Ordeal of 179th RCT AAR

WR’s Flames of War (FOW) 20mm scenario written AAR from the recently played “Ordeal of the 179th RCT” Strategicon Gateway convention. This scenario covers the fighting between the 179th (Tomahawks) RCT of 45th (Thunderbird) Division, and the Kampfgruppe Ulrich formed from elements of 29th Panzer Grenadier (Falcon) Division and 29th PzGrenadier Division Aufklarung (Recon) battalion, on September 11, 1943, during the early days of the Salerno invasion.

img_0001

Grand view of the “Ordeal of 179th” Salerno 1943 scenario tabletop from Persano (western) end of table (west) towards the Ponte-Sele and Serre low heights (eastern sector) in distance.

img_0002

Eastern table shows German starting control of the Ponte-Sele to Serre heights. American lead Rifle platoon in center crop field behind hedge. JU 87 does a fly by….. for now.

Ordeal of the 179th RCT scenario notes (.doc) file below has complete OOB, scenario rules, deployment, reinforcement arrival, weather, terrain notes, and victory conditions:

Ordeal of 179th RCT scenario-notes

Scenario historical background material posted on WR in previous post link:: Ordeal of 179th RCT.

IMG_0001

Ordeal of the 179th RCT scenario map. Shows the Persano table zone, the eastern Ponte-Sele zone, and the joining transit (yellow) zone linking movement between the two battlefields.

Representing the 179th RCT (45th Division) in “Ordeal of the 179th RCT” scenario, the following American Rifle Company HQ’s and platoons are used based from Battlefront’s FOW North Africa book organization. Two American Rifle companies, one on each half of the scenario tabletop, represent each battalion of the 179th regiment in reduced scaled format. The scenario notes file has complete organization details and tabletop deployment zones.

1st Battalion east of Persano red dashed line deployment zone:

Company HQ, 1st and 2nd Rifle platoons. Weapons platoon, and A/T 57mm platoon.

3rd Battalion around Baraccamenti farm red dashed line deployment zone:

Company HQ, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Rifle platoons, Weapons platoon, 81mm Mortar platoon, and M3a1 Stuart Tank platoon (attached).

Regimental assets deployed in yellow Transit zone:

Regimental HQ, SP A/T M3 75mm GMC platoon, Field artillery 105mm battery, SP A/A M15 platoon, and Engineer platoon.

Off board reinforcements (American counterattack from south of Persano) includes:

M4 Tank platoon, SP A/T M10 platoon, Rifle platoon. A & P platoon, Field artillery 105mm battery support off-board.

Representing the 29th PzDiv Kampfgruppe Ulrich and Aufklarungs battalion in reduced scaled format, the following German Panzer Grenadier Company HQ’s and platoons are used based from Battlefront’s FOW North Africa book organization. The scenario notes file has complete organization details and tabletop deployment zones.

Deployed in Persano village at start:

PzPioneer platoon and PzGren Heavy platoon.

Kampfgruppe Ulrich enters tabletop near Persano:

Panzer Grenadier Company HQ, Panzer platoon (MkIV-G), 3x PzGren platoons (motorized), Available (in ambush) is Heavy AA gun platoon (88mm) once Persano entered by KG Ulrich teams.

29th PzDiv Aufklarung battalion near Ponte-Sele and deployed along Serre heights:

Panzerspath Company HQ, H/T Panzerspah Sd Kfz 250/9 platoon, 2x Aufklarungs platoons, and Gepanzerte A/T gun platoon.

German attack reinforcements arriving near Ponte-Sele:

PzGren platoon (motorized), 1x Assault gun StuG III G platoon, and Limited Ju 87G Stuka air support thereon anywhere on tabletop. Later another Aufklarung platoon arrives.

Off table artillery during entire scenario with ability to bombard anywhere on scenario tabletop with observed directed fire:

Motorized Artillery battery (10.5cm LeFH18).

IMG_0001

Scenario AAR initial platoon deployments. First the American team (Michael, William, Jesse) deployed their allotted platoons within the two red dashed deployment sectors. On the western or Persano sector, the A/T 57mm platoon deployed in the central open field (D4 map square), behind the low hedge, joined by one of the rifle platoons with 2inC and bazooka teams. Another rifle platoon positioned behind the hedge at northern table edge farm (E1). Weapon platoon positioned in rear, near roadway (F3), able to reinforce either forward rifle platoon was the understood thinking. Company HQ and CinC with the weapons platoon (F2) at the farm building.

