Phil v Wayne: The Defence of Shellerton Scenario

with Phil Yates and Wayne Turner, Battlefront NZ

To celebrate launch day, Phil and Wayne had a little scuffle with the Studio army collection. The scenario was the classic Defence of Shellerton, with Phil playing British (of course) and Wayne taking the lead elements of the Soviet invasion force.

Phil
When I was ordered to hold Shellerton against the lead Soviet element, I was moderately surprised as I’d wargamed exactly that situation in training. So it was with a sense of deja vu that I deployed my forces. I put my attached platoon from the Irish Guards forward in the factory by the fuel tanks as a bastion to slow the enemy advance down the main road, placing hasty minefields on their flanks to delay any attempt to bypass them. With only one troop of Chieftains immediately available, I placed them in the farm on the left flank where they had an excellent field of fire while blocking any advance down the side road. I was surprised to find the church wrecked by an apparently random bomb, but pleased to take advantage of the cover that game me for my own tank. The artillery deployed behind the town and my Swingfires remained in reserve.

The plan was pretty simple: hold the factory and fuel tanks at all costs while delaying any advance into the town long enough for whatever reserves regiment could spare. Lacking any air defence, I’d begged for some Blowpipe missiles, and been promised them shortly, but had to rely on good camouflage discipline in the meanwhile.

The battle opened pretty much to plan. The Soviet forces deployed and advanced, and immediately ran into trouble. As my earlier battlefield reconnaissance had predicted, the woods on my left flank proved tough going for the Soviet tanks, breaking up their advance and presenting them as targets in ones and twos as they pushed their way clear. This delay would prove vital in holding the bastion on the right flank.

 

 

In front of the factory bastion, the killing ground was perfectly executed. The pre-planned artillery bombardment cut down the advancing infantry and destroyed half-a-dozen BMPs, while my Chieftain troop finished off the rest. The infantry even scored a couple of T-72s with their Charlie-Gs and Milans. After that, the Soviet infantry was unable to make a credible threat, although they did launch one charge under cover of massed machine-gun and self-propelled AA fire.

 

Unfortunately, the lack of air defence resulted in the rapid destruction of my Chieftain troop, leaving me holding the centre and right flank on my own until the Swingfire troop leader radioed me asking for instructions. It’s so easy to get focussed on the small picture in combat and forget the big plan. My church was taking a pounding from tank fire, artillery fire, and both helicopter and aircraft-launched missiles, but aside from a brief period spent clearing debris from the optics and replacing an aerial, no harm was done.

It was perhaps fortuitous that I had left my Swingfires in reserve as long as I did. When they moved up into firing positions at the rear of the town, their ambush was ineffective and quickly attracted most of the fire that had been directed at me. I lost one of the lightly-armoured vehicles to a strafing run by aircraft, and the other two were damaged, but remained in action.

Around this time, the battle started to swing. The long awaited Blowpipes arrived, promptly shooting down one of the aircraft harassing me and driving them off, and one of my reserve Chieftain troops showed up to reinforce the right flank where the Soviet tanks had finally broken through my minefields, flanking both my position and the infantry bastion. Their accurate fire quickly destroyed several Soviet tanks.
With relatively few Soviet tanks still moving and their infantry digging in on their start line, things looked good at this point. Unfortunately, appearances were to prove deceiving in several ways. While I thought the battle was in its final stages as my third Chieftain troop reported their imminent arrival, and the last few Soviet tanks seemed about to be knocked out or driven off, the battle appeared quite different to Guardsmen in the factory.

The sustained heavy fire had knocked out radio communications with the Irish Guards early in the battle, but as they were holding out well, that seemed like a minor problem, However, with the loss of every visible tank and my position being covered in a pall of dust and running low on anti-tank ammunition, it appears that the Guardsmen thought themselves the lone survivors, so when the Soviet tanks passed through their minefields with minor losses and overran their flanking anti-tank position, while the fire from the front had not abated as the SP AA guns had moved to close range, it appears that they felt they had little option but to surrender after a hard-fought battle.

Having lost my forward bastion and with the Soviet tanks advancing into Shellerton itself, my own position was overrun, and a fighting withdrawal to the next line of defence was ordered. The Battle for Shellerton was over.

The good news is that I hear that the replacements for the Chieftains we lost are likely to be the new Challengers. With their much improved front armour and engines, I doubt that I would have lost the battle. Even the heavy aircraft missiles would have had trouble penetrating them!

Wayne
Even though I worked on adding the new material to World War III: British, the original book, Iron Maiden, is really Phil’s baby, as are the scenarios. It seemed right and proper that Phil should command the British, while I took the dastardly Soviets.

As luck would have it the Soviet forces from the scenario is similar to what I have run in the past with my own Soviet force, so I had a good idea how it would handle.

I simply planned to push hard, down one flank while tying up resources on the other flank. The forward of the two objectives was on the sealed road running parallel to the railway line on my left, while the approaches to the further objective on the right provided more concealment, but was well protected by four Chieftains. On the left flank Phil had placed his dismounted Mech Platoon in a factory building and a string of minefields on the open ground around it.

My BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company and seven of my T-72s would attack the Mech Platoon and take the building and the objective behind it. On the right my other six T-72s would tie up the Chieftains, keeping them from interfering in the left-hand attack. I’d use my Hinds and SU-25 to also concentrate on the Chieftains and any reserves that may arrive.

What happened?
I started the battle as planned pushing up on the right to attack the factory building, dismounted my Motor Rifles and moving the BMPs forward to shoot up the Mech Platoon. That first round of shooting did not go well. I ended up rolling over 30 dice for just two hits. I didn’t kill a single team, let alone pin them down. On the other flank half of my T-72s failed cross checks and I wasn’t able to engage the Chieftains heavily. My Hinds failed to kill a tank and my SU-25 didn’t even turn up.

As the game when on my dice continued to betray me, but on the second turn I did take out a Chieftain Troop, although it took a lot of firepower. The Hinds, the SU-25s, and the right-hand T-72s each took out one tank to eliminate the platoon. However, the British Chieftain formation commander remained to cause much trouble, nestled in the ruins of a church.

Phil’s firepower continued to prove effective, knocking out all nine of my BMP-2s in the first turn, and grinding down my Motor Rifles in the subsequent turns with his Mech Platoon and Abbot artillery. When he finally got his Swingfire anti-tank missile carriers in turn three the T-72s on the right began to suffer.


Meanwhile on my left, I pushed into the minefields with my mine plough tanks in an attempt to clear them. I lost one tank and had two bailed in the process. I eventually cleared a gap for my tanks in turn 4, but not before I had lost a T-72 to close-range Carl Gustav anti-tank fire from the factory.

Phil had brought on his Blowpipes and I lost SU-25 to them during an anti-tank missile run on the Chieftain formation commander.
In turn five Phil got another Chieftain Troop which shot up two more of my left-hand T-72s just as they were lining up to knock out his Chieftain commander. However, one survived to assault the Milan missile team on the objective. I had a couple of T-72s contesting the objective, most of Phil’s Mech Platoon were still hold it in the factory building, but the Milan’s were in a foxhole in the open. Only one of T-72s made it in to assault as Charlie G fire bailed out the other. I failed to kill the Milan, but Phil failed his Counterattack roll, forcing his Mech Platoon to move  6”/15cm away from my victorious tank. The result of this was his Mech Platoon were no longer within 4”/10cm of the Objective and as I had had my T-72s on the Objective at the start of the turn and ended it with no enemy team within 4”/10cm of it, I had won the game!

Conclusion
Considering how the game was panning out to that point, it was an unexpected result. However, it does show if you keep at your plan, it can still sometimes work in spite of your terrible dice. I feel another turn and Phil’s fresh Chieftain Troop would have cleaned things up, but pushing hard won the game before that could happen.

Bloody Omaha Aces Campaign Game

with Andrew, Ashleigh, and Luke

Bloody Omaha Mini Campaign,
Game 1 Andrew Vs Ashleigh
Battle Report by Andrew

Today we decided to play a quick day long Bloody Omaha Ace Campaign! The plan was to use the Bloody Omaha deck to play three games, using our hobby league 50 point armies, playing among the NZ league members that I could. We decided to roll off the first mission in the campaign as we only had time to play three games. The Germans won the roll so I started my first game against Ashleigh (she was playing for the Germans). Her British army consisted of nothing but armor, a nasty match up for my 50 point 29th infantry division Assault Company. We were both running our 50 point hobby league armies.

Setting up the game we were playing the Episode 2 card, One Tough Nut. This mission is No Retreat! Since both Ashleigh and I are playing Allied forces we rolled off to see who was defending, luckily I am defending. I quickly choose to defend the city thinking that was my best bet.
The game started off as you would think, the tanks moved forward and took pot shots at range against my infantry. On my first turn I ambushed my 155 artillery to hit Ashleigh’s Churchill tanks, I managed to knock out one. Luckily Ash had one Churchill that stayed bailed and I was able to weather the return fire only suffering a few bailed out artillery tanks.|
The game went on trading shoots with not much changing; I started moving my infantry through the buildings from reserves. This lasted until one turn when Ashleigh killed 5 infantry teams in one platoon with one round of shooting form her Carriers! I knew I would have to move!
My next turn saw my artillery take out Ashleigh’s Churchill tanks and my bazookas getting lucky killing two Stuarts with moving shoots! Both the Churchill and Stuart tanks ran away! In reaction Ashleigh moved back and started shelling me from range, I responded by taking pot shots with artillery bombardments among her tanks, the third turn of bombardments I hit four of her tanks, all but one of them rolled a 1! With firepower 2+ my artillery took out the core of Ashleigh list, and it was just a matter of a few more morale rolls before her tanks retreated off the table.
A victory for my 29th infantry Division. I would move on to my next game with Luke, due to having just played Hasty attack in our last game we played, Luke and I decided to play Dust Up instead.

