Troina 1943 FOW AAR

Last Memorial Day weekend Daniel and WR staged their Battle of Troina Flames of War (FOW) 20mm scenario at the Los Angeles regional GAMEX convention. With two player teams of three players each, the scenario opens with the Germans assaulting the Monte Basilio ridge held by a U.S. 26th Regiment battalion. Later in the scenario, about midpoint, the American 39th Regiment arrives to assault the German held flank south of the dry Troina riverbed. So, on the same FOW table, each side has attack and each has defend missions to content with.

Historical background material for Troina 1943 previously posted to WR link: Troina 1943

Complete Troina 1943 scenario notes (.doc) file: Troina 1943 Scenario notes

The full Troina table display. German assault left foreground and their defensive zone upper left. Americans defend Monte Basilio right foreground and attack later from upper right entrance.

Opening Set up: German assaulting command is placed, using alternating platoon placement method, in conjunction with the American Monte Basilio defenders. The German team players kept all the Italian platoons off-board at start, thus only placed the three panzergrenadier platoons (two on left, one on right), their MG platoon, the 5cm Pak38 A/T cannon, and Senior HQ team, along the opposite hill ridge. The Troina dry riverbed separated the two forces. For the American team, they elected to retain some support platoons off-board and avoid the German preliminary bombardment effects. Starting on the scenario tabletop was, front to rear, a rifle platoon manning the downslope front positions, then their A&P platoon in line near the central building. Between them they placed the A/T 57mm platoon, not realizing the “No HE” rule was in effect. Finally another rifle platoon was positioned around the hilltop woods. Held in reserve was one rifle platoon, a weapons platoon, and the machine gun platoon. German objectives, one placed by team America, dot the Monte Basilio position. One in lower corner of the hillside, the other placed high on the hill near the woods. Overhead the off-board “on call” 155mm Long Tom battery has their AOP L-4 Grasshopper plane buzzing overhead.

Americans atop Monte Basilio ridge across the dry Troina river bed. The hillside has been bombarded in recent days. German will assault from near foreground positions, Italians off-board.

The German southern Troina river position is placed on the tabletop. As seen in the photo below, the StuG III F/8 are placed in their special “StuG” pits covering the open ground. One panzergrenadier platoon on the hill at left and their second platoon stung from the StuG III position back towards the nebelwerfer RL battery concealed in the woods. Minefield and three barbwire sections emplaced in steep hill woods or flat open terrain. Both American objectives (one placed by the German players) on the tabletop, one near the front lines or “StuG” pits, the other behind the left rear hill. The Ponte di Failla bridge is the fifth objective (marker underneath). Off board is the German 10.5cm field battery with entire tabletop observers. Later in the scenario, the other half of the American forces (39th Regiment) will appear in front of the southern Troina river German defensive position.

German defensive positions on south bank of Troina riverbed. StuG III F/8 assault guns in their modified tank pits while nebelwerfer battery, a bit dense in placement, lines the near woods.

American 26th battalion sits in their foxholes before the preliminary bombardment and German first movements. Front line rifle platoon, then 57mm A/T, then A&P platoon. then another rifle platoon in woods at left.

Opening scenario forces: First the Axis side. The German and Italian forces (3,200 points approximately) are drawn from the old mid war period Afrika intelligence handbook covering the Mediterranean theater of operations. The updated North Africa intelligence handbook can also be used with a different unit / platoon point structure. All German units are confident veteran rated. The Italians are all reluctant trained. The entire German-Italian force includes:

129th Pz Gren. Regiment HQ team to link both German battalion sectors during the battle.

1st Btn./115th Pz Gren: Facing the American held Monte Basilio sector of tabletop.

  • Company HQ (CinC and 2iC Cmd SMG teams, Kfz 15, MC w/sidecar)
  • 3x Motorized Panzergrenadier platoons (Cmd, 6x MG, 3x Kfz 70 trucks, Kfz 15)
  • Motorized Machine-gun platoon (Cmd, 4x MG34 HMG, 2x trucks, Kfz 15)
  • Anti-tank Gun platoon (Cmd, 3x 5cm Pak38 guns, 3x Kfz 70 trucks, Kfz 15)
  • 10.5cm Artillery battery is held off-board (Cmd, staff, 4x 10.5cm LeFH18 guns, the 2x observers w/kubelwagen)
  • Allied platoons (Aosta Division): Italian Fucilieri platoon (Cmd, 8x rifle/mg), another Fucilieri platoon (Cmd, 8x rifle only), SP 47/32 platoon (3x Semovente 47/32 assault guns). All Italian platoons are predetermined to be reluctant trained for entire scenario and placed under German direct command for scenario.

