FT168 By Dawn's Early Light - AAR

von Marwitz

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Nov 25, 2010
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FT168 By Dawn's Early Light - AAR

Note one Error in the below picture:
The German 8-1 Leader should be a 8-0 Leader.


Scenario Overview:

This is a small 4 Turn scenario that can easily be played in one session. Setup is simultaneous, a dr decides which side moves first. These two factors might make it a bit dicey, but on the other hand not much is lost in case such a small shorty goes awry. In our playing with me having the defending Americans, it came down to the last CC-roll.

The action is set in December 1944 and part of the Battle of the Bulge. Ground Snow (E3.72) and Mist (E3.32) are in effect, the latter being of no consequence except maybe for the first Turn during the German approach to the town. There are some minor but not unusual specialties such as one US HIP MMC (with SW/SMC), Winter Camo for everyone, Schürzen for the German AFVs and no Kindling. The unusual exception being Prisoner Interrogation being in effect.

The objective for a German insta-win is to Control the big building. The US can insta-win by Eliminating/forcing Recall on a given number of German AFVs. Else the German wins at game end if they control a given number of multi-hex buildings other than the big one. Note: I am a bit hazy on the VC here to respect copyright.

Preliminary Assessment:

Maybe the most difficult issue of all is which side will move first. Each side has a 50% chance and depending on the respective setup, who moves first will make a great difference.

For example, as the American you can make an up-front setup and gamble that you will move first. If you are lucky, that's great - you might shoot up the Germans before they can move and the ensuing chaos can screw up their timetable or force them to be careful with their surviving AFV. If you are not lucky and the Germans move first, they you'll be on the receiving end, will be shot up and get stuck when routing being soon gobbled up by the pursuing Germans. If the Americans with their few units take losses early, then they won't be able to hold back the Germans.

If the Americans go for a more conservative setup playing it safe, then they will present the Germans more or less 'free' movement for their first turn on a platter.

In case they select a 'conservative' setup, then it is a good question where to place the Guns as within the village, there are only limited fields of fire. Those US M1A1 ART Guns are somewhat special: I only realized after the game that they can be dismantled into a 5PP 1/2" counter. So maybe one tactic could be to start with a Gun dm and then carry it to a place helped by a Leader where it is needed. Probably, though, there is not enough time for this, because lugging it around and then assembling it would take two turns and thus half the game. Furthermore, it could not set up Emplaced and thus not HIP. You might confuse a counter-counting opponent, though... I think lugging around this Gun is only an option if it is otherwise absolutely useless and it might catch your opponent off-guard. Within the short timeframe, Pushing might be the quicker way. In any case, you are better off finding a spot for the Guns where they are of immediate use. That said, I had the devillish idea to place these Guns in upper levels because I thought if they can 'move' there in dm'ed state, then they are not forbidden to set up in such a spot. Nice plan, but it does not work: Per B23.423 "No weapon depicted on a 5/8" counter may occupy an upper level of a building [EXC: Mortars (23.85); Fortified Building (23.93)]." This means you could lug a M1A1 upstairs in dm'ed state but not assemble it there, making it useless. It should be noted, that the M1A1s are ART pieces and thus have no Gunshields. So if you are hit by the enemy, the resolution DR cannot be modified by the Gunshield. The bad thing about these Guns is that they only have H7 and no AP. A TK# of 13 for HEAT might be survived by the German AFVs and their Schürzen might ruin your day if you hit them from the side. That said, you must carefully consider when to use H7 or even using it at all - it might be worth more as a threat.

From the German perspective there is this hedge which effectively divides their setup area and will serve to block LOS to any enemy ground units that find themselves on the 'wrong side' of it. As the Americans will likely have attempt to cover all approaches to prevent the Germans from grabbing buildings too easily, it is a good idea to set up only on one side of it, because that way they will be able to avoid some of the defenders.

With only four turns available and the Americans possibly moving last, there is no room for a big 'change of plans' for the Germans. You have to make up your mind how to tackle this one and mainly stick to it. That said, the Germans should well consider if they can clear the big Level 2 building. Going hellbent for the big building would allow the Americans to concentrate on it. Probably the Germans are very well advised to maintain the threat to rush into the American rear-area somewhere to grab unguarded buildings. Even a pesky half-squad could thus turn into a real PITA.