On the eastern sector, two rifle platoons deployed forward, in the crop field, behind the hedge (K3), overlooked by the Germans on the nearby Serre heights. The remaining rifle platoon occupied the farm along the northern road to Ponte-Sele exit (I2). Mortar 81mm platoon set up house in the farm complex (I4). Unlike their other weapons platoon, the eastern weapon platoon was held in reserve behind the 81mm mortar platoon (H4), possibly planning to march westward to support the attack on Persano via transit zone transfer. M3a1 Stuart tanks positioned in the tree line along the central corridor road (I4).

Within the transit zone, the Field Artillery 105mm battery (G2), deployed to support the eastern sector, M15 A/A platoon alongside. SP A/T platoon (M3 75mm GMC) deployed their recon carbine jeeps facing the western sector at G2. Lastly the Engineer platoon occupied G4, ready to march in for the western sector assault later.

German deployment is more “fixed” per the scenario notes compared to the American flexible deployment. Representing the German team, Brinton, John, and Daniel deployed their starting platoons as follows: In Persano buildings and village grounds they set up the Pz Heavy platoon with the PzPioneer platoon nearby. On the eastern Ponte-Sele exit a dug in Aufklarung platoon (K1) guarded the objective. In the woods they positioned the Gepanzerte 5cm Pak A/T gun platoon (M3) and, just south of the A/T cannon, the remaining Aufklarung platoon (M4) entrenched covering the other objective. Controlling the open heights gap between the two Aufklarung platoons they positioned the H/T Panzerspah platoon and company HQ Sd Kfz 250 H/T. The off-board 10.5cm LeFH18 field battery ready to answer the bombardment requests.

Three objectives on the tabletop. Persano crossroads, the Ponte-Sele road exit crossroad, and the “to Serre” road exit crossroad position. The Persano objective is worth two objectives, since without control the Americans are considered cut-off and surrounded.

Turn One (12 total turns for scenario): Americans have the first turn of movement and combative actions. Starting with the Persano (western) sector, they practiced their entrenching / foxhole skill set. The northern farm rifle platoon was successful in their foxhole creation. Out in the table center, the rifle platoon failed their skill test roll (4+ d6). The weapons platoon in the rear and 57mm A/T platoon remained stationary for the turn. The 57mm A/T platoon, barely seeing those lovely Germans occupying the Persano buildings, were a target of opportunity. Four shots from two 57mm cannon peppered the walls but caused no German loss. Been veteran infantry, the German panzer grenadiers knew how to duck and hide and bid their time to return fire using four HMG teams.

Eastern sector also saw limited American movements. The M3a1 Stuart platoon drove behind the time line, remain out of range (and sight) from the Pak 5cm A/T guns posted in the woods ahead. All the rifle platoons broke out their M1 shovel and successfully dug some foxholes. The weapon platoon marched rapidly chasing the fast-moving Stuarts behind the roadside tree line. Lastly, the 81mm mortar platoon tried out their tubes with an ineffective bombardment on the Ponte-Sele Aufklarung platoon position. From the transit zone, the four 105mm cannon ranged in on the Pak 5cm A/T platoon, scoring a shell hole near one of the entrenched cannon but failed to destroy it or wound the crew.

German reply was swift. After KG Ulrich’s command drove or marched onto the tabletop (MkIV-G platoon and two panzer grenadier platoons plus company HQ), the four stationary PzGren. heavy platoon HMG, stationed in the Persano 2nd story window buildings, zeroed in on the exposed American rifle platoon which failed to dig in. Twenty-four d6 dice later four half-squad stands were removed from play and remains hugging the ground. Firing their attached 8cm mortars, the 57mm A/T platoon was pinned down by the bombardment. Seeing limited targets on the eastern sector table, the Germans stayed in their foxholes or dugouts after shifting the Pak 5cm A/T guns four inches sideways to engage the approaching Stuarts hiding behind the roadside trees. The off-board German 10.5cm battery failed to register in the American crop field “hotel”…..(platoons). So ended a sharp turn one lesson for team American.

img_0004

Turn One: Losses taken from German HMG reply in the central crop fields. The 57mm A/T platoon pinned by mortar fire as KG Ulrich marches onto the tabletop.

img_0005

American platoon at top dig in. The German Pak 5cm A/T shift to their left to engage the advancing Stuarts. Aufklarung platoon sits awaiting American targets.

