"We are coming to CHAR-B you!"
yes, another opportunity for really really poor puns.
An exciting trip to the Fall of France in 1940 [not to be confused with all the other "falls of France"] with Gary and his lovely French army v. my nicely painted Peter Pig Luftwaffe Feldkompanie [may not be 100% period, but they're generic Infanterie from a distance].
I wanted to put the French on the attack and see Gary's cool tanks on the table. I also wanted to give Gary a straightforward scenario that didn't have much of a learning curve. #4 Take the High Ground from "One-Hour Wargames" is perfect, as it has a simple 6 on 2 hill Attack with the Defender getting 4 Units on Turn 2. Winner has "exclusive occupation of the hill at the end of the game" which is Turn 15. Terrain below:
And our interpretation on a lovely mat at FLGS [view from Scenario West], with French lined up on right and Germans lined up on left, but for two platoons holding the hill in center.
French platoons - Attacker
Panhard-Schneider P-16 AC
*Artillery - Light Battery, Medium Battery
Panhards entering the board Turn 1.
Char B-1s about to enter. Dice are behind FO to record artillery fire missions and availability.
German Platoons - Defender
PaK36 ATG [subbed by my Lt. AA]
*Artillery - Medium Battery
Turn 1. View from the defense angle...one Infantry platoon behind crest [with one stand observing at crest...can't be Targeted] and on front slope the ATGs [my lovingly painted Lt. AA battery - came out just great! This is its gaming debut! What could go wrong??]. Gemans go "Ready" with both Platoons. Entire French Force enters from Board edge. German ATGs take a "Ready" shot on H-35s since there's numerous French Units that can see them, now. Below, Panhard ACs sneaking up the right to get view of lurking, dug-in Germans...
Turn 2. After getting spotted and slammed by French Artillery, the Germans then lose Initiative, and the French take the First Action Phase.
And they blast the ATGs with everything they have to predictable result...This is the usual "first battle for prized painted Unit" syndrome - they had to die quickly and ungloriously. I could've hid them on the reverse slope like the infantry, but I felt they'd just get flanked and blown away, anyway. Still, they would've lasted longer than Turn 2 that way...Panhard ACs move up very close to dug-in Germans on hill and can now spot them, altho they take some Hits from the Infantry firing off a "Ready" status.
German Turn 2 sees four Units enter the board. I pushed one Infantry and the Mortars up the left, and one Infantry and the PzIV up the right to hold the objective. My thinking was that the Mortars would fire from the far corner, sighting down the valley with the road, and the Infantry could occupy the Woods, threatening the French right flank and even the Hill objective - it's only 6" away from the woods.
Turn 3. Artillery pounds the German Infantry reinforcements and on the hill, and the French Infantry moving into attack positions [Infantry on the move in the open are going to take some Hits from Artillery...]. Panhards and German Infantry exchange close-range Fire.
Then, French blow their Initiative roll, and the Germans seize it back! This is great, because my reinforcements get a second move before French can react. I dig in the Mortars and Infantry who got pounded, hoping to rally them [or at least protect them]. My MkIVs move up and blast the Panhard ACs off the table! In hindsight, the Panhards should've kept their distance, with their own armor running interference with the German armor. My tanks are now also threatening the attacking infantry who have noticed their tanks are not nearby...
On their Turn 3 2nd Action Phase, the French push infantry up the front and the Char-Bs swing around and get very close to the Germans holding the hill - close range, outflanked, have Hits, doesn't look good, but there is tank support nearby. Heck, there's Infantry support nearby, also, and they are looking at the Char B's tails...
Turn 4. Germans have made it to the cover of the woods thanks to their Initiative. They are now threatening the H-35s flank, and protecting the Mortars [who've dug-
Turn 7. Despite some losses, the French have cleared the hill. The Char-Bs were attacked on the rear by the Dug-in Germans, and have been playing cat-and-mouse with the MkIVs, but the maneuvering hasn't kept the Germans from needing to re-take the hill.
Turn 8. German response is to take out the Char-Bs. The German Infantry at left attacked the H-35s from the cover of the woods, driving them off with 5 Hits [none Permanent] but their attempt to advance and threaten the French on the hill resulted in loads of Artillery pounding them to 6 Hits - 2 Permanent [so Red Hit dice]. Both sides now have a solid Armor Unit, and two damaged Infantry Units at the hill. The French still have strong Artillery support, and the Germans still have their on-table Mortars.
And Turn 9 has some Artillery peppering away and then...the French seize the Initiative!
The French pound the PzIVs with Artillery, and then when they're at 6 Hits, the Infantry finish them off, rolling 2/2 on Hits [needing a 5+, Red dice below]. Clearly, the two Tromblon VB Grenade Launcher guys on the stand in pic were right on target today! The Germans respond by moving their "better" Infantry onto the hill, preparing to Dig-in on the objective and work for the draw.
The weak Units on the hill exchanged jabs for a few turns, getting Dug-in, rallying, shooting, etc. The French tanks closed in on the rear of the German position, and wiped out the last German platoon on the hill. The French seized the Initiative on Turn 12, faced with nothing but a very damaged German platoon and the Mortars still in the fight.
Turn 15. The Germans took their badly weakened platoon with 2 Permanent Hits [but rallied down to the minimum of 3 at this point] and advanced on the hill, and dug-in while the French wiped out the other platoon. They got revenge when the French tanks attacked them and were in turn driven off the table due to German mortar fire [some amazing dice rolling there]. In the end, the French and Germans had two weakened platoons on the Hill, and a last weak effort to drive the Germans off it failed. Below, the Germans have a stand on the hill to left, and the French are on the heights, attacking down [shot is blurry due to tears in the German journalist's eyes at the bravery and sacrifice of the Landsers].
Whew! That was a brutal, ongoing fight in doubt until the very end. When the French had a Tank platoon and an infantry platoon, and the Germans were only left with their Mortars and a very weak Infantry platoon, I thought it was over. However, the Germans were able to contest the hill largely due to the survival of platoons elsewhere, who then counter-attacked and beat back the French.
I think the French armor edge would allow them to fiercely assault the hill and overwhelm them with firepower quickly. After securing the hill and eliminating two Units, the French are free to stand defensive [which suits their Tanks better] and concentrate on eliminating Units. As it stood, they got spread out and Jerry was able to knock out more French Units first, which put them at a disadvantage for the second half of the game.
As the German, I was able to disperse the French by presenting them with numerous threats most of the turns. This resulted in a successful counter-attack that contested the objective.
If there's a tactic to walk away from this game with, it's stay focused on winning the objective and destroying Units!
Overall, a balanced scenario, with balanced play, and balanced dice, and a tie - I'm fine with that.
In terms of the rules, we discussed a couple of changes, but the only one that we both liked was that Units that fail to activate due to being suppressed can rally or dig-in which felt very realistic given the nature of Infantry and crewed weapons training.
We didn't have much trouble remembering the key points, despite some chatting and socializing, and talking history. I'm sure we made a few rules errors somewhere, but even I am getting used to this version of the rules, and it was Gary's first time with them since the big Totensonntag game, which had different rules.
One thing I HAVE TO DO is remember to bring my camera and take pics! Or I can convince Steve to show up and take pics for me...