One valuable asset the Germans have is, of course, Smoke. Five AFVs with S8 should get you some Smoke where you need it. On top of that, all German AFVs have the Nahverteidigungswaffe (sN9), so they are pretty much Smoke-making machines. Note that if you find your AFV in CC with a US unit, you cannot use your sN in Close Combat if you have not been attacked.

The Battle Plan:

For quite a while I agonized about how to best set up a defence for my Americans. In the end, I resolved to set up within the town and basically give the Germans almost 'free' movement for their first turn - should they move first or not.

I felt that the gamble of a frontal setup had too high stakes, especially considering the hedge that effectively divided the German setup area in two. Setting up within the town would save me from the danger of not being able to fall back. In fact, my positions had to be held more or less until the end.

Especially with my setup more towards the rear, I deemed it highly unlikely that the Germans would go for the big building. It appeared much easier for the Germans to grab some forward multi-hex buildings and then to try to evict me of others for the win.

On the other hand, this meant, that the 22K7 and 22J7 buildings were the crucial ones for me which I had to hold at all cost. Being located in the center of the town from there I could make lateral enemy movement difficult and I had decent fields of fire close around. In each of the buldings I HIP'ed one of the M1A1 Guns and placed a 747. The 8-0 Leader with two Dummy counters on top posed as a 'squad with MMG' in K4. With L5, K5, J5, and I6, the key buildings has something of a rear-area as well. Furthermore, this complex could rather easily be reinforced from the big building and vice versa.

The western flank (left) of these two key buildings was guared by a HIP 337+BAZ in N8 hoping to get a surprise shot at an enemy AFV and the tank destroyer in N6. This beast is awfully fast with its 24 MP, so in case the Germans would not show up, I could redeploy it quickly.

The second anchor of my defence was the big building. I placed the 667+MMG and 9-1, 667 in separate Locations in 2nd Level, each posing as the 'squad+MMG' and threatening to reach out into the German setup area and to mess with the first enemy approach. To optimize the use of one of the Concealment counters, a stack of the Sherman tank and 337+BAZ set up in the Ground Level of 22G6. One 'Infantry' Dummy looked out from 22F6 into the German eastern (right) setup area, a 'Sherman' Dummy did the same from the 22E9 building. I hoped this would be enough to deter the Germans from setting up in the eastern part of their setup area, which, if it worked, would allow me to free some units from the big building to meet the enemy elsewhere.

The greatest risk I saw in the Germans grabbing the 22O9, 22K10, 22H9 buildings and then reaching out for my rear towards the 22O4 and 22N2 buildings.

Situation at the Start of German Turn 1 - Game Start:


The dr determined the Germans to move first. I welcomed that as otherwise I would not have moved much had my Americans been first. The other way around, my Americans would move last which could be of advantage.

Apparently, I had made the eastern (right) part of the German setup area appear uninviting enough so that the enemy set up entirely in the West (left). Thus the German Schwerpunkt would attack the American Schwerpunkt. Furthermore, except for two German 'volunteer' half-squad scouts, the rest of the German Infantry set up a bit to the back beneath the Panzer IVs. So far, so good.

Situation at the End of German Turn 1:


In their Turn 1, the Germans openend up with a StuG and a Pz IV to place Smoke in 16U10 and 16V9.

The Germans launched the two HS scouts to initiate their MPh to check the woods and would later advance into the Ground Level locations of the 22K10 building. That done, more Infantry followed up flanked by a Pz IV. I took a long range shot with my 9-1, 667 combo from Level 2 of the big building, but forseeably due to Mist & Winter Camo, this had no effect. The second StuG scouted along the western board edge, placing some covering Smoke by sN for the follow-up German killer-stack. As my Gun in 22K7 was facing into the wrong direction to meet the German attack, I fired it vs. the German killer-stack as it moved into 16T9. As was to be expected, I missed - but you never know in ASL and now my Gun was facing the right direction, losing HIP/Concealment in the process.

