Friday, June 22, 2012

The Battle for Croydon

A Headless Body production.

Location: the Ice House
Players: Phil Gardocki, British Armored Company (attacker)
, German Heavy Panzer… (defender)
Game: Flames of War 1945 points
Mission: Dust Up

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained)
16 Shermans, 4 Fireflies in 4 Troops of 4 tanks each. 1 ARV, 1 recon Troop of 3 Stuarts, 2 M-10's, 4 Sexton’s.
German (Confident, Veteran)
2 Jagdpanthers, 2 Tigers in two Platoons, 6 Panzer IV’s, one platoon of Sdk 222’s.

Mission: Encounter. Scattered Reserves, Each side places two objectives.  Winner is declared when any objective is held by the opposing side.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. Ruined cityscape representative of Berlin. Includes a very impressive and detailed model of the Reichstag, including realistic war posters on the walls!

Supporting England against the Germans in Operation Sealion, the Canadian Armored Company, was reassigned to the British 3td tank division was assigned to recover Croydon, a suburb of London.  But considering the landscape, who knows where they were really.

Both sides started with half their platoons on board.  The Germans picked the Tigers to attack one objective, while the Jagdpanthers defended the other.  A platoon of Panzer IV’s covered the approaches to the rear of the Reichstag/Hallmark Hotel.

Monty’s Pythons started with the Recon Platoon, a tank troop and and 4 Sexton’s.  The Recon set up just right of center, but with eyes on using their speed to capture the left objective (the fountain in front of the Reichstag) in a hope of snookering a sleeping German.  Troop ‘A’, with 3 Shermans and 1 Firefly, defended the right objective, while the command team, 4 Shermans, provided a diversion for the Stuarts.

Captain Palin started the briefing, “Right, I know that was a rough ride on the C-47’s, but now we are here and in a position to surprise the Hun, and take back the land that God himself has…”

“Bloody hell”, interrupted Lieutenant Cleese, “Have you looked at this place, it looks like Brighton after New Year’s Eve!”

“Are you sure they took us to Croydon”, asked Lieutenant Gillian?

Lieutenant Idle chimed in, “That was an awfully long flight, and what is that big building draped in Nazi flags, and why are all the road signs in German?”

“That’s just the Hallmark Hotel, and Jerry just changed the road signs, that’s all.”

“In two days?”

“Lieutenant Idle, just like our Cambridge days, I want you to shift right, charge left, and put the ball on that water fountain in front of the Hallmark Hotel.”

“I don’t recall the opposing team having heavy automatic weapons in those days.”

“Lieutenant Cleese, you set up an ambush for those Tigers at”, Captain Palen paused while squinting in his binoculars, “Wihelmstrabe and Unter Der Linden.”

“Chapman, Gilliam, Jones”, I don’t want to be surprised, so I want you to show up later, at random intervals, whenever you see fit.”


“That’s just silly.”

“Are you insinuating something?”

Recon Move.

Lieutenant Idle, mounted on “Sir Robin”, swerved left, maintaining the all so important 16” distance from the Panzer IV’s. 

Turn 1.
                Lieutenant Idle’s Stuarts continued to roll towards the objective.  But the Germans will have none of it, as their Panzer IV’s start picking the Stuarts off.

And bailed one Sherman from Troop ‘A’.

The command team charges and smokes the objective.
Using "Harsh Language", one of the Tigers is bailed
Turn 2.
The Tigers lumber forward.  Sergeant Manual in “Harsh Language” (Firefly next to building) takes careful aim, despite the haranguing from Lieutenant Cleese (Sherman with red flag).

On the left flank, Lieutenant Idle on “Sir Robin”, takes the objective.  The smoked in Jagdpanters, are faced with a decision of either shooting ROF 2, but at a -2 on the dice, or ROF 1, with no modifiers, or will he shoot at the four command tanks, or focus on the Stuarts.

In a dicey decision, the German moves the Jagpanthers, and relies on his company commander and Panzer IV’s to clean off “Sir Robin”, and one of his minstrels. 

In the center, reserves arrive in the form of a pair of tank destroyers.  So new, they don’t have names yet.  I sent them in to distract the Panzer IV’s while double-timing Troop ‘B’, (3 Shermans and 1 Firefly) which arrived on the left side of the board, past the Sextants.  The Sextants have been dedicated to smoke missions so far.  But with the enemy rolling up the left flank, I started moving them 1 at a time to the right.  Quite a traffic jam on Unter Der Linden road.

