Sven Folkesson
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So, I’ve had almost a year hiatus from OpD but want to get back into it with the ambition to play the campaign game. My regular opponent and I decided to give Cristot (scenario 18.1) another go first to get back into the swing of things. Which was good, as I realise I’m not very good at the defensive (German) game.

What follows is a turn by turn description of the game. Tonight we’ll play Turn 1, Germans, so any advice before then would be appreciated of course

- Setup -



British: My opponent went for an obvious northern focus with most infantry companies and Centaurs poised for a push into the heavy bocage and woods in 1101/1102/1201/1202. The artillery on the high ground seems like a no brainer and the setup of the armour really doesn’t matter as they are mobile enough to engage any portion of the frontline.

German: I decided to keep a continuous frontline, a must with the closed terrain, else you’ll be staring at an armoured British breakthrough. What I did differently than before was to mix in some light-skinned AFVs with the forward infantry (which would turn out to be disastrous). Also, I chose to move the northern strongpoint forward 500m (one hex), before I’ve had it in 1302. And yeah, the pioneers alone in 1202 was just asking for trouble

- Turn 1, British -



The image shows end of British turn 1. As you can see, pretty disastrous for the 12SS. First he assaulted the woods in 1201 without taking any losses, and pushed the German recon platoon back to the Strongpoint in 1201. Then he did a heavy armour assault on the Strongpoint, supported by one infantry company. My panzerfausts, halftracks and even the AT gun didn’t make a dent in the Shermans and Centaurs, all but the German infantry were destroyed; the remaining 2 platoons retreated to the village in 1401. The fact that he managed to destroy the halftracks in antitank phase of the Assault meant 2 unfavourable column shifts (he got the combined arms modifier and conversely I lost the German armour bonus). The Brits also moved up machine guns and more Shermans into the village in 1102.

I guess that I should have reaction moved away some halftracks and armoured cars during this Action phase, but other than that I don’t know what I could’ve done?

In the south, the Brits comfortably (and without any game relevant losses) assaulted Les Hauts Vents (0905) and the AT assault rules really shined again. The random modifier chits creates stories, in this case of British boys running from house to house with PIATs, flanking my halftracks, whilst my Hitlerjugend were held off by Sherman mounted MGs.

In the Combat phase, the Brits in the south drove off the recon platoon in 1004 and advanced into the same, pushing my shellshocked German infantry in front of them (one platoon as far as to 1304). In the north, he destroyed my pioneer platoon in 1202 (which I suppose I should have kept back for counter-attack purposes) and reduced my halftrack platoon in 1103. At least this time I remembered to reaction move away my Pumas to safety.

Now, it’s the Germans time to act. Even if it wasn’t for the scenario specific restrictions (due to the abstracted pre-action shelling of the German lines) I’d be miffed if I knew what to do. Hilfe!



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Gerardo Bolanos
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Nice AAR, I've been trying to play some Op. Dauntless for a while now but haven't had the time. I'll have fun reading your reports and seeing how this battle turns out.

It was an interesting idea to use your AFVs on the front line, I assume to try to gain a combined arms shift when the assault is resolved? I think that the biggest loss in that turn for the Germans was losing the AT gun.

Good luck!
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Sven Folkesson
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gebs99 wrote:
It was an interesting idea to use your AFVs on the front line, I assume to try to gain a combined arms shift when the assault is resolved? I think that the biggest loss in that turn for the Germans was losing the AT gun.


Yes, agreed. Losing the Strongpoint with the AT gun makes my north flank look pretty meagre. I also regret putting my third "fallback" Strongpoint in 1304 - I was thinking it would protect the road between the eastern and western parts of Cristot but now I'd rather have had it in 1403 or even in the town proper at 1504.

As for the AFVs, you're correct. It was to bolster my infantry but I should've resisted the temptation. Forgot how vulnerable they are to pretty much any enemy AT fire.
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Gerardo Bolanos
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Sven,

I think there is a mistake in your scenario setup. When I played this scenario using VASSAL, I noticed that two units were missing compared to the actual German OB listed in the scenario. I believe you are missing 1 MG platoon and 1 Mortar section from the 15/26 Recon Infantry company.
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Sven Folkesson
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gebs99 wrote:
I think there is a mistake in your scenario setup.


Oh damn, again you learn to always go back to the source materials! The good thing is that I've already won the moral victory in this match
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Sven Folkesson
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OK, so we played another short session last night! I think now the Brits made some mistakes (and Lady Fortuna looked the other way) but overall the situation still seems dire for my desperate German defenders.

- Turn 1, Germans -



Given the scenario whereby the German lines have been massively bombarded prior to the first turn, my forces can only move two hexes and may not engage in Combat or Assault. LOS is still 1 hex due to smoke.

I basically pulled back some units to make a new defensive line. I also moved away the battered halftracks to safety. I decided to move up one scout platoon as forward defense to slow down the British advance in the north (hex 1302). In the southern Strongpoint I moved out the IG gun in favour of my most heavy hitting halftracks (God I would kill for a proper tank platoon!).

- Turn 2, British -
The British, perhaps boldened by their initial success, carried out a couple of assaults. In the south (zoomed in image below), they first spent all their off map artillery to try to suppress the hill Strongpoint (hex 1205) and the target of the assault (1105) but suppressed neither, so decided to cancel the assault altogether! Noteworthy that he moved his infantry company adjacent to the Strongpoint to act as spotter for the artillery in hex 1106, not convinced this was a good move on his part.



