2nd New Zealand Division vs 44. "Hoch und Deutschmeister" Reichsgrenadierdivision
Allies: 3 | Izzinatah
Axis: 4 | Vondracken
Mission: Fair Fight.
(Forces both from Cassino)
44. 'Hoch und Deutschmeister' Reichsgrenadierkompanie list (CT): Company HQ (iC and 2iC both upgraded to Panzerknacker SMG) (45) Panzershreck team (20) x1 Sniper (50) :115
Combat Platoons: x1 Reichsgrenadier platoon (120) x1 Reichsgrenadier platoon, upgraded to Panzerknacker platoon (155).
Weapons Platoons: x1 Reichsgrenadier Mortar Platoon: 2 sections (100).
Regimental Support Platoons: x1 Reichsgrenadier Anti-tank Gun Platoon: x3 7.5cm Pak 40s (120)
Divisional Support Platoons: x1 Assault Gun Platoon: x2 StuG Gs (190)
2nd New Zealand Division Rifle Company list (CV): Company HQ (Sticky Bombs) (35) x1 Sniper (50): 85
Combat Platoons: x1 Rifle platoon, x3 Rifle sections, sticky Bombs. (200) x1 Rifle platoon, x2 Rifle sections, sticky bombs. (160)
Brigade Support Platoons: x1 Heavy mortar platoon, x2 4.2" mortar sections (165)
Divisional Support Platoons: x1 Allied light tank platoon: x3 M5A1 Stuarts (190)
(Apologies for lack of pictures, but the game was played with mostly unfinished armies and predominantly 2D terrain, so it wouldn't have been the most inspiring)
Objectives were deployed roughly opposite one another, as close to either short edge was possible.
Deployment: the entirety of the NZ force was deployed within the western half of their deployment zone, with the heavy mortars making clever use of a previously dug gun emplacement, and the 2 infantry platoons poised to advance through a small village that dominated the south western corner of the board.
The 44's deployment saw the grenadier platoons take up residence opposite their New Zealand counterparts, with the StuGs setting up in the far eastern corner of the board, with the mortars behind them, before the Pak's were deployed in a forest in the centre of the German lines.
NZ: The game began with the heavy mortar platoon securing their already formidable position by digging, followed promptly by a company wide advance through the village aimed towards the western objective. The M5's made a handful of optimistic long range shots, although these were dismissed as a mere annoyance by the Germans.
44:Seeing their eastern objective all but undefended the StuG's charged up the flank, covered by thick forest. Reckoning on the strength of their position the Hauptmann ordered his grenadier platoons to dig in and prepare for the worst. With the advancing troops confirmed as men of the 2nd New Zealand division the German mortars swung into action and bombarded the advancing infantry, pinning the western platoon but doing little actual damage.
NZ: Setting a precedent that would dictate much of the NZ strategy the infantry platoon remained pinned. In a similarly underwhelming vein the heavy mortars failed to range in on the grenadiers, and after a short but colourful conversation with their commanding officer the Stuarts turned around and raced back towards the NZ deployment zone in a bid to intercept the StuGs. (And stop the game from ending on turn 2.)
44. Confident in the strength of their armour the StuGs continued their advance towards the eastern objective. Seeing the men of smaller infantry platoon freeze under their earlier bombardment the observers quickly ordered in another round of 8cm mortar fire, killing one of the rifle teams. First blood to the Germans!
NZ: Reckoning on the ongoing impotency of the German small arms fire the larger NZ infantry platoon pushed on to the last houses in the village, their objective in sight and easily within rifle shot. Some of the riflemen clearly ought to have been chosen as marksmen, sniping a grenadier team despite their entrenched position. The Heavy mortars finally ranged in, although aside from making the German's lives even more miserable they did little other than pin a grenadier platoon.
44: Seeing the Stuarts move to check their advance the StuGs stopped and fired. Once the smoke had cleared the StuG commander was rewarded with the sight of two flaming light tanks. With this success broadcast on the German radio net the commander of the western most grenadier platoon ordered his men out of their foxholes to engage and flank the lead NZ rifle platoon, gunning a team down. The Pak 40's added to this outpouring of firepower, their high explosion shells making a mockery of cover and killing another team, pinning the platoon.