Turns 3 and 4) The Jadgpanthers, Panzer IV, and Company commander succeeded in killing a minstrel, and bailing “Sir Robin.”  The Jadgpanthers then “storm troopered” back to the smoke.  But Captain Palen charged forward, challenging the objective again.

Turn 4.
At this time I knew, except for some underserved good fortune, I wasn’t going to win on the left, and started working towards both either a company motivation win or objective win on the right.
The Tigers pop both “Harsh Language”, and blithely eliminate the Sherman hidden in the ruins.  Securing the objective, but leaving Lieutenant Cleese with no one to complain to but his own tank “Sybil”.

While on the left, the Germans rolled reserves, while finishing off the Command Teams and the Recon Troop.

British Reserves were rolled, and appeared on the right side of the map.  Lieutenant Chapman’s Troop ‘C’ with 3 Shermans and 1 Firefly, raced around the woods and managed 4 flank shots on the Tigers.   The First Tiger burned, while the other bailed, which then subsequently failed its motivation check after exposed to the “Killer Joke.” 

“Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja!” enthused Lieutenant Chapman.  And was surprised as everyone when the Tiger opened its hatches and the German tankers fled in terror.

In the center, 4 Panzer IV’s trade shots with 2 M-10’s.  With neither scoring any hits.
Turn 5:

The way to the objective is clear!

But luck rolls both ways, as the last German Reserves arrive, just where they are needed.
Turn 6:

After 3 turns of trading shots, the M-10’s finally succumb to superior firepower.

The armored cars did their job, leaving wreckage on both sides. 
Both sides have 2 Platoons Destroyed.

The centerline German Platoon  focus’s their firepower to the right flank.

And pay a price from long range, taking “Limited Indirect” fire from Lieutenant Jones’s Troop ‘B’, and the first non-smoke bombardment from the Sextants.

On the left, the Germans started rolling up the Sextants, but not enough for a motivation check.  The center Panzer IV’s took another kill, and failed motivation, but Troop ‘A’s platoon leader was destroyed as well.  The game was called on time, tie game, with a 3-3 platoon count.

There was a crack of thuder, then the soft sound of drops of water hitting the cobbles.  From beneath the burned out burned out ruin of “Sir Robin” cried out Lieutenant Idle, “Rain!”
This was followed by similar cries from all over the field.  “Rain”, “Rain”, and “Is hamster!”


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Battle for the Yarnton Rail Line.

A Headless Body production.

Location: Phil’s Basement
Players: Phil Gardocki, Canadian Armored Company (attacker)
Ed Bernhard, German Panzer Kompanie (defender)
Game: Flames of War 1945 points
Mission: Dust Up
Scenario: This game was done to support "Operation Sea Lion", an alternate event where the Germans were more successful than they were historically, and invade England in 1944.

The Forces:
Monty’s Pythons: (Confident, Trained)
19 Shermans, 4 Fireflies in 4 Troops of 4 tanks each. 1 ARV, 1 recon Troop of 3 Stuarts, 8 Sexton’s.
German (Confident, Veteran)
3 Jagdpanthers, 2 Tigers in two Platoons, 2 platoons of Panzer Pioneers.

Mission: Dust Up. Delayed Reserves, Each side places two objectives.  Winner is declared when any objective is held by the opposing side.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. Major points are an intersection of a rail, road, and stream. Dominant features include two hills and two trees. Some scattered buildings and farms.

Supporting England against the Germans in Operation Sealion, the Canadian Armored Company was assigned to attack north of Yarnton, a suburb of Oxford, to reestablish the supplies to that beleaguered city.

Both sides started with half their platoons on board.  The Germans picked a Pioneer Infantry, defending one objective, and the Jagdpanthers defending the other.
The Canadians started with 2 tank troops and an 8 Sexton’s.  Fearing the open spaces in the center of the board, and the long range of the Jagdpanthers, Troop ‘A’ started in the woods, behind a hedge, covering the road, while Troop ‘B’ started close to the centerline, in an effort to flank attack the Germans, along with the expected reserves that would be arriving in that quadrant.
Over all view of the field from the German side of the board.

