This was a revised version of Breakthrough- 2x armoured platoons on board and new deployment rules, otherwise pretty standard but I preferred to think of it as a prison break rather than a breakthrough as I was seriously hemmed into my zone by fortifications. Dave had some very, very cool scratch built fortifications a Graf Spee Naval bunker, an 88 bunker, as well as a pak 38 nest, 2x HMG & nests, 2x French tank nests, 2x minefields, wire, trenches oh and: 2x 88s, 3x pak 40s, 4x 105s, 3x infantry platoons (including a platoon of pioneers), HMGs etc.
The scratchbuilt naval bunker. Very nice.
Holy crap! David set up enfilading the objectives with 88s and pak 38s, HMG nests etc but left a little chink in his defensive positions where he deployed his pak 40s forward and the 105s a bit further behind. No use putting any armour in the flank march- all my infantry went there, everything else lined up and charged the pak 40s (Breakthough Cal style!). The Recce removed GTG on the paks.
Deployed Cal style- an armoured wedge. Ready... steady... [As you can see the other option involved dealing with a river, pak 43 & naval bunkers, 2x 88s & a platoon of infantry with 4x attached HMGs!]
The 8x direct fire priests destroyed a tank nest, 4x 10s and 4x cromwells obliterated the paks. LoS was limited and the naval gun from hell missed! I lost an Observer Sherman to the 88 bunker.
Talk about avoiding most of the table! The cromwell's swing wide. I am starng to like 16" movement!
Next turn the cromwells advanced on the 105s, killing one with DF but were not close enough to assault. Recce lifted GTG and my priests continued to DF vs infantry. I had 2x priests bailed to the 88 bunker (David's dice rolling was woeful, even when compared to my rolls on day 1) but one jumped back in- the other was knocked out next round. I lost an M10 and the other observer Sherman to a 105 barrage and a 2nd M10 remained bailed for a couple of turns.
The naval artillery continued to miss- and its ranging in attempts were made harder when my priests DF knocked out the observer. Turn 4 my cromwells finished off the 105s and both infantry platoons arrived but luckily cover/and or range helped and they weren’t hit too badly by the bunkers/nests and too minimal casualties- the advanced on table in two lines very WWI esque- to minimise templates.
As you can see David's pioneers are preparing to advance to contest the objective.
The pioneers stretch out along the hedgeline.
My Turn 5 my infantry dug in contesting the objective and my cromwells scooted round the MG the pioneers lined up against a hedge row and pinned them, killing a few stands. The pioneers failed to unpin so could not advance to contest handing me the game at the start of my turn 6.
6-1 to the T&T. Lucky though. Dave placed his paks to far forward and I was able to hammer them.
I still believe the best defence in Breakthough is a lock tight defence in one quarter- you choose the corner opposite where the attackers objectives are going to be and overlook it with AT guns etc, forcing them to deal with all of your force, rather than ½ of it. As it was the paks were at the end of his line and his two infantry platoons did not quite stretch far enough to protect them. My only chance was to hit the paks and try to work round the flank- the rest of the defence looked far too daunting to even contemplate attacking. Luckily for me my plan worked.
The biggest problem with the static defences is if you can find that one chink and exploit it (and the terrain allowed me to do that) then it can be hard to recover. There was no way in hell I was going to make headway vs the rest of his defensive line! Dave’s dice rolling let him down quite badly but I enjoyed playing him and if he’d had an ounce of luck the result could have been quite different- I’m not keen to face that force again in a hurry!
Game 5: vs FW Simon McBeth (Free French Armour)
Simon and I had a great FW at the Worlds in Feb which he won on the last die roll of the game. Going into the final round I was in the top third. Poochie was on 19,Callum, a school boy running SS PGs was ahead of him on 20 and 4 of us on 17 a point ahead of the rest of the field: Me, Tim Ward (lots of FV Brit paras + 4x Vet cromwells- a list I had contemplated), Bede (SS armoured PGs) & Simon (Free French armour) so Bede randomised the draw and Simon and I got one of the only two blue on blue games of the comp. I didn’t mind really, Simon’s a top guy and a top player so I was looking forward to trying to get some revenge for February- however my main aim was to not be rolled over 6-1!
