Tuesday evening on Lard Island saw the next game in our 29, Let’s Go! campaign, with the US 175th Infantry attempting to clear the high ground overlooking the road to Isigny where a battery of 88mm guns was located. We began the game with the usual patrol phase as these photos show.
Some clever jump-off deployment by the Germans showed that had been reading our Talking Tactics series, with the Germans electing for positions towards the rear of the table, forcing the American to do all the leg work. The US jump-off points are shown here in blue, the Germans in red.
An initial bombardment of some severity was followed up swiftly by the US player opting to probe forward with scouts.
These he supported from cover with a squad on overwatch.
The Germans were very keen to deploy their sniper to take out the scouts, but despite a whole host of 1’s rolled the bombardment kept him hidden in his foxhole. To compound matters, the Germans were singularly failing to roll 5’s and so that they could end of the first turn, and, most importantly, the effect of the bombardment.
With the US patrol pushing towards the foremost German jump-off point, the Germans were just able to deploy a squad before it was locked down. Aware that the US squad was covering the area, these troops deployed within the orchard rather than on the edge.
The US scouts veered off attempting to oblige more Germans to deploy, before swinging back towards the farm while a second scout team was deployed in the centre. Fortunately for the Germans a run of 5’s allowed them to end the first turn with the table looking like this:
Still very much the empty battlefield. In the next turn the US scouts pushed up towards the orchards on the right, deep into the German half of the table.
This obliged the Germans to deploy a squad to dispose of them, but the US player had not supported these scouts was too far away to engage them.
The US player now had his first scout team in the farmhouse, giving him good visibility for his 60mm mortar if it wanted to deploy. Bringing on his Sherman…
…the US player advanced rapidly with his rifle squad, jumping forward a jump-off point as well…
…but was countered by a German MG42 team deploying in an ambush on the wall by the foremost orchard. However, the Gods were with the good guys and the Germans must presumably have suffered an inconvenient jam as the fire was largely ineffective and the yanks interrupted the German phase to move into close combat. They too casualties but wiped out the machine gun team.
However, the Germans were not finished yet. It was still their phase of play and they immediately counter-attacked with the rifle team from the same squad, hurling hand grenades as they deployed straight into close combat.
The next phase saw the US player use the advanced jump-off point to deploy his second squad straight into combat, and the Germans were clearly caught celebrating their victory and wiped out to a man.
But the scales were about to tip again. A long range shot with the Panzerschreck saw the Sherman explode, rocking US morale further.
Now the Germans deployed a tripod mounted MG42 into the farmhouse and opened up. The Americans on the edge of the orchard replied with their Garands and the two BARs the squad had with them. The firepower from the semi-automatic rifles was sufficient for the Germans to abandon their weapon, despite the remonstrations of their platoon command, Feldwebel Gunter Hosen, who narrowly avoided a sniper’s bullet for his trouble.
The Germans withdrew their infantry into the farm house to form a strong point there. This was risky, but the idea of turfing out a well armed force, supported by the fire of a newly arrived sniper team, meant that the Americans decided discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew to plan another attack.
So, in the campaign process this victory for the Germans is a significant shot in the arm. It means that next week will be turn 6 of the campaign and we’ll be fighting over the same ground again. It looks like this campaign is going to the wire. The US forces can still win a major victory, but they need to clear Cardonville so they can make the final assault at Osmanville and get to Isigny. The Germans have no communication with their battalion HQ but they have seen, and heard, the massive naval bombardment of Isigny and the flames to their rear. They are desperately awaiting news and the order to pull back, but so far they have heard nothing.
29 Let’s Go is a campaign supplement for Chain of Command and is available for just £3.50 in PDF format. You can find it here: 29, Let’s Go!
A wise man from Birmingham once said “It’s Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!” and once again he’s right, ‘cos its here again. On Lard Island that means two things, a surplus of mince pies and sherry and a Festive build project. This year we are looking forwards to testing the ideas and army lists behind the forthcoming Far East