Last week Daniel and WR tried out the St Algnan de Cramesnil Normandy August 1944 scenario posted previously on WR. Simple scenario with only armored vehicles, aka tanks, on both sides. A platoon of Panzer VI Tigers led by their platoon ace captain Michael Wittman takes a run at British Sherman troops of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry during Operation Totalize.
Set up per the scenario notes. The German Tigers enter on the scenario tabletop along the roadway in tabletop board corner. The four Northamptonshire Yeomanry troops and their headquarters platoon deploy behind the deployment limit line and generally hidden from direct view of the Tigers. St Algnan de Cramesnil 1944 scenario notes
Germans have four Panzer VI Tigers with their platoon commander being SS-Hauptsturmfuher Michael Wittman.
British force contains four Sherman platoons and their headquarters platoon under Major Skelton. The makeup of the four Northamptonshire Sherman troops varies:
Headquarter platoon has 3 Shermans
1st Troop has 2 Shermans and their Firefly (17 pdr equipped)
2nd Troop has only one Sherman and their Firefly
3rd and 4th Troops each complete with 3 Shermans and their Firefly.
German Panzer VI Tigers ready to roll forward. View from the German advance and starting position. Four Sherman platoons lurk in the distant woods, some behind and one concealment exposed facing the German advance.
Northamptonshire Yeomanry deployed HQ’s and 2nd Troop in woods near “X” objective. 1st Troop lined the forward exposed woods ready to engage the arriving German Tigers, backed by hidden 3rd Troop. Hidden behind the road corner woods was 4th Troop.
Turn One: German 1st turn has the Tiger platoon driving forward along the roadway. Simple German plan devised by Daniel. Drive fast for the “X” objective, arrive by turn seven, and prevent the last occupying VP given to the British. Hopefully destroying several Yeomanry troops along the way helps if they show themselves. The Tigers engage the distant and concealed Sherman 1st Troop, causing one crew to “bail out”/ repair their Sherman. Failed roll for storm trooper additional 4” forward movement.
Yeomanry react to the Tiger presence following the Yeomanry game plan: Stay hidden till you can see the Tiger’s armor welds, then charge forward for the side / rear shots. One Troop to engage with distant open field 17 pdr shots, hoping for an early Tiger kill. So, while the 1st Troop’s Firefly 17 pdr engages the distant Tiger column, 3rd and 4th Troops reposition themselves behind protective woods to match the German’s next movements. Headquarter’s platoon and 2nd Troop remain stationary (gone to ground in FOW terms), cutting more green branches to cover / hide their vehicles.
Turn Two: German Tigers rumble down the roadway. Peaceful drive across the French countryside so far except for the occasional large 17 pdr shell “pest” flying about. Another storm trooper roll failed. One victory point (VP) for occupying* the “X” objective on even number turn awarded to Yeomanry.
- Note: Having a troop positioned within 6 inches of the objective to qualify for the victory point.
British 2nd turn has their Sherman motors idling in position except 1st Troop. 1st Troop reposition behind the tall hedges and continues to engage the road bound Tigers with no visible effect.
Turn Three: Thinking British ambush ahead, the Tigers fan out and approach the road corner woods position. Shots traded with Yeomanry 1st and 4th Troop Firefly with no hits observed. Even Wittman’s crack crew missed with their re-rolls.
With 88mm shells landing close by, the 4th Troop’s Firefly backs up behind the woods. The gunner of 1st Troop lands another hit on the exposed right hand Tiger armor, only to see the ricochet once again. 3rd Troop positioned behind the long hedge facing the roadway while the HQ platoon remains quiet in their woods. 75mm shells have no effect on Tiger frontal armor except to scratch the paintwork.
Turn Four: Tigers continue their advance seeking out the 4th Troop. Peeking into road corner woods gives German gunners steel targets. One Sherman brews up. Another failed storm trooper roll slows the German advance.
“Tigers know we are here” radio’s the commander of 4th Troop, so both 4th and 1st Troops press their gas petals and roar forward. Wild tank melee erupts as the gunners of 1st and 4th Troop seek Tiger side armor shots. Several hits but the steel Tigers ricochet all the British 75mm and 76mm shells. German gunners reply is short in coming…..
Yeomanry have another VP for holding the “X” objective on turn four (even turn). That’s two VP’s now.