Turn Two: Dig….dig… shouts the American lieutenant as the last burst of German machine gun bullets lace the ground on the Persano western sector table. After losing almost a third of their strength, the rifle platoon finally has some protection from the raking German streams of bullets. Recovering from the last turn 8cm mortar bombardment, the nearby 57mm A/T guns return fire upon the German MG nests stationed in the Persano buildings. One HMG team is “blown out the window” by their firepower. The American player team elect to have their Engineer platoon enter from the center transit (yellow on scenario map) zone, to reinforce the reduced rifle platoon for their later assault on Persano. Scouting jeeps look the best route for the SP A/T M3 75mm GMC platoon to deploy near the tree-lined roadway and engage the Persano hilltop.

Two German panzer grenadier platoons advance through the Persano north woods, holding back from the woods edge for now, the other positioned west of Persano hill. The panzer IV-G tanks use the low hill to hide from and avoid the 57mm A/T platoon’s attention. Bursts of HMG fire rake the entrenched American platoon again, causing one team loss this turn while the 8cm mortars drop smoke shells on the 57mm A/T guns. For the moment the Germans seem to have the upper hand. Panzer IV-G’s remained hidden behind the Persano hill.

img_0009

Persano western sector has the Americans returning HE firepower on the Persano buildings. KG Ulrich holds the Panzer IV’s back as the panzer grenadiers pass through the woods at left.

On the eastern Ponte-Sele sector, the American M3a1 Stuarts advance was cautious, Swinging wide, they engage the single expose 5cm A/T cannon visible and miss. The weapon platoon, having redirected their movement behind the 81mm mortar platoon still trying to dig in before the German artillery finds them, advance into the center crop fields with light concealment cover. Seeing the pesky German Sd kfz 250/9 2cm H/T heading for the forward American platoons, the 105mm Field artillery battery (in transit zone) changes targeting from the German 5cm A/T guns, and tries to range in on the fast-moving halftracks. Lots of explosions and flying dust, but the shelling miss the moving vehicles.

German turn was simple,  Almost no movement for the infantry platoons lying low while the single Pak 5cm A/T gun successfully entrenched again while engaging the distant Stuarts (for no effect). The off-board 10.5cm LeFH18 field battery ranges in on the northern entrenched American rifle platoon, pinning them for the moment but no loss. So ends turn two with the American making limited forward progress on either sector.

img_0007

Eastern sector shows little American movement except for the M3a1 Stuarts at top and the returning weapons platoon. The 81mm mortar teams failed to complete their foxhole digging.

img_0008

Laying low in their foxholes, the Aufklarung platoon holds the Serre crossroad position but waves quickly for the Ju87 fly by.

Turn Three: By now the American thoughts for forward advance have changed into foxhole comforts. Only two platoons shifted (ie.. moved) position. The Engineer platoon continued to advance (behind the shot up forward rifle platoon at center board), keeping well out of HMG range from Persano. On the eastern sector, the weapon platoon crossed the crop field alongside the 81mm mortar platoon. So much for American attacking spirit. Seeing the static situation, the SP A/T M3 75mm GMC platoon unmasked near the northern rifle platoon, replacing the scouting jeeps with the SP A/T M3 75mm GMC vehicles on board. Once unmasked, they opened fire on the Persano buildings along with the 57mm A/T platoon. Another HMG team blown to bits with holes punched in the old medieval walls.

img_0011

The northern rifle platoon well entrenched as the SP A/T platoon scouting jeeps roll up behind them. Soon the actual SP A/T M3 75mm GMC halftracks will take their places.

img_0012

Seeing the arriving weapons platoon in center crop field, the 81mm mortar platoon and the entire 105mm field battery engage the German Sd Kfz 250 H/T off photo left.

img_0013

Jeeps grow up to become SP A/T M3 75mm GMC vehicles with their long barrel cannon. The SP A/T Platoon is deployed supporting the northern rifle platoon.

Turn Four: Americans in Persano western sector still holding their positions till the relief column appears on table edge. As they wait, all weapons are engaging the remaining two HMG teams located in the old medieval buildings atop the low hill. Between the 57mm A/T platoon, the SP A/T 75mm GMC cannon, and some rifle teams another German heavy platoon HMG team fails from their lofty perch. Seeing German panzer-grenadiers poking their heads out of the woods north of Persano, the northern rifle platoon opens fire, scores several hits, but no German team loss for this turn.

