The New Zealand Division has crossed the Sangro River, thanks to the use of Bailey Bridges, towards the town of Ortona and the formidable Gustav line. They are about to run into advanced elements of a Fallschrimager division tasked with slowing the kiwi advance.
Mission: Point Defence
Kent popped round for a game and was keen to try out his new pak 40 and panzer III so I decided to use my kiwi's. He had a 1200 pt force so I quickly added a MMG, bren carrier and sniper to bring my force up to 1200 pts.
Reg 1st Lt & NCO
2x reg squads (8 men, SMG, LMG)
2x Vet Maori (Commando) squads (8 men, SMG)
1x Staghound AC
1x Med mortar
1x bren carrier
Kent's FJ (IIRC)
Vet 1st Lt + NCO
2x FJ squads (10 men, 2-3 SMGs, LMG)
1x SS squad (10 men, 5x assault rifles)
1x Free Nebelwerfer observer *
1x Med mortar
1x pak 40
1x panzer IIIJ
*We allow Germans a free nebelwerfer observer as a bonus.
The kiwis won the dice off and so attacked- fitting really. I had a cunning plan, commandos hook round the right flank, MMG, 6pdr and mortar supporting them by pinning the nearby Germans, the Sherman and regular infantry push towards the left objective.
Turn one: The central objective is in the field protected by a squad of FJ. The preparatory bombardment pins a few squads but its impact was minimal.
A second squad fans out along a stone wall.
A 222 armoured car advances from reserve- the new buildings are looking good.
The bren carrier deploys the 6pdr- at this point I had a "doh" moment as I realised my lieutenant was on the other side of the table so wasn't going to be able to use it as a mobile MG platform.
On my left flank the two regular sections advance. The one of the far left was hit by a mortar and took a casualty. Kent continued to hammer this section with mortar fire and eventually with the help of the panzer III, when it turned up, destroyed the section.
The 222 takes a long range shot at the 6pdr.
The Sherman then appears but the canny commander fired the hull mg at the222 and the main gun at the building beside it (as this building housed the German sniper)- I was up to my old tricks of trying to pin the 222 with small arms fire- and indeed managed to do some superficial damage to the armoured car.
The German mortar continues to rain down rounds on my infantry section.
The other section has advanced into the yard of the first building. The two buildings are now occupied by my sniper and observer teams.
A view from the German lines. Kent has things under control, I've not made any inroads or caused too many casualties.
Turn 3 the Panzer III has appeared to strengthen the left objective.
Kent's been busy with his new airbrush.
On the far right the Staghound advances towards the FJ, it too has been using its hull MG to pin the 222 armoured car (which by now has 5 ins on it)
The carrier redeployed across the battlefield but alas the panzer III decided it was too tempting a target. First point to Kent.
The pak 40 also turns up and takes up position, aiming down the main street towards the Sherman.
Turn 4 the first section of Maori arrives from the flank.
The staghound continues to fire at the sniper and FJ section along the wall- about now my mortar also finally ranges in on them.
Turn 4, I'm starting to run out of time and still haven't really made any inroads. My Lt leads the other regular section forward.
The Sherman moves out of LoS of the pak 40 and fires at the panzer III but misses.
Turn 5 my second Maori section arrives on the flank.
The first objective is at the bottom right, I need to assault the still full strength FJ squad though.
Kent finally sends his SS unit to strengthen the centre of his defences.
Both tanks have managed to hit but neither manages to penetrate the front armour.
On the right flank the assault goes in. Unfortuantely the Germans got the first dice and it is they that charge!
Only three teams are left to fight back and although they kill 3 teams the Maori section loses the combat and is routed/destroyed.
My turn! The second Maori section assaults the remaining FJ teams, avenges their comrades and captures the objective.
Kent's turn. The pak 40 lines up the staghound, needing a 5 to hit. It was (probably) the last turn, he needs a 5 to hit, though I could escape His pak hasn't had a chance to fire in this first game so what the hell, give it your best shot...
A 6! Not again. Note to self, never stay in the firing line of a pak 40.
My commanding officer assaults the German commander in the ruined building and all teams involved on both sides were killed in the hand to hand fighting
The SS then charge my infantry in the terraced house, routing them for the loss of only one SS team.
And so it ended. I captured one objective so it was a draw though the initiative had swung Kent's way as he had two full strength squads to my one.
Another thoroughly enjoyable game, 1200pts didn't take any longer than our more typical 1000 pt games and as usual there were lots of amusing moments throughout the game.