German Deployment.  Middle Jagdpanther is by one objective, right side Jagdpanther is by the second objective.

Troop ‘A’ is in the woods, supported by the ARV, and a Sherman observer team.  Sexton’s deployed behind the woods, Troop ‘B’ set up to race around the flank.

Captain Palin started the briefing, “Right, now that the Hun has invaded Old Blighty, the official threat level has been raised from “Calm Reticence” to “Annoyed”.  We have been assigned to support the commuter traffic to Oxford by opening the rail line from Yarnton.  Lieutenant Cleese, you will hold the road approaches to the rail line.”

Lieutenant Cleese’s reply was dripping with sarcasm, “Will there be anything else?  Some tea and crumpets?  Perhaps a mint on your pillow?”

“Lieutenant Jones, you will swing round the flank, cross 2 miles of open terrain under the watchful eyes of the Jagdpanthers, join the rest of the Squadron, and take the objective!”

“Perhaps if we built a large wooden badger?” replied Lieutenant Jones.

“Idle, Chapman, Gilliam, you will circle around Tadfield, through Croydon, and them join up with Jones at the mouth of a narrow ravine where along.”  He paused to look down at the map, “Three sheep wide road.”

“Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink.” Replied Lieutenant Idle.
“It’s just a model.” Replied Lieutenant Gilliam.
“Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja!” enthused Lieutenant Chapman.

“Chapman!  Put the killer joke away!”

“But Sir!  I have been studying my German, me and my men, so we can understand the joke better.”
“And is that why half your men have been in hospital last week?”

Turn 1:
Monty’s Pythons start the fight with a Smoke Barrage, obscuring the over watching Jagdpanther and one other.
While Lieutenant Jones’s Troop ‘B’ starts its flank attack, with only one Sherman bogging.
The Germans call in an air strike, 

bailing a Firefly, and destroying a Sherman.


The Germans take a commanding position on the hill with two Jagdpanthers, but both are smoked in.
The Troop ‘B’ abandons their bogged compatriot and continue the charge.

The Germans further reinforce the objective on the hill.  Now there is no way to smoke them all.

Turn 3

Troop ‘C’ arrives, much to their grief!

No German reserves in sight, but the Jagdpanthers seem to be enough!

Turn 4

“Right, time to move out, Attack!” orders Captain Palin. 
Half of Troop ‘A’ Immediately bogs.  But the ARV is there to tow them out.

While the remains of Troops ‘B’, and ‘C’ swing around for flank shots on the Jagdpanthers.

The Germans airstrike on the Sextants and burn two of them.

But Troops ‘B’ and ‘C’ manage to destroy one Jagdpanther, and bail two. 

Turn 5:
Troop ‘D’ arrives, upper left.  German Kompanie Kommander (3 man infantry stand) tries to make his way to his halftrack.

Matched by a pair of Tigers.  (Cottage to scale.)

And they have friends!

A German airstrike gets 5 under the template, and picks up all of Troop ‘D’, plus one more!

Because such a shot deserves more than one photo.

Turn 6:
Troops ‘B’ and ‘C’ pick off another Jagdpanther.

While Troop ‘A’ charges, or rather trundles, into the teeth of a Tiger.  One of the newly arrived Recon Stuarts is in the upper left of the shot.

"Right", observed Captain Palin, "I designate the Tigers as White Rabbit 1 and White Rabbit 2."

“Now Run away!”

Troops ‘B’ and ‘C’ surround the last Jagdpanther, but all miss.  But still manage to capture the German Kompanie Kommander.

Turn 7:

Forgot to take some pictures here.  So here is a summation.  Troop ‘B’ and ‘C’ kill the last Jagdpanther.  But are reduced to just 1 tank each.  Both pass motivation.   German Pioneers attempt an assault on Troop ‘B’, but fail motivation on their tank terror check.  Lieutenant Idle, mounted on "Sir Robin", and 2 Stuarts arrive and take the objective on the hill, only to be picked off by the Tigers at long range. (off frame, to the left) .  The “Sir Robin” survives, but fails motivation and, bravely, bravely ran away.

Turn 8:

Troops ‘B’ and ‘C’, with only 1 tank each, take the objective, on the lee of the hill away from the Tigers.  (still off screen)  The Pioneers again try to assault them, but fail “tank terror” and the Pythons manage to pull a very lucky win.