Monday, August 13, 2012

Peiper's Push (FOW)

After looking over the new lists from Devil's Charge, several list jumped out at me. Unfortunately those list were all American lists and since I'm only beginning to collect a U.S. force I don't have the minis to run them yet.

Something I do have, are Germans, lots and lots of Germans. So for this weekends FOW gaming I put together a Kamfgruppe Peiper list.

First off a little back story, I don't normally run SS. I know that opens a whole can of worms concerning play WWII Germans in general but it's simply rule that I follow, no SS. I prefer the image of the beaten up war weary Wehrmacht fighting it out against the Soviets in the cold winter of 44, that's why I started playing Germans, and probably why the Sperrverband appeals to me so much.

But for last weekends game all the shiny equipment and fearless rating was to much to resist. I would be facing Rob's LW Soviet Strelkovy, complete with fortifications in a 1750 pt Late War game.
Rob did'nt want to get his whole army out for a pregame photo but his list was something like:

HQ with a pioneer group
A Strelkovy Company with 2 platoons
A Strelkovy Company with 1 platoon
A Light Tank Company with 8 Valentine MK VIII's
A Tank Killer Company with 3 SU-85m's
A Assault Gun Company with 3 SU-122's
A Full God's of War Battery
A Anti-Aircraft group with the Russian .50 cal.
With lots of trenches and at least three minefields.
At 1750 pts.

A armored spearhead to breakthrough a fortified infantry battalion in a city, woohoo.

My List was a Kampfgruppe Peiper list with:

HQ of 2 Panthers
A Panzer Platoon with 3 Panthers
A Panzer Platoon with 4 Panzer IV
A Gepanzerte Panzergreinadier Platoon - Full
A Panzerspah Platoon of 3 Pumas
A Cannon Platoon of 4 Sd Kfz 251/9 D (7.5cm)
And a Self Propelled infantry gun platoon of 2 Grille K's

We rolled for the mission and got, breakthrough or was it counterattack I'll check that tonight. I was the attacker and the defender chose which quadrant to set the objectives in and his own quadrant to deploy in. I then deployed across the board from him, and his reserves come on in the opposite quadrant. Here is the board, with a city near the center.
The board before deployment.
The Soviet lines.

The Soviet deployment in his quadrant, the objectives were to the right.

The German Deployment, with minefields hemming them in.

I had the first turn and used the Kampfgruppe Peiper special rules to move my panzergrenadiers and Panzer IV's during the recon phase with the Pumas. Unfortunately the Panzergrens couldn't dismount at the wire to remove it on the first turn.
The Germans at the end of their first turn.
During the turn the Panzergrens dismount and prepare to gap the minefields and the rest of the force moves up behind them. The Pumas and Panzer IV's move around the minefield through a gap by the church. As the Soviets start their turn, my force is very vulnerable to a artillery strike.
Preparing to gap the minefields.
Amazingly the Soviet devastating bombardment fails to kill anything, it pins the infantry and bails a few vehicles but no casualties. The infantry unpin and clear both minefields in the shooting step, none are killed but they are pinned by exploding mines.
The armored elements push through the gapped field, and the 2iC gets bogged on the Church Wall. 

The MK IV's pushing for the objective, however the Soviet reinforcements will come on in their flank.
 It is turn three before I can get through the minefields with most of my force and with all of his armor coming in from reserve on my flank I have to be careful. His artillery had failed to kill anything the second turn either, but my luck would not hold.
The God's of War gets busy this turn.

Artillery bails my bogged 2iC and he runs, then destroys a half track and they run.
I continue to advance on the objective with the Panzer IV's and move everything else up slowly.
The Valentines come in an kill a MKIV and two Pumas after they fail to recce away.

The MK IV's and Panthers do nothing in return fire.
 The Valentines come on and kill a Panzer IV and two Pumas, the last Puma then runs. The Panthers and MK IV's shooting back kill maybe one Valentine.  And the Grilles kill a couple of 57's with a bombardment. He then gets all three of his  remaining reserves on.
Things are bloody for the bottle necked Germans.

The next turn is brutal for the Germans. The Soviets kill two of the 7.5cm Halftracks and a Grille with the SU's,  Artillery kills a Panther and the 57mm guns which can move 6 inches, thread the needle between buildings and kill another. Also a Panzer IV is double bailed but stays. The last Panther runs, and the Panzer IV fails to remount with protected ammo. Not going good.
The heavy toil on the German vehicles.
 The Germans next turn was a little better. Combined fire from the Panzer IV's, CO Panther and Cannon half tracks killed enough of the Valentines to make them run. The Panzergrens, minus half tracks, machine gun the AA guns and kill them all.
The Valentines finally ran and the Commander is moving to deal with the SU-85m's.
The SU-122's make a move at the traffic jam in the village and the SU-85m's tangle with the German CO. One Panzer IV burned but the other had remounted and kept them at half strength.
The return fire kill all the SU-122's and the CO snags a SU-85m, the other hit was bounced by their front of 9.

The Panzer IVs start slowly killing the 76mm guns.
The fearless Panzergrens fail tank terror twice to assault to SU-85's.

And its up the CO to kill them. Rob saved three close range Panther shots before they died.

The remains of the infantry and the CO move the help the Panzer IV's on the objective.
While my CO and infantry killed the last of the Soviet armor, the Panzer IV's killed most of 76mm guns that they could see. The Grilles and cannon platoon killed the 57mm AT guns yet their commander would stay for the rest of the game,  making a total of six confident moral checks with no re-roll.
We were both one platoon away from having to take company moral checks each turn.
CO Moving to help out.

Then in very Soviet fashion he got me. His infantry had been sneaking up on my cannons and grilles as they worked over his guns, I had been keeping together for defensive fire purposes ye out of his spotters line of site. However the turn before his CO had moved up and could see them in the street. He ranged in on the my Grille command half track and clipped one of the 7.5cm half tracks along with one of his own infantry. The artillery then ranged in on its second try with plus one and bailed the cannon half track and killed the Grille half track and its passenger. That dropped both platoons below half and they both ran. My company stuck around for one more turn shooting the small Strelkovy below half but they passed and so did the command for the 57mm guns. He had nothing to get my tanks off the objective now with me avoiding his artillery spotters, but then my moral check came up.

The last turn, both of his Stelkovy were at or below half.
The Moral check.
And on a one the Peiper spearhead quits the field and the Soviets are victorious!

This was a great game with some wild dice rolling. I failed 10 of 16 fearless moral checks but that was balance out with some great shooting, my two Panzer IV's accounted for four 76mm guns and a 57mm gun.  I don't think Rob ever ranged in  on his first try once in the game even needing only threes, yet he then would hit almost every thing under the template.

I have face Soviet artillery hundreds of times over the years and when when running veterans have never really had any problems dealing with it. But with trained troops navigating minefields in a city, it was devastating.

It was a great game but I think it's a sign, no more SS for me!

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