BA in Normandy 1944

Been a busy gaming rabbit for the first month of 2017. Apart from two napoleonic training games in the warren and Bob’s napoleonic game in Redondo Beach, WR had the opportunity, with his son Daniel, to join fellow gamers at MunsonCon II. The featured game was Dan’s 28mm Bolt Action modified (BAm) game on the soil of Normandy 1944. Scenario background had the Americans advancing then encountering a local German counterattack near St. Lo (Normandy). Since the 25/28mm napoleonic training games kept WR busy from photographic opportunities for those scenarios, this report of the BAm scenario shall cover WR January effort to document different gaming locations in the Southern California (Los Angeles) region, i.e. the local events outside the warren.

The St. Lo (Normandy 1944) BAm scenario has Americans vs. Germans walking the tabletop down the central country lane. American regular force consists of the following OOB (Andy and Daniel):  Company HQ leadership with sniper, bazooka team, medic, and radio net and two rifle platoons (PL, SSgt, runner) of three squads each (SL, Cpl, six riflemen). A small detachment of combat engineers ( SL and three engineers) lugging their trade goods with the American advance. Providing close tank support for the infantry are a Sherman M4a3 and Stuart M3a1 while off table, back in the rear lines, two medium M1a2 105mm howitzers stood by on call while during their laundry.

German regular counterattack force OOB (Paul and WR): Company HQ leadership with PzFaust and Panzerschreck teams, SSgt, message runner, and medic. Two rifle Zug (platoon) having Lt, Sgt, runner, and sniper) with three squads consisted of SL, Cpl, Mg42 team and four riflemen each. A small pioneer team rounded out the German infantry component (SL, Cpl, 4 engineers with demo charges and Flammenwerfer). On board mortar support provided by a GrW 36 section (two 81mm mortars and FO). Backup armor support includes a Panther Ausf A and PzJgr Marder I to terrorize the Americans with rumors of “Tigers”.

img_0583

The general scenario terrain from the American side. Hedgerow bocage, woods at right, low stone walls and hedges and scattered buildings. Hard to see are the open field “low hill rises” which blocked direct line of sight across the open pastures. Center house at upper right of photo.

Basic deployment notes: American deployed their Company HQ along the road edge, one platoon on each side of the road (in the fields), and had their Stuart advance down the roadway. The M4a1 Sherman deployed with the left platoon, planning to crush the bocage and making gaps for the infantry to advance though. Off table 105mm howitzer crews awaited the first radio call to sight their cannon. The Germans likewise deployed one Zug (platoon) on each side of the road, kept the armor off table for later arrival on the road, and prepared the hedgerow corner with demo charges, to blast a gap, for possible later armor movement into the large open field. Lastly, their 81mm mortar detachment set up on the low-rise behind Paul’s Zug lining the forward hedgerow to the right of the road. Table size is 6′ x 4′ for the scenario.

The day’s photographic effort tells the 28mm Normandy BAm scenario story. Remember that all WR blog photos are 2MB in size, and by clicking on the actual photo, you can expand and enlarge the picture. So… to the report filed by the attached war correspondent photographic teams.

img_0586

First movements had the M3a1 Stuart driving down the “wide” roadway… wider than most roads in the Normandy regions it seems. Coming to a bend in the road…. what is ahead?

img_0589

Lurking around the road bend, late arriving German armor awaits the infantry advance through the left woods. Spotting the German infantry squad advance, the M3a1 Stuart opens fire with its machine guns, hitting two German soldiers, while being unaware of the nearby panzers.

img_0590

American left shows the American platoon (3 squads) and some Company HQ elements crossing the first open field after the Sherman gaps the first hedgerow (commanded by Andy).

img_0591

Daniel’s American right platoon enters the woods, heading for the house center table.

