WP15 - Burnt Blue and Grey

For my next endeavour I am dropping into some new rules – Bocage! These have a less than stellar reputation though I am happy to give them a go.
Given the choice of side I took the defenders for three reasons of drastically different validity. The best was that when unfamiliar with something the defender (usually having less to do) has a better chance of learning without overload the next was that I like switching between offense and defence and finally my opponent in the last few games proved spectacularly good at rolling fours and fives and I rather hope to take advantage of this as the US Sniper activates on a 4 (naturally the laws of chance will ensure he no doubt rolls 1’s and 2’s instead).
The scenario involves US defenders of mixed quality with their usually decent supply of machine guns stopping egress of some mixed Germans who have no less than two flame throwers and three Stug III G’s. As counter to the tanks I also have two crews who can HIP with bazookas.
So being unfamiliar with the rules (my oppo did kindly send me some examples of what can be done) I have decided to line almost everyone up close to the entrance. Bocage conceals so I am ‘hoping’ to scuttle my defensive line back a lot easier than I could otherwise do. No doubt the setup could be better – especially as some of the rules still confuse (for example wall advantage rules state a unit ‘must’ take wall advantage if they cannot take in hex TEM (not in hex Hindrance) yet the rulebook examples say a squad with behind bocage ‘in ‘ the grain and not with wall advantage could not be seen. But they ‘must’ claim wall advantage so would be seen? Equally I became confused as to whether dummy stacks could ‘claim’ wall advantage without auto disappearing. Anyway rather than confront these head on just after Christmas I decided to just setup to negate them so no bore sights are ‘through’ bocage and no dummy stacks exist on their own…
Anyway here are both setups prior to game start (I am using Japanese concealment for the HIP bazooka squads and Finnish concealment for the bore sight location).
The German setup was biased heavily towards their right flank so I fully expect a tank to trundle up the road to block my Heavy. Equally (most) of the infantry is to the right of the road so it may not even be worth trying an early fire lane. My right flank has been essentially negated and I may well pull back most of it to assist with the Germans on the left and at least two bore sight locations now appear irrelevant.
The Game
Things started badly for me this way, failed to recover and then went rapidly downhill. As a short tactical competition type scenario there is very little give if things start going wrong and when against an opponent who can seize hold of those dis-advantages and ensure you don't recover (and I was) then things can go south fast.
The Germans started pushing South rapidly with a Stug trying to push through the bocage at the edge of the map. Here I announced one of my HIP bazookas was in F9 and I would take an underbelly shot as it pushed through. My oppo had to make a bog shot first and guess what, he bogged. No matter I would have to try the shot on my DF next turn.
End of German Turn one the bogged Stug dodged a bullet and unhappily will continue to do so..
J10 contains the HMG which is about to break on its first shot.
This I did managing to make a difficult shot (hull down) rolling a 3. As it was not underbelly that would need an 8 so the odds were good. Thus I rolled a 10. That flank crumpled quickly in the resultant hail of German fire and things were not helped when the now smoked Heavy Machine Gun box carred its attempt to shoot and lay a fire lane (and then rolled over 3 on its repair roll for the next 5 half turns so was useless the entire game).
I desperately rushed the other flank over to assist with the bocage proving helpful at easy disengagement but the Germans were pushing strongly through the gap. My shooting continued to be average and the germans either did not break or when they broke rallied the first turn not under DM. My lads though would break first time (I think I passed two morale checks all game) which I suppose is expected with brittle 1st line Americans. In this case my oppo was well aware of the need to stop them rallying and did an excellent job using his tanks and numbers to slowly whittle them away.
More bad news occurred when I had a potential fire lane down the road and a last chance to at least cause the Germans to think and a squad moved next door. I took a chance and fired the inherant at the squad – it broke but the cower prevented the fire lane.
My luck continued to suck when another Stug merrily drove up the central road allowing my second bazooka to reveal and take a side shot. Another 4 hit and due to the 3 armour only needs 13 or less (wiuth 12 being a dud). As these had schutzen I really needed to roll low on one dice with 6,6 5,6 5,5 4,6 being the only possible fail combinations. Guess what! I rolled 10 so ended up with a magnificent 15.
Meh…
That tank trundled on and in a hail mary attempt I sent the 9-1 officer and 6-6-7 with the still broken HMG across a field to try and take it in combat. The turretless Stug spun on its access and managed to break the squad.
There was now little that could be done as the Germans swept merrily to victory having lost a magnificent half squad.
My best unit was my sniper which had stunned the enemy sniper and broke another two units (for a brief period before they happily rallied)
Lots of Germans very few Americans left standing
So all in all not my best effort. Given reasonable luck then two Stugs would have gone down and if the HMG had stayed in play then the enemy advance would have been slower. As it stands neither happened and I was trounced. Not probably helped by bad rout paths planning by me and my opponents superior play. Still it was an enjoyable introduction to bocage which was not nearly as bad as I had thought and something I will now happily play again.


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