Defence of Al Howdijwi'doit
On Wednesaday24th January Peter David and I played a FOW game. The scenario rolled was Hold the Line, and I was determined to be the defender, since David had a German mechinised company, and I had an Indian infantry company.
The game is played lengthways down the board. I had to set up up to half my platoons on my half of the board. Since I had 7 platoons I could only start the game with 3 on the table. I also had the option to deploy up to half of those in ambush.
The table was dominated by a large hill, an oasis with pool, and a building with courtyard. There were other hills and buildings (as well as a railway track for visual effect), but these had very little impact on the game.
We each deployed one objective marker in my half of the table, at least 8 inches away from the centre line of any of my table edges. Peter put one on top of the large hill whilst I placed one beside the building and pool.
I deployed my infantry dug in around the objective on the hill and deployed the company command just behind. I placed my artillery battery towards my table edge, and held my machine gun platoon in ambush.
Peter deployed his Germans one foot into his table end. He had all of his infantry in vehicles, and his antitank guns limbered. On his first turn he moved across the board whilst his artillery targetted my artillery – I lost a gun.
On my turn I called in my sporadic air support and my hurricane turned up to target two of his trucks. No reserves turned up. My artillery opened up on two other trucks. At the end of the turn one vehicle was down, but the infantry cargo escaped.
On Peters second turn he advanced further bringing his tanks into position against my infantry on the hill. Agqain his artillery opened up on my artillery but to no gain. His tanks opened up with machine guns on my entrenched infantry and killed on section.
My second turn saw two of my platoons arrive, the Matildas and the second infatry platoon. No air support materialised. My artillery opened up on the same infantry platoon in trucks and destroyed a further two trucks and cargo. The infantry failed it’s motivation test with only one stand left, and left.
On his third turn Peter dissembarked his other infantry platoon and machine gun platoon. His panzer jaegers rumbled up to the oasis and took up positions against the infantry on the hill. His artillery opened up on my second infantry platoon as it arrived. though it only killed one stand with it’s 12 hits, the unit was pinned. His tanks opened up on my entrenched infantry with their main guns and killed one more, and pinning the remainder.
My third turn saw the arrival of my anti-tank portees. No air support. Neither of the infantry platoons cleared their pinning. My armour continued to move up the table and the portees started to follow. My artillery failed to be called in, so it was a quiet turn for them, however my machinegun platoon opened up on the German machine gunners as they dismounted and most of the stands were destroyed..
Peters turn 4 saw him take up position before my dug in infantry with his infantry. His tanks remained stationery whilst his panzer jaegers started to move around on his right flank. His artillery continued to rain down on my infantry to little effect. his armour, infantry, and anti-tank guns opened up on my dug in infantry and started to make headway by removing a few stands.
My turn 4 saw my recce platoon of Indian Pettern Carriers arrive, but no aircraft support. My infantry finally became unpinned and the arriving platoon advanced further into the table to take up position around the building next to the oasis. My tanks and portees advanced, and the recce unit arrived on the table. My artillery targetted the German tanks to no effect. My machine gunners opened up on the Panzer Jaegers as they drove passed but failed to cause any casualties. My entrenched infantry opened up on the advancing German infantry and removed one stand.
Peters turn 5 saw his Panzer Jaegers drive to the other objective. If he could hold it uncontested for the turn he would win the game. the remained of his force opened up on the entrenched Indian infantry and removed a couple more stands. There was only a few stands left from the unit, fortunately it passed its motivation test and remained. Peters infantry became pinned for the turn due to the level of hits received.
My turn 5 involved me ensuring that Peters Panzer Jaegers were removed from the objective, whilst the remainder of my forces advanced to support the beleaguered dug in infantry protecting the other objective. No air support arrived. My portees and infantry moved into position to engage the Panzer Jaegers, but it wasn’t really required. My firing started with my artillery battery opening up with direct fire. Within a couple of minutes the Panzer Jaegers ceased to be a threat.
Peter then conceeded on the basis that he couldn’t see a means of achieving victory in his next turn whilst stopping me achieving it in mine.
It was a very tough game for the attackers and caused some discussion as to how it is possible for an infantry heavy army to achieve a win. The only way we saw would have been for the Germans to maximise the use of either troops doubling in their vehicles for at least the first turn, then moving and dissembarking in the second, or using their stormtrooper ability to its maximum. Either option would be needed to try and get some decent coordinated assaults in on the third turn before the defenders have brought up their reinforcements. Any later than that and the attackers are fighting an uphill battle all the way.
Perhaps we can try it with an armoured company assaulting next time to see how that changes the dynamics of the game.