My opponent chose this scenario to practice for a tournament, luckily for me, because I had not noticed its unique characteristics when I purchased it way back when. I think the battle situation is refreshingly different from average. I recommend it on that basis, and because I enjoyed playing it. A German combined arms force has disengaged from a larger battle and is trying to retreat. American forces arrive to try to destroy the German force.
What makes this situation unique is that the Germans set up on board, then the Americans enter, and then the Germans try to get through them to exit.
The scenario (designed by Evan Sherry) takes place in France during November 1944. The action happens on boards y and 44. The Germans have five turns to exit 26 VP or more; prisoners do not count and at least 4 VP must be infantry. The Germans set up on board y and must cross board 44 to exit. There is a +1 LV during the last two turns to help them.
The German infantry is made of eight squads (two 468, six 467), with two 8-1 leaders, some MG and a PSK. The supporting amour is three Pz4J and two JgPz4(L), all with schürzen. They also have six concealment counters. The American force has ten squads (four 667, six 666) with three leaders (9-1, 8-1, 8-0), some MG, but surprisingly, no bazookas. The American armour component is two M4A3(76)W, two M4A3(75)W, one M4A3(105) and one M10 GMC.
All the German AFV cannon are 75L with a penetration of 17. The M4A3 AFV have 11 hull armour and 8 turret armour in the front. The American AFV have two cannons of 75 (14 penetration) and three cannons of 76L (17 penetration). The M4A3(105) must rely on its HEAT round (15 penetration) for protection, but its smoke and WP are certainly nice to have. The Pz4J, having a frontal armour of 8, must respect all of these AFV. The JgPz4(L), on the other hand, has almost invulnerable frontal armour of 14.
Here is the German setup.
My opponent’s plan, he later told me, was to exit at the north end while moving a small force in the south to keep the Americans from shifting everything north. He smartly created some dummy AFV to keep me guessing for a little while.
My plan as the Americans was to find places to put the American AFV where they could have the first shot at moving German AFV. The infantry would spread out to whatever cover they could find and then wait for the German infantry. Two attractive positions for the AFV are: on the right in the brush between two woods hexes and in bypass of the Z7 building hull-down behind the wall. The MMG teams would find level one positions to see over the hedges and walls. The following image shows where the American units ended up; concealments and CX are removed for better viewing. My tanks went CE to be more effective since the enemy SAN was two.
Initial German infantry moves in the north are slowed down by Sherman MG and cannon fire. A JgPz4 carrying riders in the backfield came into LOS of an American MMG and then lost its riders; fortunately, the CE crew was not affected. American tanks had brief glimpses of a Pz4 and a JgPz4 moving in the north, but did not roll low enough to hit them. In advancing fire, a Pz4 scored a CH against a location in the northern American building to CR a squad. By the end of the German turn, it was obvious where the dummy AFV were.
I moved one of my better Shermans into the center area for a bounding first fire side shot against a JgPz4; it missed and I did not have enough MP to duck out of sight. The return fire also missed, but that Sherman was now in trouble. I think now that it was a bad decision. That lucky Pz4 in the north got lucky again and broke the northern MG team on its first TH attempt.
As anticipated, the adventurous center Sherman died to the JgPz4, although it took two shots to kill it; the crew survived. That same JgPz4, still with rate, pivoted to shoot at a farther away Sherman that I hadn’t noticed was in its LOS. The JgPz4 rolled a CH to kill its second Sherman of its PFPh. A Pz4 ran the gauntlet between several American AFV. The M4 105 missed. The M10 GMC missed. An M4A3(75) missed twice. An M4A3(76) missed, but its intensive fire FINALLY killed the Pz4. That sacrifice, however, allows the other German AFV to proceed unmolested to the north side of the hedge line.
Some of the American forces shift to the north. The lucky JgPz4 in the center gets the turret hit that it needs against the hull down Sherman in the center of board 44. Thanks to the northern targets, the turret is presenting a side facing to the JgPz4, so the JgPz4 easily destroys the Sherman.
The northern Pz4 breaks its MA shooting at targets in the north building. The northern German infantry creep closer to the American units. The center Germans join their brethren in the north. American defensive fire kills a wounded leader, but otherwise only pins units.
