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M. van H.
Here is the AAR of the second campaign scenario of a solo-play of the Campaign Game of DaE (I posted an AAR of the first scenario som time ago); hope you like it. It’s somewhat shorter, with more arrows and stuff in the pics.
In the campaign, the British have to capture the St. Werenfridus-church and exit a certain amount of squads off the east side of the map. The Germans have to stop them from doing so.
This is an AAR of the second scenario. In the Refit Phase, the British bought 2 sets of OBA, an infantry company (10 457s) and 3 Shermans + 1 Firefly. The German malf’d Panther repaired its MA, and they bought another 2 Panthers, a platoon of SS troops (3 658s) and Mortar OBA. All British AFVs are laagered for the night and therefore start the next scenario (a morning scenario) off-board.
North: the British hope to crush German group NORTH (see pic below) between forces already in place (east of NORTH) and about 8 457s with the 10-2 rushing in through the orchards. A mortar puts smoke on the 8-1 to ease their approach. Some rushing units are broken by German fire. German observer in St. Werenfridus church directs Mortar OBA right on top of them, but the FFE breaks only one 457.
Centre: The observer for Med. Arty establishes radio contact, but immediately draws a red card! In the German turn, it fails to maintain radio contact. British infantry quickly occupies the 3 building hexes left unoccupied by the Germans. The Firefly fails to use its sM to cover its approach and stops. A Sherman V overtakes it and is promptly killed by a Panther (it rolled a 3 for the TH).
South: The observer for Btl. Mortar fails to establish radio contact and later is broken by German fire. Four Sherman III’s and 1 Firefly start moving around the southern German positions. The first one to skirt the two-hex barn is immediately killed by another Panther (yes, it also rolled 3). In the German turn, a 457 and 247 are eliminated for failure to rout after some skilful manoeuvring by the Panthers.
Things aren’t going well for the British at all this first turn… Stiff upper lips are required.
Mixed results for the British. Two 457s and 10-2 advanced into L6 and in CC surprise and eliminate an SS 447 and 9-1. German Btl. Mortar OBA is inaccurate and later a new SR is placed in G15. A 436, 447 and 9-1 move to N5 but are all broken and rout to L2. German infantry and Panther move in, eliminating them for failure to rout.
Centre: Brit. Med. Arty puts SR in L14, planning to place Smoke in next PFPh; German stack with 9-2 anticipates on this and moves to O15. Two Panthers reinforce this new position, awaiting the British advance.
South: Lots of drama here. First, the lone Brit. 9-1 in M20 picks up the PIAT left by the 457 eliminated in the previous turn, hits the Panther in N20 in its side hull (with an AF of just 6), and with a Final TK# of 9 … rolls boxcars! The 9-1 later gets broken and routs away from the strong German positions. Then, three Shermans III and a Firefly move aggressively to encircle the Panther in N20; it DFF, but fails to hit anything. Then, in the AFPh, the Sherman III in I23 rolls snake eyes, hitting the Panther in its side hull with a CH and kills it!
So, the northern German position in the row of buildings is almost gone, even though the British paid a heavy price. The southern German positions remain strong, but the four Shermans restrict their movement. The Germans fear that their central position may become compromised by infantry advancing from the west (covered by Smoke) and tanks from the south. They hope that their two Panthers can hold off the 6 Shermans.
North: the British now control the whole row of buildings. The German 447 (with captured LMG) move east towards the large stack in V1. The Panther spends all its MP to exit the Polder hex: they will not engage the British here any longer; the British positions are too strong, and the Panther needs to help its comrades in the centre.
Centre: Brit. Btl. Mtr. puts SR in P16. Brit. Med. Arty puts Smoke in L14 and surrounding hexes; infantry advances, their approach covered by the Smoke. German Btl. Mtr. puts SR in M15, hoping to be able to shell the British infantry when they will emerge from the Smoke.
The Shermans that encircled the Panther killed in N20 in the previous turn now move further north to envelop the German positions around O15. A Sherman V is killed by the Panther in N15.
A Firefly moves up to L11, north-east of the German positions; in the DFPh of the German turn, it hits the Panther in P15 in its front turret (keeping ROF). Its final TK is 9 (23-14) and it rolls 10! Since it kept ROF, it fires again and hits the front hull. Final TK is 5 (23-18) and it rolls 5, Immobilizing the Panther.
South: not much happening; one Sherman remains behind to keep the Germans honest, but the British are happy to leave this area in German hands for now, concentrating fully on reducing the German positions in the centre.
The British numerical advantage is now beginning to weigh heavily on the Germans. The northern positions have fallen, the centre is under heavy pressure and due to OBA Smoke, the British can advance unscathed; one Panther has already been killed, another is Immobilized and may very well not live through the next British PFPh. Non-Firefly Shermans don’t stand a chance against a Panther, 1 on 1; by encircling a Panther, however, they will be able to penetrate its thin side/rear AF of 6 quite easily. The British are now reaping the rewards of this tactic.