NZ: Realising the seriousness of the situation the young New Zealand Lieutenant finally managed to motivate his platoon and get them moving towards the dreaded German armour. Enraged by the loss of his comrades the commander of the last Stuart charged his tank at the StuG, opening fire within feet of the assault gun's vulnerable side, only to be greeted by the clang of a dud failing to go off. The attached sniper quietly came of out his hide and fired upon the Pak's. However, those long hours of waiting for the enemy to come must have knocked his sights out alignment and the shot passed a gun commander by millimeters.
Seeing the grenadiers abandon their position prematurely the observer quickly assigned the heavy mortars new targets, with the resulting bombardment destroying two teams.
44: Despite the brutality of the mortar strike the grenadiers seemed unfazed and continued their advance towards the riflemen in the village. Confident that their thick armour would repel any strike from an allied PIAT one of the StuG's advanced and contested the eastern objective, whilst its comrade calmly dealth with the last of the allied armour.
NZ: Despite the seemingly unstoppable advance of the assault guns the NZ infantry bravely moved to counter them, with the solitary PIAT team firing a shot at maximum range, more out of desperation than hope. KABOOM! Against the odds the PIAT round had struck true, igniting the lead StuG's ammunition. Having re-calibrated his sights the NZ sniper calmly set upon the German mortars, his shot scattering the lead team and thoroughly unsettling the rest of the battery. In the village the men of the other infantry platoon could little but grit their teeth and hope they could weather the storm of German small arm and anti-tank gun fire.
44: Shocked at his colleague demise the commander of the last StuG ordered his machine forward to contest the objective and deal with these irritating riflemen. Sensing that it was now at long last time to make his presence felt, the German sniper stirred from his hide, setting his sights upon the infuriating PIAT team, yet his patience was found to be fruitless for his rifle had jammed. Believing the infantrymen in the village to be a small handful of survivors the men of the battered grenadier platoon stormed the village, only to have their efforts rebuked, with both sides losing a team.
NZ. Seeing the last StuG alone and all but unsupported the NZ riflemen began to feel for their sticky bombs, eager to avenge the Stuarts and their mates killed by German mortar fire. sensing that lightning could strike twice the PIAT operator lobbed a bomb towards the StuG, although it wasn't the firey explosion that had followed the last shot, the NZ infanteers were greeted by the sight of the StuG crew bailing out and fleeing from the battlefield, before destroying the vehicle with their sticky bombs. Now confident in his abilities the NZ sniper quietly eliminated another German mortar team. In the village the triumphant survivors of the German assault began to fire upon their attackers, this and a last minute bombardment from the heavy mortars saw the grenadiers cut down in their flight from the village, the entire platoon wiped out.
German turn 6- Endgame.
The NZ turn 6 was the last turn of any real mobility, and the next 3 turns saw the New Zealand forces pinned in place by German small arm, mortar, anti-tank gun and sniper fire, gradually being whittled away, with the German turn 9 seeing the death of the NZ iC, 2ic and final riflemen, the the mortars fleeing at the start of turn 10.
A great game that provided plenty of surprises and saw command of the battle switch from the German to the New Zealanders, before finally back to the Germans. I have to admit that i felt that the allies should have won this one, Izaak (Izzinatah) definitely played better than myself, yet was continually hamstrung by his forces refusing to unpin. I think from turn 2 onwards either 1 or both of the 2 infantry platoons was pinned, severely hampering what Izaak (Izzinatah) could do with his small force. This contrasted with my Germans who somehow couldn't fail a single motivation test. Although the game was slightly over-shadowed by the last 3 turns which were far more similar to Flanders 1916, than Italy 1944, however, that is not to say that it wasn't a great game full of surprises and fun moments.
I look forward to the next game where the men of 90. Sardienen Panzergrenadierdivision seize upon their comrade's success and take the fight to the allies!