HF4 Liehr Launches First AAR

Adrian Carter

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llGermany
We moved to our second scenario from Hatten in Flames HASL module from Multi-Man Publishing, HF4 Liehr Launches First. This scenario depicts the assault of the German 125. Panzergrenadier-Regiment supported by tanks of the 1. Panzer-Abteilung, 22. Panzer Regiment on the 2nd battalion, 315 Infantry Regiment, supported by tank destroyers of the 813th Tank Destroyer Battalion in Hatten on 10th January 1945.

The Germans gain a victory point (VP) by controlling each building within 2 hexes of J27 at game end. They also gain a VP by controlling I26 at the end of turn 5 and by having more mobile AFVs with functioning main armament than the Americans. The Germans have 5.5 turns to move east across the board and secure the victory hexes. My regular opponent, Johan, attacked with the Germans and I defended with the Americans. ROAR indicated 44 German wins vs 46 American befor logging our game and therefore appeared quite balanced and popular. This seems to be a recurring and encouraging theme with this historical module.
  • German advantages: Panther tanks, leadership and plentiful MGs
    German disadvantages: Open ground to cover, 7 buildings to control
  • American advantages: Fire power, tank destroyers, concealment
    American disadvantages: Easily outflanked, break easily
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Figure 1 shows the troop dispositions at the start of the game. I decided to opt for a frontal defence with one platoon in the middle with the aim of benefitting from the fortunate rubble placement in K19, K20 and L19. A second platoon would fall back quickly to the victory hexes in H27, I28, K29 and L28. I figured that the Germans had to occupy some of these hexes to secure victory and I didn’t want to start crossing the road under German fire. I also opted to set my two HIP immobilized M10 on the bottom (eastern) side of the map (G27 and H29) to bolster the final defence. The third platoon would cover the expected German outflanking manoeuvre around the southern part of the map. The foxholes would mainly provide extra cover for the 3rd platoon in the south.

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Figure 2 shows the map board at the start of turn 2. The Germans had not aggressively crossed the open ground towards the rubble hexes in the village but were trying to outflank the American positions in the south using armoured assault tactics. I mostly conserved my concealment and consequently my forces at this stage.

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Figure 3 shows the positions at the start of turn 4. The Americans had fallen back successfully in the middle of the map whilst the HIP M10 destroyer in G29 had taken out one Panzer IV (Blaze in C25) and a Panther (C24). I had originally intended to use my tank destroyers to destroy German infantry, but could not resist these two juicy targets and was lucky, especially being able to wreck the Panther with a frontal APCR shot. A pesky German HS had managed to outflank my defence in the north. All set for the final defence of the Alamo.

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Figure 4 shows the positions at the end of the game after the Germans had conceded. They had secured only 2 VPs and not the required 6 VPs for victory. The Americans had destroyed another Panzer IV, but lost an immobilized M10 tank destroyer to the remaining Panther. That pesky German HS had become Berserk, charged one of the M18 tank destroyers, survived all Defensive Fire and destroyed it with CCV. Don’t you just love ASL! Nevertheless, this was not enough. The remaining German troops had been mostly destroyed attacking the central part of the village and had not come close to crossing the road. Overall, this was yet another very enjoyable scenario from the Hatten in Flames historical module. I think the Germans need to push hard right from the start because they only have 5.5 turns to cover a lot of ground and secure the victory hexes. On balance, I thought that the Germans were unlucky to lose a Panther with its frontal armour to a tank destroyer. If it hadn’t been destroyed it would have caused the Americans some serious problems. Neverthess, was reasonably pleased with my defence without any seemingly obvious errors.

Any other thoughts or suggestions for tactics would be much appreciated.
 
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