On the eastern Ponte-Sele sector, the M3a1 Stuarts have retired out of Pak 5cm range. The reserve AA platoon, four M15 halftracks, enters the eastern sector to pressure the roving Sd Kfz 250 H/T.  The three rifle platoons all remain in their foxholes, heads down, while the 105mm field artillery, the 81mm mortar platoon, and even the weapon platoon 60mm mortars try to knock out one of the Sd Kfz 250 H/T skirmishing with their 2cm cannon against the forward American rifle platoon position.

German response was active. At Persano the Panzer IV-G tanks drove along the Persano roadway in column, two panzers scoring a lucky hit on a distant SP A/T 75mm GMC stationed directly on the tree-lined roadway. The surviving heavy platoon HMG teams dropped another rifle team out in the central crop field…. causing a morale test for the depleted platoon (passed). Several more KG Ulrich panzer-grenadier teams poked out of the northern Persano woods , engaging in a lively firefight with the entrenched northern American rifle platoon. This infantry firefight would continue till scenario end, both sides losing the occasional team to firepower.

img_0017

Changing direction, the four Panzer IV-G panzers cross the Persano hill along the roadway and destroy one of the SP A/T 75mm GMC vehicles on the tree-lined roadway,

Eastern Ponte-Sele sector was quiet except for the German off-board 10.5cm LeFH18 field battery dropping a barrage of high explosive on the American 81mm mortar platoon, joined by the skirmishing six Sd Kfz 250 H/T’s, four of them with 2cm cannon, against the entrenched American rifle platoons hiding in their foxholes. Several more American teams found themselves out of combat from the German firepower.

img_0018

The 81mm mortar platoon loses a few mortar teams from the German 10.5cm bombardment. The M15 AA platoon enters the table from the transit zone reserve pool.

Turn Five: Awaiting their turn six Persano western sector reinforcements, the Americans remained hunched down in their foxholes except for one forward American rifle platoon trying to join the M3a1 Stuarts against the Serre road exit junction, exchanging ineffective fire with the German panzer-grenadiers in the northern woods and the defenders of Persano. Another HMG team was removed from the German OOB but the weak platoon passed morale. German movements and fire was equally reduced, especially from the sole remaining HMG team. The Panzer IV-G retired to their former location behind the Persano hill, positioned to receive the advancing American armor reinforcements on turn six.

img_0020

Panzer IV-G retire to their former position, watching for the American armored column arrival on turn six. Panzer-grenadiers filter through the northern Persano woods.

The Ponte-Sele eastern sector exchange bombardments after moving their M15 A/A platoon into long-range against the H/T Panzerspah platoon. American 81mm mortars, the 60mm weapon platoon mortars, and the 105mm field artillery battery bombard the position-changing H/T Panzerspah platoon Sd Kfz 250 2cm H/T. Lots of flying dust, stones, and dust but the German halftracks avoid any loss. For the Germans, they maneuvered their Sd Kfz 250’s to engage the new M15 target and the dug in American rifle platoon. Each turn the Sd Kfz 250/9 2cm cannon fire upon American infantry and cause a team loss, a steady morale lowering effect on the Americans. Firing at the M15, their 2cm cannon bailed two M15 halftracks. Shifting the off-board 10.5cm LeFH18 field battery target marker, they range in on the American exposed 105mm cannon, causing the destruction of one American cannon and crew.

Note: Firing at units in the transit zone is permissible with indirect or bombardment weapons only. Not direct fire weapons can engage targets positioned in the transit zone or fire out of the transit zone. When firing bombardments into or from the transit zone, add 12″ to the range calculation.

img_0021

The American 105mm field battery is targeted by the German off-board 10.5cm LeFH18 field battery. One cannon and crew are destroyed.

img_0022

End of turn five in the Ponte-Sele eastern zone. The Sd Kfz 250/9 H/T are bobbing about dodging the American bombardments. The depleted rifle platoon in the central crop field position as the JU 87 scouts.

Turn Six: So far the scenario had been a waiting game from the American viewpoint. Engaging with fire the German positions direct or bombardment, some German losses have been inflicted, but two American rifle platoons have been shot up to the point of almost 50% loss in the process. The M3a1 Stuarts made a token run at the Serre road exit but retired after destroying the one Pak 5cm cannon, later joined by one of the forward rifle platoons. Their M15 A/A platoon set up to engage the darting Sd Kfz 250/9 H/T if they remain in range, both crews having remounted their iron steeds, while looking out for the growing German air presence overhead.

