April 20, 2012

Battle Report - Fallschirmjager vs. Tankovy

This post could alternatively be labelled "I LOVE AIR SUPPORT"!!!!  

More FOW v3 practice ahead of the Mid-War Panzershrek tournament in July last night.  Unfortunately my doubles partner couldnt make it so I ended up running two companies solo both my own creation.  This pitted a Tunisian Panzer and Fallschirmjager Company against a Soviet Guards Tankovy/Infantry Company in a basic free for all. Despite being the attacking force the superior number of Soviet tanks and Derek's aggressive first move meant I was immediately on the defensive. 

Derek fielded
- 2 x Soviet Infantry Platoons (18 stands each or something)
- 1 x Large Platoon of T34's
- KV1 Platoon
- 2 x Stuart Platoons
- Heavy Mortars

Up against this I took
Panzer Company
CHQ - 2 x PzIIIM
1st - 2 x PzIIIM, 1xPzIVG
2nd - 2 x PzIIIM, 1 x PzIVG
AA - 2 x 2cm Half-tracks
Recone - 3 x Halftracks (2 with 2cm)

CHQ - 2 x PK/SMG + AT Rifle
FJ - PK & 3 Squads
FJ - PK & 2 Squads
FJ Mortars - 4 x GW34
FJ AT - 2 x Pak 40

As my PzIII havent all arrived from Maelstrom yet I was proxying PzIVH as the PzIIIM's and 2 PzIIIM as the PzIVG's - confused yet?!?

Terrain Set Up - Including a whole bunch of the new Battlefield in a Box Forest sets.  Objectives are basically in the corners of each deployment area on both sides of the table.  Key one at beginnig of the game is in the lower forest surrounded the 2 Squad Platoon of FJ, the FJ 2IC and the FJ Anti-tank Rifle

Soviet Tanks advance enmass with T34's leading the way and KV's behind.
FJ and a Panzer Platoon await the onslaught, unfortunately having lost the initiative (and first turn) they are not yet dug in.
In the centre the AA (without any Soviet air to shoot at) guard the 2nd objective, while the rest of the armour waits to see what the Soviets will do.
Soviet Light Tanks advance up the middle straight into the fire of the Pak 40's.

Meanwhile Ju87D's pop out and attack the advancing Soviet armour.  I got incredibly lucky and only missed out on Air Support in one turn, and got 2-3 planes pretty much everytime.  Unfortunately Derek made at least 9 saves against the Ju87Ds Bombs but any saves he didnt make resulted in an instant kill thanks to the Stukas 1+ FP.
Panzer IIIs and IV's manage to knock out one and bail another T34.
Soviet Tanks close in on the Panzers - who were badly deployed - and bail the PzIVG

Returning fire the PzIII's and Pak 40s fail to hit any of the Soviets who in turn knock out the entire Panzer Platoon leaving the now dug in Fallschirmjager with no support.
AH HA - Stukas to the rescue (although I had to move the plane after this picture to keep it 40cm away from my teams) - Air power would save the Fallschirm on this flank from disaster blunting the Soviet assault.
Worrying signs on the left though as the horde of Stuarts advances.  Recon half-tracks pop in and out of cover looking for an easy kill on their weaker side armour but fail to make any headway.
Soviet armour hangs back from the assault waiting for the infantry to advance.  The Dug-in, concealed and gone to ground Fallschirmjager are simply to hard to hit and the Soviet Tanks are now taking a serious battering from the Stukas - 3 are now knocked out a 2 more bailed.
The left flank heats up as the Air Power on the right allows me to send the 2nd Panzer Platoon off to deal with the Stuarts, unfortunately they couldnt hit a barn door with a Tornado and just sit there looking pretty.
Things are heating up now, my Panzer Company has just lost is HQ to the KV1s.  I had positioned them 8" away from both FJ Platoons so they could contribute defensive fire to either of them, but they got knocked out first.  Air Power however, has kept the Soviet armour pinned down as has fire from the 2 Pak40s.  But now the Soviet infantry is getting close to assualt positions.
The scene from the Soviet side.
Here they come - Soviet infantry advance into assualt positions, smoke from the burning Panzers giving them concealment from the defensive fire of the Fallschirmjager.
Here they come Soviet Tanks and Armour come pouring in although not as many as Derek hoped thanks to the Stukas.
A brave choice but the wrong one as it turns out - Defensive fire, 22 shots in all, wipes out half of the assaulting Soviet infantry forcing the rest to pull back.  Airpower and Mortars then begin to rein down on them and eventually they break and flee off the battlefield.
Things on this flank now come drown to the few remaining Soviet tanks. These move into assault the Dug in Fallschirmjager. Defensive fire from the AT Rifle destroys one tank, and 3 more are destroyed by the Panzerknackers of the Platoon command team and Company 2IC.  The T34 Platoon is wiped out and only the KVs remain, but luckily for them they are too close to my troops for the Stukas to hit them.  The Paks have also fallen silent as Soviet Mortars pounds them.
 Unfortunately I stopped taking photos at this point as the action swung from this now stalemated right flank over to the left. Here my Recon Platoon had been wiped out by the Soviet Stuarts and the Panzer III's had been unable to hit let alone destroy the Soviet armour.  While the Panzers and their supporting AA held the objective the Soviets achieved what Derek called a 'Gamey' victory by destroying the AA Platoon.  With their CHQ also gone the Panzer Company now reduced to 1 Platoon out 4 breaks and runs ending the game in Dereks favour.

All up this was a brutal and very enjoyable game.  Air Power is just awesome and if it hadnt been for Derek making those 9 or so saves his Tanks would never have gotten into firing let alone Assault range on the right flank.  That would have left the Stukas free to attack the Stuarts thus keeping that flank secure while my infantry advanced forward to the Soviet objectives - now undefended.  

In hindsight Derek also pointed out two key things (1) if I had kept the Recon back out of the battle they could have raced up and taken the undefended Soviet objective - it was behind the hill that all his tanks advanced over - in a tournament situation going for the win like this is always a good idea.  I lost sight of it as I was concentrating on the battles on my side rather than the overall picture, and (2) that the unarmoured AA Half-tracks are a weak point in the Panzer Company. They are necessary but they also  make an easy target and a simple way to force the Panzers closer to a company morale check.


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