Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Operation Jupiter 08 - Counterattack

Introduction
This is game 8 in replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).  I playing them on a 4.5'x5' table using 20mm; Games 1 to 5 used my own Advance to Cover rules (1 figure = 1 section).  After the last few games, I felt 1:10 was too abstract to me and so have gone to a 1:3ish figure ratio (so 3 figures = 1 section).  The rules are largely unchanged – all I have done is doubled the ranges to account for the fact is it is now company level and not battalion level; the deployed frontage of companies are different to battalions leading to the distance scale needs to be different.   Background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Scenario
The British have managed to get into Eterville and the Germans launch as counterattack before the British can dig-in. The Germans have 6 turns to take the main building on this side of the town.

View from the German entry looking at the town of Eterville.

The view from the British side looking to the German entry (top of picture).

Lastly, a picutre of this side of the town, looking from the Germans.  The objective is the building in the centre with the red roof. 
Troops
Note that although I am playing with 1:3 ratio and the scenario is at 1:1, I fielded the same number of figures and vehicles as the scenario.

British



1 Company HQ
     4 figures
1 Platoons, each:
      1 CO
      3 sections (3 figures each)
      1 PIAT team
      1 2' mortar team
2 Churchill VII
German



1 Company HQ
   5 figures
2 Zugs
      1 CO
      3 Gruppe (3 figures each)
      1 251/1 halftrack
2 PanzerIVG
2 Stug IIIG
2 fire missions of 80mm mortar battery

(the scenario called for 3 halftracks, I forgot about the third one.)

Deployment

The British focus on the two large buildings facing the German entry point.  A PIAT team is set up behind the hedge in front of the objective building (the one with the red roof).  The Churchills are deployed to be able to cover the approach to the town, with one Churchill also well positioned to assist in defending the buildings. 

British defense.

Game
Like the previous game, after deployment I dictated the game as I was playing using a voice recorder on the PC rather than typing notes as I went along. It worked well, and I know the game took 37 minutes to play from deployment to the end.

The Germans are on a very short time limit.  One half track rushes up the field to the right of the main road and drives right next to the hidden PIAT team.  Bang!   A 6 die roll to hit sees the half track destroyed.  Most of the passengers make it out - 3 of 10 figures killed - and are suppressed.

Halftrack driving past the hedge with the hidden PIAT team

The result of the PIAT fire.
The other halftrack goes down the field to the left of the road and the passengers unload behind the hedge facing the closest building of the village.

This halftrack does ok and makes to the hedge in front of the town. 
The tanks come on ad planned - Stugs down the right flank and PanzerIVs down the left.  The Company HQ move down the woods on the far left of the table.

The German tanks arrive in support
The white house closest to the second Zug is subject to mortar fire and suppresses the building occupants -  one section (3 figures in defense). The Germans jump over the hedge and assault the building.   The British, being suppressed and attacked by superior numbers, are overwhelmed.

Two Gruppe assault the closest building defended by one section that was suppressed by mortar fire. 
Meanwhile, the Germans that escaped the destroyed halftrack rally and  charge at the PIAT team that is easily destroyed.
The other Zug assault the PIAT team.
The Churchill could fire on a PanzerIV but the white house being occupied is a much bigger threat - the Germans are only one building fromthe objective.  Both Churchills fire on the building and cause a few casualties.  The PanzerIVs fire at the Churchill but no damage is inflicted.

PanzeriVs move around the hedge while Churchills fire on the white house.

The Germans in the white building spot the unit in the objective and fire, causing one casualty. The mortar fire on the objective building but is ineffective.  The Germans mount a large assault on the objective building using figures from the Zugs that recently destroyed the PIAT team.

The Germans crossing the road to assault the objective building (the Brits on the right are the defenders).

The Germans lose three figures from fire when crossing the road and the assault results in equal losses on both sides and the figures are locked in melee.  The figures remain in melee for another turn as well.

Germans and Brits locked in melee.
More units from the first Zug are bought up into the white building

Germans move more units into the white building.
The British shore up the defense of the objective building but the resulting melee is still a tie!

