit down and play. Not nearly as beautiful as your set up, but it works for me, and I do like the idea that the tanks don’t look cramped.

      The game is a lot of fun, isn’t it? I’m really having a good time with it, need to by some more vehicles.


  3. Another very exciting game! Still not sure about how I feel about these combat results mind...

    1. Thanks buddy, and I agree about the combat results, though I imagine you're talking about all the non-penetrating hits, while I'm saddened that Cpl Grunhard's tank got blown to Kingdom Come!!! ;)