Wednesday, 24 July 2013

After action report - 11th Armoured in Operation Goodwood Kampfgruppe Normandy

Wow, I have managed to get back to the blog. Time and opportunity, along with something to write have actually got together in the same place. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but in the end it was a very grisly affair, especially for the Brits.

I had been thinking about trying to do Goodwood for quite a while. The only problem was a serious lack of Shermans, Firefly's and the complications that arise from incorporating infantry into a game. So, scrapeing together 21 Shermans, and using a losses become reinforcement system, the game was on. No infantry, only flank shot 88mm's, a few supply trucks, limited artillery support, aircraft, and a restricted german list.

The table was 8 foot deep by 6 foot wide, bare except for a 6 foot stretch of wood at one end. This was the German deployment area. The Brits could deploy within 2 foot of their table edge in any formation, except that when deployed as a regiment, they must keep their squadrons tanks integral but could have the squadrons spaced. The Brits deployed their regiments in line, and abreast. There were 12 tanks per regiment, with 4 squadrons, each squadron equipped with a Firefly. The Brits had a Battlegroup command, with a FAC and FOC. Artillery was 2 high prioirty requests.

The Germans had a Battlegroup command, 2 supply trucks and flank firing 88mm shots. There were 3 units available to the Germans, but they could only choose 2, at random. 2 Tigers, 2 King Tigers or 3 Panthers. The Panthers and the King Tigers were rolled for. Flank shot 88mm's were 2d6 of shots - 7 were rolled. Germans deployed by map after the Brits had deployed.

So with a notional 24 Shermans deployed - 8 17pdr's in the mix against 2 88mm L71's and 3 75mm L70's, the Brits were reinforced with an additional regiment. Ammo would be an issue for the Germans, hopefully, as airpower would become an issue for them as well.

The Brits moved up, hesitatingly to just outside extreme long range. The Germans sent in 3 flank shots, brewing a Sherman. This brought the rest of the regiment up into extreme long range, leaving the adjacent regiment outside 48 inches. The germans replied with fire from the King Tigers, and the smashing of the Brits began. As the second regiment moved up, they were then engaged by the Panthers. Before long, with the Germans firing 2 shots per tank at a Sherman, the Brits were down to 50% casualties for both regiments, and the 3rd regiment could be put on the table as reinforcements. Even with the 3 regiments giving a 56 morale value for the Brits, a King Tiger going down to a 75mm shot rolling a 12 and a 17pdr just catching a Panther out, the Brits had 16 morale value remaining. No aircraft had appeared or other chits except for hero.

 The Germans had resupplied their tanks during the exchanges, and the Brits had pushed a Sherman to within 16 inches of the remaining King Tiger, but all for nothing. With only one fail on penetration, all the Germans managed to brew a Sherman if they hit the tank. As a rule, with nearly all Sherman shots were needing 10 or more to penetrate unless it was a 12, the Brits were unable to make a hit count. They did get 2 tanks in the end.

With 2 regiments smashed - by the time the 3rd regiment could have moved into battle at 48 inches, there were no survivors of the first 2 regiments. I ruled that the Brigade would have been withdrawn, and it had gone past 10pm as well.

Fire and movement were the key to British success, and failure to combine this when moving the squadrons meant that  the Brits could expect a +2 on their to hit score when attacking concealed german tanks if they fired whilst moving. When they were stationary, the Germans were given 50% chance of a hit - 4 or more - with an auto ish kill when they hit. 2 was a failed penetration no matter what. The flank shots required a 6 to hit.

The German plan was to engage and then move to a different position and fire again. However, with the effectiveness of the guns, the problem was hitting, and as a consequence resupply of ammo. If in range, the Germans remained stationery and spent pips on firing, not moving. For targetting purposes, Firefly's could not be singled out, and then only if randomised in a multigun fire on multiple targets. Nearest tanks to the firer would be engaged first.

Overall a very good game, much closer than it sounds, with no clear advantage for the Germans. In fact I thought the advantage was with the Brits, in terms of numbers.


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