Fallschirmjaeger Get Very Bloodied
James has his young (11-years old) nephew staying with him. The lad plays 40K, but had yet to try any other sort of wargaming:
It's early in 1945, the front has collapsed and 4thCanadian Armoured Division has formed some mobile columns to break through, exploit the German confusion and make some big advances. One column is trying to bounce a bridge over the a canal and capture it intact, otherwise the canal will give the Germans a major defensive obstacle and buy them time to regroup.
The Canadian column:
2x troops of Shermans, 2x platoons of infantry riding in Bren Carriers, a platoon of armoured cars, 2x 6 pounders, a pair of upgunned Carriers from the Carrier platoon and 2x Vickers MMG teams. There were also random flights of fighter bombers roaming over the front. This was the first game for the armoured cars, the trucks and I think the Vickers MMG teams and 6 pounders.
The German defenders:
A platoon of FJ with 2x MG42s, panzerfausts and lots of automatic weapons in each section, an MG42 platoon, a Pak 40, a King Tiger and 2 StuG IIIs. This was the first time out for all of these models!
The table from the Canadian start line:
The Germans could set up anywhere and didn't have to keep the platoon together. All units started hidden. My young opponent had no idea what I had or where it was.
"That's not fair" says the young lad thinking this was 40K and we had somewhat equal points.
I opted to put a section in the ruins to force him to deploy early. The PaK 40 and an MMG were in the woods on the right of the picture. The StuGs were hidden in the trees to the left of the town in the back of the picture. Second section with two MMGs was in the big buildings covering the road. Third section and the last MMG was covering the right of the town. The King Tiger was hidden behind the Bierhaus to the right of the crossroad.
Here's a map I drew using the computer's Paint program, with the deployments as I remember them mid-game:
Blue for Canadians, red for Germans. I hope you remember your tactical signs. The MG42s are indicated by the small red arrows.
The young lad is extremely cautious and everything hides behind the hedge. He's so far away that his spotting rolls are atrocious. Finally he starts to creep down the road and the PaK40 opens up, scoring first blood:
Another shot took out the gun on one of the Fireflies causing it to retire from the fight. But this drew the inevitable response. After a few rounds of HE from the Shermans, a Jabo showed up:
The MG42 team booked it out of there and got back to the town to shore up the defences. Eventually the Canadians pushed far enough up the road that the paras in the ruins opened fire, whizzing a panzerfaust over the head of the lead tank commander! The Canadians responded with fury, machineguns from the Carrier patrol and armoured car patrols joining the HE rounds from the Shermans to whittle the Germans down before they could take any more effective action.
On the German right the StuGs opened fire, trying to pin the advance of the Canadian left. They disabled a carrier and drew a lot of fire from one of the 6 pounders. The other 6 pounder started hammering the hotel with HE to considerable effect.
So one troops of Shermans and one platoon of infantry came up the road. The other troop and infantry platoon came through the fields to the right. The armoured cars swung to the right as well. I shift my reserve section to the garden of the Bierhaus and put the two MG42 teams along the road.
Time to unmask my ace in the hole! The King Tiger rolls out from behind the Bierhaus and engages the right hand troop. It misses.
The Canadian tank troops gets the next card and fires a return volley. It's long range. He hits. I have 14 armour dice, his 75mm guns only roll 6. He scores 5 (FIVE!) hits and I only save one! My shiny new King Tiger gets brewed up, much to my nephew's delight:
One of my StuGs got taken out soon after. The second StuG tried to relocate to the other flank to engage the Shermans but it attracted the attention of another fighter bomber:
By this time the Canadian attack was developing nicely and I was getting worried. The section in the hotel was wiped out by HE from the 6 pounders. My front was being held by one section (also taking casualties) 4x MG42 teams and the platoon leader. I was just hoping the sappers could blow the damn bridge soon ( I rolled dice for it every Tea Break card).
The Canadian infantry were hanging back behind the armour, but I managed to chop up a few infantry sections with MG fire. Meanwhile the platoon commander was firing panzerfausts out of the hotel windows at the advancing Shermans.
One Sherman got brewed up:
The second carrier from the Carrier Platoon, following the lead Sherman into town took a lot of fire from the MG42 in the hotel, disabling its .50 cal. The leading Sherman entered the town and took a panzerfaust rocket to the tracks.
View from the bridge:
But things were getting bleak. The paras in the beer garden were all dead by now. Cut down under a hail of fire from the armoured cars and a troop of Sherman tanks. There wasn't a lot between the Canadians and the bridge anymore.
Finally I rolled a 6, blowing the bridge and the remains of my shattered command retreated from the town to get back across the canal.
I lost the King Tiger, 2x StuGs, the pak40 and 24 men. The Canadians lost 2x Shermans brewed up, 2x damaged, 2x carriers damaged and I think 8 KIAs in the infantry.
I thought I was going a bit over the top putting the King Tiger in the game. I'd forgotten how experience and superior tactics are no match to a youngster's die rolling!
Actually his tactics weren't too bad either, if somewhat cautious.
But now they're heading back home, nephews with old copies of White Dwarf and some extra figures from my spares box. Hopefully they'll come back next summer; I have more armies that they haven't played with yet!