The Forces: The British rifle platoon from the Royal Scots Fusiliers is still more or less at full strength, so I kept it in action. For this battle, it was reinforced with two Shermans, an extra rifle section and a FOO for a 3" mortar battery.
The German Panzer Grenadier Pl was very weak by now, so it was quite a difficult decision as to whether to replace it or not. I decide to leave it in there, feeling that there were at least three more battles to go and I would bring in the replacement platoon for the next battle. I chose a PzIVG to support it.
|The main German defensive position around the chateau of Fontenay; the Scots will again approach from the left (Northwest)|
|A different angle on the Chateau, outbuildings and junction|
|And another angle; obviously that large open expanse doesn't look too inviting!!|
|The Scots Fusiliers cautiously edge through the trees at the bottom of the gardens, covered by another rifle section, when a click alerts them to the presence of German infantry (bottom-right, in the trees); neither side can acquire the other though.|
|Another view, this time from behind the German section, sadly reduced in strength after the hard fighting in the earlier missions!|
|The British bring up a Sherman to support when out pops a hidden German section in ambush!! A panzerfaust screams out and brews up the Sherman, whilst the MG42 team cut down the Bren gunners mere yards away!!!|
|A confusing firefight begins; two distinct German positions makes it harder for the Scotsmen to concentrate their firepower on a single target|
|The Scots' Corporal doesn't panic, but instead delivers a volley of grenades and rifle fire into the German position; for grenadiers are hors de combat and the MG42 team is suppressed by the flanking fire from the rest of the British platoon (right)|
|A flukey shot eliminates a second German MG42!|
|Just as the Scots think that they are safe to advance (the previous German Grenadiers very understandably ran away) another German section ambushes them in the flank!!!|
|10 Scotsmen become casualties in short order, but finally the platoon commander gets sufficient weight of fire down on the German position, helped by mortar fire, and a brave Scottish corporal leads in the charge|
|But before you can say anything, the German Panzer support turns up!|
|Cannily, I had placed the second Sherman in a position to cover the road and it gets off first shot - the main determinant of victory in tank-vs-tank combat is who gets off the first shot..|
|...unless you miss of course, and the Panzer ace puts one straight in your turret. Another Sherman brewed up!|
|Another aerial shot; note that the final Pz Gr section (extreme bottom centre) has lost its rifle group and the MG42 team is pinned down, the Germans have no infantry left now really|
|The PzIV makes a heroic advance to try and cause a few more casualties on the British and break their morale|
|But a good PIAT shot puts paid to this!|
Losses: (very heavy!)
British: 2 x Shermans, 2 x LMGs, 2 x Rifle Groups
Germans: 1 x PzIVG, 2 x LMGs, 3 x Rifle Groups
Game Notes: Some might question the wisdom of the final German tank advance; basically, the Scotsmen were wavering and if they had lost another element, and taken the following morale check, it would probably have led to a retreat result and thus won the game for the Hitler Youths. But to get that to happen, the Germans needed to try and at least achieve another neutralization result on something.
Tank combat continues to be very bloody. I can't speak to the accuracy of this - do automatic kills of Shermans and PzIVs against each other at 500m make sense (assuming that the tanks hit in the first place)? Even Tigers would have a hard time surviving on boards of this size; if I recall correctly, Panthers do stand a chance against frontal shots, but that is about it.
Update: Whilst looking at this issue, I found the following link. Read down to the contemporary report about Shermans fighting Tigers and Panthers...around Rauray and Fontenay!!!!!
The Threat Generation System really showed what it could do in this game: the German defenders were generated in genuinely surprising and difficult positions. I haven't bothered with simulating the initial artillery preparation bombardments, but if I had, there is no way that I'd have picked the locations that the Germans turned up in. The flank ambushes gave the Scots real problems, and there was a "match point" morale roll that the Scots had to pass to continue.
As ever, figures by Baccus 6mm, the Shermans and PzIVG from GHQ, the buildings from Leven Miniatures and Timecast. Rules by WRG. Played on a 3'x2' homemade mat, using a 1":10m ground scale.