In the north the Brits assaulted 1302 successfully and my scouts platoon retreated eastwards without taking losses (the scouts high movement really makes them into skirmishers).

In the Combat phase, hex 1105 was targeted but defensive supporting fire (German offboard artillery) was the only support that was successful and the Combat by the suppressed Brits rolling on the 2:1 column only caused 1 loss, and I chose to eliminate a German scout platoon in order to stay in the hex; not sure if I should have done this or instead retreated with both platoons. Interestingly, the Sherman HQ troop did not participate in the Combat but held off and intimidated my halftracks into not providing defensive supporting fire (if they had, the Shermans would have Return Fired them into oblivion).

In the north the Brits continued their push by Combating hexes 1401 and 1403, causing solely retreats and are now bordering on East Cristot proper.

End of British part of turn 2:


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Bryan Felsher
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This has been an exciting AAR. Gerardo- it's making me want to play again!

I think this scenario is easier to play for the British, but it can be a really close battle, and some believe between experienced players it is actually slightly in the German's favor.

Gerardo has a defensive set up that I was not able to crack....but I will one day....He sort of dared me to "run the gauntlet" into East Cristot by leaving a very tempting hole in his line. I set up to do so, then chickened out and got the hell out of there after losing a tank, and he destroyed me for my weakness!

If you can keep your halftracks back in East Cristot, they are useful as supportive fire against an overextended British. Sometimes they can even do some serious damage on their own. I think in this scenario, the Germans need to use some Infantry/MG companies as "speedbumps" to slow the British down until you can get some Armor reinforcements, and figure most of the infantry will hopefully be able to retreat into strongpoints. Also, hopefully your Northern strongpoint can last 2 turns. 3 is even better, though doubtful unless you get really lucky. The Southern strongpoint should be all but impossible to crack unless the British commit some AVRE's very early. At any rate, the British will spend lots of precious artillery trying to crack it, which might be better left avoided.
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Sven Folkesson
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Thanks for your thoughts, Bryan. I think n our game it's looking pretty grim for the Germans, though our latest session (report coming up shortly) at least brought some glimmers of hope, of sorts...
 
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Sven Folkesson
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So, after over a week without any Normandy action we returned to our game last night.

- Turn 2, German -



My turn as German in this scenario is pretty quick as there's not really much I feel I can do, at least not with the causulties I've suffered thus far thinning out my formation.

From the hill Strongpoint in 1205 my AT gun took ineffective pot shots at the enemy armour in 1004, but other than that I mainly shifting units around and fell back.

An opening presented itself with respect to the British infanty company in hex 1106 which I surrounded and duly destroyed in the Combat phase. German concentric attack and armour bonus for the win! (As I mentioned in a previous report, I think the positioning of this unit was a mistake by my opponent.)


- Turn 3, British -

Time for reinforcements! The Brits brought in 2 AVRE troops and saved the remaining 5 points. Oh how I fear those bunker buster tanks.



Action phase: the British pushed their advantage in eastern Cristot. In the Assaults he first used artillery to hopefully force the infantry into hiding (meaning they are less likely to pop their heads up and fire their Panzerfausts in the tactical advantage procedure), then made sure to include infantry in the armour assault stacks to protect his tanks in case my infantry would still be brave enough to engage his tanks. I love it how this game really makes you use combined arms like this, not by forcing it down players' throats, but through the mechanics leading to emergent gameplay.

Anyway, the Brits entered Cristot (hex 1603) via the forest in 1602 despite ineffective artillery barrage. My recon platoon retreated in horror as the tanks rolled into town, going westwards into the Strongpoint in 1404.

My opponent then assaulted 1504 with another formation and here his barrage proved more effective (2 suppression markers). He drew 3 chits and happily picked the "no AT fire" result. Again he easily took the hex and this time my retreating scouts decided to bypass the Strongpoint in order to not create a company equivalent infantry formation in that hex, which would've given him bonus in future artillery bombardments. This felt a bit gamey but given the situation I think I am excused



Combat phase: the Brits first attacked 1105. Both sides' artillery was quite ineffective but a 5:1 advantage meant the Brits forced a retreat and advanced into the hex. This time my AT gun on the hill found a target and through the ARC attack caused a transport pool loss with a hit on the carrier platoon.

My opponent then attacked 1204 from 1203. I decided to go all in with my German Nebelwerfers and 105mm artillery and caused both heavy causulties (infantry company step reduced) and suppression whilst the British artillery didn't affect my dug-in teenagers at all. And what teenagers! They eliminated a British MG unit and forced the Brits to pull back, and then performed a tactical retreat on their own. I think I may have woken the kids when the British player rolled snake eyes!

We rounded up the British part of turn 3 with some harassment by Allied fighter-bombers: as terrifying as it must have been no serious casualties were reported. (The +2 on attacking stacks with retreated units is enticing.)

- Thoughts -

I've now decimated the attacking force's infantry, 1.5 companies are out of action as well as an MG unit. Despite this, the tactical situation is dire and had it not been for the extraordinary fighting spirit of the SS scout platoon in 1204 the Brits would have controlled 4 Cristot hexes and the Germans only 1. And I don't think I can continue to rely on the ineffectiveness of the British offmap artillery (it's scary, see image below). My only hope is the reinforcements entering next turn. Not sure what I should throw in!

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