Wednesday 13 March 2013

Breakout AAR

Turns 1-5

The Germans got off to a solid start in the first turn with Kampfgruppe A moving along the main road. A second order was successfully rolled, however rather than continue along the road the Germans opted to move off the road and go cross country, taking care not to get too close to the Polish position. The Poles however suffered an appalling start when they attempted to fire on the Panther with their Achilles but suffered a blunder. This caused 4 hits to be suffered by the Achilles unit and up in flames it went. A temporary setback or a sign of things to come?

The 2nd and 3rd turns saw the remainder of the German breakout forces arrive and also move off road towards the exit roads. The Poles shuffled their defenses around and brought one Sherman and one Firefly, that where covering the road that the Germans where so wisely avoiding, up. They also redeployed their 6 pdr in turn. In the third turn a convenient double one saw the redeployed tanks destroy Kampfgruppe A's Panther. However that was the first casualty they had caused and the Germans seemed to be pushing forward almost with impunity.

The German response came from the Tiger of Kampfgruppe B and the straggling Panther (under the command of Kampfgruppe B) which destroyed the 75mm Sherman and suppressed the firefly. This left the Poles with almost no Anti-Tank capability facing in the direction of the main body of the Germans. The poles where reluctant to move their other firefly as it would be needed to see off the SS arriving in a couple of turns. The final piece of bad luck came when the Germans called in a Nebelwerfer attack on the hill. thankfully most of the Poles where dug in so suffered only a few wounds each with no supressions, however the Polish FAO, who had wandered out of his foxhole in the previous turn to get a better look at the enemy, was killed. The 5th turn saw a brief exchange of shots between the Panzer 4 of Kampgruppe A and the remaining Sherman 75mm which resulted in the Panzer being suppressed, but was otherwise uneventful due to naff command rolls all round.

Start of Turn 2 and the Germans are making steady progress.

The German situation at the end of turn 3
End of turn 5.
Half way through and the Poles hadn't managed to inflict any real damage on the fleeing Germans, but on the plus side the Germans had been delayed by a dreadful 5th turn where hardly a thing moved. They would have to move swiftly to read the exits by the end of turn 10.

Turn 6-10

Turn 6 saw the SS arrive, however due to poor rolling arriving on the board edge was about as much as they could manage. The escaping Germans managed to make up for the last turn by getting most of their stragglers and move of Kampfgruppe A up to the woods, however they now had to cross close enough to the Polish position to bring them in range of dug in Infantry for the first time which would be dangerous for the troops in softskins. They could dismount, but if they did would they be able to make it in time on foot? A further nebelwerfer attack was called in but deviated wildly and hit nothing.

The Polish responded to the SS by opening fire with the remaining Firefly on one of the Panzer 4s. A double one was rolled and the 2 rounds of fire saw the unit brew up nicely. The rest of the SS sat outside small rifle range.

The other Sherman tried to fire on the Panzer 4, causing a single hit on the still suppressed tank, diving it back a few cms. But other than that their turn was ineffective.

The Germans decided to gamble on driving hell for leather for the exit roads, hoping for some good command rolls. Polish opportunity fire from the Sherman tank and a Polish MMG unit knocked out one Truck and suppressed another. In the polish turn proper the same units managed a further 2 rounds of firing despite the command reduction and a by the time is was over 4 of the 6 Germans trucks, along with their passengers where destroyed. The SS troops had in the meantime dismounted and the remaining SS Panzer 4 and Firefly exchanged shots to no effect.

The Germans now drove like hell with the remained of their unsuppressed trucks and armored cars and 2 successful command rolls later the first 4 units had exited the table. The Main body of Kampfgruppes A and B followed. Encouraged by their sucess with the trucks the Polish rifles decided to get out of the foxholes and move in to engage the German infantry. They had excellent success managing to cause suppression on 3 of the Heer units. They had a 2nd round of firing that drove two of the Heer units back, one of them by 12cm, destroying it.

With time almost up the Germans concentrated into moving everything that wasn't suppressed towards the road. The Poles had little in range with any AT capability, with the exception of a single Sherman 75mm which was busy keeping the Panzer 4 of Kampfgruppe A suppressed.

On the last turn the Germans moved off the remainder of the vehicles from Kampfgruppe B, it's infantry was just hovering at the edge of the table. Kampfgruppe A had been either entirely supressed or wiped out.

The SS kept exchanging ineffectual shots with the firefly and the infantry made no attempt to engage the Polish troops that where still dug in. A blunder on behalf of the Poles though saw one of their infantry stands destroyed. Despite superior firepower a frontal attack on dug in infantry would have been suicidal. Not that it mattered to the result of the game anyway.

In the end the Germans managed to move 8 units off the board. There where 21 escaping units in total which mean they had moved 38% of their troops off. Not enough to qualify as a victory so the Polish take the day. There where however 4 units of infantry right next to the exit, which had they moved off (and they almost certainly would have had the game gone on another turn) it would have turned the game into a German victory. The 10 turn limit did seem rather arbitrary under the circumstances so I think I'll call this a draw.

Polish fire on the German trucks was devastating.
Polish troops get out of the trenches to fire on the Germans. The remainder of the German Panzers make a dash for the exit, oblivious to the peril of the foot bound comrades.
The end of the game. Escaping infantry right next to the exit. So near yet so far!

In conclusion the scenario was allot of fun. Placing allot of emphasis on movement for the Germans and less of getting stuck in and fighting meant that the infantry took very little part until the end. It was mainly a tank game as the Panzers tried to cover the escape of the troops on foot and mounted in trucks.

Getting the troops in trucks shot up was a dire mistake, however had they waited for their tanks to cover them they might never have made it to the road before the end of the game. It was a gamble and sadly one that didn't work out too well for them.

If I was to play the scenario again I'd probably tinker with it to encourage to more infantry fighting. The SS played very little part as their was nothing to be gained by getting in a fight with the Polish infantry to the their front.

On reflection ending the game at turn 10 was a mistake. I should probably have gone of till about turn 12, however by the time I got round to calculating who had won and realising just how close it was I'd already packed away.

Nevertheless it was a great game I thoroughly enjoyed.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great game Luke. A couple of suggestions just having checked the Osprey Falaise 1944 Campaign book:

    - Maybe have the hill a bit wider so the SS would have to attack the Poles to keep the road open and free from infantry fire etc.
    - Maybe Air support for the Poles in the form of Typhoons etc.

    Anyway sounds like you already have a few ideas to 'improve' the scenario which is good. For demo games at shows we often run through the scenario once just to make sure it works, is fun and we don't have to think too much on the day!

    Steve J.