12 December 2018

Crossing the Süre

Over the last 2 weekends, I got to play the 2nd scenario from the Skirmish Campaign Hunters of the Ardennes twice against to different opponents. Last Saturday, Mike drove up from RI and Greg drove out this past Sunday from Arlington, MA. Two very different gamers and 2 very different games.

We again see a 1st Panzer Division Schützen platoon take on the Chasseurs Ardennais. It is still early morning May 10, the German Blitzkrieg has crossed the Luxembourg-Belgium border and is entering Martelange, they have to cross the Süre. The Belgians have blown 2 bridges to slow them down. On a hill covering the German approach is a Fortified Bunker with a Hotchkiss MMG manned by a small team of Chasseurs. The Schützen platoon is ordered to take the bunker, with them is a demolition squad. For a nice description of this action have a look here.

This is the terrain, I set up. You can see the bunker in the far left perched on the hill, it had LOS to the complete table aside from within the shadow of the buildings and forest. All the stone wall were hard cover and the hedges and the houses were light cover aside from the large stone building.
Last Saturday

Myself and Mike got our game started around 11am. Mike played the Germans and I took the Belgians. I added a Bunker and a MMG team to the Belgian defenders as required by the scenario. The arithmetic here ended up giving the Germans 20 supports to the Belgians 10. We used The Attack on an Objective scenario from the original rulebook. Unfortunately, I have lost all the photos I took and I have forgotten some of the details.

1st Panzer Division (FM9, CD5)
Core
Schützen Platoon
Engineer Squad w/JL
Supports
Red Dice
le.IG 18 IG
Stuka Bombardment
2xPzIV

Chasseurs Ardennais (FM8,CD5)
Core
Chasseur Ardennais Platoon
Fortified Bunker w/ Hotchkiss MMG Team
Supports
Entrenchment
AA Guns
Francs Tireurs
Red Dice (mistake as you need 3 non fixed supports before you can select this)
47mm FRC ATG
Unfortunately this is the only photo I have and some of the details of the game now escape me, but generally Mike carefully got his troops on the table relying mostly on his 2 PzIV's to rain down HE on my troops. He really kept me pretty pinned down. I was not able to score a lot of attrition on the Germans and I have to say the firing skills of my ATG were pretty low. I think I took out one of the PzIV's eventually. I believe I got Mike's morale down to 5 but near the end of the game he got a couple of double phases and 1 triple phase, my morale sank to zero. German victory, Mike was very gracious calling it a marginal victory as he had not taken out the bunker. The game lasted around 3 hours. I should note that although I took the Francs Tireurs, I completely forgot to use them.
Last Sunday

Myself and Greg got our game started around 9am. Same scenario. I had not allowed Mike to take the Bunker Buster support in our first game but Greg asked again for this support and although it did not fit the historical scenario I allowed it as I was curious on how it might work after this somewhat interesting online discussion.

1st Panzer Division (FM10, CD5)
Core
Schützen Platoon
Engineer Squad w/JL
Supports
Adjutant
Off-table MG
Red Dice
Bunker Buster
2xPzII

Chasseurs Ardennais (FM11,CD5)
Core
Chasseur Ardennais Platoon
Fortified Bunker w/ Hotchkiss MMG Team
Supports
Entrenchment x3
Francs Tireurs x2
47mm FRC ATG

Here are the JOP's, Greg really did a good job here and got far up my left flank. Fours free moves is helpful. I do not have a photo but you can see a JOP just at the base of the hill in the farground, I used 2 of my entrenchments here and putdown a Belgian Group de Combat in hard cover. I thought this was an excellent position as it covered the approach to bunker.
As you can see he was able to drop his Infantry squads in far up the table. 
Greg provided excellent Covering Fire on the Bunker with this squad in light cover at the river.
I had not appreciated that Greg had taken the Bunker Buster with the intent to use it to rain HE down on my infantry. I let this go against my better judgement (if I am hosting a game I try to give my opponent the benefit in any decisions in respect to the reading of the rules).

Unfortunately it changed the whole tenor of the game as he was able to activate the Bunker Buster in almost every phase and with it, reducing cover for any infantry whatever their cover, the game became quite a desultory affair with little I could do to protect my troops without getting some double phases (which unfortunately did not happen) so I could get them out of LOS. 

My morale quickly dropped as both leaders and troops fell quickly and by the time I was down to 2, I had really no resources left so I withdrew from the table. I suspect with time Greg would have been able to assault the bunker as he was still at a FM of 5. Greg claimed a decisive victory which he certainly earned. I subsequently discovered that the Bunker Buster should only be used against bunkers but c'est la vie! I should also say that amazing enough, I again forgot to use the Francs Tireurs.
So two games in a week and 2 German victories. I still do like my Belgians though and look forward to getting them back on the table in the New Year.

13 comments:

  1. Great report John. Even tho7gj they lost the Belgians do look pretty cool!

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  2. What a pleasure to play on such a beautiful table, great report!

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  3. Maybe there's a reason the Belgians lost in 1940...?

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  4. Nice looking game, a challenging scenario to get balanced😀

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    1. I think the 88 hrough the scenario of completely, but whi wants to play the same scenario over and over again.

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  5. Wonderful terrain. And teddy bear grass looks marvelous here. I suppose scenario is worth to play again.

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