Relax soldier, Paris has fallen. You deserve a rest!
Scenario 5: The First Move Inland; a bloody Tank War battle between the 17th Waffen SS 17th SS Pz.Grenadier division “Goetz von Berlichingen “and the US 2nd Armoured Division.
The village was to be one of the numerous little villages in Normandy near the northern coastline just out with the D-day invasion beaches. The table comprised of a typical village in the southern half of the table which formed a cross-roads for 3 converging roads with one road north towards the beach area. The village was to be contested by the Stug Company of the Goetz von Berlichingen unit (realise the models are of Stug IIIs and not Stug IVs, but the same statistics in the BA game), and the Shermans and Stuart tanks of the 2nd Armoured Div. The forces were arranged as follows:
17th SS Goetz von Berlichingen
Company Commander: Stug 210, Lt Helmut Black, regular, Stug III ausf G .c/w MMG and shurzen side armour.
Stug 211: Unterfeldwebel David Heike, regular, Stug III ausf G. c/w MMG and shurzen side armour.
Stug 212: Unterfeldwebel Max Wuche, regular, Stug III ausf G. c/w MMG and shurzen side armour.
Stug 213: Feldwebel Otto Hirsch, veteran, Stug III ausf G. c/w MMG and shurzen side armour.
Stug 214: Feldwebel Wolfgang Muller, veteran, Stug III ausf G. c/w MMG and shurzen side armour.
PaK 43: veteran, 5 man crew
2nd US Armoured Division
Recon M3A3 Stuart, regular, light tank
4 x US Jeeps, veteran
US Medium Mortar Team, veteran.
2 x Flamethrower teams, veteran.
1 x Bazooka Team, veteran.
Company Commander: Lt Elma Fud, veteran Sherman M4A1 medium tank.
1st tank: Sgt Herman Goff, veteran Sherman M4A1 medium tank.
2nd tank: Sgt Johnnie Red, veteran Sherman M4A1 medium tank.
3rd tank: Sgt Dwain Diddley, veteran Sherman M4A1 medium tank.
On approaching the quiet village the US Armoured force could not make out any clear enemy forces, only some possible locations for them to hide. Calling in a propriety bombardment still did not discover any Axis forces hiding. What was apparent was the clearly marked three minefields on the approach road and over the only substantial bridge over the river.
US Lt Fud decided to advance along the western edge of the table, crushing the dry stone wall to rubble with the lead Sherman of Sgt Herman Goff and ripping up the crop field, and was quickly followed by the Sherman of Sgt Dwain Diddley, the M3A1 Stuart and the jeep containing the Bazooka team. Meanwhile the hidden Pak 43 set to ambush and the two waiting Stugs of Lt Helmut Black and Unterfeldwebel David Heike did likewise. Lt Black was positioned close to the boundary wall of the church in an attempt to gain any available cover it might aid the already low profile of the Stug III.
Believing they were safe, the US forces advanced further south across the crop field, it was only when the Sherman of Sgt Dwain Diddley ventured to wide, beyond the cover of the farmhouse in the distance did the doors to the large barn open and the Pak within fired... The Sherman was just in to the short range category of the super heavy AT Gun, the 88mm AP shell ripped through the front armour plate, igniting all in its path and exited the rear of the Sherman. In one shot the Sherman was destroyed with the remainder of the crew bailing out and running away from the village. Reinforcements for the US side arrived and proceeded through the same rubble section of field wall, along with another Sherman... The hidden Stug of Lt Helmut Black turned, ripping apart the camo netting which was hiding the Stug and fired at the advanced Sherman of Sgt Herman Goff, hitting it squarely to the side, but slightly low and blew off the front drive sprocket immobilising the tank completely, however for Sgt Goff the turret turning mechanism still operated. The axis radio chatter enabled the Stug of Unterfeldwebel David Heike to also target Goff’s stricken Sherman but narrowly missed. Now the Axis were aware of the advancing Shermans the remainder of the Stug company were called from the far side of the village to assist. While this was occurring the US CO called up the assigned infantry units in their Jeep transports.
Turn 3: this was the scene of a quandary to the US forces of whether to press forwards or to attempt to disarm the minefield blocking the approach road. After a while the nearest infantry unit attempted to test the minefield and found it to be a dummy one, the same was found with the second minefield. Not taking any chances the Shermans of Lt Fud and Sgt Johnnie Red used HE shells to attempt to blow up any mines in the remaining minefield. While this was occurring, Stug 212 positioned in the central roadway in the village, but hidden behind a building to the Shermans, aimed and easily hit a US jeep turning on to the roadway destroying it totally and killing all the passengers (a flamethrower team) at the same time (6 potential hits, 3 confirmed kills) removing it from play. The jeep of the bazooka team run moved across the last minefield (not sure if it was destroyed by the Shermans) but accelerated to quickly and ended up sliding to a halt a short distance in front of Stug 212, the Stug 210 of Company Commander Lt Helmut Black turned 90 deg fired and destroyed the bazooka team jeep and the passengers. The other Stugs – 211, 213 and 214 all fired at Goff’s stricken Sherman and all missed due to the heat haze and flames given of what was Sgt Diddley’s Sherman. The Pak 43 AT gun seeing no valuable targets set to ambush again. Sgt Goff was unable to motivate his crew to fire the tank’s armaments in return.