So the first three turns are completed…. no general firing yet except for the Stuart machine guns cutting down two German soldiers in the left woods (poking out the woods lining the roadway). The German engineer squad finishes up their wiring the corner bocage position for explosive blasting (to allow the tanks to enter without trouble). Paul’s German Zug lines the long hedgerow position overlooking the large field, containing a central low-rise, while creating firing “silts” in the dense hedge to fire into the open field.

img_0593

Paul’s German Zug lines the long hedgerow position covering the open field. The American platoon with Sherman enters behind the fire blocking low-rise. Engineers at left corner.

img_0594

Andy’s platoon with Sherman support enter the next field after gap creation. Their advance is behind the low-rise, thus sheltering them from German firepower lining the distant hedgerow.

Several turn rounds of cautious movement have been completed, the contestants are now near to each other, so the next movement should bring combative action. The Stuart moves forward around the road bend….

img_0595

Daniel continues his platoon’s advance through the right woods towards the center building. The Stuart drove around the bend…. and “crapped” to a stop facing the stationary Panther Ausf A.

Suddenly stopped before the larger German Panther, the fools manning the Stuart fired a wake up 37mm shell at the Panther. Bouncing off the frontal plate paint, the German turret (75mm) slowly traverses to bear on the smaller American Stuart. Thinking fast… the Stuart commander said “floor it” to his driver. Staring wide-eyed at the German beast before him, the Stuart driver missed his gear as the 75mm shell sailed over their tank deck. Looking down the road, the surprised Marder I crew added their 75mm shell to the missed collection total, while the Stuart crew unlocks all hatches for quick exit.

img_0597

Close up of Andy’s platoon entering the large open field. Sherman created the hedgerow gap.

img_0599

Daniel’s platoon creeps forward, just out of six-inch visible range to the two German squads manning the low stone wall position at Center house.

img_0600

Like a trapped “roach”, the Stuart tries to back up from the long cannon barrel of the Panther. Another Panther 75mm shell strips off major portions of exterior baggage, failing to destroy the American light tank. But, alas, the Stuart is blown apart by the Panzerfaust team in the woods.

Turn five turns into wild scenario action at Center House and the nearby road bend. While the Stuart brews up in spectacular fashion another loud explosive blast is heard back near the German lines. The German engineer team has laid their charges and blasted a gap in the hedgerow.

img_0602

Having blasted the gap in the hedgerow, the engineer square advance hugging the roadside hedgerow while the Marder I prepares to engage the Sherman through the blown gap.

img_0603

Wild rifle fire breaks out in the woods as the American riflemen advance tree to tree trunk towards the German stone wall position. The flash of several grenades attempts are seen.

img_0604

Panzerjager Marder I sets up in the hedgerow gap and fires upon the distant Sherman just behind the low ground rise center field. Paul’s three squads line the nearby hedgerow.

img_0606

Seeing the Panther Ausf A parked on the roadway, a daring bazooka team lets fly with a round… but missed. The sniper behind them targets the German infantry guarding the Panther.

img_0607

Burning Stuart in distance, the Sherman spots the Marder I A/T vehicle while the G.I’s approach the backside of the low ground rise.

Going into Turn six the action level rises at Center House and the exchange between the Marder I and the Sherman becomes “personal”. First the Marder I fires and truly sends the shell over the Sherman (rolled a 1). The Sherman replies…. with another rolled one for total miss. Maybe the burning Stuart has the Sherman crew rattled….. shouts of a “Tiger…. then silence on the radio net.

img_0609

German gunnery has a lot to be desired. Another shot goes wide of the target. German infantry line or use the hedgerow for cover during their advance rushes.

img_0610

The Sherman matches the German gunnery with their own rolled one.

At Center House the G.I. rush the stone wall with a brave squad. German rifle and machine gun fire cuts down one G.I. Bayonets, grenades, and rifle butts swing over the low stone wall. Bitter rounds of combat cause severe losses on both sides till the American win the savage fighting. One German squad destroyed.

img_0611

American G.I. charge the stone wall with rifle firing and sharp bayonets. One G.I. is cut down by the MG42 crew. Then the close combat starts…. several rounds and fallen soldiers both sides.

img_0614

Aftermath of the savage struggle. Both sides lose five out of eight in the squad. American win the brawl and capture one German prisoner while the MG42 team in building exit stage right.

