WWII – Breakout at Saint Lo – Bolt Action – 15OCT2016

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Got to play the 2nd Edition of Warlord’s Bolt Action game this weekend. The game focused on the action in and around St. Lo during the allied break-out from Normandy. This was the first time, my Panzer Lehr minis have seen any action (and how I painted them https://sfdfsfd.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/wwii-panzer-lehr/) – those snazzy tunics and sporty camo helmet covers helped them to unleash a fierce ambush.

Background

Historically, the US break-out was ultimately a great success that punched through the fierce German defenses and then road roughshod through northern France during the summer of ’44. Our game focuses on a US force probing for a weaker spot to break-through. The US forces were Regular, fully mechanized units comprising a Recon Platoon, a Tank Platoon, and an Armored Infantry platoon. In overall command was a Captain with an artillery FOO. The US forces all entered the board on an Advance die with infantry forces mounted and could deploy across multiple turns. Once the enemy was spotted or the US forces received fire, the infantry could dismount.

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Standing in the way was a Veteran Panzer Lehr grenadier force dug into the ruins supported by a pair of Panzer IVH. The Germans were allowed to deploy their Infantry units completely hidden (locations marked on a map) with the Panzers slated for Turn 2 arrival.

The terrain was open except for the clumps of dense wood land and the ruined buildings (treated as dense, rough terrain and providing protection as buildings.

US Forces – OOB

29th Infantry Division; all forces are REGULAR.

HQ Section

Captain & 2 Riflemen; MMG Team; & M3 halftrack (command)

Artillery Forward Observer & 2 Riflemen; & Jeep

Recon Platoon

2x M8 Greyhound Armored Cars

Tank Platoon

2nd LT; 3x M4 Sherman 75mm Medium Tanks

Armored Infantry

1st LT & 1 NCO with SMG, 1 BAR & Loader, & 5 Riflemen; 2x Sections – NCO with SMG, 1 BAR & Loader, 6 Riflemen; Bazooka Team; & 3x M3 halftrack

German Forces – OOB

Panzer Lehr Division; all forces are Veteran

HQ Section

Captain & 2 Rifleman; 1x MMG Team; 1x Panzerschreck Team; & Sdkfz 250 Half-track (command)

Tank Platoon

2nd LT; 2x Panzer IV Ausf H Tank with Schurzen

Panzer Grenadiers

1st LT& 2 Rifleman; 4x Sections; & 1 MMG Team:

  • NCO with SMG, 1 SMG, 2 LMG & Loader, 2 Riflemen & Panzerfaust
  • NCO with SMG, 1 SMG, 2 LMG & Loader, 3 Riflemen & Anti-tank Grenades
  • NCO, 2 SMG, 2 LMG & Loader, 3 Riflemen & Panzerfaust
  • NCO, 2 SMG, 2 LMG & Loader, 4 Riflemen & Anti-tank Grenades

The Battle

The German infantry were dug in to the 3 of the 4 buildings south of the road. One MMG was in the center dense terrain and one MMG was in the southern end of the Dragon Teeth. The Panzerschreck team was hiding in the bocage just south of the church. The Captain and his halftrack were on the south side of the most southern woods to the South.

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The first turn, the Greyhounds entered the board to the left and right. The right hand M8 spotted the Panzerschreck and used its Recce ability to avoid a heat-round up its nose.

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The second round, two halftracks entered the right board supported by two Sherman tanks. Lots of shooting, but no hits or even pins occurred. The Panzers moved onto the board, but did not manage to put rounds on target.

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The third round, the left M8 moved up to spot the Panzer Lehr hiding in the ruins of the left two southern buildings and received a catastrophe flank shot by the Panzerfaust which left a smoking hulk.

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The rest of US forces arrived and the FOO called for artillery on the left center ruined building.

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The fourth round, the US started suppressive fire against the buildings with several casualties and pins. The Germans answered with another catastrophic shot by the right Pz IV with an AT round that blew the stuffings out of the US Command tank. The artillery was delayed, but the Panzer Lehr unit paid attention to the spotting smoke round and charged across the road to take position in the far left northern building intending to destroy the Sherman lurking behind it.

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As the fifth round opened, we called the game due to the lateness of the hour. We rolled for the arty round and it arrived, but did not hurt anyone directly. It did pin the US MMG, the Infantry 1st LT, and the left Pz IV, but the presence of the leadership so nearby and the tough Veteran soldats were likely to shrug off the effects.

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As the 4th turn ended, the Germans lost a LMG, 5 Panzer Grenadiers, and a Panzerschreck team losing 174 points from 1901. The US had lost a Sherman, the tank Platoon leader, and a Greyhound losing 345 points from 2047.

That left 4 largely intact veteran HQ, Panzer Lehr squads with 7 LMG and 1 Panzerfaust, two MMGs, a Sdkfz 250with a MMG, and 2 Pz IVH to contend with a Regular US force with a HQ, 3 largely intact squads with BARs, 2 bazookas, 1 MMG, 4 halftracks with MMGs, 1 Greyhound and 2 Sherman tanks. The Germans had very strong right flank and strong center; the US had a very strong right flank.

The artillery strike was good, but did not degrade combat power. One MMG, a tank, and both the 1st and 2nd LT were in the impact zone.   That meant that the center needed to make morale rolls, but in addition to the LTs the Captain was within 12 inches so they would need to roll 9 or less to activate. So I would anticipate mostly a minor effect from the arty.

Hard to tell what would happen next, but the order dice rolls would have been key for the next turn. I am guessing lots of attrition with the Germans taking out another Sherman (either to one on the Mk IVs, the Panzerfaust, or the two tank hunter squads) and at least one transport. The US would probably have killed the Panzerfaust squad before it could take out another Sherman.

Minis

Panzer Lehr – Artizan Designs with some Late War Germans to supplement the lack of PL MMG

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US Infantry – mostly Crusader with some Black Tree Design here and there

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US Vehicles – Solido M8 Greyhound, M4 Sherman tanks, and M3 Halftracks

German Vehicles – Sdkfz 250 is from the OOP old Bolt Action line; Pz IV tanks were from the OOP New Millennium (from Walmart for $5 a pop back in the day)

Buildings – the houses were made from one Warlord Hamlet kit and the Church is from Hovels

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