After a quick break to re-do the terrain and decide on our new support lists it was straight onto the next game in the campaign, one which I had recently played and had not done at all well at, surely this time I’d do better, especially as I knew where I’d gone wrong in the last game, surely I would…….
Erste Zug was in quite bad shape at the beginning of this battle as 1st Gruppe had been reduced to 2 men, hardly enough to man a LMG, so I collected a rifle squad to bolster them back into a decent sized section. I added a sniper to my force and ensured that the Adjutant was on hand to forward troops to me when needed.
Mike did well again when rolling for his free moves during the patrol phase and managed to push forwards into ‘Junction Wood’ and into a great position covering the right flank. I was reasonably happy with my JOP’s, ideally I would have liked to have been a tad further forwards but I had a nice compact position I thought.
Mike suffered a bit trying to get his guy’s on during his first phase losing his Sherman and, oh the irony, a scout team in the fog. I then brought on a squad to secure the farm by deploying into the farmyard – the plan being to get the 2 LMG’s in the high windows early to cover the left of the table. Mike then managed to bring on a rifle section into ‘Junction Wood’ and I decided to bring on another section to secure ‘Box Wood’ to prevent any attempt on the JOP there in my phase and got lucky, rolling a triple 3 again and so ending the turn and the pesky bombardment – I also duly brought on Klinsmann’s section into the centre of the wood and then stupidly moved up towards the hedge facing towards the Brits.
Mike then tried bringing on his Sherman and scouts again and thankfully lost them in the fog for the duration of the game, my happiness at this event was short lived as he the deployed a Vickers gun at the hedgerow on the right and proceeded to fire on 2. Gruppe. This would not go well for Klinsmanns lads. Vickers guns hurt. A lot.
Although 2. Gruppe were suffering a bit I was glad that at least I had the advantage in armour now and called up Schumacher. I also brought ‘der Kaiser’ onto the table to try and help keep Klinsmann’s boys in order – also to help with activations as I was rolling a lot of 5’s and 6’s (which can be a double edged sword, yes yo build CoC dice but it does mean that you lose the chance to activate units).
My guys in the farmhouse weren’t doing much and as Mike had vacated ‘Junction Wood’ with his rifle section, moving them to the left, I decided on a cunning plan – I would push them into the wood and try for his JOP there, unfortunately there was no door directly into the wood so I had to get them along the wall to jump them over. I also decided that the best way to take out the Vickers was with the PzIV so started to move forwards to do that. 2. Gruppe were pinned by this time and it was imperative that this got done quickly.
Mike then brought on another rifle section along the road on the left where his initial rifle section now lurked. To counter this move I brought on my Sniper and deployed him on overwatch in the Smithy so that he had a good view out of the gate and hence anyone moving along the road.
Mike’s push down the road with his 2 sections was causing me slight concern, especially as my sniper wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped just adding shock to Mike’s section on the road. I duly deployed Breitner’s 1.Gruppe at the junction JOP to await events and tried to get the tank up to take on the Vickers – I kept rolling low for his movement and it took ages! – however it did seem that the Vickers might be jammed as it hadn’t fired for a while, but it had managed to reduce the squad in numbers and wound Klinsmann before this happened. The lads in the farmyard just couldn’t get activated to jump the wall.
Things then took a dramatic turn very quickly. Instead of using a section activation to get 3.Gruppe over the wall I stupidly thought it would be best to wheel Breitner’s lads into the road to chop down Mike’s section in the road, banking on the power of the MG42 to do it’s thing. However, this didn’t go as well as I’d hoped and Mike came out of it alright – just a bit shocked. In response he then pushed the section beyond the hedge into a flanking position and initiated close combat. This was the first time we had done this and the result was carnage. After the noise and smoke had all settled down no-one from either section was left!
Over on the other side of the farm the PzIV had finally got a shot away at the Vickers but it didn’t do too much damage and it was too late anyway as 2.Gruppe finally broke when the Vickers duly unjammed itself putting an acute burst in that resulted in wiping out the remainder of the section leaving only the wounded Klinsmann left who quickly decamped.
So I had quickly gone down to one remaining section who were stuck in the farmyard! Time to consider what to do. What I should have done was declared I was bugging out straight away, but I didn’t. Idiot.
In a fit of pique I decided that I’d do for the Vickers and was determined to take him out with my tank, thinking I’d take the JOP as well. I was then going to jump the wall and take the JOP in the wood too hoping to break Mike’s morale quickly and then cause him to retire. Again. Idiot.
I edged the tank forwards for some reason and again failed to cause any casualties on the Vickers, whilst my lads in the farmyard again couldn’t get over the wall. Mike’s go and he deployed his PIAT team right by the tank and let fly. BOING! it bounced off but caused a bit of shock. Over on the other road Mike also did a brilliant manoeuvre, he rushed the section there forwards and overrun my JOP at the junction. Arse!
I was hit with some sort of command paralysis next and decided to get my remaining section into the farmhouse, not having the dice to do anything else. Mike then got a double 6 and finally put the nail in my coffin. The PIAT team missed and I started to get some confidence back as he only had one shot left, then Mike decided to make a dash for the next nearest JOP charging forwards and coming close – ‘Der Kaiser’ was in the way though and after a quick brutal fight he died a hero’s death taking out 4 of the Brits and causing them to fall back. My morale was now down to 4 and Mike then tried with the PIAT again, KABOOM!! Jammy git!
With my PzIV gone, morale at 2 and JOP’s all but overrun I ordered my remaining section to break out as best they can and head for home. Another defeat and this time quite catastrophic.
All in all I had suffered the following:
- Platoon Leader – Dead
- 1.Gruppe – 2 remaining members and Breitner wounded
- 2. Gruppe – all casualties and Klinsmann wounded
- 3.Gruppe – 1 missing and 1 captured whilst escaping the battlefield
- PzIV – kaput!
Following the post battle routine this meant that Erste Zug had: 3 men dead, 3 men wounded and 2 men returning to battle. I had also lost my commander and 2 Section leaders wounded. A complete disaster. Somehow I needed to re0organise and hold the victorious Brits up during the next battle, the only crumb of comfort was that I had at least inflicted some casualties.
After playing 2 games in one day we both agreed that the rules really are quite fantastic – adding the campaign element to them really enhances things too. We agreed to carry on the next day. Hopefully I could put up a better showing…….
Lesson learnt: YOU CAN MOVE YOUR JOPS!