WO30 Ma Deuce Delivers

jrv

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The Americans are defending against a post-Falaise counter attack by Luftwaffe infantry. The Americans are outnumbered but are better quality than the Germans, and they are backed up by two M51 AAMGs. They will receive four M10 tank destroyers on turn three, which is good for them because the Germans are supported by not one, not two, but three King Tigers arriving on turn two. Word on the street is that the Germans can't win this, so I wanted to try the Germans to see if there was anything to the buzz.

The Germans win either by clearing Good Order Americans from on/adjacent to a road near the west edge and/or by controlling all the buildings adjacent to that road. Most of the buildings are clustered near the west edge in the center of the board, with two outliers further north.

The American infantry can set up anywhere, while the AAMGs have to set up on the western half of the board. The German attack will depend on how the Americans set up their defense. On the northern half of the map there are a cluster of buildings on the eastern part of the board. The Germans would like this cover most. In the center of the map is a large field of grain. On the south are some alternating woods and more open terrain. There is a fire gap of relatively open ground between the approaches from the center and the south to the victory buildings.

I think the Americans have four broad options. They can set up near the east edge (where the Germans enter) trying to cover most of the map. They can set up on the eastern half of the board but concentrate in the buildings. They can set up a set up some speed bumps on the eastern half of the map while awaiting the final assault on the western half of the board. Finally they might put nothing on the eastern half of the board.

My opponent opted for the speed bumps. He had three halfsquads plus some dummies forward in the east village. During the first two turns there is a mist equivalent to heavy rain, i.e. +1 at range ≤ 6 hexes, +2 at 7-12, etc. The Germans started with two squads deployed then deployed two more during the first RPh. The first halfsquad on board broke but the rest charged forward boldly. Because the Germans have so many units it was not long before the Americans had fired all the speed bumps and then whole platoons of Germans guided by leaders went streaking by. If the Americans have not opted to set up strongly in the east the Germans have to move fleetly during the first couple turns.

I had a squad-and-a-half plus 7-0 enter on the south edge to check for HIP guns along the road. I think the Americans attempting a ploy to keep one of the two M51s HIP in the south is very remote, mostly because the guns are so powerful that I couldn't see the Americans keeping one out of the battle, but I decided to honor the possible sleaze. There is another possible sleaze, with the Germans setting up a HIP gun in the northern part of the board around W2, but since I was planning to move through the woods to the northern half of the town this possibility was handled implicitly. I had a rough platoon enter through the grain in the center. I wanted to get some MGs in CC12 or BB10 to cut off units retreating back from the east village.

On turn two the Tigers entered. They were CE initially, but an American M51 in Q7 popped up and stunned a Tiger in BB7. I was planning to BU but I thought it was safe where I was. Another Tiger when up to X7 to take the M51 under fire. The Tigers are obviously powerful weapons, but they also have sN9 for making Smoke (reduced to sN8 for being BU), making them really good for laying down screens, which is what the Tiger that was stunned was planning to do. The third Tiger finished that job.

Of the three speed bump halfsquads, two died but one remained in the stone buildings until near the game end. Eventually I had three SE hunting that halfsquad down. A fair number of them were from broken units that took a while to rally, but the halfsquad did soak off resources.

The Germans circled in from the X2 area toward the east village, with the MG units moving from the grain to X8. For some reason I stacked there, and the exposed M51 showed me why that was a bad idea. Even with +4 DRM those guns are murder. The Tiger in X7 shut it down pretty quickly with an HE KIA.

On the German third turn the Tigers gathered together. The M10s are not individually very dangerous to a Tiger, but as a group they can hunt one down. The Tiger in X7 remained there, one went to V8 and the stun Tiger went to U6. The Germans had captured a BAZ, which was near the north edge. The M10s entered on the west edge. One drove on to Q5, stopped and took a shot at V8. That Tiger was facing away, so it turned its turret for a DFF shot which missed. The Tiger in X7 also missed, and various IFT attacks made no impression. The M10 took its shot and missed, then drove off into a field full of German infantry. The astonished infantry put together a twenty-two FP up two attack, and the M10 was stunned. It died that turn in close combat.

The other three M10s entered more prudently on the southern half of the board. The Americans were now back in the east village. Both of the other American leaders had died (7-0 ran into a stream of bullets from a LOS he didn't see; 8-0 died from a sniper), but the 9-2 was still kicking ass and taking names. The Germans pushed into the village from the north, and things were looking dire for the Americans. They lost another M10 in an engagement with a Tiger. The Tiger with the 9-1 AL moved up to take on a third M10. The M10 tried Deliberate Immobilization, failed without ROF, then tried again as Intensive Fire. The Tiger was Immobilized, but it was a fine spot to be in. All that needed to happen was for a nine ML crew—the crème de la crème of the Panzer force—to pass a simple Immobilization Task Check. Twelve. Sigh.

Meanwhile the second M51 had turned up in R12. The second Tiger was deeply engaged in trying to clear the village in S9, while the third moved to Q9 to guard the flank. The Germans finally cleared the village and had four squads from Q11 to T9. The Americans were down two M10s to zero Tigers (the abandoned Tiger was not eliminated). It looked like the war would be over by Christmas, with the Allies pushed off the continent. This was the last American turn, and the Americans needed to recover two buildings (they still held T11) to have a chance (and/or kill some Tigers). The M51 saw its chance for glory and went off. It broke three of the four front-line German squads, CR-ing two of them. But the two nearest buildings were still held by broken units. The Americans managed to break the fourth German squad as well, but they only had one maneuver MMC left at the end of the PFPh, so they could take back at most one building because the broken Germans prevented entry during the MPh. Game over; German win. Even if the Americans had recovered two buildings, the Germans would have had a final turn in which to get one back, and it seemed fairly likely that they could do that.

