This is the attack into Metz across the Moselle, so we are attacking a heavily fortified position across a river, so no real question as to why this wasn't a popular battle.
The campaign requires there to be an impassable river going down along the center of the table, and we were playing a defensive mission with the Germans always defending. This has a huge effect on the battle and makes it very tough, it's a hard choice in list building as well really, especially depending on what the defender chooses. You either have to go with tank or infantry, tanks can only cross the river at bridges or fords so you are funneled in a massive way. Infantry can paddle across but are very vulnerable and can be hard to get an assault at all.
I went with the tank option so I would get to use some of the new stuff I had been painting, plus I went into this knowing a win was very unlikely. So I decided to try some fancy shermans and give it a good try.
And here is the German list, firestorms were an SS infantry platoon, a replacement infantry platoon, a bump of 1 platoon to fortified, and the artillery in gun pits, plus I am going to say an impassable river the best of all! Using pioneers to defend is smart, I had not considered that possibility when making my list. I am now tempted to take a parachute engineer platoon, or maybe spend the next few days painting bulldozers hah!
We rolled for a defensive mission and got hold the line, so typical defensive battle the Germans get 2 ambushes but are in delayed reserves.
Here is the initial set up. As you can see we already had to make some changes to the normal set up to even make this a game. We played across the long edges so there would be 3 crossing, normally this missions goes the other way, and secondly we agreed it would be unsporting to put anti-tank obstacles in front of the bridge. In reality there could have been just two crossing with impassable barriers making it impossible for me to cross at all.
So I had a look at the defensive set up and decided that I did not want to attack into the artillery on the hill as after ambushes I would be fighting 3 platoons of anti-tank guns basically which I thought would be to much. So I massed on the other side. This would mean driving across mines but that is life.
My plan was to move the recon up to the forest so the ambushes would not be able to deploy within 16" and move my tanks up to shoot the guns when the came. I smoked one of the artillery guns to find out the wind direction and tried to kill one with the plane while I could still call it.
This went ok I guess. It was pointed out after that I could have made a guess where the guns would go and smoked the infantry in front of me which has merit.
The guns then popped their ambush and eviscerated one platoon of my tanks, the artillery killed one. I had the jumbo left but failed platoon morale. In this shot I decided not to try the jumbos rule for some reason which was a mistake. I didn't want my platoon command to die but he was still gone. The AT 16 of the cruciform 88 makes things really tough.
On my turn I moved up and tried to smoke some guns and kill the others. My armored mortars smoked one of the 88s, and then half my tanks did smoke and half tried to kill. I was still moving into position this turn so didn't get many kills but got some good smoking done so really limited their ability to murder me a bit. Actually now I think about it another option for me could have been to double move towards the far crossing and avoid these guns altogether. But due to their long range I did want to try it, maybe I should have?
|Pretty sure my tank commander is staring at the beer|
Well next turn things are looking a bit better for me, couple of guns destroyed most of the rest smoked, not so bad it seems. My guys are bunched up allot thou which is never great.
So lost a few more tanks but killed off the last AT 16 88, and only one AA 88 is left, now is the time to be driving through mines I guess. Which is good as I loose on turn 6 six if not across the half way mark on the middle of the bridge.
The Germans broguht in some tanks to fill in for the 88s, and then I tried a crossing. I jiond my company commander with the Stuarts and gave it a go, only one got blown up by mines so not to bad. The other tanks failed the morale test to cross as they were just not interested in that.
The Germans then killed the stuart and assaulted my commander. The other 3 tanks were to far back just slightly out of range to defensive fire, so should ahve thought about that a bit more. Captain thirsty here gave it a good attempt thou and got 4 out of 5 hits in his defensive fire, so just off pushing them back, but none died. Then he took 4 hits in the assault and was only bailed, letting the Germans capture him. So I would start turn 6 with nothing across the river and take a loss.
So I think I gave it a real good try, but this was an attack that I was not super likely to succeed at, still it was fun to give it a shot. At least after the modifications that we agreed to.