July 26, 2013

Panzershrek FOW AAR 2/5 vs. Guards Armoured/British Paras

Panzershrek Game 2 and this we were attacking against a solid Para/Guards armoured force including 2 Platoons of Shermans and Sherman Fireflys, some ambushing 17pdrs, bits and bobs infantry and a lot of artillery.  The terrain set up consisted of a very large village in the middle of the table, a series of hills on our left flank and open fields + hedgerows on our right flank.  With both of the objectives we needed to capture widely space our plan called for splitting our force into equal parts and using the terrain to cover each as they made for bother objectives simulataneously.  To provide a mobile reserve and some protection at the back our respective HQ's stayed at the back with the Nebs.  With 17pdrs in ambush and no recon assets in our force we had to move very carefully to deny the ambush a decent place to set up.

For both thrusts our force would consist of 1 Platoon of Panthers and 1 of PzIV's.  The mobile AA could only go with one of them and opted for the left flank attack as the one of the right offered more protection terrain wise and allowed us to get closer to the enemy faster.  The right hand attack faced the tougher battle with dug-in 6pdrs, Artillery and 4 Shermans (2 Fireflys), while the left hand attack only had the 1 potential Sherman Platoon facing it - this would depend on how our opponents rolled for reserves.

The right flank attack moves up with our respective HQ's taking cover in a forest with reasonable but not open LOS to the enemy positions.  The plan advance up the extreme right hand edge following the road with the Panthers in front.
The left hand attack skirts the village using the hills as cover.  The mobile AA meanwhile pushes forward and puts fire down on the British Paras dug in around the village square.  A number of casualties are inflicted and the Paras are forced to withdrew.  No further advance is made toward the village though because of the threat of those ambushing 17pdrs.
The British positions showing the heavy lean toward (our) right.  6pdrs and infantry in the forest, more in the village and Artillery in between. 
The advance continues but gets stalled by the narrow deployment area and the desire to avoid bogging checks on the Bocage and Stonewalls.  We are also coming under increasing amounts of artillery fire directed by an AOP which we cannot combat.
Right flank force gets into position with the Panthers taking the lead and aiming for the Fireflys.  If we can kill both of them early (you can see one hiding at the end of the road behind the hedge) we could outflank the entire British position.
British tank commanders play a careful game and use a small hill to best advantage hiding below the crest.  Being Veterans they are very hard to hit, much harder than the Panthers will prove to be.  Long range shooting is ineffective so we close in.
The right hand attack force moves in and opens fire at close range on the British tanks.  With 6 - 12 shots vs. their 4 - 8 we stand a good chance of knocking them out with minimal loss.
Things go peared shaped quickly.  Panzer fire is horribly inaccurate whereas the Sherman Fireflys quickly destroy one PzIV, two Panthers and bail the 3rd.  The 3 remaining PzIV's horribly vulnerable to their AT15 beat a hasty retreat. 
Efforts switch to the left where the Panzers and AA move in a concentrated group.  Skirting the many stone walls their advance is halted when British reinforcements come on in their flank.  Both Panzer Platoons shift further left to combat the new threat - particularly the 2 Fireflys.  The objective is not far away (top right of picture) and at this stage is still uncontested.
Panzer fire again proves inaccurate and we have major issues trying to neutralise the Shermans.  The advance on the objective cannot continue while they are in our flank/rear so we have to stay put.
With the right flank closed and the left static we need to adapt our plan.  The PzIV's that escaped from the right flank double time across the open fields aiming for the village with the CIC in tow.  The intent to force a way up the middle in a manner that narrows the LOS and LOF of the ambushing 17pdrs, which haven't yet arrived.  The Panther 2IC and CIC stay put and try and take out the right hand Shermans at long range - in hindsight they should have gone with the attacking force right from the start.
In we go - no ambush yet.  The CIC is behind the hill and out of LOS from anything up the road, this will prove vital in a few short minutes.
Finally some success - 3/4 Shermans on the left are dead and our forces can now start to move toward the objective again leaving the Panthers to take out the remaining British tank.  Loses here amount to a single PzIV.
Meanwhile on the right things are still in motion as the bailed Panther is still alive.  Over the next few turns the crew continues to hide under their vehicle as British tanks pour fire into the Panzer but are unable to kill it or to force the crew to flee.  They finally get back in and knock out 2 Shermans before being destroyed themselves. All this while the PzIVs are advancing through the village.

The final picture shows the ambushing 17pdrs appearing directly in front of the advancing PzIV's.  They havent gotten far enough forward and 9 shots at AT15 hurtle down vapourising all of the PzIVs except for the CIC who is just out of LOS behind the crest of a hill.

I really cant remember what happened after this.  We lost the game as we ran out of time I think, or the Panthers broke.  One of the two.  We had a solid plan but were to cautious with the use of the CIC/2IC tanks which should have joined the attacks early on.  The move through the village was not a good idea and perhaps the AA could have preceded and helped out.

Result 1-6 loss and victory to our opponent.


James Brewerton said...

Hard fight and you took a pounding great batrep
Peace James

Danisnotatree said...

Hard luck with the loss - looked like an attractive board to play on. Given the army your opponents were runnin I thought it was Scott and Paul, but it sounds like Shermans and paras were popular that weekend.