Scenario – Operation Husky – Sicily July 1943
Been a while since I posted and I need to catch up. This summer has been full of Navy stuff, Historicon, Dwarves, Drow, and WWII. Starting with the latest first.
Saturday night I played in my first game since Historicon. I ran a WWII game using the Victory Decision rules. These are relatively new and a potential alternative to the the “hot” Bolt Action rules that are to hit the street soon. I understand that these are the grand-son of the old Mongoose Games Battlefield Evolution, but they have evolved. The base rules come with short late war lists for US, UK, Germany, and Russia. A variety of late war and some early war supplements are out.
This game is a 1:1 game in the sacred 28mm scale in which the units are individuals squads/sections, heavy weapon teams, crew-served weapons, or vehicles. Each unit activates in an interesting process in which the opponents nominate a unit to activate, dice to see who wins, and that unit acts. As such, a set of units with high leadership can conceivably get hot dice that enables them to run through strings of units without response from the enemy. We had this happen a couple of times.
The combat is resolved in a straight forward fashion by rolling a dice combo and trying to beat the targets “to Hit” value. Assuming a hit, the target makes a saving roll. If it fails, then normally an infantry man is lost as casualty. When a unit is fired upon it receives a suppression marker and an additional one for each casualty. The suppression markers (orange D10 in the photos) limit the number of shooters and when the number of suppression makers equals the number of surviving minis, the unit is shaken and flees (with an opportunity to rally if it can move to safety).
The scenario is detailed below. Basically a meeting engagement between an Anglo-American force (two 1500 point armies) and a Axis force of a straight up German rifle platoon and a mixed platoon of German and Italian paras:
The war has markedly turned in the Allies favor by this point. The Italian and German armies in North Africa have been thoroughly defeated and Sicily is the first step to opening a broader European war. The US forces are a very well supplied mechanized force that is also battle-tested. US and UK forces are primarily relying on the Sherman tank which was an even or better match for all but a few of the German tanks in North Africa. As the forces move into Sicily, the edge in transport and armor lies with the allies. The axis forces are reeling from supply issues, poor quality Italian regulars, and the disastrous loss of armor and support vehicles in North Africa.
This game is an even 3000 point match; however, the forces represent typical constraints for the period on axis resources and a robustness of war materials flowing from America. The US forces are fresh from victory, brimming with vehicles, and ready to roll across Sicily. The British forces are also well supplied, although with somewhat less transport than the Americans. The axis is a mixed bag. They are short on transport and armor, but are battle hardened and still have a keen edge.
1) German Infantry Platoon utilizing a mix of transport supported by a Pz IVD tank platoon.
2) Mixed platoon of Fallschirmjäger and Italian Paras cobbled together for ground operations. This unit has no transport, but is brimming with LMGs. The Italians have green NCOs representing the ad hoc fashion in which this force was scrapped together from retreating elements.
Sicilian village in center of board had been held by Italian regulars that retreated in the face of advancing allied forces. As the game opens, attacking axis and allied forces are working their way into the town. Take turns placing elements on the board with the US going first. Each side may place no more than one element 18” from the board center (fountain) and the balance36” or further from the center.
Control the town center by capturing the Town Hall, the Church, and the Cantina by turn 6; otherwise, victory points measured by a comparison of losses and field position.
