In this World War II scenario, the British force was tasked with pushing through the German defences, the individual units of which were indicated by marker chips. These also included some ‘dummy’ markers which made the game both interesting and challenging for the British commanders (Tim and I).
Tony and Steve were in command of the German forces and Dave Mac had the roll of game moderator, which in this type of scenario was a very important roll. The German units were identified with markers placed in particular hexes, but some of these markers were ‘dummies’ which was a great way of making Tim and I guess which ones were ‘real.’
The Brits had 4 M3 halftracks with one section of infantry in each and these were backed up by three Sherman tanks, one of which was a firefly armed with the ‘muscular’ 17pdr. At the start of the game the strength, size and composition of the German units was unknown to us – these would reveal themselves as they opened fire!
After a quick consultation in which we carefully studied the various attack options, Tim took command of the infantry and sent them towards the right-hand side of the table to occupy a bocage lane. At the same time, I sent the three Shermans to the left, the Firefly taking up a firing position in the walled farmyard.
We suspected that the Germans would have an anti-tank gun in position somewhere and we made a calculated guess which of the markers this gun would likely be. When I sent the two 75mm armed Shermans across the open ground towards the German held hedgerow, a PAK 40 opened up taking out one of the closest Sherman. The gun position now identified, Tim’s infantry dismounted from their halftracks to take up firing positions in the bocage lane. In response, German infantry opened fire on them but with little effect, and we now had valuable information on the German positions and unit composition.
Both sides proceeded to spend a couple of game turns trying to spot and subsequently fire upon their opponents with little effect as most units were in hard or soft cover. Tim, however suddenly hit a ‘purple patch’ when it came to spotting German units. He found that he could repeatedly roll 10+ on a D12 with ease. The resulting shooting started softening-up the German units around the PAK40 anti-tank gun. This paved the way for an assault on the anti-tank gun by two infantry sections, who left the cover of the bocage hedge to cross the open ground.
My remaining two Shermans took the opportunity to charge through gaps in the hedge behind which the German infantry units hard been successfully targeted by more of Tim’s infantry. By now Tim had demonstrated a surreal ability, against all odds, to spot virtually any German unit, at any distance whether in cover or not. If his shooting had been of the same standard, all the advanced German units would have been obliterated by this stage! German reinforcements started to arrive thick and fast in the form of SDKfzs armed with 20mm cannon, a 75mm, plus infantry carriers. However, the Shermans tanks had by now taken up position on a low hill overlooking the key road. The Sherman firefly successfully targeted and destroyed the two leading German vehicles which had been punishing Tim’s infantry crossing the open ground. These Brits were tough and despite receiving heavy casualties, passed their morale test with ease!
Tony and Steve sent a unit of German infantry through an area of woodland to try and destroy the two Shermans on the low hill using panzerfaust , which had now destroyed two vehicles and two infantry sections. However, the 75mm armed Sherman successfully spotted the infantry and shot at and suppressed the unit with its hull machine gun.
Three more Sherman tanks appeared on the road behind the British advance and although more German units had also arrived on the board, all the key German defensive positions had already been taken by the British units and so the game was concluded.
Without Tim’s uncanny ability to spot any German unit which opened fire upon us, I’m sure all the British tanks would have been popped by the PAK 40 anti-tank gun and the whole attack stopped. And, although the infantry assault on the wood hex containing the gun resulted in high infantry casualties, the Brits ended the game in very strong tactical positions, preventing any possible counter-attack without significant German reinforcements including tanks.