In a bid to play more Battlegroup and get more familiar with the rules, Jonathan and I moved up in game size for our second outing of 2017. We also recruited Jamie to join the game with his German armoured grenadier platoon.
Setting: a small farming village east of Caen in Normandy, summer 1944.
The Allies have moved inland after D Day and a British Infantry platoon, supported by a sizeable tank force, have secured a small village and occupied a number of buildings. The tanks are located on the outskirts of the village and behind a small copse of trees.
2 German platoons are moving through the woods from the east, towards the village. A Panzer Grenadier platoon supported by 3 Panzer IV’s and an armoured platoon in halftrack transport supported by a Panther A commanded by a Panzer Ace.
In game terms the forces were 600 points each side. The German grenadier platoon has 2 snipers, which with “scout” rules means the British start at a disadvantage in terms of an early battle rating counter – this will be explained in a later post covering the Battlegroup rules.
The British are dug in, the Germans advance along the eastern road into the village and through the woods…
The Panzer VIs take aim at the Sherman and Firefly on the north edge of the village. Unfortunately due to moving over the rugged forest ground the shots miss.
The armoured platoon move into the trees to the southeast, while the Panther Ace spots an anti-tank gun position near the Y junction, shoots and takes it out.
The British tanks retaliate. The Sherman and Firefly to the north shoot at the Panzers, now visible on the edge of the woods. One Panzer is destroyed, the other pinned and the crew bail out and run for cover under the Firefly heavy attack.
While the British infantry stay secured in the village and woods to the south, and the German infantry remain in the woods to the east, the tanks go on the offensive. The Panther fires between the houses to take out the Firefly in a huge explosion. The Sherman responds by taking out the last Panzer. Wow, that Panzer platoon did not last long…unfortunately the cover of the trees did nothing for my poor dice rolling.
The German forces are on the back foot with the loss of 3 tanks. They now have just the Panther against all the British armour – 2 Shermans, 1 Firefly, 2 Churchill’s and 2 M10 Wolverines.
However the German grenadiers have a secret weapon…their command squad has 2 Panzerfausts!
The Panther retaliates, and pins a Sherman in town, meanwhile the command squad head for the Sherman to the north, move into the open and get a clear shot with the Panzerfaust. Hit and explosion!
On the south side of town the German armoured platoon have set up an MG team in the woods and are laying down heavy fire on the British squads outside of town, taking out 1 squad and their officer.
2 other armoured squads head for unoccupied buildings in town, along with a single sniper.
The British infantry in the buildings on the other side of the road and a nearby Churchill opens fire on the German squads, but fails to target them in the buildings.
The Panzerfaust team go hunting for a new target and spot a Churchill lurking behind some buildings in the village. A carefully aimed shot, and boom! Another Allied tank destroyed.
A Sherman decides to retaliate and rounds on the Panzerfaust team. It opens up with all MGs, but the team hit the dirt and the Sherman misses!
Meanwhile in the village, the fighting is moving into the buildings. The British charge across the road and assault the German occupied building.
The fighting in the buildings starts to get very bloody. Assaulting infantry in Battlegroup get the advantage of grenades. The fighting is deadly.
A German squad is driven out of the building, as is the lone sniper, who’s hideout is found. During the fight, half of the British squad is lost.
Another British squad makes for an assault on the same building, but change their mind when they see some of their colleagues gunned down in the street. The battle continues in the street and buildings.
The Panther targets a Churchill through the buildings from outside of the village and scores a direct hit.
The command squad with the Panzerfausts get their revenge on the Sherman. At point blank range, they can’t miss, and the Sherman is quickly destroyed. Buoyed by the destruction of a 3rd tank, the team head into the village in pursuit of another target.
Unfortunately at this point the Panther runs out of ammo. With no resupply trucks available to the German forces, the Panther becomes a useless hunk of metal.
Bloody battle in the woods
To the south of the village, there’s a vicious battle raging in the small copse of trees. The German armoured platoon disembark their halftracks and assault the British in the copse. But there are British squads holed up in the buildings on the edge of the village and they pour heavy rifle and Bren fire onto the victorious German squad and their officers. The victory is short lived.
While this fighting is going on, the M10 Wolverines, who have been very quiet during the battle, come round the south of the copse and destroy the German halftracks.
The end is in sight
The ragged remains of the German armoured grenadiers are being hunted down. The Panzer grenadier platoon is largely intact. They sneak through the woods and set up an MG line. They open fire on the British in the village buildings, but fail to target any of the squads.
The British have a secure hold on the village. Troops still occupy buildings, having driven out the German invaders. Despite losing most of the their tanks, the 2 M10 Wolverines are still active and prowling the outskirts.
A British squad spots the Panzerfaust command squad lurking in some ruins and immediately charges them. Hugely outnumbered the Germans don’t stand a chance and are wiped out. They will be remembered and honoured for the brave actions against the British armour.
At this point the remaining Germans acknowledge defeat and retreat back into the woods to the east. The Normandy village remains in the hands of the British.
Another very enjoyable game of Battlegroup. Absolutely deadly, but with some interesting rules that for me, make the game less abstract. They just feel right. I’ll go into the rules in more detail in a future post.
The Panzerfaust team showed their worth, and in game terms they’re cheap; and devastating against the British armour. That’s 2 games where the Panzer IVs have done very little. I really need to re-evaluate my tactics with armour. Infantry assaults are understandably deadly, especially if you can pin a unit before assaulting them.
I was a bit disappointed with the snipers, but I think this was the wrong scenario for them. Had the Germans been defending the village then, they would have been in place early and possibly more useful.
Jamie and I have made a mental note to remember re-supply trucks for the next engagement. A Panther with no ammo is an expensive piece of cover!
Plenty more rules to learn and more units to experiment with. We haven’t looked at indirect fire and artillery yet…and then there’s air support. Really looking forward to the next game.