Saturday, 17 March 2012

FoW Escalation Campaign: First Battle

I had my first battle in Christchurch Crusader's FoW escalation campaign on Thursday. It was a 750pt match up between my LW US Rifle Co. (Italy) & Graham's Germans. My forces were:
2 x Rifle Platoons (2 squads each)
1 x 105mm Cannon Plt
1 x Plt of 3 Shermans

While Graham's were
3 x Inf Platoons
1 x Plt of 3 Mortars
1 x Plt of 3 PaK40's

The game was fought lengthways on a 4'x3' board & was a 'Fair fight' scenario with the winner being the one who held 2 of the 3 objectives for a full turn. Graham set up first with his PaK40's in a wood on his right, the mortars in a gully on his left & the infantry were strung out across his front. I deployed with my artillery spread out along my base edge, the infantry deployed on the flanks with the Shermans in the centre.
Graham moved first & quickly deployed his mortar observer behind the ruin in the centre of the board while his infantry advanced cautiously. His mortars opened up on my right flank infantry killing one squad & pinning them. On my turn I successfully unpinned my plt and advanced both infantry plts. Now here's is where I made mistake number 1 (of many). I had planned to advance my Shermans along the gully to keep them out of sight of the PaK40's. But I got distracted by the mortar spotter and advanced to machine gun him, but to no effect. This now left me exposed to the PaK40's, not good as we will see.  Meanwhile the artillery observer headed into the ruined church tower on my left & called in a barrage on Graham's mortars & also caught some of his infantry. The subsequent fire killed one of the mortar sections and one infantry base, pinning both. The situation is shown below.

The objectives can also be seen in the above photo. One near the church on the left, one to the left of the ruin in the middle & the third behind the woods on the right.
Graham failed to unpin his centre infantry so only the two flank comanies moved forward into cover. As predicted the PaK40's made short work of my exposed Sherman, leaving it a flaming ruin. His mortars were already ranged in on my right side infantry but merely pinned them again. At the start of my turn I failed to unpin the infantry despite the 2iC being with them. I was happy with the position of my infantry on the left so left them where they were. I did however move the Shermans out of LoS of the PaK 40s. My artillery was already ranged in on his mortars and took out two more stands causing a morale check, which they failed.
Turn 3 saw Graham move up his centre company and take the middle objective. As he already had the objective in the woods this put him in a winning position. Having few targets other than the observer in the church Graham proceeded to blast the the church with many, many dice rolls but all to no effect. However he did have a panzerfaust in range of my Shermans and bailed one of them, thankfully I passed the morale check. His mg armed infantry also killed 2 stands on my infantry.  In my turn I again failed to unpin the infantry on my right but did move my last Sherman back out of range, but was unable to get the other to remount. I targetted my artillery on Graham's centre plt needing to do enough casualties to force a morale check which they hopefully would fail clearing them off the objective. If I failed it would be game over. Luckily the dice gods were smiling on me & took a dislike to Graham. The casualties I caused were enough to force a check and Graham failed his roll!
The situation near the end of turn 3 can be seen below.

Turn 4 saw Graham expand the frontage of his remaining infantry to get them near the centre objective. Then the dice gods decided they hated me and loved Graham. His panzerfaust brewed up the bailed out Sherman causing a check, which I failed. Then his fire on my right flank infantry killed 2 more stands forcing a check which they also failed. Things were coming to a head so I moved my remaining infantry forward to take the left side objective. All my fire this turn was inffective. The situation at the end of turn 4 is shown below.

Turn 5 saw Graham move his infantry onto the middle objective and into a winning position again. He again peppered the church with fire and again with no effect. It was time to do or die. I advanced my remaining infantry into firing position and opened up with them and the artillery. But was unable to shift Graham from the objective. Game over and a win for Graham. The final positions are shown below.

Final thoughts. Well I had fun which has to be good. I need to think more about the capabilities of my troops & my opponents. My RoF 1 infantry were no match for Graham's RoF 3 infantry meaning I was always going to struggle to get the centre objective. Maybe I should have gone for an HMG platoon or mortars instead of the Shermans. All part of the learning process :-)

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