Situation at the End of American Turn 1:


In my Amerian Turn 1, most of the Germans were still out of reach. The German killer-stack in 16T9 had advanced out of LOS in the last turn. However, in 22L10 many Germans were massing and there was trouble brewing. Determining that I would rather have to protect my tank destroyer in 22N6 rather than to risk a Prep Fire shot vs. Concealed units and suffer the return fire, I fired WP into 22L9 with my 22K7 Gun providing cover. Then, the 747 in 22I7 fired vs. 16W10 to make sure that LOS existed, which proved to be the case as I had anticipated. I opened up with my Gun from the same hex upon the Geman stack consisting of a 7-0, 548+PSK, 548, hit, kept ROF and whacked them severely: The 7-0 was lethally wounded, the 548+PSK broke and ELR'ed, and the second 548 broke as well. This took some steam out of the German assault and established that I had LOS and could put serious firepower onto the entire area of the 22K10 building and its surroundings.

During the MPh, my 667+MMG from the big building switched over to 22K5, overlooking the open area to the north-west but also having an eye towards the west (right). The 9-1, 667 left the 2nd Level of the big building to move benath the Sherman. Now, I had both flanks of the crucial 22K7 and 22J7 buildings covered by substantial firepower.

To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
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von Marwitz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Stiuation at the End of German Turn 2:


In German Turn 2, the enemy was unable to rally the broken units in 22L10 - in fact, he even CR'ed the broken 548 by rolling Boxcars.

Since no Germans were in position to put down meaningful Prep Fire, the Landsers went straight over to the MPh beginning to bring up their armor which they knew I would have trouble taking out. My 22K7 Gun tried for HEAT 7 vs. a Pz IV in 22N10 without much hesitation because I reasoned there would not be much time to save the special ammo anyway and each German AFV I managed to take out would force him to be more careful with the deployment of the rest with regard to the US insta-win condition. Alas, my Gun forgot to bring HEAT, so it became much less of a threat to the German panzers.

In the center, though, my opponent had somehow overlooked or believed my tank destroyer in 22N6 to be a Dummy. This proved to be a fatal negligence as the first Pz IV went down in 22I10. The drawback, of course, was that my tank destroyer now had lost Concealment and the German Infantry on the western flank (right) were in a good position to put the heat on me and had taken Control of the 22P9 Victory Building as well. A 548+LMG moved into 2 hex range into P7 but was Pinned by the tank destroyer's AAMG, making a PF hit highly improbable and lessening the IFT firepower as well.

A StuG in the center boldly moved into the Woods of J10, bogging there. Still, this wasn't a bad place as it could put my key building 22J7 under fire/Smoke from there, which surely was the intention. To increase the pressure yet further, 2x 548+LMG assault moved into 22K10 from where they could put serious firepower on my defending 747 and the Gun in the 22J7 building. However, they had not counted on the once more excellent gunnery of the 22I7 Gun which hit and broke both 548+LMG combos with an expert shot. With this, the German assault in the center was broken for the time being, with 3.5 squad equivalents ending up in 22L10 in the hope of being rallied quickly.

However, the Germans had one success which was more important that my opponent might have realized at the time: He managed to sneak in a HS into the 22H9 Victory Building. The sole US opposition in the area consisted of a single Dummy in 22H8...

So by the end of German Turn 2, the they had three out of four Victory Buildings under Control. As my HIP unit was not revealed yet, however, my opponent could not be sure if I might be hiding somewhere in an upper level.

Situation at the End of American Turn 2:


During the RPh of American Turn 2, the German Leader in 22L10 by some serious haranguing successfully made the boot-heels of almost all of his broken company clap back into action, which was a pity. Since I realized that my lines were thin and would get thinner, I successfully deployed the 667 in 22G6, seeing more advantage in two half-squads.

My objective for the turn would be to protect my Guns in the key buildings 22K7 and 22J7 by attempting to fire WP cover, to extricate my M18 TD in one piece and to recapture the 22I9 building by eliminating the German HS there, which would pose a serious threat if it contrieved to rush into my rear area on the western (right) flank.