A brief lull as Andy’s left flank platoon cross the open ground and line the low stone wall with two squads. A third squad becomes a reserve behind the low ground rise. Peering over the stone wall, the American riflemen send bullets into the distant hedgerow position occupied by Paul’s Germans. Calling in the artillery, the American FO directs spotting rounds near the stationary Panther astride the roadway near Center House.

img_0615

Andy’s platoon deploys and hugs the low stone wall ground (one G.I. hit) while one squad forms a reserve behind the low ground rise. The Sherman readies another shell for the Marder I.

img_0616

Opposite Andy is Paul’s Zug (platoon) lining their own hedgerow. Two squads, platoon command, the panzersschreck team, and the FO for the 81mm mortars positioned just off picture.

img_0617

Paul’s last squad pass the Marder I and heads up the roadway. Center House upper left and the burning Stuart. American artillery rounds land near Panther.

img_0619

Creeping forward, the bazooka team takes position at the woods edge and let fly another rocket round at the Panther. This time the shot strikes the frontal hull but caroms off the thick armor.

Turn seven rolls around and the Panther uses it machine guns to rake the woods. One G.I. was caught in the spray of bullets as the bazooka team dives for cover. The Sherman beats the Marder I crew reloading their 75mm cannon. Sending the shot downstream, the Sherman 75mm shell tears into the lightly armored Marder I, destroying the vehicle completely. Meanwhile Andy’s platoon deploys two squads along the low stone wall and trade shots with lurking Germans across the open field.

img_0622

As one G.I. rolls dead down the gentle rise slope nearby, the Sherman crew reloads quickly and impacts the Marder I frontal. Being lightly armored, the Marder blows up in flame and smoke.

German revenge is swift. The panzerschreck team draws a bead on the Sherman turret poking over the low-rise. The rocket shell speeds away….. a flash, and then the American ronson effect takes over…. break out the tea and hot dogs.

img_0623

Briefly the American team joyfully watches the Marder burn, the German reply was sudden. Seeing the turret poking above the rise, the panzerschreck draws a bead and hits the Sherman.

With most of the armor flaming wrecks now, the American artillery registers their shells at the bend T junction. Sitting pretty is the Panther Ausf A. Shells rain down… closer to the Panther. Seeing and hearing the shell blast damage too late, the Panther is hit by a 105mm round. With sudden blast, the Panther is wrecked watched by the nearby German infantry diving for their own lives from the shellfire. So much for armor during this scenario.

img_0625

Seeing the deadly Panther blasted apart and its machine guns silent, the nearby American infantry fire from cover to engage the engaging Germans behind the stone wall.

img_0627

Massing Americans prepare for another rush at the Germans behind the stone wall at Center House. Bullets impact the tree trunks or stones in the wall.

Turn eight as the Americans prepped to go in again. The first squad charges forward. Another bloody brawl over the wall like the first one, equally as savage with grenades, bullets, and bayonets. Four American laid low with two Germans bleeding out their lives. Losing the fight, the American squad bolts for the rear. Seeing the disordered before them, the reserve engineer squad hop over their rear wall and charge forward to the forward position’s open left flank. With Flammenwerfer leading, with bombers close behind, they stop at the forward wall and open fire with flame and tossed grenades.

img_0629

American charge home. Another deadly brawl breaks out with both sides firm in their resolve to win the fight. Daniel is fighting this battle like a WWI trench battle, sending everything forward.

img_0630

The result…. four Americans and two German laid low. The Americans break for the rear as the next squad prepares to charge forward. German engineer teams lines the rear stone wall position.

