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Flames of War – Hold The Line – The German View

12/19/2010

The game was a blast, though at times frustrating as the defender due to the reserves rule.  The Germans consisted of a Grenadierkompanie (Infantry Company) of the 326 Infanterie Division from the Earth and Steel Normandy compendium with the following platoons:

Company HQ with command and 2IC panzerfaust teams and an attached panzerschreck anti tank team

3 Grenadier Rifle/MG platoons

1 Grenadier  MG platoon, with the MG teams making a combat attachment to two of the Grenadier platoons (two MG’s per platoon)

1 Grenadier Infantry GUn Team with 2 IeIG 18 guns

1 Grenadier Anti-Tank Platoon with 3 PaK 40 gun sections

1 Grenadier Anti-Aircraft Platoon with 3 FlaK 38 gun sections

1 Grenadier Artillery Battery with 2 IeFH 18 gun sections

1 Jagdpanther Platoon from the 654 Schwere PanzerJaeger Kompanie with 2 Jagdpanthers

1 Rocket Launcher Battery with 2 launcher sections from Heer Corps support

1 Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft Assault platoon with two-gun sections from Luftwaffe III Flakkorps support

The mission required the defender to hold at least half of his platoons in reserve, so I decided to place all my heavy guns on the field to start to allow them to be used to maximum effect from turn one.  I placed the 88’s from the Luftwaffe Flak Corps on the left hill, providing them with an excellent view of the field and in position to cover the rear objective, and my heavy guns on the right to cover the forward objective adjacent to the river.  The rocket launchers were set up in the fields behind the village to provide maximum coverage of the battlefield.  This left me with 2 free platoons, which I used to dig in an infantry platoon around the near objective and to hold my anti-tank platoon in ambush.  The remaining platoons, including the two remaining  infantry platoons and the Jagdpanthers, would hopefully arrive from reserve in short order, at least that was the plan.  That old cliché about no plan survives first contact with the enemy comes to mind….

The battle started off poorly, with the heavy artillery failing to have any significant impact on the advancing Canucks, and the Flak platoon under constant air assault from the RAF.  The launchers did somewhat better, and managed to sow enough confusion in the Sherman platoon advancing towards the bridge to cause them to pause and reassess the situation.  As the battle progressed the Canadian tanks and aircraft managed to knock out the Flak platoon and silence the artillery battery.  With no sign of reinforcements the grenadier platoon, bolstered by the presence of the HQ section, hunkered down for the inevitable assault.

The assault was slow to materialize however, a combination of withering rocket fire and muddy fields bogging down the enemy tanks on the right and breaking their formation.  A squadron of Stuarts did finally attempt to cross the river, but the difficult stream crossing and accurate panzerschrek fire blunted the attack, routing the tanks from the field with only a few casualties.  However, things were still looking grim.

The long-awaited call over the radio net of the 2nd infantry platoon rushing to cover the second objective helped to stabilize the situation, though the oncoming tanks of the reorganized Sherman platoon advancing towards the bridge were still a significant threat.  But with the accompanying infantry still huddled in their halftracks the tanks were unprepared as the Pak 40 platoon ambush was sprung, reducing the platoon to flaming wrecks.  A last-ditch effort to rout the 1st platoon from the objective by the remaining tanks on the right flank was barely repulsed, and as the remaining German reserved took the field the Canadians fell back to defend against the inevitable counter attack….

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