I decided that after the Stalingrad day I may need taking don a peg or two. The job fell to Nigel.
I set up a nice little armoured counter attack for Nigel's Panther Company, plus Tiger supports and set in 1944. The German's were making a thrust towards the beaches and my Brits were to stave them off.
Nige's task was to exit the southern table edge. The table 6' x 4' featured a railway line on an embankment, numerous small open copses, a couple of roads and plenty of hedges, along with a ruined building.
Forward Observer in Jeep, carrier or Humber scout car in contact with four 25pdr off-table·
Two M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman Firefly
Lt Hugh Jego (D4) Big Man 1
Two M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman Firefly
Sgt ‘Ripper’ Hymen (D4) Big Man 2
Sgt Les Bow Big Man 3 (D4)
D6 Fake Blinds
National Characteristic Cards
Vehicle Breakdown; Rally; Hesitant Troops; Sherman Snapshot x 2; Anti-Tank Bonus; Armoured Bonus Move; Artillery; Air Support; Heroic Leader
Nige's SS Panzer Company
Armour 1 (Veterans)
Two PzKpfw V G
Hauptmann Bereich (D4) Big Man 1
Can act as an FO for four 105mm Howitzers firing off-table.
Armour 2 (Veterans)
Three PzKpfw V
Leutnant Pfalz (D4) Big Man 2
Armour 3 (Veterans)
Three PzKpfw V
Feldwebel Ursiger (D4) Big Man 3
Armour 4 (Elite)
Two PzKpfw VI
Leutnant Kuntzler (D4) Big Man 4
Obegefreiter Bassermann (D4) Big Man 5
D6 Fake Blinds
National Characteristic Cards
Dynamic Commander; Heroic Leader; Blitzkrieg Bonus; Out of Fuel; Vehicle Breakdown; Artillery
For my dogged defence I had deployed two 17pdr AT guns. One sited in a copse in the SW corner, the second in the cornfields.
I had deployed three Achilles Tank Destroyers. The first was located in a copse adjacent to the first AT gun, the second was deployed towards the rear of the cornfields whilst the third was deployed across the other side of the railway embankment in another copse.
I had deployed a troop of Sherman's behind the copse in the SE corner of the battlefield whilst the Squadron HQ and second troop were off-table to enter along the road one blind per turn of the 'blinds move' card being drawn.
The key to my defence as I saw it being my Forward Observer deployed on the train track adjacent to the crossroads. He was tasked with calling down artillery to hopefully rob the enemy armour of its initiative dice.
My three fake blinds were deployed in the leading edge of the cornfield, a second adjacent to the FO and the third one in a copse in the SW corner.
Nige was informed of the need to exit the southern table edge and that he could deploy his forces within 6" of his table edge, with the proviso that he could keep stuff off-table if he so wished, one blind entering anywhere per turn of the 'blinds move' card being drawn.
I deployed on map with the exception of a blind on the railway track, about mid distance between the two short table edges.
Nige placed his blinds across his northern table edge, extending across the table but with a concentration around the fields and farmhouse.
The action started when a Panther Platoon, and what turned out to be a fake blind, advanced on the western side of Nigel's table edge. Spotting the copses one by one they quickly spotted a 17pdr gun on my table edge.
The powerful AT gun was hit with Nige's last remaining initiative dice resulting in a kill.
Elsewhere Nige began the process of spotting all likely deployment areas for further AT guns lying in ambush. He spotted the fake on the railway line as such but also spotted a blind in a copse on the eastern side of the railway embankment. He had actually missed the score to spot, what was an Achilles by one, but if this happens a blind is placed on table, instead of the unit, indicating that something is there.
The next turn saw my 17 pdr roar into action quickly hitting a Panther and destroying it with one shot at long range. Nige however rapidly effectively dispatched it with two well placed shots which reduced its valiant crew to only one man with no ID.
My spotting revealed pretty much Nigel's entire force. Big cats are hard to hide amongst unsubstantial hedges and crops unless dug in.
The main concentration seemed to be over in the east, around the farmhouse. Here a Panther Platoon was deployed with two Tigers coming down the road from the centre.
Nige's HQ of two further Panther's was deployed to the west of the farmhouse, utilising a hedge for limited cover.
