|The battlefield looking North - US forces massing at the top of the board, Fallschirmjager dug in at the bottom.|
The house to the right of the X intersection is the Tavern and home to a Squad of FJ and the CHQ.
Hauptmann Richter looked on with satisfaction at his troops efforts. Amongst a small vineyard a series of defensive positions had been dug complete with sandbag and wooden reinforcing, while 3 2cm AA guns were ready to see off any roving Allied Jabo's, ammunition stockpiled close at hand. The damn allied air power had already cost him half his force - a Platoon of FJ and a section of Rocket Launchers 'appropriated' from a local Heer unit were going to be late arriving at the village - forced to take side roads to avoid air attack. Richter was not sure when they would arrive, but it needed to be soon as forward posts had returned reporting the presence of US infantry & armour just north of the village. Richter's orders were to Hold a Line anchored on the village delaying the US advance so other forces could fall back to better positions.
|Hauptmann Richter & his Fallschirmjager dig in around the village Tavern & vineyard|
Fallschirmjager complete their prepared positions just in time as US Parachute infantry and armour - including several larger Shermans not seen before with bigger guns and thicker armour emerge from woods to the North of the village. The US Paras also seemed to have more officers than would be expected from such a small force - the Paras were in fact the veteran Easy Company led by Captain Richard Winters - 2 Platoons of Parachute Infantry, a Mortar Platoon, a Platoon of Shermans and Air Cover.
The opening salvos of the battle began as a barrage of mortar fire landed amongst the dug in Fallschirmjager, although to no effect. US armour moved closer and begin to pound the German positions and to the villagers it seemed that the small German force would quickly be overwhelmed. But Hauptmann Richter had a couple of trump cards. The first of these a Platoon of Assault Guns now emerged from hidden positions just south of the village, entered the vineyard and began firing on the advancing Shermans.
|FJ Assault guns emerge hidden positions to ambush the approaching Shermans.|
|One Sherman begins to burn furiously while the crews of two others bail out as their vehicles take several hits|
|US tanks return fire and 3/4 StuGs are destroyed in minutes|
|The last StuG is destroyed as US Mortar fire begins to take its toll on the dug in Fallschirmjager,|
|US parachute infantry moves into assault positions|
|The first of three unsuccessful assaults is launched|
|The all important AA gun|
|Reserves finally arrive and in perfect position to take out the US Shermans|
By this time Hauptmann Richter had been forced to abandon the burning Tavern, and when his AA guns were destroyed by US tank fire even the destruction of another Sherman could not stop a 4th and then 5th assault from overruning the vineyard. More US mortar fire then began hitting the vineyard and shrapnel pierced Richters side and he fell amongst the last of his men.
Always good to get some practice in before a tournament, especially as this was my first game of FOW since August last year. One more game next week and possibly one the Thursday after that and then its off to Wellington for 3 days of wargaming and 8 games of LW-FOW..