@Harry: There’s been more fighting in the Cauldron!
@Jack: Looking forward to your reports! Your game reports over the last few years have inspired me to more gaming. You do most of your playing solo both sides, too, right?
On New Years Eve, as I stayed up late on Dog Patrol (we have numerous dogs, who like the fireworks not one bit), I played another game in my ongoing series of Oosterbeek perimeter fights. This was the biggest yet, with a full German attack against the British perimeter. Prattle follows; pictures below (and in the next post).
German forces included 4 squads (10 men each, two of them in halftracks), an HMG team, a panzershreck team, and a large command element of 6 men. The British had three understrength squads (6-8 men each), a Vickers HMG, a 2” mortar, a PIAT, a command element which also acted as a reserve (6 or 7 men), plus several stretcher bearers and men coming up from the rear carrying crates of ammo.
The frontline British troops start the game low on ammo, which limits them to 1 grenade apiece, prevents SMGs from firing on full-auto, and causes magazine-fed LMGs to run out of ammo if they roll any doubles. The Vickers did not suffer from low ammo. The 2” mortar was only allowed 8 rounds of HE; the PIAT, 4 rounds, absolutely prohibited from long-shots or use against enemy infantry. Infantry units would have their ammo restored if an ammo-bearer moved into their unit and spent one action distributing ammo; he would then convert to a rifleman.
German objectives were to seize terrain, inflict casualties, and try to exit some troops off the far table edge. British objectives were to evacuate casualties, hold terrain, and break German squads (though individual casualties were immaterial).
The game was an absolutely ferocious 3 turns. (3! With tons of activity!) The Germans sent one halftrack squad for an end-run around the flank and off the board, which was ultimately successful. The other halftrack tried to charge up the middle, but when the squad dismounted they were crushed by the combined fire of a Vickers HMG, 2 Bren guns, and a 2” mortar—and then the PIAT gunner redeployed and took out the halftrack. Ouch! Meanwhile, the other two German squads led assaults into the woods on either side of the road. One squad was too weak to take the wood and was repulsed; the other squad, supported by the command element and a panzershreck, got badly tuned up in the other woods but did overrun a British squad.
On the British side, the paras had to redeploy one squad as a reserve and darted a PIAT gunner back and forth. Two men tried to rush forward and grenade a halftrack, but the vehicle outran them as it drove past. One dashing lieutenant finally saw too much and was panicked by machine gun fire from a halftrack. Man of the Hour was a Bren gunner who was thrown out of his foxhole by a German bayonet charge, but who then 1) charged back in, firing his Bren from the hip, killing one German and routing the other; 2) defended his retaken foxhole with a grenade toss and point blank Bren fire that killed or repulsed 3 Germans; 3) held his foxhole against repeated grenade attack and inflicted at least 1 more casualty; and 4) finally fell under a hail of grenades (it took 3!). Certainly Victoria Cross material.
The Germans had no such audacious behavior, but two of their squads did stick it out despite heavy losses and vicious paratrooper counter attack. They also deployed an HMG into a nice, tucked away position and absolutely closed off one avenue of British advance. The panzershreck gunner lost his loader early in the fight, but successfully used his rocket launcher to knock out a British foxhole and both its occupants.
The game ended with a bare British victory—9 VPs to 8. I plan on replaying the scenario with a few small adjustments. The game was a hoot, with lots of movement, counter attacks, and German units being pushed back only to attack again. The Germans suffered 18 casualties; the British, 12.
Sooooooon my armor and 6pdrs will be arriving in the mail, and then the fighting will escalate further!