North: not much happening. The German 447 breaks under fire, CR’s when trying to self-rally, and hugs the map edge. The German stack in V1 prevents, for now, further British advance here.
Centre: Things started so well for the British this turn… Their Btl. Mtr. shoots HE into P16; the shelling breaks a 8-1/447 in O17. The Firefly in L11 kills off the Immob. Panther in P15. British infantry moves up further into the smoke around L14, but then German Btl. Mtr. shells K14. Many units break, 2 457’s ELR, and three units suffer CR (including a 228 crewing a MMG). The strong German stack in O15 joins in and kills a 237 and CR a 457 in L14 (both units were already broken due to the shelling).
Several Shermans move to encircle the Panther in N15. It survives a side hull hit from the Sherman III in P12 (Final TK was 8 (14-6), roll was 10). In reply, the Panther kills the Sherman V in L16, keeping ROF, turns its turret and also kills the Firefly in L11! Panther B has now destroyed the entire reinforcing Tank Troop of 3 Sherman V’s and a Firefly Vc. Well done, but also rather fortunate. Another Panther roars through the wheat fields to engage the Shermans from the rear.
Things get even worse for the British: the stack in O15 causes an NMC on K18. The 8-1 with Btl. Mtr. radio rolls boxcars, and his CR is 6, killing him. The FFE:2 in P16 is still carried out, but after that, there’s no one operating the radio anymore. Worse, the British have now already lost 2 good leaders (9-1, 8-1) this scenario.
Finally, German infantry skilfully advances onto the encircling Shermans. A 658 in R15 misses 2 PF shots against the Firefly in S15, then advances into its hex. The ensuing CC is inconclusive.
South: German PSK-armed units advance somewhat, taking back building M22, threatening the Sherman in J22. A 9-1/658 move from Q21 to T16.
Incredible, how certain little things could decide this entire campaign; the Panther surviving a hit on its side turret, then dispatching a Sherman, keeping ROF and killing a Firefly with a TH roll of 4 (exactly what was needed for a hit). The British 8-1 rolling boxcars on an NMC and then a 6 for Wound severity. The British advance seems to have come to a grinding halt, just when it seemed to pick up. It will be a challenge for them to extract their remaining tanks, now.
North: not much happening, other than the German 237 in P0 beng eliminated for failure to rout.
Centre: Brit. Med. Arty puts Smoke around O13 to provide cover for an Infantry assault on the Panther in O11! Then, the 9-1 in L15 hits the Panther in N15 with a PIAT; as you can see from the picture of Turn 4, a hull hit (against AF 6) would likely have killed the Panther, but it was a turret hit. More British bad luck.
A Sherman III moves into S13, looking to escape, but the 447 in U12 hits and kills it with a PF; the 447 is broken and CR’d for taking the backblast.
4 457’s and the 10-2 rush towards the Panther in O11; DFF not effective. The Germans fear that their Panther may be destroyed in CC and their Btl. Mtr. puts an SR in O11 (yes, on top of its own Panther). The 10-2 and 2 457s advance into O11! Their first attack: CCV 5+1 = 6, DRM of -2, and they roll a 9! Unbelievable… The Panther’s sN also misses, as does the second British attack. In S15, the German 658 is pinned, so has a CCV of 4 … and rolls a 4! Immobilizing the Firefly; more stiff upper lips are required, it seems.
After the failed CC attack on the Panther in O11, German OBA shells start to fall, breaking the 10-2 and 2 457s. The Panther and Sherman in the blast zone are undamaged. Another 658 (+ a 9-1) advance into S15, have a CCV of 6 with a -2 DRM (leader + immobilized AFV), roll a 7, killing the Firefly.
South: one thing does go wrong for the Germans here; a 658 wants to occupy the building in M20, but is hit for an NMC and rolls boxcars, so routs CR’d to O21.
The scenario ends by mutual consent: the British do not have many Good Order units left, and the Germans are happy to end any scenario ASAP, since they have time on their side (and luck, I might add).
It has been a bloody morning for the British; they lost an incredible 8 (!) Squad equivalents (so 2 may be replenished) and no less than 7 Shermans (2 of which precious Fireflies). The Germans lost 4 Squad equivalents and 2 Panthers, so they did not get off unscathed. However, the task of having to exit infantry units off the east map edge (in a maximum of 3 more scenarios) now seems a difficult one for the British; they still have a numerical advantage and more Campaign point to spend, but they are in desperate need of some good fortune to get the show back on the road. To be continued…
I can't wait to give this a try!