During Prep Fire, both M1A1 Guns were successful in putting down a WP round, obscuring the LOS of no less than all four German surviving AFVs. This probably saved my Guns as the German AFVs viciously returned fire anyway, gaining Acquisition on both Guns but not being able to inflict damage.

Next, I attempted to save my M18, buttoning up and reversing out of N6 to N5, where it was targetted by the German LMG from P7 but survived a hit in its soft side hull-armor, which I greeted with great relief. My plan was to move into bypass of the 22K6/J6 hexside to take aim on the bogged StuG in 22J10 from there. However, during my move I realized that the Pz IV in 16Y10 might have a LOS to it there, so I altered plans intending to stop in J6 instead only to see there, that the other Pz IV in 22N10 could see it there. With the last of my many MPs, I managed to stop in Bypass of 22I6 in a somewhat awkward but - hopefully - safe position by fire of the 22J10 StuG. This gacked move was a pity because I really needed to make best use of my scarce assets and now I would need another turn to bring the valuable M18 to bear again. The most important thing, though, was that it had survived.

Now I set myself at taking out the German 238 in 22H9. Dashing across a 747 from 22J7 to 22H8 with the intention of a decent AFPh shot followed up by CC, my squad was instead stopped cold breaking in 22H8 due to Defensive First Fire by that pesky German HS. Next, I sent over the 9-1, 347 from the big building, needing the Leader for the MF doding the RFP in 22H8 but by HS being Pinned by Final Fire of the German HS. Buggery!
I really wanted that enemy 238 to go - badly. Since it had exhausted its normal fire capabilites, I took advantage of the situation moving a 337+BAZ to 16AA10 which I intended to advance into 16Z9 threatening the German Pz IV and StuG from behind and in the flank. Then I pulled up the Sherman tank ADJACENT in 22G9, went CE and blazed away with all MGs to no effect. The MA would have to do - and it did blasting the German HS to Kingdom Come by a CH. Unfortunately, this CH triggered the German Sniper which Pinned my geniusly moved BAZ half-squad preventing it from its advance... With the remaining MPs, the Sherman backed away as to guard against a German hook around the rear.
Finally I 'recaptured' the 22I9 Victory Building by advancing my Dummy in, hoping my opponent would fall for this ruse.

Situation at the End of German Turn 3:


In German Turn 3, the enemy greatly increased his pressure. By now, all of the German troops were back in Good Order again. There was not much Prep Fire. Movement was the order of the moment!

The German push began on the western (left) flank with a move I had feared most: A German 548+LMG squad scurried off into the frozen Stream towards the 22O5 building and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. As a consequence, the Germans would likely be able to capture it and probably the 22N2 building as well before the end of the game. This meant for me that I had to shift my focus on killing the German AFVs. All the more I regretted the enemy Sniper having Pinned my BAZ HS in 16AA10 the turn before.

This sensible German move was followed by the StuG from 22N9 moving towards the center of the town passing through 22L8. Since it was not assured that I would get a better shot and the enemy Infantry would soon discover my HIP 347+BAZ anyway, I took the shot needing a 6 or less. Unfortunately, I missed. The StuG turned towards the newly revealed threat attempting to take it out with its MGs but failed. As the StuG offered its rear, I fired and Intensive Fired the Gun in 22K7 with HE to no effect but malfing it. The MMG from K5 could not affect it either. Now, this flank was open for the German armor and his Pz IV from 22M10 moved into the center of the town in J6 where I vainly tried to harm it with my other Gun, popping its sD in 22K8 along the way.

With my most potent assets exhausted or out of place, the German Infantry could move up. And it did. Most notably, an 8-0, 548+LMG moved ADJACENT to my malfed Gun, breaking its crew in the AFPh and then advanced in on it. A 238+PSK took position in 22I9, form where it could threaten my M18 tank destroyer. The other Pz IV crashed into teh 22H9 victory building, rubbling it, thereby eliminating my Dummy 'guard'. This Panzer was followed up by a 548+LMG for close support. My defensive fire vs. the Infantry had no effect. My Sherman prudently made an automatic motion attempt to be able to escape from a now dangerous position. The bogged StuG unbogged in its hex.

