AP33 - Second Cristot

Next up we have this excellent scenario from the late, lamented, Ian Daglish. It is Normandy (again) and the British are pushing  to take a hill. Bocage is involved, but not that much. The Brits have a nice range of forces including a Sherman squadron (and one firefly). Opposing them are SS troops with three HIP vehicles and one Pak 40. Setup proved traumatic as my opponent managed to mis-read the card and thought the scenario had both sides setting up on or East/West of the same hex rows (there is a Festung Budapest scenario that does this that can apparently be very bloody). Due to this he setup back from the relevant line and only realised the mistake when my setup arrived.  Since this would muck up the defence we agreed he could reset though that does cause more problems for the attacker. Firstly the mere fact of potentially ‘seeing’ the initial attack means possible avenues of attack that were not considered come sharply into focus and the defender can then potentially adjust accordingly. As it stands my oppo just saw the hex number so did not ‘study’ the initial position but this is not something I was aware of when I reset my position. Since the new setup effectively countered my original setup very nicely I could only assume otherwise.
Therefore I reset. My plan (as it was) was to push for the central wood. Apart from one Sherman who would provide smoke and cover in the bocage in the South (allowing my to get to the wood) the rest would go hull down and await targets. If nothing else appeared then the steeple would be shot at. I also sent a strong flanking force to force the South bridge. I did not believe an vehicle capable of beating a tank would be at H3 as it made no logical sense. If I did not approach in the South then any vehicle there would be out of place and have to move losing the HIP.
Anyway that was the plan and in this case we wont know how effective it was as everything sucked. In the first two and a half turns my opponent managed to roll a total of eight snake eyes (all on attack shots or rallies) with my sniper awakening on two (pinning and breaking the MMG crew, which is slightly worse/on average odds) and every other dice roll bar around seven were between 3 and 5.  On my part I managed around four dice rolls lower than 6 and failed all but two morale checks in those turns. Malfed two guns, got one of the malfed guns recalled and generally watched my force ELR and casualty reduce all over the place. Both hull down tanks were naturally hit on the turret both times (admittedly there is a  52% ish chance of getting hit on the turret in these circumstances) with the rest of the tanks moving getting shot at whilst moving and getting auto hit. It was as if every opposing tank had a -5 armour leader sitting in it. I actually tracked dice rolls for the first two turns (gave up after that) this game as I wanted to validate whether the dice were actually ‘bad’ (depending on your point of view) or whether it was the fact I lost was making the dice appear to be bad. As it stands it was not perception and I was diced in the game.
One tank and two squads KIA already, things would not deteriorate quickly
Any luck was promptly countered. My first ‘luck’ was when an advance fire shot broke a SS officer and 6-5-8 squad in one of the seven. I promptly advanced two squads and an officer over another SS half squad next door and moved the rest to keep the 6-5-8 routing. In the Combat phase the SS squad ambushed and withdrew next door and in its next prep phase double oned a shot that broke both my squads and officer. Meanwhile the SS officer self rallied immediately and promptly trotted off to block the rout path of the two squads+officer whilst the SS squad took a DF shot and double oned its morale going fanatic and getting a hero.
Position at end, you can see what a mess of broken British vehicles exist and the center has almost gone entirely
All in all I conceded after two and a half turns with all five tanks blown up and only the carrier, one officer and four squads left.
Not much else to say beyond it is a nice scenario that I would like to play against someone without the devils own luck!!

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