I wasn’t sure what to do to weather the storm but protected my right objective with 6 pdrs and an infantry platoon, chucked the cromwells into the heart of a wood with the other infantry (on his two objectives) and the recce and priests as far back as they could. M10s were my ambush but I had left my left flank fairly exposed so of course Simon weighed his attack there, whilst also sending his infantry our wide on my right to pressure my objective.
Looking down the line from my left to right flanks. Note the priests deployed!. The area with the cromwell's and infanry is a wood.
My right flank- 6 pdrs + infantry.
Simon had 12x shermans (2x 76mm), reduced Armoured rifles, recon, 105s & an (annoying) AoP.
Here the French are on their start line and the order is given to attack.
Turn 1: See how annoying the AoP is- no ambushes here!
I advanced a carrier to MG the recon jeeps which broke off without being hit. I also managed to bail 2 x shermans advancing rapidly on my left flank but they remounted then next turn. The 76mm Sherman then KOed my observer tank and the AoP prevented my M10s from ambushing and I also lost a carrier.
Turn 2 I managed to do no damage with artillery again even though I had 4 more hits! Oh crap. His artillery using the AoP knocked out my 6 pdr covering the crossroads.
Start of turn 3 the massed Shermans were contesting and able to fire on my (concealed) priests- but they missed. So I direct fired with 3 of the priests (needing 5s to hit) and hit with all 3! Simon assigned the hits to his 76mm (FA 7) and 2 normal Shermans 1,2,2- all were knocked out!
The M10s also let rip at the other Sherman platoon- scoring 6 hits, killing 4 tanks (including the 76mm) and bailing the last one which fled! 7 destroyed tanks and one fled in a single turn!
Next turn the cromwells and priests knocked out the 2 French command shermans after they had destroyed 2 priests.
I managed to successfully withdraw the carriers (skill check as the Shermans were within 8") and then, the next turn, the badly damaged priest platoon. In the next couple of turns the last two French Shermans died and I had to switch to my right flank where my last observer tank was trying to fend off the advancing armoured rifles. I lost another two 6 pdrs to 30 cals and artillery but managed to pass a platoon morale check and then withdrew the survivor next turn, denying another VP.
Simon failed a tank terror test vs my infantry + observer tank so got stuck.
Howeer he attacked again under a smoke barrage in his nxt turn and managed to bail the tank and get an assault into my infantry. I lost a team and broke off, losing my Sherman.
We were almost out of turns so I fed all I could in to keep the objective contested. In the last couple of turns the 105s finally did some serious damage knocking out two M10s and bailing another. The final dice roll of the game being my company commander re-rolling the last M10s motivation to prevent a platoon being lost.
6-1 to the T&T!
Wow, that turn 3 was decisive, my most successful ambush in a long, long time. However the game still went to the wire. Simon was unlucky not to get a couple of points and even in the last two turns nearly won it! A great game, for once the dice loved me (I think I failed 2 bogging tests out of 20+ during the game- and finally started to pass my morale tests). Alas, the dice were not so kind to Simon and I got revenge of earlier in the year J
Poochie managed to defeat his prodigy Callum in the final (Poochie being former Junior Champion of the World after all) to claim first, and I snuck throught the field to nab 2nd by a point from Callum. So another 1-2 SMG finish! Tim got the most scalps in assaults with his British paras (40 something!) I was on 23 at the end of day 1 but alas got no enemy infantry in assaults on day 2. I am happy to say I helped Grant claim top German tank destroyer by giving him about 11 kills in our game! Alex got a well deserved best sport.
A fantastic weekend, the games were all fun, my sportsman vote could have gone to any of my opponents and that indicates to me the kind of spirit the weekend was played. Great bunch of guys, and some really good fun games vs people I either haven’t or have very, very rarely played. Bede did a great job organising it. The tables, and especially his Pegasus Bridge table, were fantastic!
I am already looking forward to the East Front Winterfest of Bedecon 2- either Hungarian Infantry or my Cossacks methinks!
As for the T&T boys- less priests more infantry next time! I'm also tempted to try 2 platoons of cromwell's they were lots of fun.
The Placegetters from left to right
Poochie (1st), Grant- most allied tanks killed, me (2nd), Alex (best sport), Pete (best painted-fantastic US para force); in the front: Callum (3rd) and Tim (most enemy teams killed in assaults).
And finallly... Tom Leamy's Naval Gun Fire Support!