During the RtPh, I did manage to extract my formerly HIP 347+BAZ and the broken Crew of the malfed Gun.

After this turn, the Germans were in a strong position.

Situation at the End of American Turn 3:


In my American Turn 3, I was struggling to regain my composure. Uncle Sam was not done in yet... With luck, I managed to self-rally the DM'ed broken 347+BAZ in 22L5.

Determined to make up for its prior failure to hit the StuG, it tried again from 22L5 to M8 boldly taking the Backblast. Against the odds, the round hit home and blazed the StuG, much to the chagrin of my opponent after this double stroke of luck. The valiant 347 broke by the Backblast, though. Still - two German AFV out of commission now...

Next, my 667+MMG fired away across the yard into the 548+LMG in the hex of my malfed Gun. This fire did nothing, but now my M18 went into action achieving a KIA on the 548+LMG, breaking the accompanying 8-0 Leader and retaining ROF to switch targets for another two shots vs. the 238+PSK in 22I9. Once more, my opponent was justly exasperated, since this would allow me to retains control of the key 22K7 building.

My remaining M1A1 Gun fired and IF'ed vs. the Pz IV two hexes distant, but could not harm it. Instead, my Gun X'ed out on Boxcars on its IF-shot.

Realizing that my 9-1, 747 and concealed 347 in 22H8 would not really better their position by assault moving back to avoid German Point Blank fire, they instead fired themselves against the ADJACENT 548+LMG beneath the Pz IV in the rubbled building. Notably, I did not include the concealed HS because my original plan was to have it advance into CC together with the victorious 9-1, 747 vs. the tank. As it turned out, my shot did nothing and the 9-1, 747 were both broken in the return fire, whereas my concealed HS remained unaffected. This would be of importance later.

My Sherman moved out of harm's way to hook around the Woods threaten the StuG in the 16X10 Woods and aquiring it in the AFPh. Somehow, though, it had it in my mind that I would get a shot at it before it could move out, but as it was already unbogged and in Motion facing the right direction, I was in error which I would find out to my disappointment soon.

So I was able with quite some luck to inflict some serious damage on the Germans but was unable to make an impression on the 22I9 Victory Building which remained under firm German Control. Both my Guns were out of comission but I was not ready to give up.

To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
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von Marwitz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Situation at the End of German Turn 4:


German Turn 4 was the last one in which the enemy could move. Looking at his situation at the beginning of the turn, the Germans found themselves in Control of the four required buildings to win. Three German AFV were still up and running, so he could afford to lose one more. The Americans would have to take it from him.

In the light of this, the Germans put their focus on securing what they had rather than going for more. The approaches to the 22P9 building were guarded by the 9-2, 548+dm MMG (malf) which also guarded one flank of the 22L9 building. The latter had enough units in and around it so that it was highly improbable that the Americans could ever take it back. The 22I9 building was garrisoned by a 238+PSK, 548+LMG, a Pz IV and flanked by another Pz IV and soon by the remaining StuG. Lastly, a 548+LMG garrisoned the 22O3 building, which I could probably only theoretically reach with my Dummy in 22K5 whom my opponent likely suspected to be a half-squad.

What could possibly go wrong?

My broken 9-1, 747 in 22G8 did not rally, nor did my brokies in the 22K7 building which must have been reassuring for the Germans.

German Prep Fire did not do much damage but it did re-DM my brokies in 22K7 and 22G8 - except for the 747, that is, who rolled Snakes on its MC to go Berserk! Just what the doctor ordered for my last upcoming turn...

To my chagrin, the StuG gleefully moved out of my LOS against which I could do nothing - this I should have realized earlier.

My Defensive Final Fire could not do much - but importantly, my adept M18 fired twice on the 238+PSK in 22I9, double breaking it into oblivion with its PSK falling to the ground. This might be interesting...

Still, in any case, the American cause was quite desperate at the end of the last German turn.

Situation at the End of American Turn 4 - Game End:


I can be tenacious as a terrier when it comes to not giving up in the end-game. Let's see where it brought me to.