2nd Btn./115th Pz Gren: Defending the southern Troina riverbank.

  • 2x Motorized Panzergrenadier platoons (Cmd, 6x MG, 3x Kfz 70 trucks, Kfz 15)
  • Pioneer platoon (Cmd, 6x pioneer rifle/MG, pioneer truck, 3x trucks, Kfz 15)
  • Assault Gun platoon (3x StuG III F/8) starting in tank pits
  • Rocket Launcher battery (Cmd, 6x 15cm NW41 RL, 2x observers with w/kubelwagen)

Next the American forces (3,200 points approximately) are drawn from the old mid war period Afrika intelligence V2 handbook covering the Mediterranean theater of operations. The updated North Africa intelligence V3 handbook can also be used with a slightly different unit / platoon point structure. Version 3.0 MRB rules will be used for the scenario tabletop play unless noted. All American units or platoons are confident trained for scenario. The entire American forces available includes:

1st Division HQ team linking 26th and 39th Regiments on tabletop.

26th Regiment (1st Battalion) and holding Monte Basilio position.

  • CO HQ (CinC and 2iC with 2 bazooka)
  • 3x Rifle platoons (Cmd, 9x rifle) each
  • Weapons platoon (Cmd, 3x M2 60mm mortar, 4x M1919 LMG)
  • Machine gun platoon (Cmd, 4x M1917 HMG, jeep w/.50 cal AA, 4x jeeps w/trailers)
  • Anti-Tank platoon (Cmd, 4x M1 57mm A/T guns, jeeps w/.50 cal AA, 4x 3/4 trucks)
  • Ammo & Pioneer platoon (Cmd, 6x pioneer rifle)
  • 105mm Field Artillery battery is held off-board (Cmd, staff, observer w/jeep, 4x M2a1 105mm guns)
  • On call is a 155mm Long Tom battery off-board (Cmd, staff, observer in dedicated battery AOP, 4x M1 155mm). Follows the NGFS rules needing 4+ to be available.

39th Regiment (1st Battalion): Arriving mid game on southern Troina riverbank.

  • CO HQ (CinC and 2iC with 2 bazooka
  • 3x Rifle platoons (Cmd, 9x rifle) each
  • Weapons platoon (Cmd, 3x M2 60mm mortar, 4x M1919 LMG)
  • Intel & Recon platoon (Cmd, 3x rifle, jeep w/.50cal AA, 3x jeeps)
  • Cannon platoon reinforced (3x T30 75mm HMC)
  • Sherman M4a1 platoon (5x Sherman M4a1)
  • Engineer platoon (Cmd, 4x pioneer rifle, 2x pioneer M1917 HMG, 3x bazooka, jeep w/.50cal AA, 3x trucks, pioneer truck, unarmored bulldozer),
  • 105mm Field Artillery battery is held off-board (Cmd, staff, observer w/jeep, 4x M2a1 105mm guns)

Scenario map showing both sectors for the scenario. Opening battles on northern Troina river bank. Then the American reinforcement attack launched on southern bank zone on Turn five.

Turn One: First the German preliminary bombardment of the American held Monte Basilio positions is completed. The forward rifle platoon lost four teams, the A&P platoon two teams, one 57mm A/T cannon, and the hill woods (rear) rifle platoon two teams. All platoons are pinned down from the bombardment to start the scenario. By having their weapons, machine gun, and last rifle platoon off table, they avoided the preliminary bombardment effect but they do have to march in, crossing open ground, under the eyes of German artillery observers, while lugging their heavy equipment.

The American Monte Basilio is preliminary bombarded. Red markers dot the removed teams.

German movement starts the scenario with all platoons, including their 5cm Pak38 cannon, advancing into the Troina dry riverbed terrain or setting up within cannon range of the forward American rifle platoon. The nebelwerfer RL battery lands their opening rocket salvo on the defended hill corner position.

Note: For convention scenario, WR restricted the nebelwerfer RL ability to fire every other turn due to low rocket ammunition supplies. In the actual scenario notes WR placed no such restriction so it’s player option how to use their nebelwerfer.

The nebelwerfer rocket salvo lands on the forward American rifle platoon defending the forward German objective. No losses taken, the G.I.’s kept their heads down for the moment.

The 5cm Pak38 cannon join the 10.5cm field artillery bombardment of the luckless American rifle platoon. Pounded by rockets, tube artillery, and anti-tank cannon, the riflemen find China.

