The Americans have had the upper hand in this campaign so far, but possession of Hauts-Vents slipped back to the Panzer Lehr after the last battle. It was a bloody affair that took a great toll on both sides. The American forces have regrouped and now seek to permanently expel the Germans from this small part of France.
The Germans again deployed around the central farmhouse, but their defences on the left were also quite strong, with a PzrIV and Pak40 covering the road behind dense hedgerow and battlefield defences (minefield and razor wire). This proved to be a mistake. I had over committed the anti-tank assets on one side, making the route of attack obvious for the Americans (Note: this is a solo game, so it really shows that I’m an idiot having not anticipating what I would do!).
The Americans moved fast an hard against the German right, forcing several units to reposition and the PzrIV to ponderously navigate the hedgerow before pushing towards the attack.
The field behind the farmhouse became the focus of the battle. The Americans attempted to pin the German infantry who possessed potent Panzerfausts, but a Sherman was forced to react to the incoming PzrIV and what a reaction it was. It spotted, hit and destroyed the approaching German tank with a single shot. Its victory was short lived when an equally lucky shot from a 3.7cm hit is side on, blowing it up.
A FW 190 arrived and dropped all of its bombs on the concentrated Americans, taking out another Sherman and pinning an M3. Despite that minor setback the Americans really began to pile on the pressure now. Engineers arrived and set charges on the bocage, hoping to cause a breach that would allow the halftracks and remaining tank to storm through…
… and that’s what happened. Ambush fire from the 3.7cm took out the last Sherman (Note: Ciarán, my 9yo, was doing all of the dice rolling. He rolls hot when targeting tanks!) and some assaulting infantry were pinned as they exited their transport. However, the weight of numbers gave the Americans just enough to push through and take out the PzGrendier PHQ, sealing a victory for the elements of Task Force Z of the 3rd Armoured Division against Panzer Lehr.
The final Battle Ratings tally was Germans: 18/14 to the American: 16/23. Battlegroup is fun to play solo. There is enough friction in the rules, between spotting, BR counter draws, random order numbers and troops not always doing what you want, to make for a fun and variable game experience. I stole all of the rules for these games from Warwick Kinrade’s blog. Big thanks to him for doing a mapping to Battlegroup from the SkirmishCampaigns campaign book.
Until next time,