Each side was allowed to infiltrate one unit to within 18″ of the fountain in the town square. The Brits positioned a squad just off the square and the Italian paras moved into the Town Hall. The paras lines up on the northwest side and the Heer to the northeast; the Brits came from the southeast and the US from the southwest. The US deployed two squads into the hill with roman ruins overlooking the town and moved their scouts up the left flank. First casualty was the White Scout car which was felled by a hail of Breda fire from the Italian paras. The jeep veered away and almost hit the minefield, but let prudence substitute for valor and skirted it in the end. The Heer advance the two Sdkfz 250/1 Neu halftracks down the eastern flank. The paras continue to occupy the perimeter buildings along the north edge and setup a killing zone in the square with MG-34 and Bredas. The Brits eased into the Cantina and were immediately spotted and engaged. A gun duel erupted between the paras and the Brits. The paras took it own the chin, but hung tough and routed the Brits from the Cantina. In the meanwhile the two British Shermans took up firing positions (one by the church on the hilltop and one in the main road). They both pummeled the lead Sdkfz 250/1 to no avail. The missed twice and it took two armor saves. Deciding that it was pressing its luck, the driver pulled up and next to a building seeking cover. The Brits inside the building stormed it and destroying the vehicle and everyone aboard. As the game ended (due to the hour), the Brits held two buildings on the square but were starting to be pummeled by the PzIVDs and the paras held 2 including the Town Hall objective. The next turn, the Italian paras would have captured the church and the Brits may have re-taken the Cantina. Slight edge to the axis, but no firm conclusion.
The group liked the rules and we will be running them again. We decided to try several changes:
a) We decided that the ranges can all be doubled with a -1 die penalty for the extended range (i.e. no penalty for normal range and -1 for doubled range). This still left some of the tanks with shorter ranges than the rifles and we will have to think about it some more. We put this rule into effect at the beginning of our second turn and it made the short ranged PzIVD much happier.
b) We decided that the vehicles are abit hampered with only 2 actions since in many cases the soldiers on foot are faster than tanks and on par with trucks. So we decided to try alotting vehicles 3 actions in the future with the main gun limited to the current conditions. This will allow a tank to move, shoot, and move.
c) We ran a game with two 1500 point forces per side. Next game, we will probably allow pairs of gamers to dice against each other for initiative to speed play. We will dice off as necessary for 1:1 confrontations. In the game we played, we could have had the US / Heer as a pair and UK / axis Paras a pair since they lined up diagonally from each other and seldom had direct interaction.
d) We did alternating deployment. This took a long time. Next time, I think I will just have people do it in mass or use markers with some dummies to get this part done quickly.
All in all we had a great time and look forward to more Victory Decision in the future.
Here is more detail on the forces and scenario details:
1) US Armored Infantry Platoon
a. Game begins with your forces mounted. You have a half-track for each squad, a jeep, a White scout car, and two M-4 tanks.
b. The halftracks, jeep and a White scout car all mount a .50 cal heavy machine gun.
c. Your infantry forces consist of a Platoon Leader’s Squad, two rifle squads, and a .30 cal heavy machine gun on a tripod. One of the rifle squad carries a bazooka.
d. Your infantry is not carrying BARs – you relay on the vehicle mounted MGs for support.
e. You have more transport capacity than you need – lots of room for loot.
2) British Rifle Platoon
a. Game begins with your Platoon leader and Weapons teams in Bren Carriers and Rifle Squads mounted in Bedford lorries. You have three Bedford, three “Bren” Universal Carriers, and two Sherman II tanks.
b. The Brens mount a forward Bren Gun and the one with the Platoon Leader has a 2-man Bren Team attached with a 2nd Bren on a Pintle mount. The trucks are unarmed.
c. Your infantry forces consist of a Platoon Leader section, two rifle sections (each with Bren Guns), a Bren support section, and two Vickers heavy machine guns on tripods.
1) German Infantry Platoon
a. Game begins with your forces mounted. You have leftover vehicles from the DAK: a Kübelwagen, two prime-movers Sdkfz 7 halftracks, two Sdkfz 250/1 halftracks, and platoon of four obsolescent Pz IVD tanks. These were scrounged, but better than nothing. .
b. The Kübelwagen and Sdkfz 250s mounted MGs
c. Your infantry forces consist of a Platoon Leader’s Squad and three rifle squads each with a MG-34 light machinegun.
2) Mixed Para Platoon
a. Game begins with your forces on foot. It is recommended that you deploy as far forward as possible.
b. Aside from the lack of vehicles and not enough strength to field to Para platoons, your forces are crack and ready for action.
c. You have eight LMGs. The MG-34 is a better weapon than the Breda, but both are still much better than just rifles. If you set them up they will dominate the square.