After the German movement, stormtrooper actions and firing on the American rifle platoon for the German turn, the American stay in their foxholes and token rifle fire sent in the German panzergrenadier direction. Some platoons shake off the pinned result from the preliminary bombardment. The American 155mm Long Tom battery answered the call and shells the smoke trails directed by the overhead AOP L-4 Grasshopper plane.

Note: The 155mm Long Tom battery uses the Naval Gunfire Support rule basically. On rolled 4+, the battery is available each turn for American bombardment, directed by the overhead AOP L-4 buzzing about. Otherwise the battery is busy supporting another area.

Smoke trails around neberwerfer battery. Displace before the American counter-bombardment? Nope… the AOP overhead spots and directs 155mm bombardment, killing battery command team.

American off-board artillery wakes up… the 105mm field battery lands opening shells on the exposed 5cm Pak38 platoon, removing one cannon with its crew and the A/T platoon command team for good measure.

Turn one is completed, Some American platoon shake off the bombardment effects while the German panzergrenadier advance towards the dry riverbed.

Turn Two: Advancing again, the panzergrenadier enter the dry Troina riverbed giving some concealment from the American firepower. German off-board 10.5cm field artillery keeps shelling the forward rifle platoon along with the 5cm Pak38 cannon. German rifles and moving HMG teams add more bullets flying over the helmets of the peeking riflemen. Two more rifle teams are removed from the weakened American rifle platoon.

German firepower on the exposed entrenched rifle platoon adds two more losses. But American 105mm field battery drops a quick bombardment in reply, removing command and one Pak38 cannon last turn.

Seen along the Troina riverbed, the advancing German panzergrenadier and distant HMG teams.

Time for action…. the Americans wake up to engage the advancing panzergrenadier. Riflemen pop up to fire their rifles, killing one HMG teams exposed in the riverbed. The American 105mm field battery registers on the advancing panzergrenadier, forcing them to duck or dive into the ground. The on call 155m Long tom battery is still on the line, fires another bombardment on the nebelwerfer rockets, pinning them but lucky German save rolls prevent crew loss.

American riflemen have had it. They open fire and remove one German HMG team lurking in the dry Troina riverbed.

Turn two shows the slowly closing sides, the American bombardments… and American sustained team losses dotting the hillside.

The 155mm shells land again on the nebelwerfer tubes, Quick witted German crews find cover for no losses.

Turn Three: The allied Italians arrive off photo. First fucilieri platoon enters by the board edge riverbed and supports the advance of the nearby right panzergrenadier controlling the stone building just above the riverbed. Another fucilieri platoon and Semovente 47/32 assault gun platoon awaits arrival space on tabletop. Looking closer, the left-wing panzergrenadier platoon is within assault range of the battered American front rifle platoon. One more turn of softing up the remaining teams with massive rifle and machine gun fire. One team lost, the rifle platoon hangs on, passing their platoon test after another salvo of rockets lands on them. Further up the hill, the weapon platoon had marched on the tabletop from American reserve pool. They are greeted by the accurate German 10.5cm field battery, landing salvos on their exposed position. Welcome to the front lines.

The arriving weapons platoon is greeted by the German artillery. Several hits but the platoon is pinned hugging the dear earth.

Softening up the rifle platoon. Rockets and bullets impact their foxhole brim, keeping the platoon pinned down as the left panzergrenadier platoon approaches to assault.

The American front line is shot up or blasted. Shattered rifle teams pop up their rifles and fire ragged shots towards the nearby panzergrenadier. The weapons platoon jumps up and crosses the ridge crest to avoid the German bombardment for now. The 57mm A/T crews grab their issued rifles to engage the German infantry since their 57mm shells are rated “no HE” effect in the scenario charts. A rifle bullet is the same on a German body as a single 57mm AP shell and quicker to fire. Off board 105mm artillery tries to pin the pending panzergrenadier assault, It targets the second platoon supporting the primary assault platoon instead. Lastly, the phone circuit holds as the 155mm Long Tom battery pounds the nebelwerfers again. No blasted crews since they are well disposed, but again pins the nervous crews.

Weak forward American rifle fire greets the advancing panzergrenadier as the American off-board 105mm field artillery pins the supporting second panzergrenadier platoon.

Long Tom 155mm battery shells the same target. The neberwerfer crews are becoming shell-shocked by the constant shelling.

