Monday, July 08, 2013

The Push Towards Caen

[It is now time for the second battle report of Canadians versus Germans. I will continue the narrative style, but now we have photos! This was a Counter-Attack mission, which I, unluckily, am defending...]

12.00 hrs, D-Day: We pushed deeper into France, chasing the fleeing StuGs. We were just starting to get excited that maybe we'd be sitting in Caen by dinner, when the infantry, scouting ahead of us, discovered that the StuGs had just been trying to draw us into a trap. I sent Breen, my 2nd Officer, flanking around to the West, as I conferred with the platoon Lieutenant. I sent 1st troop with Cpt. Badgerow, and gave them the mission of attempting to flank the enemy. Upon receiving the report that we were once again facing a large number of the enemy tanks, I sent 2nd and 3rd troop around to flank East again. In the meantime, the new observer for our artillery worked his way forward to send back good reports for us on where things were.

12.10: It seems the Jerry CO is quick to adapt. He's got his 8-wheelers hunting for observers, and his StuGs are forming a better wall. This time, they're holding a bunch of cornfields, and I really hope the luck we had doesn't extend to them. With a frightening staccato, we could hear more of the bloody AA guns open up on the infantry platoon. It seems someone stuck his head up too far, and drew attention. Luckily, there were no serious casualties.
Overall deployment: I am so badly outnumbered...
12.11: I've ordered the Lieutenant of the infantry to move up and attempt to secure the crossroads, perhaps even enter and secure the buildings, if we're lucky. I can hear Cpt. Badgerow and 1st Troop opening fire, and reports come back that they've found a battery of rocket tubes, and are attempting to knock them out.
[My friend starts most games like it's a NASCAR race!]
12.15: Cursed Jerry CO has learned: the StuGs are fanning out into cover. 1st troops' attention seems to have made the rocket crews come over cowardly, and we're safe from their gifts for now. I hope that continues.

Reserves! I'm sure there's no way this can go badly!
12.17: As 2nd Troop and the Artillery arrive in range, I attempt to direct them to hide behind copses of trees off to the East. I am getting radio reports that they can see the StuGs, and are scrambling to get out of direct line of fire. I wish them all speed and luck! As the Firefly in their troop opens up, he reports hits on a StuG, but smoke and haze is making it hard to find out if the hit destroyed the bastard.

12.20: The Firefly's paid for his boldness. The platoon of StuGs opened up, creasing the gun and I could hear the hit from where I am. Platoon commander reports the tank is brewed up, and remaining alive crew are attempting to work their way back to the beach again. I also have reports of StuG fire blowing the track off an SP, leaving it facing the wrong damn direction. The Jerry Scout cars made a run on the observer, and he has once again gone silent. I hope he's alive, so I can take his reflective binoculars and string him up by them...

The first of a pattern...
12.22: 3rd Troop has made it, and has also been directed into the trees. The SPs continue to move, attempting to get the three remaining vehicles behind some kind of cover. I figure I'll move to relieve pressure on the Sextons, and poke through a hedge to open fire on the StuGs across the field.

12.25: We are going to have to do something to hide the Fireflies better. Hardly had my second Firefly engaged the Germans when more focused fire knocked it out. I will be questioning my Troop Commanders on possible camouflage or combat tactics to keep them alive. They're too important to lose like this.

Gotta love that thick forward armour!
12.28: We've had the arrival of a half-troop of Achilles. Why we don't rate important for the whole thing I will be eager to query after this, but we must make do. They're a welcome sight among two troops of Shermans who no longer have 17pdrs. Let's hope their commanders are better at hiding. At long last, the SPs open fire and attempt to knock out the Jerry centre. While I spot lots of explosions, I don't see the telltale black smoke of a burning engine.
Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing.
12.34: The Infantry has been keeping their heads down, but not moving enough; the AA guns and 8-wheelers are continuing to pour fire on them. 2nd Troop takes more heavy fire, losing all but a single tank. I know they can do more, and have them load up on the crews of tanks that have been hit, to take them all back quickly. It will hurt to lose that troop in this fight, but at least we'll get them back faster I hope. It does appear the Achilles have all the sense the Fireflies do, as the StuGs take advantage of the open road and field between them and begin to strike out at the Achilles.

12.35: I and the Achilles are going to have words. Rather than pull back into hiding, the damn fool has decided to charge! He's run across the road, into the hedges on the other side, which takes him out of view of exactly nothing. On the rare chance they didn't see this charge, and the Achilles might have made it into the hedges, one of the two of them decided to blaze away with the bloody 17pdr as he went!

12.38: My tank has been hit, as well as one of the Achilles. I can't save the thing, and I've lost two of my crew. I've told the Infantry Lieutenant to take over, and attempt to contact Cpt. Badgerow and tell him he's in charge. Caen is so close, and yet here we are, tangling once again with tanks that aren't supposed to be on this side of the river. I will be requesting the support of a full infantry company: we're just too exposed to the StuGs like this.
Aand there goes the CO, along with most of his Squadron.
[Oh Boy that was a painful bout; one platoon on, one in ambush, everything else waiting to come in on an area easily cut off by my opponent. Almost needless to say, I 1-6ed. I was probably foolish with a few of my moves, and should have diverted 1st Troop over to fight the StuGs, but even firing ineffectively, it was shutting down the rockets, his CO, and a platoon of Pioniers. If only my West flank could have been the hammer... I'm hoping I'll have my infantry ready to roll by this week's game!]

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