A102 - Point of the Sword


I picked up another new opponent at this point. Rosta was Czechoslovakian and had tentatively moved to full ASL and wanted some more experience primarily of infantry scenarios. This was the first posted March 23rd 2014.



"Corporal Eddie Preston lay in a fold of grass gravely surveying the village ahead. All appeared quiet but the Jerries were good at hiding, he had already noted several fixed gun positions and no doubt more existed beyond view. He turned to wave up his squad. They approached on their hands and knees and Preston noted approvingly how they had already managed to camouflage themselves effectively. The Germans would have no idea that they were here.
 “Good” He whispered, “Very good – the key to victory, for a marine, is to surprise the enemy. Keep concealed, kill and get away without him knowing. They won’t know what hit’em and that is one of the first  military laws”
 Several of the squad nodded sagely at this wise advice and the Corporal, well satisfied, turned back to surveying the village. Suddenly an enormous burst of machine gun fire sounded from behind them and a voice yelled out
 “Oi! Jerrie!! over here you square headed dummies!!”. Instantly several concealed machine gun posts in the village lit up as a hail of German fire increased overhead. With an exuberant jump an un-camouflaged Sergeant Warrick landed right on top of the Corporals carefully hidden section whilst laughing.
 Of course there are other interpretations of that law”, the Corporal spat at his men as they all hugged the earth to avoid the bullets thudding all around.
 D-Day. Commandos have landed between Sword and Juno beaches and have already moved from their beach inland before swinging South to take on the Fortified village of Langune-Sur-Mer. The garrison comprised troops from the 21st Panzer Division and they were not second stringers and were ready for a fight. The commandos had such a hard time approaching that they had to call for assistance from the knackered Canadian Regiment de Chaudiere – who had just taken a neighbouring village without tank support.
The Plan
For the scenario the module designer appears to be intending to make the british pay for moving across the vast open areas and then once they had succeeded the hidden fortified building would force the attacker to have to search quite a few buildings to fulfil the victory conditions. If the Germans can cause enough casualties in the first four turns then there should be few commandos left but equally those commandos should be in place to place smoke and help the Canadians get across the same ground faster.
My oppo seems to have decided to not contest the open ground seriously but instead to occupy the forward third of the village. My plan therefore will be to cover as much ground as possible in the first few turns and then engage that line to hopefully overwhelm it or force it to retire. Then the Canadians should hopefully only need to mop up the bedraggled remnants.
Turns One and Two
The first couple of turns can be summarised quite easily as my boys stormed across the open areas. The only noteworthy incidents were the sudden appearance of the HIP unit with a medium machine gun in the woods at T0 who only managed to pin my big stack that had been sweeping unconcerned across the open ground. In more ‘typical’ news I had managed to get out the wrong mortar counter and in the 1st turns prep phase was just about to announce dropping smoke on the Heavy machine gun when I saw the range was 8!. Instead I moved it and then the following turn noticed it was the wrong model…..
Here you can see the risk of the move into O7 in the teeth of powerful opposition. The Brit sniper can be seen in the East having earned his money (for this scenario).
My opponent was obviously not planning on falling back and used his turns to either attack units in the open (I managed to walk into the mortars LOS twice without realising – this resulted in my 8-1 being wounded)  or to shuffle other units forward to reinforce.
The key German move here was the very, very aggressive advance of the squad plus light machine gun in R7 next to my boys in the grain. The following turn a huge point blank prep shot broke them and I then made very strenuous efforts to surround them. This did not go entirely well with one squad wiped out by the heavy machine gun (which was proving nasty) but I did eventually block all rout paths and the unit surrendered.
Elsewhere on my part I was soon able to make my fire start to count with the Sniper breaking the medium machine gun squad just as he shrugged of my small arms  and the mortar fire. I then managed to critical the medium machine gun squad wiping it off the face of the earth but not before the machine gun had managed to break a squad.