Turn Four: Turn for panzergrenadier assault to seize the near Monte Basilio objective. Nearby, the panzergrenadier platoon prep fires the American riflemen in their battered foxholes then charges forward. Bayonet and grenades, the panzergrenadier side step the weak American defensive fire. blasting or bayoneted G.I.s from their foxholes. Objective taken for now.

Panzergrenadier charge forward after their prep fire pinning the rifle platoon in their foxholes.

Objective seized with little loss. Only one turn of close combat. One or two surviving rifle platoon teams run back towards friendly foxholes.

Losing the forward objective stirs team American into action. Another reserve platoon (machine gun) arrives to march on to the hillside of death. The reserve weapon platoon is targeted by the German artillery again, losing two teams to the blast effect. The former forward rifle platoon grimly anchors the next hill level line, at the apex of the ridge crest while passing their platoon morale. The victorious panzergrenadier receive undesired attention of the American artillery, plus every rifle aimed in their direction, increasing the grey uniformed loss.

Victorious panzergrenadier receive the weight of American firepower… 105mm artillery bombardment, rifles and rolled rocks. German teams still hold the captured objective.

The aerial view of the AOP L-4 Grasshopper plane watching the nebelwerfer crews dodge the 155mm salvos. Soon they will be unlucky.

Turn Five: Italians platoons continue their advance on the right flank from the riverbed. By now the Semovente 47/32 and second fucilieri reserve platoons have enter the Troina dry riverbed and started their advance up the Monte Basilio slope, behind the panzergrenadier platoon taking losses from the up slope rifle platoon and flank of the A&P platoon. Passing the panzergrenadier, the brave but reluctant Italians mount the slope, pressing both the 57mm A/T (acting as infantry riflemen) position and the flanked A&P platoon. Another rocket salvo followed by 10.5cm artillery shells lands on the A&P or 57mm A/T position while the victorious panzergrenadier find the old American foxholes useful.

As the right flank panzergrenadier platoon uses the building (foreground) for cover and base of fire, the Italian fucilieri platoons exit the dry riverbed and walk up slope, flanking the 57mm A/T.

On turn five, the attack of the 39th Regiment starts with the arrival of five American platoons south of the Troina riverbed. Two rifle platoons walk through the light woods, the Sherman M4a1 platoon drive on board behind the hill spur, the I/R jeep platoon along the narrow roadway through the woods, and lastly a weapons platoon follows in the Sherman track ground marks. Back on Monte Basilio, the last American rifle platoon enters the tabletop, crossing the shell hole ground where the weapons and machine gun platoons transversed., laving a trail of dead and wounded.

Arrival of the 39th Regimental attack. Two rifle platoons in woods with I/R platoon on narrow roadway. Up hill a weapons platoon follows the Sherman M4a1 tanks behind a hill spur.

Monte Basilio position after five turns. German and American artillery bombard different portions of the hillside. Last American rifle platoon enters from the table edge in foreground.

Turn Six: Before the start of turn six, the American team preceded and conducted the 39th Regimental preliminary bombardment on all the German positions south of the Troina riverbed. The StuG III F/8 survived the bombardment intact, three nebelwerfer RL and crews destroyed, one panzergrenadier platoon suffered two teams lost out in the open ground. Up on the steep hill, the pioneer and remaining panzergrenadier platoons suffered two teams loss each from the bombardment. All platoons were pinned from the general bombardment effect.

The nebelwerfer battery losses half their rocket launchers from the preliminary bombardment. Passes their morale test for platoon losses.

Up on the steep hillside the pioneer and panzergrenadier platoons suffer two teams each in losses.

After the American artillery interphase… the Italian assault up the hill highlights turn six. Charging home under American disorganized rifle fire, the 57mm A/T platoon is overwhelmed and destroyed.

Italian fucilieri platoon charges up hill into the 57mm A/T platoon. After two rounds of close combat, the A/T platoon is overrun and destroyed.

While some Italian infantry charged the guns… the other platoon was failing their entrenching test below the American rifle platoon held hilltop woods, still supported by the arrival of the small Semovente 47/32 assault guns. Their 47mm cannon soon fired into the A&P platoon’s position, trying to pin the A&P platoon uphill of the victorious Italian assault.

Consolidating on the former American A/T position, the Italian infantry is exposed under the rifles of the A&P platoon further up the hill.

The other fucilieri platoon, supported by the Semovente 47/32 assault guns, successfully pin the A&P platoon for now.

