Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Battle Report - 23-Feb-2015 - IABSM3

Needed a table with a slight rise at one end for this one, so took one of my painting sticks (handily pre-fitted with Blu-Tak) to prop up one edge of one of the three 4'x'2' boards (top of the picture on the right) - worked very well with a Citadel cloth over the top. The hedges and bocage are the club's, courtesy of Andrew from Loki's Great Hall, if I remember rightly: the trees are mine.

The Germans (Gary, with help from Reuben when he had to go) deployed upslope of the red line on the map: quite an aggressive deployment - Gary conceded later that having all three platoons up at the road crossing the centre of the board wasn't necessary. The Germans had the classic IABSM under-strength company (one platoon of 3 sections, 2 of 2) plus a FOO with access to four off-table 80mm mortars, two Pak40s and a Jagdpanther. The Allies (Carl and AndyM) had a full company of British, a US platoon (as the US/British sector boundary ran near the right hand flank of the Allies), a troop of three Shermans and a Firefly, and a FOO with access to a battery of 25 pounders. 
"No-one'll see us here, surely, guys..."


As I may have mentioned and you may have seen in the comments yesterday, the British could have done better with the order in which their blinds came on. 3 platoon ambled cheerfully into the middle of the main field their side of the road, and were auto-spotted by the German section holding the ruined barn (centre right). As were the American platoon the other side of the hedge, AND number 1 platoon on the road up to the farm on the British left. An awful lot of Germans deployed off blinds and opened up, shock and pin markers a-go-go. Number 1 platoon were largely saved by the big tree in front of the farmhouse window, but several of the 3 platoon and US sections took some hammer.
"Take cover, lads..."

About this point the dummy blinds showed up - rather too late to be useful scouts, sadly. And still no British armour. A protracted firefight took place in the vicinity of the barn, which the single German section did very well at holding, largely because a lot of their opposition were suffering some combination of using a dice to go to ground, losing pips or dice due to shock and casualties, or being forced to a range bracket worse due to being pinned. One or two good HE rounds into the barn would have sorted that PDQ, I feel.
"...Yup. Safe as houses here too, pardner."

They were helped by the Allied FOO (under heavy fire) making contact with the battery and calling down a strike. He had much better luck than his German counterpart, managing to get the support card out three times in about four runs through the deck. First ranging round was way too close to number 3 platoon for comfort. The second was close enough to hit the barn in the corner of the field, and also just grazed the American's lead section. One of those embarrassing friendly fire incidents.

"Ow. Also, ow."
On the left flank, the platoons' 2" mortars managed to lay a large line of smoke blocking most of the useful German LOS from the farm buildings, and after a round of fire (and being on the receiving end of a mortar stonk, as they were pretty much standing on the aiming point for a pre-registered target), went in to close assault. That's one mostly intact number 2 platoon against a single leaderless section in a building. 18 dice to 12 in favour of the Brits: and they lost by 1. Number 2 platoon followed up, and managed to wipe out the Germans in the stable. At this point the German section in the farmhouse decided that a bugout back to the tree line on the ridge was the order of the day. However, faced with the irresistible temptation of a British section from 2 platoon in the open in the farmyard, they popped their heads back over the wall and opened up, doing it a fair bit of damage. For their pains, number 2 platoon rallied off shock and pin and got stuck in... This time, the maths really wasn't in their favour: only two sections got into close combat, and wound up rolling 11 dice to the Germans' 12. And lost, by a rather terrifying one casualty to something insane like seven or eight. (Reuben was having amazing luck.)

"Just to the right of that plume of smoke, Hans..."
Over in the middle, one of the last British blinds got ALL the way to the road across from the farm, protected now by two curtains of smoke, and deployed, revealing itself to be the much-needed tanks. Unfortunately, the rightmost was rather delightfully flank-on to a gap in the bocage, in which there was a German infantry section, and more importantly a Panzerfaust.

Boom.

It was getting late, but we were on a roll and reasonably in practice with the rules now (though I still so need to completely rewrite the official IABSM QRS and an index for the rulebook!), so we pressed on a bit.

A Jagdpanther in its natural habitat.
"Axis Blinds" was about the fourth card out of the last run of the deck. All the Germans had left to deploy (and after all, why should he have deployed it any sooner) were the anti-tank assets: two Pak40s and a Jagdpanther, all neatly dug in along the edge of the copse atop the ridge...

And Reuben's luck deserted him. Sure, the tanks being right up against the bocage, which had been the cause of the Panzerfaust's kill, made it harder, but they ALL missed.

And that was where we called it.

I rather hope the British FOO was at that point screaming for a barrage on the German ATGs: had we continued, I would have required spotting rolls to target them, I think, as they were well dug in and half a table away. The Germans should have fallen back to the tree line (they had pretty much lost the farm), and it would have been a very interesting fight. In fact I may run round two sometime :D

Thanks to Carl, Reuben, AndyM and Gary for a fun evening.

Oh - almost forgot. If you read this far - do you recognise what the scenario's taken from? ;D

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