Thursday, 27 November 2014

Battle Report - Flames of War - Devils Charge Part 1

So we decided to start playing a quite interesting Flames of War scenario, which is found in Wargames Illustrated (also online). Basically it takes place during the battle of the bulge, and has Joachim Piper trying to break through the American lines with a big column of Panzers. One of the main features of this attempt was that they had allot of problem driving down the narrow back roads and this is reflected in the mission.

The way it works in Flames of War is that you either set up an 18' long table, or divide it into 3 sections and play it as three linked games. The American Forces for each table are set down by the scenario including their locations, and the Germans have a large force that comes on 3 platooons at a time from their start point to represent the column. The Germans have deadline to meet at each table, while the Americans try to delay and wear them down.

As this battle takes place just after the Malmandy Massacre, they give the US a special war that they hate SS trops and so they are a bit more aggressive in assaults against those units.

I provided all the Americans and ran them, and Serge had the Germans, plus a few of mine to supplement. We never had all the exact right stuff so a few proxies or substitutions have been made. I had picked up a set of SS dice so I insisted that the Germans use these evil dice as they are sure to be less lucky. They happened to have 1 American dice in the set by mistake so I am wondering where the Germans came across this...

Here is the basic set up as per the scenario. I have a road block platoon (veteran), defending the village in the nort, with the road mined, this is the German start point. Towards the middle I have an infantry platoon defending a second village and a fuel depot (we forgot to place this objective until later. Also have a platoon of tanks and a tank destroyer platoon off camers in the south west corner.

Turn 1 the Germans bring on a couple of King Tigers, some Panthers, and a full platoon of Fallschimjager infantry (the only non-SS guys). I figure things are not going to go well for my tiny road block platoon, even thou they have some decent defenses and a heavy machine gun.

But it turns out that they are heroes, and their defensive fire turn back a hasty German assault, and cause a few casualties. This ends up being a lesson on the importance of defending with veteran troops as all the rest of my stuff is merely trained.

Next turn the Germans bring in even more tanks, and start to push their column onwards, but the mined road causes allot of delays (morality of mining a road in the middle of a vilage aside), as they have to go off road. This mission happened in the winter so everything but the road makes movement slow (we didn't have the right terrain either).

The Fallschimjagers tried another assault, this time they pinned my guys down first to limit the effective hits, but the heros still pushed them back with defensive fire, and took them down to only 3 teams. The tanks tried but weren't able to kill any with shooting.

On my turn I started to bring forward my tanks and the tank destroyer platoon cautiously, not wanting them to be exposed to a ton of huge guns.

Next turn the Germans continue with their steel parade, and bring on the SS-Panzergrenadiers and some artillery, and the leads tanks get on towards my infantry platoon. But stubbornly they aren't willing to by pass my road block, and try an assault with tanks this time. They get in fine but the assault goes poorly for them, my bazooka bails one in the fighting and then they withdraw leaving him to be captured.

Next turn they are finely able to score some kills with shooting and leave just one team, which the 3 tanks finally mop up getting rid of the road block platoon. But it has cost them a platoon of infantry and a precious Panzer and they are still just at the very start.

Meanwhile the lead tanks have but putting pressure on the next set of infantry, and an assault by the king tigers sees off most of them. But on my turn I am able to use the seek and destroy doctrine of my tank hunter platoon (2 Shermans masquerading as M10s), to ambush them into the village.

A chance to shoot king tiger in their vulnerable side armor s never to be missed and the M10s don't disappoint killing both of them! A big blow to the German effort.

However Piper is less amused and see that the tank destroyers are soon eliminated in turn. They are pressing into the fuel depot now which we have remembered to place.

 A quick assault their captures that objective so the Germans will get a free extra move next turn. Time is getting close as they have to be at the other end of the table by turn 8 and this is around turn 6, but not really hard with the free move, and almost all the Americans destroyed. I decided that it was time to put the tanks into the action and get a kill or 2 while I still could.

They manage to kill the lead Panzer 4.

But get surrounded by Panthers, and the inevitable happens.

So the Germans are free to advance to the next table, but with some losses, hopefully the Americans can keep this up. Here is a record of the German platoons and the casualties.

Panzer Platoon - 4x Panzer IV - 1 captured in an assaul
Panzer Platoon - 4x Panzer IV - 1 destroyed by Shermans in a gunnery duel
Panzer Platoon - 4x Panthers - No losses
Panzer Platoon - 4x Panthers - No losses
Schwere Pzner Platoon - 2x King Tigers - Destroyed by Tank Destroyer ambush
Joachim Piper - 1x Panther - No losses
Fallschimjager Platoon - 9x Infantry team + Command - Reduced to 3 teams attempting to assault
SS-Panzer Grenadiers - 4x Halftracks, 7x infantry - No losses
SS-Panzer Grenadiers - 4x Halftracks, 7x infantry - No losses
Mechanized 15cm Artillery (Grille, represtnted by StugGs) - No losses
Mechanized AA Platoon - No losses

We will continue on into round 2 next Wednesday so look forward to that! Hopefully you will be able to read about lots of Panthers being blown up hah.



  1. Great report Mike...when are you guys running part 2?

  2. Were doing it on the third after work at my new place, feel free to drop by if your free.