Monday night saw Daren putting on a WW2 game using BattleGround rules. These are a really detailed skirmish set that I last played back in February.
This time the scenario was this: a small German kampfgruppe led by myself and Dan was tasked with getting rid of some pesky Polish paratroopers (commanded by Des) that were ensconced in the outskirts of Driel. To carry out this task we had: a section of both SS and Heer infantry, a Panzerschreck team, a Panzerknacker team armed with Panzerfausts, a StuG III and 2 (yes 2!) Tiger I’s. We were told to expect a weak platoon and were warned that a force from XXX Corp under command of Ian and Andy might have finally fought its way through and could be expected to arrive anytime soon. A quick and simple plan was hatched whereby the infantry with Panzer killers attached would advance through the wood whilst the StuG would take up position on the right to soften up/deal with the expected resistance in the church whilst he Tigers did the same on the left and with the wrecked house before the infantry went forwards. The Tigers and StuG would also be on the lookout for enemy armour and would deal with that when and if it arrived.
First of all things went swimmingly for me, with the StuG moving into position and my lads reaching the edge of the wood with no problems and without being spotted – well the StuG was spotted, it’d be hard not to really, so were the Tigers over on the left surprisingly enough! They then managed to spot the Poles lining the wall of the churchyard and so I thought I’d give them a volley (whilst hoping that the next activation card was either the StuG or the Tigers so that they could join in). This is when things went a bit wrong. My initial volley was ok but the stone wall they were behind definitely helped reduce the effect.of the fire, it only caused a few wounds and made three defenders leg it. The Poles then opened up as they were on overwatch so could react to my fire and they had obviously been spending their time in Blighty at the butts because the return fire was deadly, after they had finished only 4 men were left standing from the section and 4 of them had fallen back due to bricking it, with one of them wounded! To make matters worse the Vickers gun on top of the wrecked house joined in and I was finally left with only 2 men, who passed their morale test but wisely sought cover behind a tree – the only consolations being that one of them had the MG42 and we knew where the Vickers was so the Tigers could deal with them!
The StuG got ready to deal out some payback next and loaded with HE, aimed at the church wall, the gunner hit the fire button and nothing – bleeding thing jammed! Over on the left though Dan’s Tigers didn’t have that problem and one sent an 88mm present into the Vickers position, taking out 2 of the crew and wounding another but the gunner was a triple hard bastard and stayed at his post laughing at the danger. In the distance we could now see the dust from the relieving force and they would be upon us soon so we had to deal with the infantry fast whilst we still had time. Whilst my gunner and loader were getting the dud shell out of the gun my StuG commander decided to pop up and let fly at the churchyard with the roof MG42. As he did he heard a large boing-ing sound as the Poles let fly with a PIAT round which thankfully fell short and he managed to fire the MG, which duly jammed after three wildly inaccurate rounds – who makes these weapons!
Dan started to manouever one of his Tigers to cover the road round the shelled house and spotted a Cromwell. He duly opened up on it and it shuddered to a halt but didn’t start burning – apparently the round slightly penetrated and scared the bejeezus out of the crew which meant they had to spend 2 moves baling cack from their overalls before they could do anything else. I had spotted another Cromwell barrelling down the central road so the two Panzerkiller teams got ready for action. Unfortunately Pvt. Bigbollockofski on the Vickers (who was leading a charmed life with a Tiger having another go at him and him surviving yet again whilst again passing a morale check) spotted the ‘schreck team and let them have it wiping them out before they could get into the fight. My remaining MG42 managed to get off one burst which wounded the PIAT loader and another bloke before they too succumbed to return fire.
The StuG had managed to sort out it’s gun and fired on a Cromwell that popped into view at the back of the church brewing it up – who needs an 88, a 75 will do just fine! – indeed it blew up which caused the crew of a mortar that was setting up behind it to decide that they’d rather be elsewhere and so ran off. Unfortunately Andy had advanced the Cromwell down the central road at the same time and was placed for a deadly side shot which duly happened killing my crew immediately and brewing me up. However the Cromwell was right by the as yet unspotted Panzerknacker team and I was hoping they would get activated next so that we could take out another tank. This failed to happen and Andy duly moved the Cromwell down the road a bit and turned round to face where he suspected the threat to be, also it was the direction that the Tigers were so eminently sensible.
This did not deter my Panzerkiller chaps and they fired off all 4 of their ‘fausts which punched through the Cromwell’s front armour and drivers vision ports, setting off the ammo inside and blowing up another Allied tank. Dan was still having trouble taking out his Cromwell, with his main gun jamming as well and we agreed that it would probably be bet if we retired from the field as we didn’t have enough troops to carry out our orders even though we had taken out the armour threat as we only had one infantry section left. Before we could do so however, Andy had been sneaking a PIAT team along a hedge on the extreme left flank and in the last action of the night boinged off a shot which somehow managed to penetrate and knock out the left hand Tiger. We definitely had to fall back now!
All in all it was a fun night with much good natured banter flying about (and yes Ian my favourite band is The Jam), and some great moments, Dan and I particularly like the look an the oppo’s faces when our 2 Tigers were revealed. Man of the match was definitely the nutter on the Vickers, Des said he was recommending him for a gong. He led a charmed life surviving 88 HE shells but stuck to his position when the rest of the crew copped it and was a deadly shot too, the git! Many thanks go to Daren for putting on the game with his lovely AB figures and great looking models which were a pleasure to play with. As for the rules, whilst they did give a good game they are very detailed, maybe a bit too detailed for me. It did seem like Daren was putting in a lot of work checking charts for everything that seemed to slow things down somewhat. Never mind though it was a nice change and we all enjoyed ourselves which is the main thing isn’t it?
Here’s a few shots of some of Des’ newly finished kit, he just couldn’t resist getting it out!