In my Rally Phase, improbably the DM'ed 347+BAZ half-squad rallied, as did the DM'ed Gun Crew. All of a sudden, the half-squad was in position of the Pz IV in J8 at two hex range with its Bazooka and thus needing an 8 or less to hit and very likely kill it after that if it ate the Backblast. But here was the problem: In the same hex, I also had the 8-0, the 227, and a 747 which I desparately for too many tasks at hand, before all to take on the 22I9 building. If I fired the BAZ during Prep Fire, everyone in the Location would have to take the Backblast which could break or pin units I could not spare. Thus I decided to mark the 347+BAZ with Opportunity Fire which would allow the other units to move out retaining my chance to hit the Pz IV during the AFPh - provided I survived defensive fire...

There was no time for fancy Prep Fire, so I went straight for the MPh. Of course my Berserker 747 in 22G8 would have to go first, but after that, it would be delicate business to decide which units to move in which order to which targets...

Here was my devious plan:

I would primarily attempt to take out two more German AFVs.

The Pz IV in I8 with my BAZ during the AFPh needing an 8TH. To 'protect' the 347+BAZ, the other units would make an attempt to reach the unoccupied 22O9 building thus forcing German defensive fire to prevent this. Once having sacrificed the volunteer, the 8-0 Leader and the 227 crew could move to impose Target Selection Limits on the First Fired Germans protecting the BAZ half-squad. If my 'volunteer' would - against all the odds - reach the 22O9 builiding, then I'd win by denying the Germans the necessary number of buildings.

The other target would be the Pz IV in the rubbled building of 22H9. I would throw units at the latter and its escorting 548+LMG until they would have exhausted all fire. I could sacrifice the Sherman, move in the M18, Assault Move ADJACENT my 347+BAZ from 16AA10, and sneakily Assault Move from H8 to I9 and retrieve the German PSK there (by now I was sure that my opponent thought this concealed half-squad to be a Dummy). Provided I didn't get killed during the approach, this would give me a shot and an IF shot with the Sherman, a shot and an IF shot with the M18 which still could try for special ammo on top, a shot with the Bazooka, and a shot with the PSK. If all this failed, I might still move in any survivors into CC, which would be sequential in my favor, to take it out with bare fists. Theoretically, it was even possible to recapture the 22I9 building and thus win by the Germans having not enough buildings under Control. I thought the cumulative chances of taking out the Pz IV in the building weren't not that bad after all.

And here is, how it worked out:

Well, maybe the Zerker with his Morale of 10 would make things easy. His closest target was the 548+LMG and the Pz IV which had gone CE before and was pointing its big tube in my 747's direction... Fortunately, the charge through the open against this fearsome firepower would only be two hexes. Unfortunately, the charge ended abruptly after one hex with a 2 KIA. So much for that. Well, at least the Pz IV's MGs had fired.

For now, I left it at that in this area and went over to my 22K7 building.
The 'volunteer' 227 Crew brached itself for its heroic charge towards 22O9 going CX and starting off into the Open Ground of L7. My opponent immediately realized what I had in mind and opened up with the BMG of the Pz IV in 22J8 for no effect. Next, the 9-2, 548, disgusted by this display of the tankers took a 5FP @-4 shot - and gacked it! Now, the 447 in 22K9 was forced to fire to prevent my valiant crew from making a break-through to victory. It rolled low but cowered, still breaking my crew. The Germans felt that this was too close for comfort. I felt, it was just short of it. Anyway, everyone in the area was now First or Final Fired. So I moved the 8-0 Leader to M6, ADJACENT to the 9-2, 548, which held its fire. So did the German 548+LMG in 22O4. Thus my 347+BAZ was now free from attack before its upcoming AFPh. While I could not expect to reach 22O9, my objective to protect the 347+BAZ for its shot was achieved.