I fire smoke from the M4 105 to help protect some infantry that I want to move from the center to the north. The units already in the north skulk for protection, but the rightmost squad does not return to its previous position, which would be adjacent to lots of German units. The squad hunkers under the M10 GMC.
The Germans forgo any prep fire. My opponent moves the JgPz4 nearest the M10 GMC in a very unnerving manner. The JgPz4 moves in front of the M10, but I can’t figure out exactly why. The M10 GMC cannot easily hurt the JgPz4 from the front, so I wait. When the JgPz4 enters the M10’s hex, I hold fire, fearing that I will hit the front armour (the coloured TH dr decides when firing in hex). Thinking about it now, however, I should have fired because there was a 2/3 chance to not hit the front armour. The JgPz4 uses its snoogiewoofer to put smoke in the hex and then parks behind the American AFV. A German squad does armoured assault with a Pz4 to walk through a firelane and get adjacent to the north building. Another German squad does this with the other Pz4, but is not so lucky and breaks to different fire. The Pz4 is very lucky, however, surviving a side hit and then a front hit from a Sherman 75. The Pz4 parks in front of the smokey M10 GMC. In the DFPh, the M10 takes an IF shot at the adjacent Pz4, but rolls too high and breaks its MA. A leader and several squads also move towards the M10 GMC. In the south, the two distracting German HS finally make their move, running across open ground in front of two 6-6-6 squads. Not only are the unaffected by fire, they generate a hero, who helps them break one of the American squads in advancing fire! At this point, it seems like the Germans can exit AFV, but they also need to exit at least 4 VP of infantry.
There is some ineffective prep fire in the north, because the Americans there have no place to which they can skulk. The Americans tanks in the middle split up; the M4 105 heads south to help prevent the two HS from exiting. Its advancing MG fire breaks one of those HS. The M4A3 75 heads north to the main action. The center MMG team with leader abandons the broken SW and runs to the hedge line. The M10 GMC is destroyed, but the squad in the same hex survives and advances to a good place to prevent German infantry from exiting. German defensive fire helps the American infantry in the building by creating a hero and making a HS fanatic.
No prep fire for the Germans. In the south, the HS tries to exit. The American squad misses, but the M4 105 gets it. In the north, the American MMG takes its first opportunity to lay a firelane when the Pz4 adjacent to the burning M10 GMC starts its move. As it moves adjacent to an American squad, that squad also fires at it to leave residual; it cowers to leave 4 RFP instead of 6. As the Pz4 moves by, the squad fires twice more to leave 2 RFP that the German infantry must move through to exit. The Pz4 puts smoke in the edge hex and then exits for 6 VP. The farther JgPz4 follows it off for another 7 VP (total 13). The Pz4 adjacent to the building fire its smoke discharger successfully, then dies to the M4A3 75.
The Germans have eight VP of infantry at the north edge near the exit edge. They also have a squad that could exit, but it is adjacent to American infantry. The two northern stacks of one leader and one squad each must move through three hexes of residual fire of 2 FP. The first northern infantry stack tries to move through the firelane; leader makes it, squad does not. The German player cleverly kept an AFV stationary for cover in the second RFP hex. Leader continues through other residuals to exit for 2 VP (total 15). A second leader-squad stack moves through all three residual fire hexes and exits for 4 VP (total 19). The second JgPz4 moves to place discharger smoke and then exits for 7 VP (total 26). We miscalculated during the game and thought the Germans needed to exit another squad, but the Germans have won at this point.
While writing this AAR, I thought about what I might have done differently. A couple of things occurred to me. I believe I sent too much infantry up the center; one of those squads would have been more useful in the north. Putting an AFV hull down behind a wall may have been too aggressive; maybe staying out of LOS would have been more effective. Perhaps I could have anticipated the northern thrust, and placed a second AFV with the M10 GMC in the north. In any event, I enjoyed the scenario and I could play it again.
After publishing this post, a commenter informed me that the American forces entered from the wrong side. I confirmed this is true. While we had fun anyway, don’t base any SP150 plans on what you read here!