Well, the heard sound of American tracks is soon heard as reinforcements arrive to support the stillborn American assault on Persano village. A M4 platoon (5x 75mm Shermans) enter the tabletop, followed by the A & P platoon providing infantry support. Off-board 105mm field battery joins the effort to support the attack on Persano, in addition to the 105mm field battery in the transit zone, firing eastward. Exchanging some 75mm advancing fire with the German Panzer IV-G’s, the armor clash will soon start. Persano village seems it is drawing all the American firepower. The 57mm A/T platoon pumping shell after shell into the old solid buildings, hunting down the last HMG team. The SP A/T 75mm GMC platoon shells the German squads poking their heads out the windows while the entrenched America rifle platoon trades shots with the equally dig in panzer-grenadiers stationed in the Persano northern woods. Lots of firepower dice throws with little to show for the American effort this turn.

Hearing the American radios report the arrival of the armored reinforcement, the battered Ponte-Sele eastern sector American G.I.’s dig in awaiting their chow trucks presuming following the tanks. Should be quick work retaking control of Persano, then link up with the eastern 3rd battalion, so reason the 179th regimental staff at the transit road junction. Directing the rifle platoon’s flank march against the Serre road exit position, supported by the M3a1 Stuarts, works up an appetite. Again the sound of rapid fire from the M15 A/A platoon engaging the darting German Sd Kfz 250/9 H/T, as round after round of high explosive lands from the American concurrent bombardments. Several hits are scored but only bailed German crews the result.

Then…. the sound of diving planes….. really a sole JU87 Stuka with a poorly tuned engine, screaming down on the American Shermans. One bomb drop later…. another blackened hole in the Italian countryside. The German turn six started with the arrival of their reinforcements along the Ponte-Sele heights. Leading the arrivals, the  Assault gun platoon (3x Stug III G) positioned itself to engage the American rifle platoon and Stuarts, followed by  a panzer-grenadier platoon supporting the StuG’s. Leaving one burning Sd Kfz 250/9 vehicle, the rest drove towards the M15 A/A platoon, finally setting one M15 on fire.

Seeing the M4 sherman drive onto the tabletop, the Panzer IV-G tanks rushed forward to engage in close range combat. A furry of shells hit the American armor, all but one ricocheted off. The last Sherman crew thought it was wise to bail out for the moment.

img_0024

A solitary Ju87 Stuka peels off and down on the American Sherman column. The bomb missed the juicy targets and left a blackened hole in the Italian countryside.

img_0025

Eastern Ponte-Sele sector has the arriving StuG G platoon with panzer-grenadiers alongside while Sd Kfz 250/9 brew up one M15 AA halftrack. Note the moving American rifle platoon at left.

img_0026

StuG III G arrive to survey the battle with their supportive panzer-grenadiers. Down below the Panzerspath platoon Sd Kfz 250/9 2cm H/T engages the M15 AA platoon.

As the Panzer IV-G maneuver into position to engage the advancing Shermans, a hidden 88mm A/T battery is revealed. Quickly 88mm shells hit the American tank platoon. One M4 Sherman brews up like a roman candle.

img_0027

Heavy A/A 88mm battery reveals itself and brews up one M4 Sherman concealed behind low hedge. The American off-board 105mm battery is shelling the Panzer IV-G and panzer-grenadiers.

img_0028

Persano. End of turn six has the Germans engaging directly the advancing M4 Sherman platoon while the American rifle platoon and panzer-grenadiers exchange rifle fire.

Turn Seven: With another American reinforcement arriving near Persano, time for the American attack to commence before scenario ending turn twelve. The M4 Shermans hold position and engage the Panzer IV-G’s, bailing out two German crews. The off-board 105mm battery lands shells on the panzers and panzer-grenadiers, removing two infantry teams. Persano buildings raked by 57mm and 75mm shells, finally removing the last HMG team, and revenge for the opening machine-gun volley back on turn one. The pitiless rifle fire continues between the panzer-grenadiers and American rifle platoon near the Persano northern woods.

Driving on the tabletop across the stone Calore river bridge, the SP A/T M10 platoon (4x M10) leads a full American de-trucked rifle platoon. Just out of range to hit the Panzer IV-G tanks, their leading 75mm cannon toss in a few more shells into Persano. Before the M10 platoon, the Engineer platoon from the transit zone march on continues to seek a safe jump off position against Persano.