British Turn 3
I had now got as far as I could without exposing myself to huge amounts of defensive fire and now would have to work out how to get across the road. This turn I made an attempt to cross into the village at two locations. The first was by my East flank force which managed to insert itself at the far edge of the board into the village. The Germans moved a squad and officer over to counter and fire was traded which resulted in the German officer breaking. My other move was less successful as my smoke attempt from the mortar failed and only just missed losing its remaining smoke shells (see later) I then placed a single smoke screen but could not see how I could risk any unit to the bristling supporting machine gun nests in front of me. My attempts to ‘draw’ fire worked but with a squad in the west broken by the HMG (which rated) and a squad moving from the West broken by an LMG (which rated). I did not want to risk more squads so decided to consolidate ready for next turn. My advance fire was not spectacular but did the job when the British Sniper responding (again) to a German morale roll of 4 broke one of the advanced Light machine gun squads in U6 and by his own fire broke the remaining active light machine gun. Due to the stone building, the present 8-1 officer and my 9-2 officer with squad staring down his potential rout path he decided to risk staying where he was and not routing back. I can see  the logic but probably would not have risked it myself with the squad needing a 6 or less to rally in the next German turn.
End of British turn 3. There is a broken german squad on U5 and a broken officer on W3
Edward Preston ducked as a stream of bullets thudded into the walls behind him. Three bleeding machine gun posts and all active and very accurate.
“Corporal, Corporal they are shooting at us Corp!”
 “Yes thanks for that ” he snapped back, ” be sure to tell me if I get hit, now put some bloody fire down on those guns”
 His squad certainly did not lack moral fibre as they promptly started shooting back. Through a hole into the next room he could see Warrick talking urgently to some of the 2nd Platoon. He appeared to be holding a large piece of explosive and laughing.
 “Good grief, he looks like he is enjoying this”, thought Preston as Warrick ran energetically into the room ducking low to not expose himself to the outside enemies.
 “Right lads, no point in staying round here to get all corpsified – and I have just the plan to get us out of here!”
 “Does it involve placing a large stable explosive next to a machine gun nest then storming the building in the resultant confusion”, Edward asked somewhat sardonically
 “Corporal Preston have you been thinking again? No, it involves placing a very large unstable explosive next to two machine gun nests”, Warrick grinned, ” nothing you lads need to concern yourselves with. I do need you boys to lay down some smoke so I get a chance to get close.” He turned to leave, ” Don’t leave me standing out there with just some dynamite to cover my backside with. ” He moved off in the same manner gesticulating for the next squad along to follow.
British Turn 4
The previous German turn had just involved some desultory fire being thrown backwards and forwards. Nothing to see here apart from some bad die rolling..
On my turn I made a concerted effort to engage the forward German positions so to allow the reinforcement free access. My plan was very good (if I do say so myself) but I cocked up by forgetting the ssrs. First up I attempted to plant smoke on the heavy machine gun at V7 with my mortar (good idea!) but missed the smoke roll by 1 and lost smoke (I didn’t really as I had ‘forgotten’ the ssr that gave the brits a smoke depletion number of 9 instead of 7) so instead threw some ineffective HE. Having not really, but in reality, buggered up my own plan I then decided to sacrifice my commandos by offering themselves up as lovely targets to the enemy and preventing him from shooting long range at the Canadians. My officer in the East started the ‘push’ with the squad rolling for and getting smoke (with a 2) they then assault moved next to the Germans looking forward to a great ambush roll and probable combat victory.
