Monday, 3 June 2013

Battle for Werth - Germany September 1944 (An IABSM AAR)


After a relatively long wargaming break, the Hell's Highway article in the last TFL Summer Special worked  miracles, waking my appetite to play this campaign with IABSM, the WWII company-sized rules of the TooFatLardies factory. An email exchange with my pal Alex at Club Dragón on Thursday and we were set to do some warming exercises with a small encounter scenario, taking place in Germany in September 1944, before attacking the campaign.

Location: Germany 1944
US forces have broken the Sigfried Line and penetrated West Prussia in the Eschweiler-Weisweiler area; all German available forces are sent to try stopping the gap. The German commander Werth and mission is to maintain control of two small villages (Werth and Scherpeensel) with a   hastily collected group of infantry forces supported by some armour and AT guns operating in the area.  


The US commander must take control of the village of Werth and exit  through the north road. The attacking forces include two tank platoons and two mechanised infantry platoons supported by artillery and planes (full OOBs included at the end of this post).

Map, initial deployment and general direction of attack


As the German player, I placed 2 infantry sections, the ATG and the FOO (120mm mortar battery) at Werth, the HQ section (including a HMG section), two infanrty sections and 2 Panthers at Scherpenseel and  the two remaining infantry sections entering the road north of Werth acting as a reserve for deployment depending on the US axis of attack. 
Game Table: View from North
 I placed two dummy blinds or recon patrols(marked with "D" in the map), one in the forest west of Werth to serve as an advanced spotting point; and the other in the northernmost forest covering my left flank in the hope that the US player thought it was the Panzer  detachment.

The US deployed the infantry in the center and the two tank platoons in each flank, launching a frontal assault on Werth with one of the the infantry platoons almost inmediately.

 My dummy blind and the forces at Werth quickly spotted  the US units and after a couple of turns were all out of blinds and deployed on the table.

Pak 40 in action!
With the Shermans and the M3s now approaching  the outskirts of Werth, it was time for the German Pak 40 to start firing at close range, destroying one of the halftracks and causing some damage to the US command  AFV, before getting itself a target of the American firepower.

In the menatime, the other US tank platoon advanced under the cover of the hill south of Werth.

My two Panthers patiently waited for the Shermans to decrest the hill before unveiling their position and taking advantage of the higher firepower of their 88mm gun.

Panthers in Hunting Mode
The US player ordered their tanks to stop on the top of the hill and for the remainder of the game it saw an exchange of long range volleys between the two forces.   

As expected the Panthers prevailed, but not before one of the tanks being seriously shocked and the crew losing control and abandoning the vehicle

The "Ronson" Effect
In the meantime, the fight at Werth escalated in ferocity. The German ATG was finally destroyed and the infantry losses amounted, reducing the sections in the fornt line houses to half size. But when the Americans were to launch their final assault, the German FOO called the mortars and a very accurate and deadly round of of shells fell over the mechanised infantry platoon, destroying all 4 halftracks and putting out of action the rifle sections

US Infantry Detrained
The raid  of the second tank platoon  towards Scherpenseel bogged down in the outskirts of the village, as they were no match for the two infantry sections armed with Panzerfausts, two HMGs and the remainig Panther defending the area. The other US infantry unit  struggled to decide between supporting the tanks or taking the lead in attack to Werth (still defendes by another two German infantry sections in good order)


Final Stages of the Battle
At this stage it was clear that there were not enough forces to take the objectives and the US player conceded defeat.

Excellent game but I must recognise (as the German player) to be extremely lucky with the arrival of the mortar barrage in a very critical phase of the game. We both agree that it was somwhat unbalanced in favour of the Americans and probably it would work best with one mechanised  and one motorised (trucks) infantry platoons. The firepower of the ten 0.3 and 0.5 MGs was too strong and the Germans did not have enough support long-range firing assets to offset the Americans,

US OOB


COMBAT COMMAND B 3ºARM. DIVISION
Company HQ
BM 1:  Captain Seb Springfield (Level III)
2 x M4 Sherman

1st Tank Platoon
BM 2:  Lieutenant M. Memphis (Level II)
1 x M4 Sherman 76mm
2 x M4 Sherman

2nd Tank Platoon
BM 3:  Lieutenant Tim Tulsa (Level II)
1 x M4 Sherman 76mm
2 x M4 Sherman

1st Armoured Rifle Platoon
BM 4:  Lieutenant P. Portland (Level II)
2 x Rifle Squad (10 men each)
1 x LMG Squad (2 LMG with 3 crew each)
1 x 60mm Mortar Team (3 crew)
2 x M3A1 Halftrack with 0.50cal HMG
3 x M3A1 Halftrack with MMG

2st Armoured Rifle Platoon
BM 5: Lieutenant C. Charleston (Level II)
2 x Rifle Squad (10 men each)
1 x LMG Squad (2 LMG with 3 crew each)
1 x 60mm Mortar Team (3 crew)
2 x M3A1 Halftrack with 0.50cal HMG
3 x M3A1 Halftrack with MMG

Off-Table Artillery
You  may  call  upon  Three  fire  missions  from
Four M7 Priests (105mm guns)

Air Support
Roll D6, appears on a 5 or 6: fighters with
rockets
 

The US player will have one blind for each platoon plus two dummy blinds
Victory conditions: take Werth and exit the table through north edge


 GERMAN OOB

48/REG 12/ INF DIVISION (in Scherpenseel)
Company HQ
BM1 Feldwebel Richard Zweigler(Lvl IV)
2 x MG42 tripod-mounted MMG (5 crew each)

I/48 REG.
Zug One
BM2 Hauptfeldwebel W. Warsteiner (Level II)
2 x Rifle Gruppe (8 men each)
2 x Panzerfaust 60 (one per Gruppe)

II/48 REG.
Zug Two
BM3 Feldwebel G. Gevultzstraminer (Level II)
2 x Rifle Gruppe (8 men each)
2 x Panzerfaust 60 (one per Gruppe)

II/89 REG. PZ. GRENADIER (in Werth)
BM4 Stabsfeldwebel A. Asbach-Uralt (Level II)
2 x Rifle Gruppe (8 men each)
Pak 40 (5 Crew) + 10t Tractor.

Mortar Section
FOO
Two 120mm Mortars

I/33 Pz.Reg. (deployed anywhere north of the dotted line)
BM5 Feldwebel Richard Zweigler (Level III)
Two  Panther D

 
The German player will have one blind for each platoon plus two dummy blinds
Victory conditions: control Werth (major victory) or Scherpenseel(minor victory) by the end of the game  

12 comments:

  1. Greate AAR !

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Thanks. Looking forward to seeing you painting some lovely WWII Swedish figures

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  2. Really enjoyed that AAR. Great maps btw, really enhances the report.

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    1. Thanks Lee, the magic of PowerPoint

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  3. Reading this IABSM fun down in Dar es Salaam - I know Benito, don't ask

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    1. ???? A couple of weeks ago in Spain/Portugal, now Africa... don't want to know your real job...

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  4. Werth? me suena ese nombre.....

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    1. Descaradamente copiado de un escenario de BKC diseñado por un ilustre miembro de nuestro club

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  5. Muy bueno el AAR. Una gran partida, por lo que leo.

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    1. Reñida, reñida... mucha suerte con esa artillería, lo reconozco, pero "asín" es el azar

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