Last Wednesday we played the third game in our escalation campaign. Each player kept the surviving troops from the first 500 point game and was allotted 250 points to spend on additional units. Ian, who lost a squad in close combat in his first game, replaced it with a squad one quality level lower than the original. The instructions were as follows.
Matt (US). "After getting the better of the enemy in your chance encounter, you are on the attack. The build up of resources since D Day has been immense, which means you may choose any asset in the army list for your additional 250 points. The practice of parcelling armour down to small infantry units has begun, to help deal with the enemy in the bocage country. If you buy a tank, pay only 90% of the purchase cost for it. Allied air superiority is also established, though there has been a worrying amount of blue on blue attacks since 6 June as pilots have still to learn their trade."
Ian (Fallschirmjaegers). "The defence line has thickened since 6 June and your command has been reinforced. To make up for the loss of 1st squad, a scratch squad has been allocated to you, made up of support troops from regiment HQ. Its quality is only regular.
With the extra 250 points, you may purchase units from the Normandy list. However, bear in mind that Allied air superiority and fuel shortages have greatly hampered the movement of armour up to the front. Panzers are still in short supply and if you choose a tank or assault gun, it must start in reserve. You may not purchase an air observer: the Luftwaffe is totally absent over Normandy at present.
You may set up your troops hidden and you may deploy as many on table troops as you like in fox holes (hard cover)."
As Matt was joining us a bit later, Ian and I played the first game between his Fallschirmjaegers and my Brits. Ian dug in on the wooded hill in the centre of his table edge, with a squad in a half track in reserve behind the hill and an MMG watching a possible covered approach towards his left flank.
I deployed a regular infantry section in my centre with a light mortar. My plan was to hold the enemy's attention with this force while working around his right with two other sections, an MMG in a Bren carrier and my command section. I was ready for losses in the centre, so placed a medic there. An optimistic PIAT team set off to hunt the Hanomag but was swiftly mowed down by Ian's MMG. I also repeated an earlier trick of losing my own MMG to snipers before it fired a shot. But this was about the limit of my misfortune as the plan to work round Ian's right worked and I won the game with a good margin of VPs. I also realised that a good use for my sniper was to hunt enemy snipers.
Sadly we didn't have time for a second full game so at Matt 's suggestion we played our first game of Tank War, with a Panther and Panzer IV taking on three Shermans (with a US half track and a Cromwell standing in for two Shermans). It was fast, fun and nail biting. My Panther took an early beating from concentrated Allied fire, leaving the Panzer IV to try and take revenge. It nearly did so too, but the game went to the Allies. We agreed this could be a lot of fun, provided we got more tanks. Uh-oh!