Veteran panzer crews regain their senses and rejoin the panzer battle. Maneuvering forward, the Panzer IV-G crews close to point-blank range. Poor shooting… only one American tank crew thinks its better to bail out. Overhead, the circling birds with big eggs. Again only one JU87 peels off and drives on the arriving M10 platoon crossing the Calore bridge. One 250kg bomb lands on the open-topped turret, blasting apart one M10 into steel rubble.

img_0030

Again one Ju87 peels off from the circling birds overhead and dives on the M10 platoon.

img_0031

One 250kg bomb later, the solitary M10 is a flaming pyre.

Eastern sector action. The M3 Stuart platoon commander is tired of hearing his superior order him closer to the German front lines. Thinking that Stuarts and StuG III G’s make for a bad blind date, the M3a1 Stuarts retire to drive into the transit zone and join later the victorious assault on Persano (WR- overhearing the American team discussing the situation too loudly). So the light tanks abandon their countrymen entering the open crop field below the German controlled Serre heights in front. A low point for sure between the tankers and the grunts. Still, the American artillery is chasing the fast-moving Panzerspath platoon Sd Kfz 250/9 2cm H/T. shells landing closer and closer. The M15 shift position, but another M15 reduced to flaming wreck, raked by 2cm cannon fire.

img_0032

Shellfire from the American 105mm keep chasing the Sd Kfz 250/9 platoon. StuG III G platoon, with the nearby panzer-grenadiers advance into the lower ground.

img_0033

M3a1 Stuarts leave the advancing rifle platoon in the lurch. So, time to dig in thinks the platoon commander.

img_0034

Panzer IV-G’s engage the Shermans, bailing out only one crew with really poor shooting. American A & P platoon near Shermans.

img_0035

Tired of the SP A/T 75mm GMC platoon shelling the Persano village, the two 8cm mortars smoke the Americans to stop that firepower.

Turn Eight: Heavy action on the tabletop since the American armor involved in a 75mm knife fight, Stukas overhead like vultures, and German counterattack on the eastern Ponte-Sele sector. First the American eastern storyline. Repositioning the M15 A/A platoon brings the surviving two M15 into battle with the darting German Sd Kfz 250/9 halftracks. The advancing American rifle platoon, thinking further advance fruitless without the Stuarts, had dug in…. then saw the M3a1 Stuarts roar back into battle behind their rear foxholes. Heartened by their 37mm cannon fire against the Germans dug in above them, the American riflemen opened fire on their opponents. Several hits, one dead German team, the Aufklarung platoon repose was equal in firepower…. thanks to the internal MG42…. dropping dead one rifle team.

img_0043

Americans challenge the German hold on Serre road exit objective crossroads. The M3a1 Stuarts, along with the rifle platoon, engage the Aufklarung platoon on the crossroad. StuG III G platoon enters the battle lower right, joining the fast-moving Panzerspath H/T platoon.

img_0037

The M15 A/A platoon, having lost half its platoon as flaming wrecks, stay in the fight against the German Panzerspath H/T platoon. The nearby rifle platoon stays firmly in their foxholes. German artillery shells the weapons platoon in distance.

Persano western sector starts with the Sherman crews downing a stiff brandy draught, then open fire on the advancing Panzer IV-G tanks. One Panzer IV-G starts to burn, another crew shaken from several non-penetrating hits. The SP A/T M10 platoon, leaving one of their own burning, cross the bridge and advance to engage the distant Panzers, joined by the shifting Engineer platoon, hopping from shell hole to shell hole. The rearward rifle platoon crossing the bridge in “column” per se, trying to cross quickly and enter the battle. Persano buildings are marked for every large-bore American barrel…. more 57mm and 75mm shells burst in the building rooms. Several German teams are hit, two removed. 105mm off-board artillery pound the western flank of Persano hill. The softening up process is firmly started…. will the American have time to assault. But first, the savage panzer battle needs to be fought.

img_0039

The SP A/T M10 platoon drives over the bridge, followed by the rifle platoon in “column”. the Engineer platoon shift left again, from shell hole to shell hole, dodging the moving M10 tanks.

Germans….. seeing the American efforts and feeling the firepower against Persano village, reply with their best effort to reduce the advancing Americans. Steel Ju87 Stuka vultures circle overhead, another one peels down in its dive and bombs the M10 platoon and engineers. One engineer team disappears from the bomb blast. Bomb in bomb crater and engineer team don’t mix well.

img_0038

Another steel Ju87 Stuka vulture dives on the M10 platoon and engineers. One engineer team disappears in the bomb blast.