In the centre I also tried for smoke and failed with the squad in R7 (and now forgot the ssr that made these boys combat engineers). Not perplexed and in ignorance of my ignorance I then moved the squad next door to the U6 enemy and soaked up a point blank fire shot. Since that had gone so well I did the same next to U5 where the enemy managed to casualty reduce and break the squad – still all to the good as that stopped them potentially shooting my Canadians in the open. That still left the mortar and the heavy machine gun. I really needed these tied up in local fire. To hopefully prevent both I moved another squad straight up the road where the mortar did little but my own morale ‘save’ forced the German sniper to pin him. This left the heavy machine gun and I resolved to take heroic action and charged the hero with a dc next door. Here he was wounded and promptly pinned from using too much movement (only on the ‘final fire’ shot though and unlike the previous turn my oppo failed to rate plus had then broken the machine gun on the intensive shot. This finally allowed my Canadians to swarm on aggressively in stacks and get through the dangerous open ground. Not everything went my way and in defensive fire on a 4 flat shot the Germans next to my 9-2 broke both squad and officer and another of my squads was massacred for failure to rout.
Combat went well (and it was at this exact point that I noticed my smoke ‘fails’ earlier as I ambush rolled a 2 with my oppo a 4 and suddenly remembered I was stealthy and in the rush of rule checks noticed everything else I had forgotten. With the smoke on V7 my hero would have got next door and instead of taking 14 -3 shots would have taken an initial 14 +1 followed by a 6+1 – probably not getting wounded and planting his dc.Plus all the smoke elsewhere I could have laid down to screen advances). Anyway the ambush worked and I promptly followed with a snake eyes generating a 8-1 leader. No complaints though as my Canadians were rushing forwards so even with my cock up the plan had worked well.
Here you can see how well placed well placed the commandos are and several of the large untouched leader led Canadian stacks arriving. The key lynch pins of the German defence in U5 and V5 are about to come under intense pressure.
 German turn 4
Things started well for the 3rd Reich with the heavy machine gun repairing and the forward German squad rallying, Next the U5 Germans managed to break the squad next door in U6 but this was literally the only highlight for the Germans as again my oppo failed to rate anything. On my shooting phase I managed to break the Germans in U5, the heavy machine gun squad and officer in V7. In the Rout phase U5 surrendered to the officer as they had nowhere to go (with my broken flanking force in W1 restricting options) and the heavy machine gun squad rushed away leaving the shiny, newly fixed, machine gun on the floor.
My opponent conceded as with 5 active squads and 1 mortar with 4 turns remaining he had little chance of winning especially considering my force was not almost 5 times as large and bristling with weapons plus was well placed to storm the village.
Conclusion
I think the scenario is slightly balanced in the Commonwealth favour and this was not helped because my opponent had chosen the Germans and is fairly new to the game plus failed every single rate roll he made in the key turn and a half. My die were good to average though when I really needed it I got what I needed (most notably my snipers best action in breaking the medium machine gun squad and the ambush/combat rolls). The Germans can do well but it is one of those games where you need to eke out every advantage from the provided support weapons and this is something you learn with knowledge. I personally would have put the Heavy Machine gun on the first floor of V7 so it could ignore the grain and attempt to use it to damage the commandos much further off. I would also have the mortar in the front line for the same reason – it would also be useful for counter mortar fire and to cover the woods TEM. Ideally the Commandos would be held up long enough to make an enormous crush of bodies in open ground when the Canadians arrived.
Corporal Preston and his squad sprinted across the road. Things had started confusingly and then just spun steadily out of control since. Warrick’s attack had been successful and in the resultant confusion large reinforcements from some friendly Canadians had been allowed to advance forward but the remains of the Commando were now in the middle of the village surrounding or surrounded by some very annoyed panzer troops. Warrick had disappeared earlier in an attempt to draw several huge Germans off of the rest of the company and could now be seen sprinting back towards them again. Preston had regrouped his men behind a low wall and waited calmly for Warrick to run up.
  “Sergeant!” Preston whispered loudly, ” did you manage to lose them?”
 “If by ‘lose them’ you actually meant to say ‘attracted six of their friends, then yes”, he hurdled over the wall and laid his own sten gun on the top pointing back the way he had come, ” prepare to engage!”
 In the distance a little horde of Germans suddenly appeared round the corner. Preston grinned, “you heard the Sergeant. Fire!”
Also see the ever well written AAR by Jackson on the same

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