South of the dry Troina riverbed, the German StuG III assault guns await the American armor. The German off-board 10.5cm field battery directs their salvos on the exposed weapon platoon causing loss. How to clear the three StuG III F/8 from their special pits and covering the central table American objective thinks team American. With careful movement, the Sherman M4a1 platoon uses the spur hill to limit the StuG III return firepower, and engages at long-range, the entrenched StuG III’s with no success. The I/R platoon reece jeeps drive down the narrow roadway, out into the open, to uncover the hidden StuG III positions for the Sherman up on the hill spur.

With the I/R platoon driving down the open roadway, the Shermans atop the hill spur move to engage the concealed StuG III positions with no result. German artillery hits the weapons platoon.

Several Italian fucilieri teams drop from the American rifle fire while the panzergrenadier holding the objective get more artillery bombardment and scattered LMG team attention.

Turn Seven: Assaulting further is out of the Italian infantry capability, so the entrenching tools work the former American foxholes into Italian defensive pits before the occupied stone building and American A&P platoon occupied foxholes. World War one foxhole to foxhole warfare on Monte Basilio. Rifle firing, on both sides just tosses dirt and bullets overhead. The American reserve weapon and machine gun platoons, edge forward and right to bring firepower on the Italians and the objective holding panzergrenadier down hill. German artillery is busy shelling the new arrivals south of the Troina riverbed for now. now joined the remains of the nebelwerfer battery rockets.

Successful or die, the Italian fucilieri infantry dig their holes and give weak rifle fire at the similarly dug in American platoons. A form of World War one trench warfare.

German artillery shells the reece jeeps astride roadway, joined by the StuG III 75mm cannon. One jeep and team blasted. Uphill at right, the nebelwerfers find the luckless weapons platoon again.

Panzergrenadier bombarded as the American rifle fire is just as ineffective on the fox holed Italian infantry down the hillside. Maybe roll grenades down the slope?

Another American 105mm field battery joins the battle from the 39th Regimental attack reserve. They resister then bombard the hill rise panzergrenadier platoon which is well dug in. As for the 155mm Long Tom battery… they haven’t answered the call for the last two turns (d6 4+ needed). so the AOP L-4 just flies about overhead.

Another 105mm field battery joins the American effort in 39th Regiment sector. It registers and bombards the panzergrenadier platoon atop the hill rise.

As 105mm shells fly overhead, the rest of the 39th Regimental attack platoons arrive. One more rifle platoon and the engineer platoon drives up in their shiny clean trucks.

Arrival of another rifle platoon and the shiny truck carrying the engineer platoon carefully driven behind the hill rise.

View of the tabletop, the red markers showing dead teams and the American artillery trying to blast away the stubborn panzergrenadier holding the lower slope objective.

Turn Eight: Italian platoons are engaged in a foxhole to foxhole firefight with support from the small Semovente 47/32 assault guns. No one is hopping out of any hole in the ground for now. The reserve weapon and machine gun platoons edge down the spine of Monte Basilio (sort of following the roadway), seeking targeting opportunity on the stubborn panzergrenadier holding the lower slope objective. Lots of rifle fire, both sides lose a team or two till the hilltop woods American rifle platoon suddenly charges down the slope from their position. Their counter-attack is unexpected by the Italian fucilieri platoon facing them. A surge of rifle fire…

Heads bobbing up and down, the Italian fucilieri platoons exchange rifle fire with the up slope American A&P platoon. Reserve rifle platoon edges closer, preparing assault the Italian infantry.

South bank action is limited to the American platoons seeking cover behind the low-rise. By now the two rifle platoons in the woods have transversed the cover and exit into the open ground beyond the woods. One platoon heads towards the German held Monte Basilio lower slope objective, using bush cover in the Troina dry river bed. Uphill, the last rifle platoon heads for the woods defended by the German pioneer platoon positioned behind their barbwire. StuG III F/8 assault guns exchange fire with the partially hidden Sherman M4a1 tanks, neither side scores damaging hits, just ricochet. Unsure of the next move… the engineer platoon stay in their trucks and shift towards the hill woods, ready to join the assault in the woods or support somehow the Sherman armored advance to seize the tempting objective besides the exposed StuG position.

Sherman M4a1 platoon dodges accurate StuG III F/8 shellfire using low-rise for partial cover. German 10.5cm artillery spotting rounds start to fall nearby. I/R jeep teams retire to cover.

Back on Monte Basilio a surge of wild rifle fire greets the American infantry charging downhill. Surging into the Italian foxhole positions, a wild close quarter fight involves many teams. Both sides lose team after team in swirling forward and back assaults. Finally the last Italian team bolts off the table leaving the American to survey their three teams lost in the brawl.

