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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

U.S. Army Enters the Mediterranean!

Bwana Bill and I have been discussing getting back into Flames of War (FoW) for some time now, so we put lead on the table and made it happen!

Bwana is used to playing his Deutsch Afrika Korp (DAK); however, for our return to the desert after nearly three years, Bwana ran the game and assisted his son in playing, while running his all new, fresh off the table U.S. Army Tank Company!

Two platoons of Sherman tanks, an infantry platoon, a Company Command platoon in Sherman tanks, and a platoon of tank hunters - M-10 tank destroyers made up the U.S. Tank Company.

On the German side were the following platoons; Company Command in Panzer Mk IVs (x2), two platoons of Panzer III (with the long barreled 50cm gun - 3 shots per turn if they don't move!) and a platoon of armored Panzergrenadiers.

This appears to represent two fairly evenly matched opposing teams; however, there are benefits and detractors each opponent had to deal with.

After a rousing rehash of the rules (did I fail to mention that it's been nearly three years since we've played FoW?) we placed our units on the table and prepared to duel.

On the first turn, due to the special rules of the scenario we were playing, our units had effectively moved - so could only shoot at reduced rate of fire.

The Germans started the game; my first time running DAK, so I was anxious about my ability to run the army properly. However, this was offset by the fact that Bwana Bill and his son had not fielded an 'Ami' army before!

I rolled to dig in my infantry on one objective - and failed. Since they didn't move or shoot, they were considered concealed and gone to ground.

A few shots at long range from the 50cm guns and the 75s of the Panzer platoons and the Company Command team resulted in one American tank bailed out, one in flames and the 2IC tank(the Executive Officer or 2nd in command)in flames.

First blood to the DAK veterans!

American 2IC tank in flames

On their turn, the Americans chose to move closer to the Panzers with one tank platoon, and wisely elected to place their surviving Company Command tank behind a building. A leaderless company usually results in an epic fail!

Maneuvering deftly up a wadi, the Americans closed the distance and opened fire on the Panzers. The results were one Panzer III bailed and one burning.

On the other half of the table, the M-10 Tank Destroyers also closed the range and fired into the flank of the first DAK Panzer platoon, bailing one and killing another.

The American infantry moved out of their vehicles into buildings on their side of the table and consolidated their positions.

Turn two:

I rolled to dig in my infantry on one objective - and failed.

Having forgotten my Stormtrooper move at the end of my turn, I decided to stay where I was and slug it out with the Sherman tanks. 2nd platoon of Panzers opened fire on the Shermans at range, killing two.

1st platoon lit up the second Sherman platoon, killing two tanks, and also took a "just for kicks" shot at an American halftrack in the open, missing miserably.

I succeeded in remembering my Stormtrooper move, and rolled successfully for two platoons to move, and moved them four inches - one towards the enemy, one away.

The Americans moved their 1st tank platoon towards the objective guarded by the DAK Panzergrenadieres. The half tracks, free of troops but armed with machine guns, moved towards the hapless infantry this turn as well.

The survivors of the American 2nd tank platoon fired on the Panzer IVs of the Company Command team - knocking out the German 2IC. The American Commander, peeking out from behind the building fired his rounds into the panzers, with little effect.

The Americans maneuver aggressively

The M-10s, now in range, fired at long range, and knocked out a Panzer III of 2nd platoon, on the German left flank. Between the M-10s and the survivors of the American 1st tank platoon, the German 2nd Panzer platoon lost another tank, and two more bailed.

Turn three:

I rolled to dig in my infantry on one objective - and failed.

I rolled to get my tank crews that were bailed out back into their vehicles. One failed. The other crew jumped in and prepared to resume the battle.

Since the Americans were now in range of the "doorknocker" 37mm gun on the infantry command half track, it fired two rounds - hitting once, and true to form, the shot bounced off.

Did I mention my infantry failed to dig in, on three tries???

2nd Panzer Platoon fired at the American 1st platoon, killing another tank and bailing one other, leaving only the platoon command tank fully operational.

1st Platoon and the Company Commander chose to shoot at the survivors of the American 2nd tank platoon, and destroyed it nicely. One unit dead!

The Americans rolled to get their tank crews back in the fight, and succeeded.

The Americans returned fire from the M-10s, bailing three of the remaining Panzers in 1st Panzer platoon, and killing one.

1st Tank platoon charged up to the (not) dug in Panzergrenadiers, alongside four half tracks. The armored juggernaut lashed out with machine gun fire, pinning the infantry thus reducing their "defensive fire" to one shot per section, vice the normal three shots. The German defensive fire managed to knock out one American half track.

After killing one section with the MG fire, and nicely pinning them, the tanks and tracks charged into assault. They rolled, I rolled, they rolled, and the infantry was dead. Poor guys never had a chance against tanks, all unsupported like that! However, the German half tracks remained on the objective, thus contesting it.

Turn four:

I rolled to dig in my infantry on one objective - and failed. Oops - hehehe! Never mind, they were dead at this point.

At this point I march moved the Company Commander towards an unguarded American objective. He closed to about eight inches.

On the American turn, Bwana Bill and son attempted to consolidate their position on the German objective by killing all the remaining tracks. They accomplished this without too much trouble - half tracks against tanks aren't much of a match! With those tanks and half tracks on my objective, I needed to pry them off or get a vehicle there to contest it, before the start of their next turn.

The American Commander made a run for the objective, which was about to be contested by the German Commander, and fired a shot at the German Command tank, but missed. Nearly an epic fail; however, he now contested the objective, and on my turn I would need to blast him off the objective to win it, and perhaps the game.

The M-10s fired at the German 2nd tank platoon, managing to bail three tanks - leaving the platoon combat ineffective.

Turn five:

I rolled to get my three bailed crews back into their vehicles, succeeding on two, but the third crew were certain their vehicle was about to brew up, and stayed cowering beside it. Rommel would have been able to inspire them - Rommel I'm not!

The Panzer IV Company Command tank fired at full Rate of Fire (RoF) at the American company commander, penetrating his armor and cooking off his ammo. A leaderless company is not a good thing.

I charged one tank of 2nd tank platoon up onto the recently captured objective, placing its barrel almost onto the rear of one of the surviving American tanks. The remainder of the platoon (the ones that were in the battle!) and 1st tank platoon then opened fire on the Sherman tanks and the two half tracks. Results, all in flames - you gotta love those long barreled 50cm guns, firing 3 rounds each! I do recall the many games when my Brits were on the receiving end of that fusillade, and it is unpleasant seeing that many die rolled against your vehicles!

At the bottom of turn five, I rolled for Stormtrooper moves for each of my units, and all three got it. I moved closer to the objective to insure the Americans wouldn't attempt to retake it with the M-10s, and eased the Company Command tank up next to the burning American CO's tank.

At this point I controlled one objective, and the Americans were without their CO.

As Bwana Bill and his son began their turn, they realized they needed to take a morale check; however, without a CO, there is no morale check. Game, set, and match.

A win for the doomed DAK, and a good first mission for the fresh faced Americans!


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