As to the claim that the Germans have little hope I can only say based on our game, "not proven." Perhaps it was a lucky win, but it didn't feel like it. Both sides had both good luck and bad. The Germans do have to move as fast as they can. In our game I never had a chance to set up the HMG or MMG because the squads were either busy or broken. If the Germans do that I think they have a decent chance. I wouldn't give the balance to the Americans either, but I don't see that the Germans need it. Since we played I have thought about it a bit more, and perhaps there might be the possibility that four American squads or so in the western village might force the Germans to go south, and in turn they could be held back by two M51s in R12 & R13 and the remaining infantry. That's my best suggestion, and I am not very confident about the plan. Feel free to give it a try.

My opponent's criticism of the scenario was not that it is unbalanced, but that it is somewhat boring for the Americans. The Americans have a much smaller force (seven squads vs fourteen German squads) and, apparently, little to do. As the German I felt engaged, and it was an interesting force to fight with and to fight against. Those M51s are murder.

JR
 
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Perry

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A fighting withdrawal, with a 9-2, two M51 AAMGs, and four M10 tank destroyers equals "little to do" for the Americans?

Each to his own, I guess.
 

jrv

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A fighting withdrawal, with a 9-2, two M51 AAMGs, and four M10 tank destroyers equals "little to do" for the Americans?
The 9-2 started and remained back in the west village. There was very little fighting withdrawal, as the speed bump units were quickly killed and/or bypassed. The remaining Americans were in/around the west village, waiting for the Luftwaffe swarm. The board is fairly difficult to withdraw across; it is fairly open. For instance if the Germans can get MGs in CC12 or BB10, they can make retreating from the east village tricky.

At one point the 9-2 voluntarily broke (pinned, about to be engaged in CC alone), and I thought the game was all but over. Unfortunately the only unit that could DM him was the Tiger where the crew abandoned on the Immobilization Task Check.

One M10 attempted a quick strike against a Tiger, but the others kept out of LOS of Tigers until later in the game. One tried to confront the Tiger that was in the west village, but that ended badly. There was no attempt to bum rush a Tiger, and I tried to keep the Tigers together to cover each other.

JR
 

JR Brackin

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A fighting withdrawal, with a 9-2, two M51 AAMGs, and four M10 tank destroyers equals "little to do" for the Americans?

Each to his own, I guess.
Perry, this IMHO is not a fighting withdraw. The 2 M51s have to be placed behind hexrow W - and the only movement would be to push them - while that is not difficult it does take away the surprise of their HIP if they are used too early.

Having a small speedbump is one way, but the Germans have the opportunity to overwhelm theUS forces if they are set up too far forward.

I looked at it and thought if I set up front then I would have to spread out and that meant either getting caught piecemeal or the Germans hitting a missed spot to run through a gap.

As the game continues, with some losses, the US has less and less that it can do. Movement deteriorates once the Germans are close to the road and back buildings.
 

jrv

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I looked at this a bit more from the American perspective. There is some, limited I think, prospect for some fighting withdrawal. If there are speed bump units up in the east village, units in, say, Y8 & W7 (MMG firelane) can support them on German turn one then withdraw on American turn one. Then concern I have is that with the Tigers entering on German two, the Americans need to fall back starting on American one so they can get back to the village. If the Tigers plop themselves down between the Americans and the village, it may be very difficult to fall back. It's also possible that units behind the Z4 hedge can get back, but they would need some luck. The mist hindrance will help them, though, plus any Germans at the Z4 hedge will probably be CX.

JR
 

Eagle4ty

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I found that defense in sector with combat outposts forward worked well. a few units forward in the stone village or just to its left flank and a small outpost forward on the right flank made the German deploy & disperse a bit prematurely to either engage these units or avoid their fire. These are not DIP (die in place) positions, but merely outposts that will bound back to the MLR, normally in/around the village and the wooded right flank for the final stand. The choppers work quite well in supporting positions or as potential threats in this situation, especially if not brought out too early.
 

Cpl Uhl

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There's a nice spot just behind the lumberyard and hedge for a foxhole/mmg position that can throw out FLs to either side. Baz behind that should deter the tigers. If nothing's in the backfield, it's actually pretty easy to rout, voluntary or otherwise, back to the VC bldgs from the lumberyard, foxhole, etc. I like the chances for an Ami fighting withdrawal.
Won this as the Germans against an upfront defense that DIDN'T withdraw. Wouldn't recommend that.
 

jrv

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I rethought this some more, and I realized I was sticking to my opponent's defense. Defending the west center village might not be the best plan. Perhaps better to defend the two northern buildings heavily. The foxholes can provide cover between the back of the woods and those buildings. Start with a fair amount of infantry in the big stone buildings. Force the Germans to go south and turn north. The M10s can come in behind on the south edge. That leaves the Tigers having to choose between facing south against the M10s and facing north against the infantry.

JR
 
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