3rd I.D. EmblemMy List:
Assault platoon - two squads with extra pioneer team and one flamethrower
Infantry Platoon - two squads
Infantry Platoon - two squads
4 M10's - they don't get the TD rules in Italy, but what else can take out Tigers?
2 Priests - they are an assault gun platoon, so no staff team, observer, etc. I wanted their breakthrough gun.
Weapons Platoon - one LMG section, one light mortar section
Recon - 3 Jeeps
8 Platoons at 1500 points
His List (which was thrown together on the spot and included a couple of "for shits and giggles" units):
2 Panzergren Platoons
Two heavy infantry artillery guns (AT 5 on bombardment, 2+ FP on bombardment)
5 platoons at 1500 points
I had never played surrounded before, so I had no idea what to expect. We rolled off to see who would attack/defend, and I ended up being the defender. The table looked like this:
For this report I'm going to use North-East-South-West descriptions from this perspective.
I held my M10's in immediate ambush. This was one of the most challenging deployments I have ever faced. Every vehicle would be within range of the Panthers from Turn 1. Joe placed one objective in the wheat fields north of the village, and another one just outside the woods to the south of the village. I deployed my Assault Platoon on the northern objective, one infantry platoon on the southern objective, and the third infantry platoon in the buildings to the eastern edge of the village to act as a reserve. The Shermans deployed in the woods to the south so they couldn't be seen on Turn 1. The light mortars were at the edge of those woods, and the recon was deployed to the North-east wheat-row. The Priests were deployed between two buildings so I could wait and see where I wanted them. Joe deployed his Panthers in the South-west, artillery in the western wheat fields, one panzergren platoon to the North-west, the other to the North-east, and the Pak40's to the eastern hills.
My goal from the outset was to break his company. I didn't think I could withstand a Panther rush without the plethora of bazookas that Americans now get in the Bulge lists. I placed my M10's in the woods with the Shermans, and then we were off!
He opened by advancing each infantry platoon toward the northern objective (from opposite directions, obviously). His Panthers advanced through cover to set up shots on my tanks in Turn 2. The only real action was that his artillery, even while needing to re-roll hits, managed to destroy a Sherman that was caught under the template.
On my turn 1 I moved the Priests to attempt to engage the artillery, and double-timed the recon jeeps to the west to help with that task. I realized that the Panthers would be able to start shredding my vehicles next turn, so I tried to mitigate that by moving the Shermans and M10's out of the woods (one M10 bogged) in such a way that the Panthers would have to move to engage them, dropping them to ROF 1, and maybe getting Joe to split his fire (there is such a thing as having too many targets). Long story short, the plan worked, and while Joe slowly tore away at those platoons, he split his fire for so long that it took a while. The delaying action would prove to be critical.
Delay them some more!
Onto the bloody, entrail-laden Northern flank.
Read on to find out who wins this assault...or just guess
So that was the story of the southern flank. To the north, the panzergren platoons were starting to converge on the objective, but Joe held off on an assault when he definitely shouldn't have.
Joe, you should have assaulted... (as an aside, that unpainted 'schreck would later claim my 2 bailed-out Priests)
Staring two platoons in the face, I took the initiative. On my turn three I advanced all infantry platoons toward the enemy. The platoon in the buildings moved out toward the North-east; the platoon on the northern objective also moved to cut-off the North-east platoon; and the southern platoon advanced toward the Pak40's to wipe them out. In the center my Priests knocked the artillery down to their platoon commander, but the super-duper Herman Goering rules forced my recon to finish-off the commander on Turn 5 (I was hoping he'd just run away).
Pak40's before assault...
Pak40's after assault...
After a series of violent assaults, both panzergren platoons were dead, the Pak40's were dead, and one of my own platoons was gutted (their little flowers bathed in blood). But, since all he had left were the Panthers, I forced him to take a company morale test. He rolled a 1, and then rolled a 2 on the Herman Goering re-roll. By the end of the battle I had lost my Priests and the Shermans (the Priests shrugged off two hits from the Panthers, who could only bail them, but were subsequently assaulted). 4-3 to me.
A whole bunch of dead American tanks, but the objective (visible through the trees) is safe
The battle was really a story of the delaying action in the South, slowing down the Panthers, and the assaults in the North. Joe may have made a couple of tactical errors, but the biggest one was splitting his fire and splitting his direction of attack. He simply didn't have enough to try and pressure both objectives.