Turn Five: Coolness under fire shows as the German Tigers roll forward while their gunners brew up Shermans everywhere. 1st Troop loses one Sherman, their Troop commander’s Sherman, stopping future movement of this troop. 4th Troop totally destroyed by Wittman’s own crew gunner in a show of decisive German gunnery. Storm trooper roll made so the German Tigers roll forward again past the burning Sherman wrecks. Germans have one VP for destroying 4th Troop. Suddenly the left hand Tiger starts to burn when 2nd Troop, guarding the “X” objective, scores a hit with their Firefly.
Turn Six: Pressing forward, SS-Hauptsturmfuher Wittman orders his Tigers to continue their advance. Spotting shadows behind the long hedge, German Tiger gunners seek out their concealed and “gone to ground” opponents. Wittman’s gunner brews up a Sherman in 2nd Troop near the “X” objective.
Yeomanry reply is lots of ricochet shells from 3rd Troop but 2nd Troop Firefly does rattle / bail out the right hand Tiger crew. Another even turn VP for the Yeomanry side. Three to one victory points at this stage of the scenario.
Turn Seven: Further Tiger advancement as they attempt to engage the shadows of Shermans concealed in woods. No hits but several close misses from the 88mm cannon.
Holding position, tense nerves for all the Yeomanry, till Major Skelton orders general advance and close range attack on the Tigers. All the surviving Troops and HQ’s platoon advance or open fire on the Tigers. Shells fly, impacting the frontal armor of the Tigers with no effect, who turn their large 88mm cannon slowly on swift charging targets.
Turn Eight: Tank to tank, the Sherman take losses. 3rd Troop loses two Shermans to the repositioning Tigers, meeting the Sherman rush with accurate 88mm gunfire. Crossing the deadly open ground, the Shermans of HQ’s platoon and 3rd Troop drive past the Tiger’s frontal arc and engage the side armor. Stationary 2nd Troop’s Firefly engages a Tiger… both 17 pdr shots miss. Score another objective VP for the Yeomanry.
Turn Nine: Tigers hold their position and unleash 88mm shells at the fast-moving Shermans. 2nd Troop Firefly is destroyed by Wittman’s Tiger giving another German VP.
Headquarter’s platoon sees one of their own blow up, its turret flying into the ground. 2iC Captain Tom Broadman orders his crew to bail out from another 88mm hit. Desperate times for the battered Northamptonshire Yeomanry.
The Yeomanry return fire is weak. Two 75mm hits but neither penetrated the Tiger’s side armor. The 3rd Troop’s Firefly, left behind the long hedge fails to secure hits with their 17 pdr. 1st Troop is still lacking command with the loss of their Troop commander’s Sherman, hence they are stuck out of position beyond the road corner woods.
Turn Ten: German Tigers destroy the 2iC’s Sherman and bail out Major Skelton’s crew. 3rd Troop commander’s Sherman is turned into a blazing touch, causing Troop morale to fail and their remaining Firefly to “bug out” from the battlefield. Being rated “Reluctant Veteran”, Major Skelton’s crew fails to return to their Sherman on the British turn (need 5+ rolled on 6D). Scenario called when Northamptonshire Yeomanry failed company morale test taken for three destroyed Troops vs one active Troop remaining. Another German VP for destroying 3rd Troop leaves the score Yeomanry four to German three officially.
Losing the battle for a tactical win? Northamptonshire Yeomanry scored four objective victory points during the scenario. Tigers under Wittman scored three VP’s for destroying three Sherman Yeomanry troops. The remaining 1st Troop exited the field when Yeomanry company morale failed.
Quick play scenario overall. Daniel and WR play this scenario four times during the afternoon of gaming. Different German movements and plan of attack. Every time the British just held for the four or five VP given by occupying the “X” objective. Simply a calculation of German movement and distance… they generally cannot arrive before turn seven. Tigers only move 8″ per movement phase and the storm trooper roll / 4″ movement bonus fails 1/3 of the time. Most games had Germans arriving on turn nine, hence the Yeomanry have four VP in their pocket, and the best the German player can do is a Draw result.
WR recommends changing the VP calculation for holding the “X” objective on every third turn (turns three, six, nine etc). This will allow the German player to arrive after only giving up two VP (turns three and six) and forcing the Yeomanry player to hide for a longer duration or seek additional VP defending the objective with their steel Sherman bodies.
WR previous blog post about St Algnan de Cramesnil scenario and brief history: St Algnan de Cramesnil Normandy 1944
Cheers from the gaming warren.