Back to the 22I9 building:
I went CE with my Sherman in Z8 and moved it right into the face of the Pz IV, brashly stopping ADJACENT in 22G9, which forced the panzer to fire. As was to be expected, it hit and blazed the Sherman, so now the Pz IV had fired its MGs and its MA.
Up next was my half-squad garrison all the way back in 1st Level of 11F4: It double timed to 22I8 threatening to Advance into 22I9 from there. To prevent this, the ADJACENT Pz IV fired its AAMG to stop it and succeeded in breaking it.
Now was the time for my 667 in I7 to attempt a Dash through H7 into H8 from where it would be able to us Advancing Fire and to advance into CC. To prevent this, the Pz IV in J8 fired its CMG, alas breaking the 667 in the street.
However, by now, the tank had exhausted all of its MG's, so I Assault moved my 747 from K7 ADJACENT into J7 to be able to advance into CC with the panzer in case my Bazooka shot against it should miss. The Panzer did not fire its MA because it waited for the M18 still in bypass of I6.
Then I Assault Moved my 337+BAZ into 22G10 prompting the ADJACENT 548+LMG to fire which merely pinned my guys.
At this point, I Dashed the 227 Crew from 22J7 through the RFP in I8 to arrive in H8, against which the 548+LMG Final Fired without effect.
To my opponents great surprise, my concealed 347 'Dummy' in H8 assault moved into I9 and picked up the PSK. Against this, the 238 in K10 fired without effect and the StuG in I10 turned around unable to effect anything either.
At last, with all German fire options exhausted except for the MA of the Pz IV in I8, I moved my M18 across G7, dodging the panzer's shot unscathed and continued on ending up in bypass of H8 ADJACENT to the other Pz IV in the rubbled building. The very last thing he could do was to turn its turret within rubble for an Intensive Fire shot against my M18 - which predictably missed.

After this dance of death, there weren't hardly any possibilities for German Defensive Final Fire left. Except for the German 9-2, 548 who could Final Fire vs. my ADJACENT 8-0. It could not change anything which lay ahead - except maybe triggering the US Sniper. Yet my opponent announced:

"I will final fire vs. that... Whitaker. Because I don't like him!"

This made me burst out laughing! The Germans shot and broke the hated Whitaker - but rolled my SAN in doing so. Unfortunately, the Sniper had dozed off...

In the AFPh this was the situation:

I had the Opportunity Firer with the BAZ needing a 8 to hit the Pz IV in I8. I rolled low enough to hit it and killed it with the crew surviving. This meant if I could take out the last Pz IV I would bring this home.

Against the Pz IV in the rubbled building, I had the Pinned ADJACENT Bazooka. It missed. Then I tried taking it out with my nifty 'Dummy' 347 using the captured German PF. I missed as well and the Backblast killed my valiant HS. Now my best chance lay with my ADJACENT M18 tank destroyer. I went for special ammo but didn't have any. Tried a normal AP shot needing a 6 TH - but I missed. What a pity, really! Still I felt I had played well enough to get this close.

Yet, there was one very last chance:
My 227 Crew in H8 could advance into CC with the Pz IV and its escort. As CC vs. a vehicle would be sequential I could still kill it despite its escort with Snakes followed by a subsequent dr of 1 or 2.
It was not to be.

German win.


Our playing turned out to be a very tense and fun game.

ROAR has it pretty even at 30 German vs. 27 American wins inclusive of your playing as of April 2021. However, I do not believe that not as many playings were actually as close as ours. Due to the reasons laid out in the preliminary assessment, it is likely that numerous playings would have an outcome pretty much clearly to one side or the other before the time is up. That said, this scenario would be a very fickle thing if presented in a tournament, which I would not advise to do.

As for my tactic it is hard to say if it was sound. I have been quite lucky several times throughout the game. First when breaking up the German Infantry in the center buying me some valuable time. Later when (self-)rallying my DM'ed Bazooka half-squad which subsequently took out two German AFVs. Furthermore, if the initial dr would have had me move first, I would not have had my 'last half-turn' that made our playing a close one. This reinforces my impression that by design luck can have a significant impact on the outcome. That said, with such a small scenario, not much time is lost if a playing goes 'awry'.

My battle was not really lost in the final epic struggle for the 22I9 building and its Pz IV within the rubble but rather by letting a German squad reach my rear by capturing the 22O4 building. To prevent such a thing from happening with the few US units that are needed in too many places might be the greatest challenge.

von Marwitz
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