Bloody Omaha Mini Campaign,
Game 2 A
ndrew Vs Luke
Battle Report by Andrew
I also got to play in game two, this time I am playing against Luke. He brought his panzer IVs and again I was facing an all tank list. 

I decided to do my normal reserves at 50 points for this match up even though I didn’t get to put my 155s in ambush. I stuck my two infantry units around the objectives and my 155 in the back comer prepping for an artillery strike.

Luke places a single Panzer IV unit in his deployment area and I was suddenly filled with hope, I only had to knock out one tank unit, then I could get to his objectives with my reserves!
Turn one went to Luke and he rushed me, I was not expecting that, but I prepared myself for conflict sooner than I thought.

Turn one nothing really happened on turn two I saw that Luke was rushing for my 155s. He moved behind the church making hard for me to direct fire at him. I instead fired on him with infantry I had in the town, they moved forward through the buildings and opened up on his tanks, doing nothing. “Well”, I thought “That’s my artillery dead next turn”.
Luke next turn had him wanting to Blitz around the building, 4 Panzer IVs would make quick work of my FA0 artillery tanks. But he failed the roll and then failed to hit me at all! Luck was on my side and I decided to open up on his tanks with my 155s! I knocked out two tanks! I really could not have asked for more.

Next turn I only lost two of my 155s, a bargain my 2 artillery for two Panzer IV tanks. On my turn I was able to bring in an infantry platoon from reserve, and they killed the last two tanks! Hurrah, now to deal with the rest of Luke’s tanks coming in from the other side of the table!
Luke’s next turn he move his HQ and his other panzer 4 platoon up and destroyed the last of my 155s. ouch well it isup to my bazookas to hold him off.

On my turn I moved one of my infantry platoons to reinforce the forward objective and got one more reserved that made a beeline to Luke’s table edge getting 2 turns away from capturing the objective!

Feeling the pressure Luke assaults my infantry and two of me bazookas bail two of his tanks on their way in. He misses, my bazookas miss on their assault. Luke fails his counter assault and I take his two bailed tanks! His company command moves in to assault and my bazookas straight up killed both of Luke’s HQ tanks, winning me the game, and earning themselves a nice medal to boot!
Another Victory for the 29th Infantry Division!  We moved on from the Second Chances card to Rat Catchers, for this game Phil and Cameron are facing each other, Phil playing for the Allies and Cameron for the Axis. I’ll leave it to Phil to write up that final battle report.

 

Dave vs Brian – T-34s vs Panzers Battle Report

with David Griffin

Dave’s Forces:
6pts T-34 HQ
23pts T-34 Tank Company, 3x T-34
13pts T-70 Tank Company, 10x T-70
30pts SU-152 Heavy SP Battery,  2x SU-152
14pt Light Tank-Killer Company,  4x Long 45mm
9pts Heavy Tank-Killer Company, 2x 57mm

Brian’s Iron Cross Panzer III Company with Ghost Panzer Support
16pts Panzer III (Uparmoured) Tank Company HQ, 2x Panzer III
15pts Panzer III Tank Platoon, 3x Panzer III (short 5cm)
15pts Panzer III Tank Platoon, 3x Panzer III (short 5cm)
10pts Panzer II Light Tank Platoon, 5x Panzer II
39pts StuG (late) Assault Gun Platoon, 3x StuG (late 7.5cm)

We decide to try out some of the new lists and threw together an interesting Free For All.  I positioned the SU-152 in the middle with both AT gun groups on the left in cover facing the PzIIs and StuGs, both tank groups on the left facing his PzIII tanks. 

The 45s moved up through the trees with no problem on the left while the tanks moved forward to get shots on the right.  There must have been a brisk breeze because nothing hit on the first turn. Brian then blitzed every unit he had (successfully) and returned fire much more effectively, killing both 57s on the left, one T-34 in the middle and two T-70s on the right.


The 45s then blitzed to the side and engaged the Pz IIs killing one and bailing one.  The T-34s killed a Pz III in the Hq and the T-70s on the right moved forward to get side shots but missed entirely.  My SU-152s moved to the left side and engaged the Stugs, missing both shots.

 

Brian then, in true form, killed one and bailed one with his Stugs. His Pz II attempted to get in the woods and assault the 45s, but only succeeded in getting one before breaking off.  On the right his PzIIIs kill three T-70s and bailed two.

Needless to say, with my luck, my SU-152 ran away, leaving two poor 45s all by themselves on the flank. Time to try to kill some platoons and break the company.  The 45s kill a Pz II and Bail another while the T-70s get in and bail one of the HQ Pz III. The T-34s move forward and kill two Pz IIIs in the send platoon. Return fire is substandard this time, but succeed in bailing all T-70s.

 

 

The T-70s run leaving only the T-34s on the field with a couple 45s, which drive off the Pz IIs. Unfortunately Brian makes all the rest of his morale rolls and the company stays intact with his Stugs on the objective.

 

 

 

8-1 victory to the Germans.  It will take some work to get used to the overworked issue on all the units, although the better save on the AT guns are a relief and kept them in the fight.

I don’t think I will let Brian use my dice again.