When Flames of War version 1 was released I picked up a Panzer Lehr army. It’s a thing of beauty and I hope it’ll see some table time with the larger (Battalion) scale ‘O’ Group ruleset coming out soon. I saw an intriguing few posts on Warwick Kinrade’s (creator of Battlegroup) blog and decided to copy what he was doing… he’s playing through a campaign with six games based on a brief counter-attack by Panzer Lehr on the 10th-11th July 1944 near Pont Herbert and the Vire river. He’s basing the campaign on the Skirmish Campaign’s book, “Heroes of Omaha and Panzer Lehr”, which I have ordered. I’m going to copy what he’s doing for now!
This small solo-game represents the advance of US Task Force X towards the crossroads at Hauts-Vents which is currently under the control of Kampfgruppe Heintz. It’s a ‘squad level’ game with limited forces on each side. Here are some photos from the game…
The Americans were approaching from the north (furthest short table edge) against a staggered German defensive line. All of the German infantry were in foxholes and were often behind bocage. The German right flank came under pressure early on, with focussed attention from half-track mounted infantry and some Shermans. After some losses, including the platoon HQ, the German infantry fell back under defensive fire from the 20mm autocannon. The American platoon commander also fell to a sniper shot. Both forces struggled for command (orders) at times and the fighting was somewhat fragmented. The American Shermans pushed through the bocage on the right, but immediately came under fire from the Pak40 (it hit one int he side twice, but failed to penetrate armour on both occasions!). When they finally got some coherent orders, the Americans undertook an audacious attack on the German left flank. It was a bloody affair, but the Americans came out on top. The battle ended 18/16 BR for the Germans, 19/21 BR for the Americans. A close run thing.
Play it again Owen!
It was so close in fact, I decided to replay it. The American force ended up being exactly the same (Kinrade’s blog offers a random attachment to each force), but the Germans had their Company HQ join them this time. I decided to have the German defence on the right flank set further back. They ended up being hit early and were a bit isolated in the first game.
This battle had a whole lot going on! Two aircraft, one unlikely FW-190 and a Thunderbolt, harassed their respective enemy. Early on a Sherman was caught by a Panzerfaust while crossing the bocage and an M3 was taken out by the Focke-Wulf, but it was the American infantry that were most impressive. They pushed hard against the German positions who were repeatedly (and unluckily!) pinned by accurate supporting MG fire. The American infantry paid the price, but they got into positions where the German right flank was being rolled piece by piece.
The battle ended 20/18 BR for the Germans and 12/21 BR for the Americans. It doesn’t look that close on paper, but the Americans definitely had the better run of luck with the Germans drawing high number chits.
I’m looking forward to Game 2, which will see the Panzer Lehr trying to wrest control of this small village from the Americans.
Until next time,