View from the British side of the building with the defenders visible.
The Brits win the melee in the building and the Germans lose a few figures, retreat and the whole Zug takes a morale check and rout.

The remains of a Zug retreating before they rout.
The Germans in the white building, the only infantry left on the table, make a last ditch attempt to assault the building.

Germans make one last attempt to take the building.  Note the Brits I moved from the other side for visual effect.
 They fail, lose two figures and also rout.

The Germans lose, retreat and rout.

The Germans withdraw.  The British win, having held the town against the German counter-attack.

Table at game end from the British edge.

Verdict
The rules seem to work well and the melee rolls were very tense!. The objective building I treated as one large building and sometimes had quite a few figures (7-8) on a side. I must think about whether I should split them up into a couple of rooms and only allow 4 or so figures to a room. The game would go slower but it would capture the deadly nature of building fighting. I think I will leave it as an option - fast games can use one building, slower games can have a couple of "rooms" to fight over.

This was the last game I played while I had time and space in January, not sure when I will have the space or time to setup a 20mm game again to continue the campaign.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Operation Jupiter 07 - Chateau de Eterville

Introduction
This is game 7 in replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).  I playing them on a 4.5'x5' table using 20mm; Games 1 to 5 used my own Advance to Cover rules (1 figure = 1 section).  After the last few games, I felt 1:10 was too abstract to me and so have gone to a 1:3ish figure ratio (so 3 figures = 1 section).  The rules are largely unchanged – all I have done is doubled the ranges to account for the fact is it is now company level and not battalion level; the deployed frontage of companies are different to battalions leading to the distance scale needs to be different.   Background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Scenario
Germans are defending the Chateau.  The British have 6 turns to take over the German aid post in the Chateau.

Overview of the table from the British entry view - farm on the back left, chateau (the objective) on the right
A larger picture of the right side of the table with the road tracks through the woods a bit more visible.
The chateau with a large flat bare field aka potential killing field to its front.

Troops
Note that although I am playing with 1:3 ratio and the scenario is at 1:1, I fielded the same number of figures and vehicles as the scenario.

British

The British attackers, plus 4 carriers I forgot to include in the picture.
1 Company HQ
     6 figures
2 Platoons, each:
      1 CO
      3 sections (3 figures each)
4 Carriers (for one platoon)
2 Churchill VII
2 Archers
German

And the German defenders. 
1 Company HQ
   6 figures
1 Zug
      1 CO
      3 Gruppe (3 figures each)
1 PanzerIVG
1 Panther

Deployment
The German plan: The British are unlikely to to advance to the Chateau over the flat field to its front - the avenues of attack will be the woods.  They may also attempt to go through the farm and attack the chateau from the side.  The German defense splits the infantry between the farm and the chateau (as the latter is the objective to defend). The tanks guard the Chateau front and also cover the woods to the edge of the chateau ,and may turn 90 degrees if an attack comes via the farm.  All the Germans have to do is stop the Brits in 6 turns, so delaying them advancing is the key.

Two German sections (3 figs = 1 section) in the farm buildings (picture from the German edge).

The tanks and the other half of the infantry (again, picture from the German edge).

Game
Like the previous game, after deployment I dictated the game as I was playing using a voice recorder on the PC rather than typing notes as I went along. It worked well, and I now know the game took exactly 41 minutes to play from post-deployment to the end.
The British plan is to use the carriers to determine enemy location and strength; Tanks are split across the farm and the chateau.  Remaining infantry to go via the wood edge to take the chateau from the woods. Go fast, go hard! 6 turns is not long.
The Carriers split and go through the woods.  Carriers move very fast on the roads!
Fortunately (good planning) or unfortunately (bad luck) the carriers achieve their aim and the first carrier to enter into the farmyard is destroyed by a lucky panzefaust shot from the nearest farm building.

Carrier destroyed by a panzerfaust from the German gruppe.
The tanks come on next to support the infantry.  One Achilles and Churchill through the woods following the carriers, and the other enter to guard the area in front of the chateau.

Tanks enter into the woods.  Churchills are very slow compared to carriers!

While the other two take up a defensive position in front of the chateau.
The remaining British infantry move on. The platoon heads for the woods, ready to move down the edge facing the Chateau.  The company HQ takes up a position behind the stone walls in front of the Chateau.