img_0631

Germans counter-strike first. The engineer team rushes to reinforce the open left flank, led by their flammenwerfer. The flame spurts out, catching one American as a moving burning pyre.

img_0632

As Americans burn, the second wave of Americans charge forward into the teeth of German firepower. Dead and dying soldiers, more Americans this time, litter the ground before the wall.

img_0633

The battle rages on. The German platoon command charges into the fight, joining the engineers and clearing the first American squad sole survivor from the battle. Dead / wounded everywhere.

img_0636

The American right flank charge fails. Three squads scattered or lying on the battlefield.  German reinforcements are running forward down the road, hugging the nearby hedgerow or trees, towards the burning tanks.

img_0637

While the Center House battle rages, Andy’s squads retired from their low stone wall positions, past the burning Sherman. The firepower directed at them was causing rising losses.

img_0638

Only the Platoon command staff are left to hold the American right flank woods with scattered survivors, a sniper, and bazooka team.

Turn nine opens with the German counter-attack to clear the woods. First the engineer squad advance to heat up the American platoon command staff.

img_0640

The engineer squad leads the counter-attack in the woods, torching the American platoon command staff while rifles and grenades shatter the woods.

img_0642

Andy’s squads retire to the rear hedgerow position to present a defensive front.

Having removed the last American defenders from the woods, the platoon command group and bazooka team, the victorious but battered German squads advance to clear the remaining woods and deal with the sole sniper.

img_0645

Clearing the woods tree trunk by trunk, the last Americans are dead, wounded, or have fled the woods except for the sole sniper besides the roadway.

img_0646

Seeing and more likely hearing the victorious German advance and seeing the survivors fleeing from the battlefield, Andy sends some infantry to cover the roadway.

img_0647

While Paul’s Germans hop their hedgerow to enter the large field behind the low-rise, another squad of his Zug (platoon) dart down the roadway, near the tall hedgerows or woods alongside.

img_0648

Paul’s Zug (platoon) enters the open field behind the low-rise preventing the Americans behind their hedgerow from seeing them for the moment.

img_0649

Andy sets up his defense of the left flank, Even the sniper has bolted rearward to the cross the roadway in the rear zone. German squads edge into grenade tossing range (over the hedgerow)

Turns eleven and twelve go quickly. Paul holds up his advance across the open field, instead lies behind the low-rise for the moment while WR’s Zug clears the woods and threatening to flank Andy’s new position across the roadway.

img_0652

WR’s Zug (platoon) clears the woods and starts crawling across the open ground to avoid detection by Andy’s BAR teams manning opening in their hedgerow.

Andy, seeing that the Germans will not immediately attack piecemeal, figures it is time to bug out while the going is good. Scenario ends at this moment before WR’s German Zug (platoon) can outflank Andy’s position then charge forward in combined assault with Paul’s fresh squads crawling up the low-rise behind the stone wall.

img_0653

Scenario ends with Andy’s platoon ordered to bug out and retire before being outflanked.

Great Normandy scenario with the bloody action at Center House. Daniel almost overwhelmed WR’s defensive line with his bold charges before reinforcements could arrive. Thank you Dan for hosting the scenario  and fellow gamers tossing dice…. Andy, Paul, Dan, and Daniel. Look forward to the next 28mm BAm outline in a month or two after the LAX OrcCon convention (Feb 17th to 19th). At the convention WR and Daniel are GM’s for the FOW 20mm Calore River crossing – Salerno 1943 and the French Republican Battle of Gaza 1799 scenarios.

Terrain and 28mm Germans assembled, painted, and based from the collection of Dan. The 28mm Americans painted and based from Andy’s collection. The Bolt Action rules used are modified by the San Fernando Valley Gamers (SFVG) group (Dan is member) and if interested in joining WR, Daniel and other in some 28mm BAm future scenario, please contact WR directly so I can forward your interest to the SFVG and Dan himself.

Cheers from the warren press desk.

WR

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