A random series of articles on war gaming in 40K, FOW and other systems. The headings are, WiP; Conversions and models in various states of assembly. PiP; Paint works on various models. Mission Critical; scenarios or missions to bring a bit of a twist to a normal game. MiA; rules for units and characters that could/should/might appear in a game. Dig In; How to guides on making various types of terrain for different game systems. Sit Rep; Battle reports and after action reports on games played

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sitrep (FOW): the battle for Francville. Belgium. late 1944

The battlefeild view from the Kampfgruppe entry point

Every now and again I get the itch to have a big game of FOW. The battle or Francville pits the Volksgrenadiers and Kampfgruppe Piper vs the British XX corps and the US cavalry. It is inspired the Rapid Fire Ardenne book mission “Battle of the Bugle” with several twists. For the Germans the Volksgrenadiers hold the village of Francville while Kampfgruppe Piper is trying to move through the village while being attacked on both flanks and worrying about fuel supplies. For the allies the situation is no pretty either, they must prevent the Kampfgruppe from exiting the board and capture a heavily defended village and try not to shot each other in the process. The game is played on a 6’x6’ table with the forces begin about 4000 points per side.
The garrison on Francville

The battle started with the Volksgrenadiers deploy around Francville. The other defences consisted on pioneers in a forest in the centre with Sturm platoons in forests on either flanks. The inner defences consisted of a Pak platoon supported by a Hetzer platoon. Mortar platoons covered both approaches to the village and a grenadier platoon was in reserve in the village. 

The Cavalry is coming

The Allies started to trickle on to the table from the British enter point a bren carrier patrol moved towards Francville while on the American side a cavalry patrol moved towards the Kampfgruppe’s suspected enter point. Preliminary moves saw a Puma patrol from the Kampfgruppe arrive and race towards Francville. More American patrols arrived and drifted towards the Kampfgruppe's entry point. 

Hetzer spies a carrier patrol

The silence was broken when the bren carriers patrol moved a little to close to Francville. The PaKs and Hetzers opened fire and destroyed the patrol. On the other side the cavalry patrol shot up a newly arrived panzergrenadiers platoon destroying two half tracks and pinning the survivors. The British opted to slowly build up their forces before a big push. The Americans raced cavalry patrols into the Kampfgruppe deployment area causing havoc on the arriving half tracks. 

Flak Panzer try to dislodge American cavalry patrols from the road

A Whirlwind Flak panzer platoon arrived and tried to clear out the cavalry but was ineffective and ended up with two of its vehicles bailed out in the fire fight. The Puma patrol tried to exit the table but ran out of fuel and parked in forest near to Francville to support is defence. Heavy Tiger Tanks made an appearance. The Kampfgruppe commander promptly ran out of fuel and parked his King Tiger on a hill over looking the American deployment zone. The second King Tiger went chasing cavalry patrols that were shooting up anything moving on the high way.

Brtish force begin to move on Francville

British infantry supported by Sherman tanks began to mass and move towards Francville. American armoured rifles and supporting armour also massed and moved towards the same target from the other flank. German Panzers arrived and finished off the frustrating cavalry patrols but not before they had gunned more than half of the half tracks in the Kampfgruppe, reduced most of the panzergrenadiers to infantry and clogged the road with burning half tracks. With the cavalry patrols lost the Americans called in artillery to hammer the the Kampfgruppe as it tried to negotiate the burning wreck littering the road. The AOP ranged in but picked the wrong target and as a result bombs rained on the British as they move towards Francville. The strike destroy a Sherman, bailed another and let an infantry platoon pinned. German artillery also started to fire, raining down mortars furthering slowing down the British advance.

The Amercian advance on Francville gets hit in the flank

With the British under fire the German changed axis of attack. The Kampfgruppe's Panzers moved through the woods to threaten the advancing American armour of the flank, The results were dis appointing with only a few Shermans bailed but none destroyed. The American armoured infantry moving through the woods met the first line of resistance in the form of a Sturm platoon armed with assault rifle. The American could not pin the platoon and the return fire destroyed nearly fire of the rifle company which then fell back. In response the Americans deployed their tank destroyers to engage the Panzers while the a Stuart light tank platoon tried to get in to the rear of the Kampfgruppe. The Destroyers finished of the Panzer after short fire fight but the fighting was not one sides with two destroyers being lost in the battle. The Stuarts ran straight into the king Tiger which was out of fuel. Two tanks were destroyed straight away, two broke down trying to drive into the woods to avoid the King Tiger and the last one fled the battle field.

Panzergrenadiers overrun a Sherman platoon

The British re organised and resumed their advance. The Kampfgruppe lunch a localised attack with the last mobile King tigers supporting a few sections of panzergrenadiers. The attack destroyed a platoon of Shermans. But the main British force had started to move on to Francville.

The main road to Francville is littered with burning vechicles

On that the game ended. Real life kicked in and people had to go home after four hours of solid play. The game was very bloody draw. The Kampfgruppe got no where near its objective while the Allies took too long to move on to theirs.

Strum platoon waits in the woods

Pioneers supported by a Pak hold the central forest

Pumas on the prowl

Kampfgruppe makes contact with the garrsion
1st Panzergrenadier platoon hits trouble

King Tiger, out of fuel and on top of a hill

American cavalry patrols start to interdict on the main road to Francville
King Tiger arrives.

Stuarts to the rescue (maybe not)

There is no such thing as friendly fire. American artillery strike disrupts the British advance

Flak Panzer platoon fails to dislodge American cavalry patrols from their road block

Out of fuel Pumas defend Francville approach

Hetzer on overwatch

Tank destoyers destroy tanks :) 

Sturm (assualt rifle)  engages advancing American forces

Panzergrenadiers trying to escape to Francville

American advance comes under fire from the flank

A bailed out Hetzer is the last of the antitank platoons defending Francville

German observer teams call down artillery fire on the British advance
M8 Scotts

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