Sunday, October 3, 2010

FoW: SS Panzers vs Armoured Rifles

Game 3. This time Chris (using the same armoured rifles list) got to fight vs a12th SS armoured force in the bocage.
  • HQ panther- with stormtrooper skill
  • 3x panthers
  • 4x panzer IVs
  • 7x FJ
  • 3x nebelwerfers
  • 3x 250/9s

Once more I got to defend. I don't see the the point in defending everything
in a Breakthrough, you simply dissipate your forces and make it easier to be destroyed piecemeal. I prefer a solid defensive position which the opponent cannot afford to bypass.

This photo gives you an idea of the layout. I defended the top left quarter placing my nebelwerfers, infantry and panzer IVs in the field. Chris was going to have to try and dig them out.

I was worried about bazookas so interlocked my defence with the panzers and FJ. I lost a panzer to an airstrike on turn 1.

As you can see Chris deployed his infantry without transports to move into the buildings and take on my force. My command panther was deployed in the cornfield at the top to take on the priests!

Let the carnage begin!

Turn 1: Chris had done his recon move then moved the shermans through the gap. His two infantry platoons are advancing though the woods and into the buildings as well.

My panthers turned up and I moved 2 MkIVs to support them. The FJ are moving forward to attack the infantry that have entered the building! So much for falling back onto the objectives- with only 5 teams visible I felt confident I could take out the LMGs and give the yanks a bloody nose- yeah right! The panzer IVs hit and killd 2 Shermans, the poanthers destroyed a 3rd and the last one broke- leaving an independent observer tanks staring down the barrel of 3 panthers! The yank infantry had about 7 dice and rolled 5 his and just pinned my FJ- killing one. This left them in then open facing LMGs! This is going to be Carentan all over again!

A couple of turns later the surving 3 FJ teams start to withdraw towards the objective. The HQ pantehrs has been running amok and killed 2 priests and bailed another whilst Chris' crazy 37mm armed half track tries vainly to KO the panther.The panzer IVs are forced to defend the nebelwerfers and parry the armoured rifles assaults.

Turn 4: Too late! The reserves (armoured mortars) arrive and MG my 3 FJ stands to pieces- this leaves me with no way to get across the bocage and contest in time! My reserves arrive but the half tracks have to start where the panthers did or in the middle of a woods and so cannot get anywhere near the objectives!

A view towards the buildings where most of the fighting took place.

Having lost 1x mortar carrier to the panzer IVs the others retreat to claim an objective!

To win on turn 6 I had to break three platoons and the yanks fail their morale test. I managed to break the priests but an armoured rifle platoon passed its motivation test to stay on the board so I failed. 4-3 to Chris.

The amusing sideshow. The half track trying to hit the side of a barn door (panther) and missing (again). While the panther is hiding amongst the priests- unfortunately it took 5 turns to kill them all!

Chris tied up my panzer IVs and FJ nicely forcing me to defend my guns. I dallied one turn to long holding off the two armoured rifle platoons with my tanks and was unable to cross the hedgerows fast enough to contest! I should have, as I had initially intended, fallen back to the objective with the FJ but they got embroiled in the battle in the field as I did not think my tanks could hold off 10+ bazooka teams without support.I got lucky with my first reserves but the second ones were unable to interfere in the result due to the terrain. However, I felt that I had to take the quarters with the woods as had I not it would have been next to impossible to dig armoured rifle teams out of them when their reserves attacked into them.

Well played Chris, you kept an eye on the objectives and tied my forces up in combats that in the end didn't really matter and kept me diverted form the real objective. I shouldn't have taken the bait with the FJ and fallen back as you always should in Breakthrough!

Thoughts US Armoured Rifles
I've always felt that they are a potentially lethal force with their 14 stands of veteran infantry, transports and 50 cals! Theses three game confimred that for me. Chris and I have been discussing a bit whether to go with Shermans or Stuarts as armour support, even though they are "only" AT 10 the Shemans are the way to go in my opinion. They are a distraction, good at digging out gun teams but really they are to force your opponent to use resources dealing with them, which leaves the big infantry platoons free to go forward and win the game!

Having always attacks means they can really put German panzer forces on the back foot as they lack numbers to slow the infantry down- especially give the number of bazookas. Limited air support, AoP and time on targetting 105 is just the icing on the cake! The only thing that let Chris down a couple of times during the day was being confident- he failed a couple of tank terror tests to launch assaults.

A nicely balanced force that will give most German forces a run for their money.

My thoughts on SS Panzers & FJ
SS: Well one game is hardly a benchmark. I was glad I had the infantry to support them and it is a force that needs to be used carefully as it is pretty fragile. My commanders' skill was stormtrooper which was handy- having an independent panthers driving round causing mayhem was fun too. Also, being fearless helped with motivation tests for bail panzers so can see the benefits of that! Passing on 3+ with re-rolls i fun for panzer IVs.

Not sure if I'd run that force much though, I do enjoy using infantry forces more than armour so I might give the fJ another crack.

FJ: Not sure if the jagdpanthers are worth it (not that they came on in the game). My standard FJ (which won Conquest last year) are supported by 4x panzer IVs, 4x marder IIs, 3x pak 40s panzerwerfers and HS 129s and I really like the balance of firepower and mobility. Kent's game once more showed me how handy that panzerwerfer template can be! However, I didn't want to run the same old same old so may preserve with the Hells Highway force- although the stugs do need to be swapped for SS jagdpanzer IVs.

I think the FE II lists are plenty flexible so will also look into options using that, perhaps with jagdpanthers, or even tiger 1s as support. However, I do like the Quad AA models even if they are not that useful so that may be one reason to continue with the Hell's Highway version. We'll see. I've also a speerverband supported by armoured panzer pioneers that I want to try out soon.