Shaken Panzer IV-G crews recover, while seeing one of their Panzer IV burning, and maneuver their panzers on the Sherman platoon’s open flank. With the range short, their 75mm amour piecing shells rip apart one more Sherman and demoralize two other crews (bail out). The remaining Sherman fails the platoon test…. and flees from the battle as a large steel chicken. First platoon of the scenario destroyed. From Persano, the 8cm mortars smoke the SP A/T M3 75mm platoon again, reducing the firepower to only one halftrack cannon. The battle between the panzer-grenadiers and the rifle platoon expend more rifle clips in their private feud.

img_0042

One Sherman brewed up, two bailed means the Sherman platoon needs a morale test. Failure results… and the last intact Sherman flees the battle. Platoon destroyed!

img_0040

American rifle platoon vs. panzer-grenadiers expending rifle clips and MG42 belts. The 8cm mortars smoke the SP A/T M3 75mm halftracks. Weapon platoon behind the central crop field.

img_0041

View from the SP A/T platoon towards Persano, coughing from the persistent smoke bombardment from the 8cm mortars. Rifle platoon shows some losses.

Turn Nine: Seeing the destroyed M4 Sherman platoon, the A & P platoon is left standing in open ground with the burning Shermans. Move closer to the panzers with bazookas, dig in and hold the ground, or flee back to the nearby building and basically be out of the battle? Coin flip… charge the panzers! The A & P platoon closes the distance and fires their two bazookas, bailing one surprised Panzer IV crew. Still short to close for assault this turn. The SP A/T M10 platoon edges closer to engage the victorious Panzer IV’s.  No hits due to the long-range and partial concealment behind the low hedge. But the Panzer IV crews don’t miss, a M10 tank destroyer is soon burning on the roadway.

img_0045

The A & P platoon moves closer to engage the Panzer IV’s with its two bazooka teams. M10’s in distance fire upon the Panzers over the low hedge as a panzer-grenadier platoon looks on.

img_0046

Except for the occasional dead American rifle team, the open ground below Persano seems barren. Still the 57mm A/T guns engage the Persano defenders.

Eastern sector has the American artillery ranging in on the StuG III G platoon since the Panzerspath platoon has proven hard to hit. Returning fire, the depleted American rifle platoon is shelled by the StuG III G platoon, the combined direct firepower from the StuG III 75mm cannon and the off-board 10.5cm battery cause another team loss. They cannot take much more of this scenario long pounding. The mobile Panzerspath platoon halftracks engage the half strength M15 A/A platoon, causing one crew to exit their vehicle for the moment, but pass their morale test..

img_0047

StuG III’s engage the American rifle platoon in the central crop field. while the Panzerspath Sd Kfz 250/9 halftracks engage the off picture M15 A/A platoon.

Turn Ten:  Charge! The foolhardy A & P platoon, seeking glory, charges the three Panzer IV G tanks, bazookas teams leading the way. While the A & P platoon occupies the Panzer IV’s attention, the SP A/T M10 platoon redeploy to close the range and support the Engineer platoon’s advance across the open ground towards Persano. The battle still rages on between the northern woods panzer-grenadiers and the reduced American rifle platoon, backed by the SP A/T M3 75mm GMC platoon covered in german smoke clouds.

Panzer IV machine guns cut down the charging American A & P platoon, supported by some nearby panzer-grenadier teams with their MG42. The combined fire drops four teams, over half the unit, and repeals the assault after five hits (9 hits taken). Staggering backwards, the platoon breaks and flees the battlefield for zero German loss.

img_0049

The A & P platoon survivors charge home after losing four teams. But nine hits stops the charge cold… and the platoon breaks to flee the battlefield after seeing the panzer-grenadiers rushing to join the potential brawl.

img_0050

Severe losses taken, the A & P platoon soon fails their platoon morale test and flees the battlefield.

