4th Indian Infantry Division vs 90. 'Sardinien' Panzergrenadierdivision
Allies: 1 | Izzinatah
Axis: 6 | Vondracken
(Forces both from Cassino)
Battlezone: Liri River Valley.
In light of the successful ongoing defense of the Liri River valley the command of 90 'Sardinien' Panzergrenadierdivision thought it appropriate to launch a localised counter attack to remind the allies that not so long ago it had been them with theirs back against the wall. In more practical terms this provided the Germans a chance to recover 2 of the valuable Panther tanks that had been knocked out during the retreat northwards and further damage the morale of the already battered 4th Indian infantry division.
90. 'Sardinien' Panzergrenadierdivision panzergrenadierkompanie List (CV):
Company HQ (iC and 2iC both upgraded to Panzerknacker SMG) (55)
Combat Platoons: x3 full panzergrenadier platoons, all with platoon HQ's upgraded to panzerknacker SMG (555)
Weapons Platoons: x3 7.5 cm Pak 40s (155) x4 12cm sGW43 Mortars (150)
Divisional Support Platoons: x3 Panzer IVHs (285)
4th Indian Division Rifle Company List (FV):
Company HQ: (35)
Combat Platoons: x1 2 squad rifle platoon (170) x1 3 squad rifle platoon (220)
Weapons Platoons: x2 6pdr guns (80)
Brigade Support Platoons: x2 heavy mortar sections (175)
Divisional Support Platoons: x3 M5A1 Stuarts (190) x3 Churchill IIIs (280)
Given the mission rolled the deployment of both our forces was fairly limited and conservative, with Indians hiding their 6 pdrs in a small forest, deploying the larger of their 2 rifle platoons by one the objectives (panther) and with their mortars in the far south west corner.
The Germans deployed an infantry platoon behind the forbidding bulk of a ruin church, their Pak 40's to the west in a forest bordering a marsh, and with the 12cm mortars safely north and to the rear.
Movement in these turns was generally quite limited, with the two infantry platoons performing a slow ballet, supported by mortar and AT gun fire in a bid to outmaneuver one another. The main highlights of these first few turn was the explosive death of the Indian sniper, who had appeared just within accurate reach of the Pak 40s. And the quite epic duel between the mortar battery's. Which saw the Germans start the game with a pin point accurate bombardment of the Indian mortar position, slaying 2 of them. Before the Indians, calmly and in complete disregard for their horrific losses shelled the German mortar positions killing 3 out of 4 of them!
The start of turn 3 saw the Germans roll high, and the panzer platoon rushed to aid their brothers in arms. However, their navigation must have been slightly off and they arrived in the far north-east corner of the battlefield, miles from any of the objectives and actual fighting. Seeing the threat posed by the German armour the Indian CO ordered his light armour to rush in and flank the panzers, but in their haste to join the fight the majority of their shots flew wide, with the rest barely scratching the hardy panzer IVs. In the centre of the board the infantry platoons had more or less settled into trying to blast one another apart, despite their mutually entrenched positions.
Sensing the battle reaching its deciding moment one of the remaining panzergrenadier platoons was ordered into the fray, making quick pace up the western flank. Wary of the threat posed by the allied light tanks the Panzer commander quickly ordered his squadron to engage, and in short order 2 of the M5s were reduced to smoldering wrecks. Reckoning on the Indian's reluctance to abandon their position the Leutnant of the center platoon ordered his men towards the 6pdrs, determined to take the fight to the enemy, and in a short but bloody assault killed or routed the anti-tank gun platoon losing a team in the process. Fearing that his men could be overwhelmed simply by numbers the Indian IC ordered in his valuable asset, his Churchills. Which immediately set about engaging the recently arrived western panzergrenadier platoon. Forcing them northwards, but failing to kill any. The final Stuart continued to attack the lumbering Panzers, but once again his shots missed in his haste to flank the heavier German armour.
Having all but routed the 6 pdrs and with the Indian infantry to far away to intervene the survivors of the central panzergrenadier platoon headed back to secure their objective, with Panzers moving up to support them. To the west the panzergrenadiers continued their flight from the seemingly unstoppable Churchills. With their meager numbers having limited their fire since the opening phases of the game the Indian heavy mortars once more took it upon themselves to shine, with a 1 in a million shot managing to go in through an open Panzer IV hatch, obliterating the machine. Although his riflemen were closing in on the Germans holding the center objective the Indian CO could tell that it was too little too late, deciding that it was far more prudent to withdraw his comparatively unbloodied forces before the sheer weight of German numbers took removed his force altogether. With that he called in smoke and ordered a general withdrawal.
A more different game from the earlier Somme-like encounter between Izzinatah's New Zealand force and my 44. Reichsgrenadiers you could not have found. This was fast and punchy, with very little static play from either player. Ultimately i think Izzinatah's decision to deploy his Stuarts to face my panzers set things into motion that were ultimately to cost him the game. However, perhaps more telling was the fact that i outnumbered the Indian infantry roughly 2-1, and despite the unstoppable force of the Churchills their late arrival made little difference. Another important factor was that this was Izzinatah's first time using a fearless veteran force, and as such he was unused to the smaller forces, but increased troop potency. Curiously enough a fairly bloodless game, with the destruction of the Stuarts representing the only platoon to entirely fall, with both sides more harassing than destroying one another.
Ultimately i think this victory has to be accredited to this being a rare case of the Axis outnumbering the allies, and i look forward to playing again soon with a more traditional numerical balance.