July 31, 2013

Panzershrek AAR 5/5 or fun with Panzers

One of the most enjoyable games of FOW i've played and one that went right down to the wire.  Scenario was No Retreat which is my favourite scenario when playing as Fallschirmjager, but it would be my first time as the attacker.  In this case the terrain worked to our advantage - so we though - with a river between the enemy and the most forward objective.  It also provided a lot of cover for our advance.  With 1/2 the enemy off in reserve and all of our tanks on we had a golden opportunity to rush the first objective and grab victory early.  But things didnt work out that way and the game became one of those ones where it literally see-sawed back and forth from turn to turn.

Deployment our Panzers spread eveningly with the AA in the middle where it can provide cover for both groups.  The closest objective is on the left in an open field - a small enemy PF/Assault Rifle Platoon is dug in in a wood next to it. On the other side of the river is a large hill which would later prove a serious issue for us.  Behind that was bocage where a Platoon of enemy assault guns were deployed.
For both of our attack groups a key worry was the ambushing platoon of 5 enemy Panthers.  To this end both groups had to proceed cautiously - on the right both PzIV's and Panthers would stick to the buildings limiting any fire from the Panthers.  Air power would be another issue.
The left hand group would leave one Platoon on the hill to provide overwatch while the PzIVs would go for the objective.  A key problem was the fact that the dug-in enemy infantry were all back from the edge of the forest so were invisible to anyone more than 6" away.  Hence our Nebs had nothing to range in at present.
The initial moves PzIV's in the van as these were to be our infantry assault units - this group would also if able shift its attack to the rear most objective.
The enemy ambush is revealed at the beginning of their first turn.  The majority of our left flank attack group are in LOS of them but not the right flank group.  10 shots at AT15 are about to come our way.
The enemy Panthers aim for our tanks on the hill which dont have concealment and being Trained are easier to hit.  While the score several hits none of them punch through our armour.  But enemy airpower is more telling - it turned up every turn for 10 turns - with 2 PzIVs knocked out.
We get some quick revenge as the enemy ambush is destroyed in one devastating salvo.  The 2 surviving tanks break and flee the battlefield.
With the ambush gone and only enemy air power capable of hurting us the right flank group angles toward the nearest objective opting not to cross the river.  The loss of 2 x PzIVs on the left also a factor.
Everybody moves up and this is where we find that the terrain is going to be a problem.  The railway line is slow going and the bocage presents a horrible LOS and Bogging problem.  This slows our advance and pushes our tanks through a narrow gap on the left flank between the bocage, railway line and table edge.  A gap covered by enemy assault guns and under LOS to their artillery observer.
Simply not enough space to advance and we can't do so against airpower which we are being forced to shoot down every turn.  The PzIVs have stopped to fire at the enemy assault guns in a long range duel while the Panthers are slowly making their way over the railway line with the intent of getting all 5 within assault range of the enemy infantry.
At this stage our opponents are worried we have tanks approaching the objective on two sides, their heavy tanks are all dead and no reserves have come on.  The only thing standing in our way is the slow terrain.  To help in the interim our Neb observer has been double timing forward on the right flank to get in behind the bocage and within LOS of the dug in infantry.
TURNING POINT!!! - Enemy reserves come on, Nebs and Assault Guns.  They plus more airpower cause absolute havoc just as our forces are getting positioned to assault.  First 2 Panthers on the left are knocked out, then the remaining PzIV's.  On the right 3 more PzIVs are destroyed the surviving vehicle needing his Fuhrer save to stay on the board.  This forces him to withdrew behind the wood and the Panthers to rush up in their place.
THE FOREST GRAVEYARD!!! These trees are now covered in smoke and flames from burning tanks as enemy assault guns on the hill behind the river (which we know realise gives our opponents a great tactical edge) can hit the flanks of any of our tanks that try to assault the closest objective.  Airpower is such a problem that the AA risk bogging to cross the bocage and provide better coverage.
More problems - enemy tank and artillery fire is concentrating on the AA making it easier for their airpower to get through.  That airpower takes out another Panther on the left leaving just one.  But our observer is now in place to call in artillery on their infantry.  The Panthers though have at least started to take out some enemy asault guns - one is burning at the top of the picture.

From this point on I stopped taking pictures as the game was getting very exciting.  As we started to take out more enemy assault guns an opportunity arose for us to resume our assault on the enemy objective.  We couldnt auto lose as we had teams over half way but we had to take that objective to win.

So how did it end...

My partner Jeremy had to drop out for a minute...

So with time basically up...

I launched three single tank assaults on the enemy infantry contesting the objective...

First Nebs and AA pin the enemy down and kill 1-2 teams then...

A PzIV goes in but gets knocked out by defensive fire...

Then a Panther goes in, gets through the defensive fire, doesnt bog and takes out one enemy team before being knocked out.

Finally, another Panther goes in, gets through, doesn't bog, kills a team, survives, kills another, survives again, misses and then gets killed.

The result - the enemy Platoon is down to less than 1/2 strength but motivates to stay put while our army is basically wiped out as we are forced to take a company morale check without a CIC... hence we lose and fade away quietly into the night... well sort of...

A 1-6 loss to us but a hell of an enjoyable game that we came oh so close to snatching at the very end.

Have to give props to our opponents to who were very nice guys, looking forward to meeting them again (we're our choice for best sports).  Liked the way they shared all the dice rolling, no matter whose teams were involved they each threw 1/2 the dice so they were both constantly involved in the game.  I like that.

Next up Call to Arms in Wellington this weekend 1750pts of LW-FOW.


Danisnotatree said...

Great Battle Reports from the weekend. I have enjoyed reading them and appreciate the time you've taken to put up the photos etc. A great game to finish on.

John Murrie said...

Cheers mate - I enjoy writing them. Expect more after Call to Arms this weekend, I may even get back into my narrative dramatic style...

The Kiwi said...

Total brutality. I like the keep on attacking and then attack again conclusion this game came down to.
cheers. Great report.