Nige continued to move cautiously, spotting as he moved. He managed to spot an Achilles in a copse adjacent to the one containing the now knocked out 17pdr. This was quickly hit twice by a Tiger, but remarkably with armour only 2 versus gun 11 managed to knock out its main gun and immobilised permanently, without actually brewing up. Effectively and tactically though, it had been removed from the game.
On my next turn I decided that too many targets were available to warrant staying in hiding, and figured correctly that once my Achilles were spotted, they were pretty much dead!
My second 17pdr was revealed in a cornfield and quickly fired and hit Nige's Company Commanders vehicle, knocking out its main gun. An Achilles in the corn was also revealed when it fired successfully hitting a Tiger coming down the road with a flank shot. Things were looking a little harder than Nige had expected.
However, when his chips came up Nige quickly hit the Achilles but again remarkably failed to destroy it. This time the turret jammed and it was temporarily immobilised.
My FO called up artillery which landed behind the advancing Panthers, suffering no damage with the vehicles out of the blast radius of my 25pdrs.
Nige had managed, albeit slowly, to penetrate the field system in the west, near the ruined farmhouse. His Platoon commander made a run for the southern table edge along the road and using its fast speed (D6+2) and managed successfully to exit.
I was desperate for either Air Support or my blinds coming up but due to my successful spotting had managed to stitch myself up by creating a stacked pack, not in my favour.
Two or three quick turns resulted in little action as the tea break was pulled pretty much straight away.
A Nige continued to roll forward he successfully hit and destroyed my second AT gun!
I was now powerless to stop him. The only thing slowing down Nige was his own paranoia that I couldn't possibly have so few forces and that somewhere I must have other forces.
At tea break I decided to use the 'Skelton Gambit' and voluntarily deployed an Achilles in the copse to the east of the railway embankment, with a troop of three Sherman's, one of which a firefly, on my table edge again in the SE corner.
The Skelton Gambit is a risk but one I judged worth taking. I placed my chips in the bag and began to pray.
Incredibly, Nige managed to pull both of my unit blinds out of the hat, straight away. Unfortunately, my luck ran out though as they failed to score enough on the dice to move over the embankment and engage, all four vehicles sitting in the dead ground.
Another of Nige's Panther's made a run for the table edge and was pulled up short tight on the point of exit. Another strange twist of fate, my Air Support finally arrived. We decided to playe the usual roll of D6 with 1 resulting in an attack upon my own forces, 5 or 6 on those of the enemy. I rolled a five and quickly knocked out the Panther with a direct hit from the strike dice.
Nige's remaining two Panthers on his western flank were penetrating the copses and were getting ready to make a move for the table edge.
Finally my 'Blinds Move' came up and I could bring on my reinforcements. As they were supposed to be coming on down the road which Nige had already exited a Panther I decided that Nige could dice randomly for their entry point. The Sherman troop entered the table in the very centre!
With gusto, and chuffed with his luck, Nige quickly hit two of the vehicles destroying both, one of which was the Firefly.
My remaining Sherman was also destroyed by a flank shot (as if it really needed to be hit in the flank with only armour 6) from a Panther which had manoeuvred to the table edge and rolled up my flank.
Finally my AFV's on the eastern side of the embankment managed to cross the railway line with the exception of one Sherman which found itself silhouetted on the rise.
This was quickly and predictably destroyed by a shot from a Panther.
However, on a gun bonus my remaining Achilles managed to hit the last Tiger with a flank shot, temporarily causing it to be immobilised. Sherman snapshot turned up next allowing one of my tanks, with a fast traverse to make an extra shot.
My Firefly's 17pdr roared into action hitting the Tiger for a second time and jamming the turret.
Nige's Company commander in all this time had dismounted his vehicle with the main gun disabled and had climbed into another Panther. This sped off to outflank my AFVs. It fired at my Achilles from short range and missed!
As the next turn saw my artillery miss yet again by miles, I finally managed to destroy the brave German Commander with a close range shot from my last Achilles.
With the death of the Company commander Nige's last functioning Panther exited the table leaving the damaged Tiger on its own.
Suddenly out of the blue skies the RAF arrived! With great luck the Tiger was brewed up by a rocket hit.
Nige had managed to exit with four Panthers - half his existing total of them, but had lost four Panthers and two Tigers.
I had suffered both 17pdrs, two Achilles and four Shermans as losses.
The game was a tactical draw. I still had my HQ off table but Nige had managed to exit with some of his force.
A really good fast moving fun game.