American rifle platoon charges downhill into the Italian position. Wild rifle fire then close quarter combats as both seek the position.

Italians broken, wounded or dead on the field, the American rifle platoon consolidates on the bloody position after several teams made their “last” charge.

Advancing American rifle platoon exits the dry Troina riverbed, with the supportive sustained HMG fire from the recently occupied nearby stone building (machine gun platoon), They watch as the American 105mm artillery pounds the weak German panzergrenadier platoon out of their foxholes and into panic flight. At least the objective is neutral for now, covered by American firepower.

American artillery finally finds the range and blasts the last German defenders from the lower slope objective. German surviving team bolt for their support lines and off the table.

Driving towards the woods, the engineer platoon arrives to disembark and join the advancing third rifle platoon in plans to dislodge the German pioneers, behind their barbwire position.

End of turn eight has both sides a bit knocked about

Turn Nine: With the loss of the lower slope objective, the objective controlled count is basically unchanged from the start of the scenario. Each side has two objective within their control or nearby and the tie breaker is located under the Ponte di Failia bridge. Scenario continues with the Italians and nearby reduced panzergrenadier platoon (positioned in the lower slope house), plus the Semovente 47/32 assault guns, blasting the exposed American rifle platoon which just blitzes over their countrymen. combined firepower removes another three rifle teams… and the Americans platoon bolt off table, running uphill to seek shelter in their off tabletop rear.

With the panzergrenadier in the foreground building, the Italian infantry and Semovente assault guns wreck revenge on the victorious American rifle platoon, soon seen bolting for their rear.

Rocket salvo, with the off-board German 10.5cm field battery, target and bombard the Sherman M4a1 platoon, along with the battered weapon platoon. Two weapon platoon teams disappear under the barrage of shells. while a bailed out Sherman crew, dazed by the sudden high explosive rain, dives under their steel cover.

Rockets and shells land around the Shermans and weapons platoon. Two dead teams and one dazed tank crew is the result.

After the removal of the lower slope panzergrenadier on the objective, the American reserve rifle platoon on Monte Basilio edges up to the central spine crest line with remains of the other American platoons. The A&P platoon still grimly holds their forward foxholes, facing direct their enemy yards away in their foxholes… almost in grenade throwing distance. Both sides have lost teams and their bodies litter the open ground of Monte Basilio.

A&P platoon holds the front foxholes while the reserve rifle platoon crosses the ridge crest, in preparation for another American charge at the Italians below the stone building.

South of the dry Troina riverbed, the last American reserve platoon enters the tabletop. A Cannon 75mm HMC platoon (with additional H/T) drives past the roadside building and enters the open fields below the hill. Sherman crews think twice about reentering their steel breasts of war as German 75mm shell ricochet off the frontal armor. Leading the advance, the I/R teams in their recce jeeps race forward towards the German position (and minefield) near the displayed objective. Team America registers artillery on one Stug III F/8 position with little effect except paint dents.

With German artillery registered in foreground, American artillery registers on the StuG III position in distance. Major American advance on road; cannon platoon, Shermans, recce jeeps and rifle platoon.

Up on the steep hill, the sole rifle platoon arrives near the woods, just as the engineer platoon drives up in their truck and starts to dismount.

Engineer platoon embarked in their trucks arrive, meeting the walking rifle platoon at woods edge.

Turn nine tabletop view from the other table end. Steep hill in foreground, dry Troina riverbed centerline and Monte Basilio upper left.

Turn Ten: Seeing the massing American on the higher ridge before them, the remaining Italian fucilieri platoon, with the nearby Semovente assault guns fire another volley of shots into the A&P platoon foxholes and their garrisoned stone building. The 47mm HE shells from the Semovente platoon wrinkled two teams from their earthen lairs causing a platoon morale test. Grimly the A&P platoon continues the fight.

Semovente firepower comes to bear on the A&P platoon position. The two outlying teams are destroyed. Still, the A&P platoon grimly hold their position, passing another morale test.

With little else happening on the Monte Basilio sector, the real battle is joined on the south bank or before the Stug III F/8 positions. German AP 75mm shells brew up one Sherman on the low-rise, then another is hit by a 10.5cm HE round fired by the German artillery. With one already bailed out, the Sherman M4a1 platoon is weaken before the American attack starts. German pioneer and panzergrenadier teams ready their MG42 with extra ammunition before the American infantry advances into the steep hill woods.