The other British platoon enter to take on the Chateau.
The Germans in the chateau, or the tanks, do not open fire.  The Brits cannot see any of them yet and the Germans are better off holding their fire, especially the infantry that van wait until either a) the British need to cross the open or b) need to engage in close combat and the Germans will be in hard cover.  Also, the German tanks have a better chance to hit stationary tanks and so can always wait on hold until next turn when some of the them have stopped and so count as stationary.

Which is exactly what happened next turn...

The Panther and the PanzerIV fire at the Achilles in front of the Chateau.  Panther misses but the PanzerIV hits and KOs the Achilles. The Churchill returns fire but misses.  On the recording I heard me sum this up as me saying flatly "Oh dear".  In the previous scenario play there was 5 turns of trading shots before a vehicle was destroyed, this game it occurs with the first trading of shots.

First tank blood to the Germans - one Achilles is knocked out.
Meanwhile over at the farm (British left flank), the infantry from the central two carriers deploy - one platoon and the commander 4 figures.

The infantry deploy from the 2 carriers (that were not fired at).into the woods near the farm
..and the Churchill continues down the road towards the remaining carrier to hopefully help clear the farm.
Churchill desperately trying to catch up to support the infantry
The surviving passengers on the far left British flank leave the carrier and take up a position behind the wall in the woods, fire at the buildings.  With not much chance of hitting, no damage.  The Gruppe in the building returns fire and routs one of the figures.

The survivors to the right, down one after the Gruppe has just fired at them.
The Churchill makes it to be able to fire on the German occupied building but causes no damage.  This occurred for the net two turns - both HE and hull MG. and no suppression results either!  The British frustration levels are rising. Note: on the third turn of firing the British did manage to rout a figure. And turn 5 another one!  Still to slow to enable a breakthrough on the farm.

The German hits the Churchill with a panzerfaust but it is ineffective.  Same again next turn.

Churchill arrives to provide support fire...that was ineffective.
The Achilles that was following the Churchill split off at the fork to provide support for the infantry that is going down the wood edge.

The Achilles arrives at the wood edge in the centre to provide much needed armour support
The main British centre platoon continue down the wood edge and get to the corner or the wood.  They are now in an excellent position to assault the chateau off the to back right of the blow picture).  The British are bogged down at the farm, but have a bit of concentration of effort right here.  The plan is working, what could go wrong? Formerly frustrated, the British are now mildly confident.  

The main British platoon arrive.  Armour support, lots of infantry.  All that is left is to assault the Chateau (just off to the top right)
There was a whole turn here (turn 3) of lots of firing back and forth to absolutely no effect to either side.  Which is actually in the German's favour.  The British are on a very aggressive time limit after all.

The British charge a section to the chateau for some close combat action.  British lose two of the three figures that assaulted and the remaining figure retreats and is pinned. Germans automatically lose one.  But now the British know what is there.

Charge! (they fail are rout)
Lots of firing into the chateau but no effect.  After a few turns of engaging fire between the Achilles and Panther, the Achilles is destroyed.  This is not good for the Brits.  There is nothing left to take on the Panther, or more importantly -  to keep it busy.

Panther destroys the Panther.
The British send some more infantry (another section) to assault the Chateau.  A figure is lost to MG fire but the rest are fine.  However, the assault fails badly (poor dice rolling for the British) and 3 figures are lost.

Another charge.  Also fails.
The British platoon is down quite a few figures and takes a morale check - they will pull back.  This effectively ends the game as there is no way the British can dislodge the Germans from the Chateau, and occupy it, in one more turn.

End game.- note the Churchill at the right was immobilised late in the game.
Verdict
The rules seem to work well again and so did the voice recording to prevent often having to interrupt the games to scribble down notes.  But it was a bit slow sometimes listening to the narration.  In preference, I prefer to not interrupt flow of the battle to write notes, and take the hit listening to my narration. 

The game is another great scenario.  Wild swings and decisions to be made.  The British sent too many troops to the farm on the left, and turn 3 was a time waster for the Brits.

I continue to enjoy these battles.