Given it was the 5th of June, it seemed mandatory to have at least one Normandy themed game at the club night. Using 20mm (the one true scale for WWII) and the excellent Too Fat Lardies Chain of Command rules, the engagement saw a platoon of hardy British airborne pitted against a platoon of German panzergrenadiers, supported by a Stug IIII assault gun.
|The battlefield – British from the top right with Germans deploying up the road from the bottom right|
Tactically, the British (ably led by Dave) got the better of the patrol phase, containing the Germans in their deployment corner. Both forces had very high morale and counted as aggressive troops, but the Paras were considered elite, which as it turned out, made them very hard to kill. The Germans won the initiative and deployed two infantry sections and the Stug.
|The Stug III deploys, with infantry probing ahead in the background|
Perhaps predictably, both sides made a beeline for the houses in the centre of the table, and a section from each side took a building. However the German commander (your correspondent) was taken slightly unawares when the Paras lived up to their aggressive reputation, and close assaulted the German held building with a second section. This opening contact turned out to be very bloody (and involving a ridiculous number of dice); with the Germans taking 50% casualties, but the Paras coming off worse with 70% losses and being forced to retreat (assaulting defenders in hard cover is a tricky thing it appears).
|The Panzergrenadier squad on the left heading for a bloody encounter with the Red Devils|
With both sides reeling slightly from the clash in the centre, the action moved to the German right flank, as the Paras began to move up another section and their platoon headquarters. Unbeknownst to the German Stug commander this HQ team contained a PIAT (Projectile Infantry Anti Tank), which, to be honest, I’ve always regarded as a bit of a joke as an AT weapon. This is not apparently the case in Chain of Command, as the PIAT proceeded to hit the Stug twice in quick succession. Luckily for the Germans, both hits failed to penetrate the assault gun’s side armour, but left the crew understandably shaken and immobile for two turns.
|The lucky Stug, with the PIAT team in the distance|
In the centre, the Paras in the house opened up in the surviving Germans from the close assault, and inflicting further casualties, forced them into a headlong retreat to the woods and this mauled German section played little part in the rest of the fight. Meanwhile the two surviving German sections dug into the hedges and shell craters on the right and proceeded to expend a prodigious quantity of lead in an attempt to blunt the British advance. A critical result of this firefight was the elimination of the British platoon commander, forcing the lone PIAT to retreat, removing the immediate threat to the Stug. From this point the fight became one of attrition, as the combined firepower of four MG42 teams began to slowly whittle away at the Paras, and the Stug was able to move up in support and add its MGs to the fight. Despite a huge amount of firepower, the Paras still proved tough to kill.
|The Germans dig in and pour fire on the advancing Paras|
Shortly after this we decided to call the game. The Paras had taken control of most of the tactically important areas of the field, but were worn down by sheer German firepower, and lacked an effective means of dealing with the Stug. It was agreed that it had been a minor German victory – at least on points. Terrain and Brits from Dave’s collection (figures mostly Platoon 20) and the Germans were supplied by Simon (figures from Britannia Miniatures).