"We all have appointments with the past."
On April 5th we had a great Battlegroup game at Coral Sword. Good pizza and BYOB made for a fun evening.
Rob hosted as Barry, Paul, Andy, Will, and Rob played the Sons of Son game in the Market Garden book. Two platoons of 101st Airborne w/ some anti-tank and mortar support is defending a Bailey Bridge over the Willemsvaart Canal in Son which is under a German counter-attack by some Panther tanks and two infantry platoons.
It was only our second game of Battlegroup this year and this scenario was good to introduce armor and indirect fire into the game. We jumped right in and learned a few things, and still have some rules to fully grasp and master. We'll end this w/ a lessons learned to reference for our next game.
In this game, the Germans have to commit four timed artillery strikes of harassment fire after the Americans deploy. The US Paras took a beating in some woods that got hit twice by these timed barrages. Cover saves in woods (soft) isn't as good as a building hard cover.
The Panzers led the attack and moved a little bit toward the bridge and stopped, preferring a long range duel w/ a 57mm ATG. Due to intervening terrain, it was really a 1 on 1 duel between a single Panther and the concealed gun as the two supporting Panthers couldn't see the ATG. Not short of targets, the other Panthers shot up the infantry platoon on the objective and in some nearby woods and started piling battle rating chits onto the Americans.
Luckily for the Americans, the British supply trucks arrived on T1 and scooted up the road to the bridge right away. The nearby village buildings offered enough room to hide from the guns of the Panthers which allowed them to all escape off the North edge on T2 and T3 (two trucks got pinned by an artillery strike on the bridge T2). This gave four more battle rating chits to the Germans.
The German infantry advanced aggressively in the South, and were pinned for their efforts by the effective US 81mm mortar battery firing off-table w/ two US commanders able to call fire (usually one was pinned so having two was a good redundancy).
Eventually the 57mm ATG w/ extra loader team (higher ROF) won the duel w/ the Panther and more battle chits went to the Germans. This gun eventually succumbed to a Panther that advanced to it's position, but inspired some fierce anti-tank grenade attacks by supporting Paras which ultimately failed, but were epic.
We finally had to call the game at 11pm as we were tired. The Germans won a narrow tactical victory on battle ratings. The Americans were closer to the break point then the German side. We all enjoyed the game and learning it's finer points.
Pinning w/ suppressing fire and HE is key to taking units out of the game until rally in the following turn (which costs battle rating chits to do). We got some rules wrong, but I've worked out all the lessons learned below and we'll improve our play next time. All in all, we really enjoy Battlegroup as our current goto game for 15mm WWII.
We plan to see more Battlegroup Market-Garden action in September and Battlegroup Wacht Am Rhein action in December, as our 2018 focus on the Battlegroup rules continues.
1a. Artillery Fire Sequence - need to resolve direct hits according to the HE dice and hit value of each gun. We allocated direct hits but did not resolve them correctly.
81mm mortar and Panther 75mm are both HE 4/4+ for scoring hits that require saves.
1b. Artillery Fire Sequence - need to resolve pinning hits according to the Suppressing Fire Effect table according to the gun type. 81mm mortar are light HE, Panther 75mm are light HE.
1c. Artillery number of shots = tubes x2. Panthers roll 6 dice for x3 tubes. US 81mm mortors roll 4 dice for x2 tubes
2. US Infantry have M1 Garands which do suppressing fire as one band higher on table. ex: 6 man Rifle team does suppressing fire as ROF 9+
3. Hits on Soft Skin Vehicles - need to consult the chart for vehicle. SdKfz 7 takes 4 hits before knocked out. Morale Check required for EACH hit (not just on casualty).
4a. Deployed Guns - any rolls of '6' on HE to hit are applied against the gun, not the crew. Gun makes same Cover Save Roll and if failed, crew abandons the now destroyed gun.
4b. Loader team requires a 5+ check to give the extra ROF dice. ROF 3 only if the loader team passes this check during the Open Fire order.
5. 60mm mortar - min/max range is 5"/30". Treat as aimed fire HE Shell weapon. Roll HE 3/5+ for aimed fire effect. Treat as HE from very light gun for Supressing Fire.
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