One Sherman is brewed up by AP 75mm shell. Another left burning from the German artillery bombardment and one crew is hiding under their tank hull.

American chances are slipping away. With the Sherman platoon almost half destroyed, the 75mm HMC cannon platoon pushes out to engage the panzergrenadier holding the position near the Ponte di Failia bridge and threaten the objective under the bridge span. American engineers and the uphill rifle platoon enter the woods with wary movement, staying out of 6″ range of the pioneer teams for now. Faced with the barbwire fence, the infantry assault must be one rush, led by the engineer teams to cut the wire. Frustrated for several turns of missing connection calls, the 155mm artillery battery answers their radio phone and registers on one of the StuG III pits. Narrowly the StuG survives the heavy shellfire for this turn.

The 155mm Long Tom battery answers the AOP radio call and registers salvos on the center StuG III pit. A close call, another turn of this bombardment and burning StuG could be the result.

Monte Basilio hill shows the effect of infantry battles. The reserve rifle platoon thinks twice about charging down hill into the Italians. They are the real only defenders left to hold the objectives.

American view of the south riverbank actions. StuG position shelled, The burning Shermans while rifle and engineers platoons enter the woods, and the Cannon 75mm HMG platoon is exposed to German gunnery.

Overall table view from the northern table end. One shot up A&P platoon taking morale test, the rifle platoon on crest, remains of the MG platoon in building, and reinforcement from 39th regt.

Turn Eleven: Seeking to end the scenario, the German team hunker down with the StuG III F/8 platoon and torches one 75mm HMC halftrack to ruin, then another Sherman to add to the bonfire collection. Seeing another Sherman turn into burning wreckage, the rest of the Sherman platoon bolts from the tabletop, leaving the Infantry advance unsupported. That ends the American advance towards the objective thinks Team Germany, since the remaining 75mm cannon HT platoon cannot dent the entrenched StuG IIIs unless they ram them. Final Italian firing drops another American team on the bloody slopes of Monte Basilio.

Team America looks over the situation. With the Monte Basilio command (26th Regiment) now testing company morale, having lost four out of seven on table platoons, that flank is one die roll away from exiting the tabletop. South of the Troina riverbed, the 39th Regimental attack is stalled with the loss of the Sherman M4a1 and the infantry platoons unprepared to assault the German pioneer position yet. So…. with handshakes, Team America concedes the scenario to the battered German-Italian side.

Scenario end:  For team German-Italian, losses included one complete Italian fucilieri platoon and one panzergrenadier platoon. The nebelwerfer, Pak38 5cm A/T, another panzergrenadier, and Italian fucilieri platoons ended scenario at or near 50% loss level. Several others platoons suffered a team or two loss across the battlefront. The American story is different. Two rifle, weapons, and Sherman M4a1 platoons destroyed. Taking morale test for over 50% loss is the A&P platoon facing the Italians. Near 50% loss two additional rifle platoons and the supporting machine gun platoon. Several other platoons have a team or two lying on the warm ground. Only the rifle and engineer platoons entering the southern steep hill woods are untouched except for the off-board artillery.

Battered, but holding the their positions. The German Italian team are assigned four objectives for victory determination control (per player discussion; two on south bank, the Ponte di Failia bridge, and the lower slope objective on Monte Basilio). The American maybe controlled the last objective high up Monte Basilio near the hilltop woods, assuming the Monte Basilio company stayed on the tabletop and Italians don’t occupy by infantry or assault gun uphill movement.

Monte Basilio position ends with the two sides exchanging rifle fire from foxhole to foxhole or across the ridge crest. The Monte Basilio defenders have over 50% platoon loss at this stage.

Monte Basilio position from the German and Italian side. The Italian fucilieri platoon clings to their position below the stone building half way up the slope, supported by the Semovente assault guns besides them. Ppanzergrenadier, machine gun, and Pak38 platoons line the riverbed line.

Southern sector shows the burning American vehicles while their 155mm artillery again shells the StuG III F/8 position. Off picture at left, the woods alive with infantry just as the scenario ends.

WR thoughts: Overall the scenario format seemed to work out. WR first had second thoughts about the split preliminary artillery bombardment format, but during scenario play the issue ran smoothly. Both sides seems evenly matched… scenario play seemed to confirm, but how the two teams elected to organize, deploy platoons, and play the scenario was a bit different from WR’s pre-convention play testing workup.