With the sudden total loss of the A & P platoon, team American take stock and realize they cannot assault the Persano hill position during the next two scenario turns. Time has run out for the American side to control Persano by turn twelve. So, they concede the scenario to the German players. Hand shakes all round, the players briefly discuss the scenario and the points of play. Quickly the American team realized their initial deployment and the 1st turn losses stalled their attack on Persano. The final positions recorded by WR’s photos…..

img_0051

Persano sector shows the strong German defense and covering the flank of any future American advance on Persano.

img_0052

Even on the last turn played the northern woods panzer-grenadiers and American rifle platoon exchange rifle fire. Smoke still covers the SP A/T M3 75mm GMC platoon from the 8cm mortars.

img_0053

Below Persano, the 57mm A/T platoon prevents the Panzer IV’s from advancing into the center table.

On the Ponte-Sele eastern sector, the Americans are holding on but have one success, they destroy another StuG III G with the American 105mm field battery, causing platoon morale test and failure… the Assault gun platoon exits the battlefield.

img_0054

The 2nd StuG III G is destroyed by American artillery fire so the platoon exits the battlefield. The plucky Panzerspath platoon still holds ground.

img_0055

Posed to engage the Panzerspath platoon if they come any closer, the M15 A/A platoon supports the American rifle platoon in the nearby woods and farm.

img_0057

As close as they came… the riffle and M3a1 Stuart platoons hold in the concealing crop field. The Aufklarung platoon is joined by the last reinforcement for the scenario, another Aufklarung platoon to hold firmly the Serre crossroad objective.

WR thanks all the convention gamers who elected to spend their time playing the WR “Ordeal of the 179th RCT” scenario. Team American; William, Michael, Jesse. Team German; John, Brinton, and Daniel to some extent.

Next convention game is schedule for the HMGS-PSW convention October 8-9th, in Van Nuys CA (link below). WR with Daniel have planned two scenario games. The saturday scenario is another FOW 20mm scenario called “Yellow Beach – Salerno 1943 featuring an American nighttime beach landing amidst the roman ruins of Paestum. A cat and mouse styled scenario with American G.I.’s vs. German scattered MG teams, snipers, and hidden panzers.

The second scenario scheduled for sunday is the “Battle of Castel Bolognese 1797” featuring the French republicans invading the Papal States. A rare battle where the Papal States fielded an army to fight on the battlefield.  Battle of Castel Bolognese 1797

HMGS-PSW link for details: HMGS-PSW October 2016 convention

Cheers from the convention floor.

WR

P.S. WR scenario comments: Not knowing the American plans for the scenario, the initial American deployment seemed too spread out and not sufficiently concentrated to assault the Persano hill later in the scenario, once their reinforcements arrived, or take one of the eastern sector objectives. The Americans need to attack to win this scenario, the German just hold their positions (and objectives). WR presents the following suggested changes to the American two sector deployments as the German deployment generally is pretty fixed at start.

Place the 57mm A/T platoon in the central crop field but a bit further from the Persano buildings to reduce any HMG firepower effect and joined by the weapon platoon in foxholes (roll to dig in on first turn). These two platoon fire upon Persano hill every turn till the assault is made. The available two rifle platoons, with the company HQ teams and CinC, are positioned in the northern farm complex area and tree-lined roadway. Their purpose is to assault the Persano village from the eastern flank and the northern woods when the signal is given, meanwhile reducing any German platoons with heavy firepwer. From the Transit zone, move the M15 A/A platoon and the SP A/T M3 75mm platoon behind the northern rifle platoons to bear on the Persano defenders. The additional firepower should rip apart the German platoons stationed on the Persano hill if they show their faces, or show themselves along the northern woods. Lastly, the Transit zone Engineer platoon marches in just before the turn six reinforcements arrival,  to assault the Persano hill from the southern flank. The southern thrust joined by the SP M10 platoon, the M4 Sherman platoon, and the A&P platoon, all arriving as reinforcements on the southwest scenario table corner. With this combine force of arms, the Germans will be hard pressed to hold the Persano hill.

Since the majority of the American forces are deployed to retake Persano hill from the occupying Germans, the Ponte-Sele eastern sector has a harder time taking just one of the two objectives for the clear American scenario win. Choice one or the other objective as the American target of effort, not both. Deploy or mass the three rifle platoons to assault nearby, have a clear field of fire for the weapons platoon, and backed by the M3 Stuarts to deal with the Pak 5cm guns. The 81mm mortar platoon provides smoke for screening the assault forces along with the 105mm field battery located in the Transit zone. If opportunity presents, shell the defending Germans stationed on the chosen objective to pin them in their foxholes. Once the objective is secured, dig in and hold off the expected German counterattack, led by the Assault gun platoon and panzer-grenadiers. WR’s two carrot thoughts….

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s