Tuesday, 5 March 2013

WWII Battle: German Panzer Grenadier Attack (Artillery Bombardment and Assault) Part II

Before the British player deployed his troops I (aka the German player) had to elect where my preplanned artillery was going to land. I decided to centre the attached XXX assets (150mm x three artillery templates) on the known position of a British infantry platoon, one template directly on it and one template either side of it hoping to catch a "linear defence". As it happened this came up trumps, suppressing five out of eight defending infantry stands (see black markers below).

Defenders take note: It pays to stagger your defensive line when you know or expect to attract incoming artillery attention. 

For my three attached divisional (XX) assets I chose a similar tactic but this time took a poke at British battalion HQ. Here I was not as successful in "quantity" but the notion of putting a command function directly under fire is a sound one. One template was sadly wasted but five out of six templates were hitting something useful. The cover bonus of the woods came to the rescue of the HQ (for this turn, see below):  

The German attack battalions (one attack and one supporting) tried to 'close the distance' to the enemy front line and get into an attack position while their artillery was causing havoc on the British defenders (see below):

The mystery of where the remaining German third battalion was going to come in was solved (much to the alarm of the British Brigadier) as it steamed on behind the other two German battalions in the Green operational zone (see below). At least the guessing game was over for the British commander but he could see two thirds of the British force was clearly "out of position". The German player was happy as I (first person) had created a local tactical 2:1 odds attack (supported by artillery) and was reinforcing it operationally to 3:1 odds. I was assuming one battalion was likely to become "spent" in the initial attack but would 'hopefully' it would hang around for 'support status' afterwards. Best made plans of mice and men or is it pride coming before a mighty big fall?

As the lead German battalion closed to with in shooting range (six inches on the table top) I soon found out that the British were not going to simply 'roll over' as I lost two platoons to very accurate rifle fire from the non-suppressed stands (see below). Even more annoyingly as they fired from crest line cover and were low visibility stationary targets I could not as yet see them (yet) to return fire. This meant I would have to endure another 'advance to contact movement phase' and take 'more' incoming fire.

The German casualties meant an unwelcome "status check" (basically asking the question, "Does the battalion still want to attack?"). The higher regimental commander was on the net (adding his bonus) stressing the need to press on with the attack regardless. The test was passed and the battalion would continue its attack (for at least another turn). I was still relieved that 'only' half the defending British stands were firing at me (see below, black markers mean suppressed infantry stands):

Just as I (the German player) had thoughts of "getting a move on", I discovered that the British had an active FOO (Forward Observation Officer) and that RHA 25 pounders have a nasty sting in their tail (see below). The resulting additional suppressions meant that the German attack battalion would only be able to put two thirds of its strength into the attack. I just hope the rest of the British battalion doesn't "wake up" and recover in the 'suppression removal stage'.

Next: Pressing home the attack

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