For comparison to the written commentary above, WR had solo played both sides with his offensive and defensive setups before the convention. Team German-Italian actual convention deployment sort of followed WR’s planning against Monte Basilio, the difference was WR placed all three panzergrenadier platoons with aim to seize the Monte Basilio lower slope objective and control the Ponte di Failia bridge objective (tie breaker). The Italians still enter / flank the American forward position on northern flank and the Pak38 A/T and machine gun platoons centered to support the lower slope objective effort then swiching to the Italian “pinning” placement and “threat” the high hilltop objective, thereby forcing the American team to place one or two platoons vs. any potential Italian advances.

South of the Troina riverbed WR’s German placement was different. Both the panzergrenadier and the pioneer platoons were used to secure the steep hill woods with the panzergrenadier up front and pioneers as local counter-attack reserve. Minefield on the roadway and barbwire in the actual woods before the German lines. Only the StuG III F/8 platoon covered the open plain from the lower hill slope position, sort of screened from American eyes by the low-rise maybe, and secured the passage towards the Ponte di Failia bridge with the StuG III long-ranged 75mm cannon. Nebelwerfer enjoyed the rear woods but was more linearly spread out to minimize  American heavy counter-battery fire.

German WR plan…. Use the three panzergrenadier platoons to seize and control the Monte Basilio lower slope objective, backed by the nearby machine gun and Pak38 5cm A/T platoons plus the German artillery and nebelwerfer rocket battery on call. Thus Team German Italian has four possible objectives controlled, worse case three, to win the scenario.

For Team American, the secret was the initial deployment on Monte Basilio. Front load the forward lines with infantry rifle teams dug in. Place two rifle platoons as far forward as possible, one directly covering the lower slope objective and the second one covering the rest of the frontage, including possible Italian eruption entrance. The machine gun platoon placed up slope behind the platoon controlling the lower objective, with ability to cover the dry Troina riverbed crossing too. The A&P platoon backs up the strung out forward rifle platoon and secures the central stone building area. The weapon platoons has its LMG assigned to the rifle platoons while the 60mm mortars take position near the central stone building and A&P platoon. Basic thought… you don’t want to be running exposed downhill trying to secure the forward battle line and down slope objective. Start nearby and save the open field running for the Germans, who being veteran, are a bit better at movements. In reserve pool, the remaining rifle platoon and the 57mm A/T platoon. The rifle platoon enters the tabletop to match the main German effort and reinforce. They can cross open ground better than the other gun team platoons and reinforce a possible American attack on the Ponte di Failia bridge late in scenario if needed. The 57mm A/T platoon just tries to be useful or al least not a dead platoon. Suggestion… use it to defend the high woods and nearby objective from Italian Semovente assault guns.

On the southern Troina riverbed, the attack of the 39th Regiment is one directional. Through the steep hill woods. All infantry save one platoon is used to clear the German held woods backed by the Sherman and cannon platoons when possible. The drive is directed towards threatening the rear German held American objective and force the StuG III to exit their tank pit hides and face the Sherman tanks in open close range engagement, once they exit via the woods roadway into the German step hill rear area. Cannon 75mm HMC platoon threaten the StuG III with possible side shots while they face off the Sherman concurrent breakout movement. Weapon platoon attach out their LMG teams to each rifle platoon while the 60mm mortar teams prepare smoke bombardments. I/R platoon, join the Sherman on their breakout move and drive for the undefended rearmost American objective. The last rifle platoon is deployed in the Troina riverbed. If possible, march that platoon directly for the Ponte di Failia bridge and contest the objective, supported by whatever available from the Monte Basilio defenders. American artillery, all three batteries seek to destroy the nebelwerfer RL battery quickly and then German concentrations as needed.

So…if the American WR plan works, they control the two objectives on Monte Basilio, hopefully control one American objective on the southern steep hill for number three, and contest the Ponte di Failia bridge objective for number four or deny to the German team. Well, that was WR thoughts before the scenario was played at the convention…. two battles, around the Ponte di Failia bridge, and someplace on the steep hillside woods.

Cheers from the warren and convention floor. Special thanks to all the convention players willing to toss dice and enjoy WR’s FOW scenario efforts. Jesse, Jesse Sr, Eric, Daniel, Allan and Steve. Next up on the WR blog is the Battle of Gospic (Bilaj) 1809 write-up and convention scenario AAR.

WR

 

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4 thoughts on “Troina 1943 FOW AAR

  1. Nice. Very nice indeed. Your boards always amaze me. Absolutely love the detail you put in. Do me a favor, next time your playing get right down in there with you camera and get some action photos. From the models view.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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