Turn 4; the remaining jeep accelerated across the bridge and turning right effectively hid behind the nearest building from view. Stugs 211, 213, 214 using cover of the nearby buildings all fired at Goff’s stricken Sherman and unbelievably all scored solid hits but failed to penetrate the armour. Meanwhile the mortar team alighted from its jeep and setup the medium mortar ready to fire. Stug 210 set to ambush. The recon M3A1 tank turned right and sped across the open field heading for the open gateway and on to the now open road, having used its turn and inadvertently presenting its rear armour to the PaK it was to regret such – the barn doors opened again, the PaK fired and squarely hit the Stuart’s rear caused massive damage totally destroying it and in so doing blocked the gateway. Realising the PaK had now fired the two remaining Shermans also sped across the field with Lt Fud in the lead, he turned onto the road and decided to fire at Stug 212 of Unterfeldwebel Max Wuche, although hitting it harmlessly bounced off the Stug’s front armour, in return Wuche motivated his crew to return fire and hit the Sherman with an excellent shot hitting the CO’s Sherman on the turret ring just under the main gun causing massive damage and removing the turret completely... No crew of the US CO’s Sherman were seen to bail out. The remaining mobile Sherman now using the surrounding burning wreck as cover stayed put considering what to do next.
Turn 5: the US mortar team fired at the barn containing the PaK but missed with the mortar round landing harmlessly behind the barn. The PaK set to ambush waiting for the Sgt Red’s Sherman to appear.. Stug 212 set to ambush, while Stug 210 remained in ambush. Stugs 211, 213, 214 all continued to fire at Sgt Goff’s stricken Sherman. Goff’s guardian angel was watching over him as all three Stugs hit the Sherman and all three failed to penetrate the armour. The Sherman of Sgt Red reversed and attempted to fire a HE shell at the barn in which the PaK was located, as its turret was traversing, the barn doors opened again and the PaK fired and rolling a 1 missed the panicking Sherman. In response Red’s Sherman hit the barn with its HE shell and caused on casualty to the PaK’s crew and 3 pin markers.
Turn 6: the US mortar team fired again and hit the barn containing the PaK, causing another casualty to the gun crew and two more pin markers, the gun crew tried to reload the gun but decided to hit the dirt hiding behind the gun shield as the barn doors were left open. Red’s Sherman fired again and not only missed the gun but the whole barn as well...
Stugs 211, 213, 214 again had limited success firing at Goff’s stricken Sherman taking the plucky US tankers crew to 8 pin markers... Despairing at some of his company’s gunnery skills Lt Black rotated his Stug fired once and squarely hit the side armour of Goff’s Sherman setting the ammo racks on fire and destroying the gun turret’s mechanism, now panicking Goff’s crew bailed out and began to run away. Seeing Goff and his crew running away; but admiring his pluck to take such damage Stug 212 withheld its fire and remained in ambush waiting the appearance of the remaining Sherman. The last US Jeep, found a forward drive gear and sped around the wall of the church in an attempt to get behind Stug 210, getting half way in the process.
Turn 7; Stugs 211, 213 and 214 after being scolded over the radio comms all adjusted position to cover the approach if the remaining Sherman decided to move and set to ambush. Stug 210 reversed, turned and fired to the last jeep but narrowly missed. The Jeep advanced and the flamethrower team alighted and hopped over the way to hide being the way in the graveyard. Hearing the swearing of the Company Commander, Stug 212 advance up to the church wall boundary on the opposite side of the graveyard and fired a burst from its MMG easily hitting and killing both members of the flamethrower team. The transport jeep driver jumped from the vehicle and surrendered as no there were no friendly nearby forces. The PaK gun crew attempted to rally themselves, but were hit again by the Sherman of Sgt Red but no further causalities were sustained and only one more pin marker. The US mortar fired and missed.
Turn 8: realising the US forces were mostly spent the Stugs 211, 213 and 214 remained in ambush, Stug 210 moved back to next to the church wall where it started the encounter and Stug 212 readjusted its position and set to ambush. The US mortar fired again and missed again. The last Sherman of Sgt Red fired again and missed the Pak and the barn.
On completion of turn 8 the dice roll indicated the game had ended in a dominating win for the Axis side. The US team was hindered by the poorly designed Sherman tanks at that stage of the war with their ability to easily catch fire and the limited medium AT gun compared to the heavy AT gun in the Stugs. The presence of the minefields deterred the US forces from using the mobility of its jeep mounted infantry units to get close and/or behind the Stugs to harass them and split the concentration of fire from the approaching Shermans.