Friday, July 26, 2013

Overlord Batrep: 21. Panzerdivision vs. American Armor

Once again my 21. Panzerdivision was going to take to the Overlord Campaign battlefields. This would be my 5th battle for the campaign, and in addition to earning the badge for my forum account I was hoping to earn the 21. Panzerdivision's third win since I started using them. I would be facing off against Confident Trained American Armor (7th division?) in Counterattack. Little did I know that for Claus von Slaus, my fictional commander of all of my German lists, this would very nearly be his last ride...

View from my table quarter after deployment

I had changed my list since their last battle. I felt that I needed more high-AT assets if this list was going to be viable in a tournament setting where I'd also be playing against Soviets and such. I also felt that having something with high-AT threatening the front armor of heavy vehicles would give my Panzers a better chance to get around the side of enemy tanks. So here was my new list:

HQ - 2 Panzers
4 Panzers
3 Panzers + 1 Captured Firefly
King Tiger
Trucked AA (unarmored)
Panzerpioneers - 2 squads with extra halftracks
2 x 2 8-rads

Yes, the King Tiger. My plan for him in this mission was to hold down a flank has my opponent's reserves came on, which turned out to be a smaller miscalculation that was a part of a much larger, strategic miscalculation.

My opponent's list:

HQ - 2 Shermans
4 Sherman 76mm's
4 Shermans
4 Stuarts
2 Hellcats
3 Priests
4 155mm Artillery guns
Short Armored Rifle Platoon
Recon (not Cav Recon, the other one)

Pretty solid. He chose to deploy the 155's, the Armored Rifles, and held the 76mm Shermans in ambush. With so many mobile units in reserve I knew that I'd have a tough time holding the far objective if I had to face his entire army from multiple directions. My plan was to make a bee-line toward his firebase of 155's, using my Recce to mitigate his ambushing 76mm Shermans. My Panzerpioneers would play their usual role of speeding around in their halftracks, keeping enemy infantry scared of poking their heads out. The King Tiger would try to pick off his reserves as they came on.

View from his deployment zone

I moved my two Panzer platoons and the recce toward the deployment zone objective. The Recce would hopefully force his ambush to take place in a bad spot. The AA and Panzerpioneers swung through the village, hoping to keep element of his spread-out ARP from being able to reinforce the units that would be facing my main thrust (probably was a mistake as will be explained later). My King Tiger moved into position to attack his reserves as they arrived (a much larger mistake, again, it will be explained later).

My down-range fire at the artillery was ineffective, I failed to smoke his Sherman observer (in the right-hand woods of the above photo), and when my 2iC tried to assault his observer in a building I ended up bogging down (second game in a row for this guy rolling a 1 on bog checks going into assaults).

 This dude is starting to get a reputation for this

My opponent sprung his ambush behind the woods near his artillery, which would force him to move around to get any shots down-range.

Ambush (after moving)

Between his Time-on-Target artillery (which hit all teams under the template; who says trained arty sucks?), his insane fire from the 76's, and a further shot from his observer Sherman (!) 4 panzers went up in flames and another was bailed. My recce was also forced to disengage at some point. He even passed his gun-tank test (with one die) to knock out my captured Firefly. The only die roll he failed was to kill my 1iC, and I am yet to pass a die roll.

I will admit, this torrent of fire threw me off my game, and I got scared. I retreated my tanks back into the town, and decided to try and make for the other objective, forcing his Shermans to come to me and hopefully presenting me with an opportunity to knock them out. If I killed the observer team that had been in the building (represented by the jeep in the above pic) and smoked the observer Sherman, I should be alright.

I moved my Panzerpioneers toward the other objective, and their position behind the building would give them cover from any of his reserves. As long as the 2iC, who unbogged, could kill his observer in the open, they would be safe. My smoke did manage to range in as you can see.

But once again, MG's from two Shermans and a follow-up assault by the 2iC failed to kill the 155mm observer. This was going to be bad.

He gets away...again

In another round of needing 5+ to get Time-on-Target, he succeeds. This time dropping it on my bunched up Panzerpioneers. But hey, trained artillery had trouble hitting their targets, right?


The wind was definitely out of my sails by this point, and even his .50cals from the TD Security Section bagged an AA gun.

Later turns saw me just trying to get points, and stage a desperate bid against the deployment zone objective. But my dice were as bad as my deployment and intial attack plan (which is to say, myself and my dice sucked all-around). My opponent's only tank to die was killed by the Nebelwerfers. Eventually I was able to wipe-out the 155's, but my company broke on Turn 6. In my last turn of shooting I had 6 shots against his tanks, needing 4+ to hit and try to get me another victory point, but none of the shots even hit. I'll give some analysis after the run of pictures showing the rest of the battle below:

 We finally killed the observer

 After my Turn 3 movement I believe

He got three reserves platoons on Turn 3

 I did make the 155's run

 And the Nebs nabbed a Sherman

 But my tanks started to wilt

Went after the Hellcats, which left me exposed to shitty Shermans

In the final analysis my initial attack plan didn't commit enough of my forces to the main thrust, and thus important assets were left out of the fray for too long. My King Tiger and Panzerpioneers should have been speeding toward the deployment zone objective from the start along with the Panzer platoons. Say he springs his ambush and knocks out some Panzers, maybe even a whole platoon, and then his artillery kills a couple of tanks. My return fire would have likely decimated his trained units, and my Panzerpioneers and their flamethrowers could have opened a hole for my tanks to exploit. Not to mention that the King Tiger would be impervious to everything except his artillery (then again, if he fired his artillery at the King Tiger, then he wouldn't be shooting it at my Panzers).

I made it too easy for him to blunt my attack, which caused me to hesitate and try to reassess my plan, which gave him the time to bring his reserves to bear and knock out my important units one-by-one. Did he have incredible dice? Yes. Did I have lackluster dice? Very much so (fucking observer team...). But I still would have had a chance to win even with those kinds of die rolls had my deployment and plan of attack been better. I lost on tactics. Sometimes though it's good to lose, because that's how we learn.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @piflamesofwar 


  1. 3rd Armored Division actually.

    Also my 75 mm shermans were 5 not 4.

    Overall I expected you to push hard on the objective in my deployment zone. I was really expecting a very short game. I thought it would be over by turn 3.

    I got very lucky on my dice rolls with my arty. And when you started to pull back on turn 2 I knew I had a chance in the game.

    Turn 2 I was lucky to get my security section in and able to shoot up your AA guns.

    Turn 3 I was able to get my 5 shermans, my stuarts and my priests on the table.

    I also deployed my hellcats from ambush then which allowed me to take out your other recon units.

    I look forward to a rematch any day and time.

    You were a great sport even when I felt your pain with your horrible dice rolls.

  2. Great read, thanks!

    The German half-tracks look pretty neat!

  3. @scarybiscuits

    yeah the halftracks aren't the official 21st Panzerdivision funny halftracks, just borrowed from my Afrika Korps. They're just airbrushed (and inked), it's a good, easy effect, if not entirely accurate to real life