Got to play a new variation of Field of Battle – WW2 last night. I’d call it squad-level…a “unit” is a squad or weapons team and the “command” is a platoon. But this is not a skirmish-level, individually-based model game. I love me some WW2 gaming (my three favorites, in order are: ACW, WW2 and Napoleonics) – and I love the squad-level action, so this really was a special treat for me.
We fought a German versus American action in Northwest Europe without really picking a time or place. Since there were no hedgerows, maybe we can think of the fall of 1944, after Falaise. The Germans were set up defending a small town and nearby wooded area while the Americans advanced to push them back and continue the overall advance. A small waterway cut in front of the German positions. The left flank of the German position, although resting on the waterway, was “in the air” with regard to cover – as there was none of any import. The only feature was a small wooded copse.
Greg, Chris, John and Greg (yep, two Gregs) played the Americans while myself, Terry and Eric played the Germans. Bob was there and hung out for a while, but did not play as he had an engagement to move off to.
I did not accurately record the number of commands involved in the fight, looking at the photos and recalling details, I think there were 7 American infantry platoons, 5 Sherman platoons and 1 M10 platoon – also there were a handful of mortar and machinegun teams spread about. For the Germans, there were 5 infantry platoons, 2 Mark IV platoons and 1 Panther platoon – we had about 3 or 4 machinegun teams too. Oh, we had a 27MM FLAK team and a PAK-40 too. I think Brent mentioned that the Army Morale scores were 30 (Americans) and 29 (Germans).
I commanded three infantry platoons and 1 machinegun platoon and deployed into the open area, with one platoon heading into that small wooded area. As it turned out, those must have been Osttruppen, because their ratings were not very good. Two were D6 on defense and the third was D4.
Eric (with all of the remaining foot elements and the FLAK and the PAK) deployed in the town and a rocky/wooded area (Class III) outside of town that defended the right flank. Terry commanded the panzers and placed them behind the town, safe from the American advance. Although defending, we had an attack plan. The panzers would roll out of their positions, swing around through my positions and together we’d attack the Americans in the area. Yeah, we’re nuts…
I really didn’t play too much attention to the American command divisions at the time, but the two Gregs played all infantry commands while John had but 1 infantry platoon and 2 Sherman and the M10 platoons. Chris had 3 Sherman platoons but I don’t think he commanded any infantry.
So, the battle went well, the Americans had some pre-battle artillery to resolve, which took out the FLAK team! My Osttruppen moved into the wooded area and surprisingly they fought well! The Americans were not really delayed, but I was able to force the loss of few morale chips. Of course, the men did not abandon the woods when the heat got turned on (movement cards did not favor us at the time), and the Americans overwhelmed them – resulting in morale chip losses for the Germans.
Next to be chewed up were my units in the open area. Yes, I did some damage to the Americans as they advanced, but there were too many of them. Our plan was going astray! We were not getting the movement cards, so our troops were not executing the plan. This is not the fault of the system – indeed this is how the Piquet family operates – these things are to be expected and managed in battle.
Eric’s boys held firm in the woods, American artillery was directed against them on occasion, causing some loss and such but there was not enough loss to drive him away. His PAK-40, deployed at the edge of town, did destroy a Sherman at long range and drone another back a little!
Terry’s tanks finally got moving – no doubt that OKW was holding them back on orders from Berlin – but my supporting infantry were decimated and John’s tanks and Greg’s infantry were coming up on them. Nevertheless, Terry’s panzers fought hard in close range combat with enemy infantry and tanks. He lost one of the Mark IV’s but killed a fair bit of infantry and stopped the American advance short of the town. Terry’s commander became nicknamed ‘Der Kork’ for corking the American advance!
Also important on this battle, was that the Germans did occasionally receive some off-board mortar support which helped (I guess the reason that we didn’t get to the movement cards sooner was that we were getting to the leadership cards!). When the Americans got off-board support, they directed it against Eric’s troops or as smoke rounds. So, this support did little to inflict losses. No aircraft support entered into this battle.
Around this time, the Germans ran out of AMPs – and the Americans were down to the last 1 or 2. As fighting continued, the Americans lost those, the Germans gained (I think we had about 5 or 6 earned back at the end) and with inevitable looming, we called the game.
In historical terms, the Americans pushed back the German perimeter to the town, inflicted losses on the enemy, confirmed numbers and locations and fell back. Tomorrow the bombers would take care of the remaining German resistance and the advance will continue.
For the Germans, it proved that their fighting forces, when not under constant air-attack, can handle the Americans and their numerical and materiel superiority. If only the Luftwaffe could regain its dominance, Germany can be saved.
I enjoyed myself, and hope to play more of these battles. As I have said, I love this period and this scale. Thanks guys! Just raw photos this time, I don't have time this morning to comment them (football in 40 minutes!)