Last night Ian and I played a 1000 point game between his Fallschirmjägers and my British, topped up by a US Airborne squad and MMG. We played scenario 4, Hold Until Relieved, agreeing that the US squads would hold the objective while the British would arrive to bail them out. Or not, as it transpired....
The objective was the privy behind the house in the centre of the table. I placed the Airborne squad in the house and the MMG in the garden behind a fence. We gave the Airborne their own order dice. Ian deployed in an arc around three sides, with three full squads of infantry and a fire base on a hill overlooking the house.
I conceded in turn 5, having been outgunned and completely outmanoeuvred. Ian got up close to the house early on, destroyed the MMG and wore down the Airborne in the house with mortar fire, small arms and finally a close assault. I was too slow to place my relief force between the objective and danger, and I made two major mistakes: first, I moved an infantry section up between two fires, hugging the hedgerow for cover from one side while exposing its open flank to a German MMG; and second, my own MMG, arriving from reserve, ended its first move in line of sight of a sniper who immediately wiped out the gunner. How we laughed. Oh, and Ian's flamethrower team toasted my First lieutenant before itself being blatted. Not a good trade-off for me.
Ian’s single misfortune was to close assault my surviving British section with a Fallschirmjager squad and lose. The odds were in his favour so it wasn’t a mad move, but the price for poor dice rolls in close assault is high. It’s funny how often the dice give the losing side some crumb to console themselves for a duffing up.
My main lessons from the evening:
Mortars are an excellent weapon against fixed positions.
Close assault is unpredictable, decisive and best avoided until the odds are overwhelming and/or firepower won’t be enough to do the job.
Taking cover, however reassuring the protection, can be a distraction from achieving the scenario objective. I liked the look of my section tucked up snugly behind its hedgerow, but I should have been moving it up to relieve the poor Airborne.
The German assault rifle is a beast.
As for force selection, I need more British infantry. Since the release of Version Two was announced, I have been thinking of delaying more purchases: the British plastics are bigger and harder to pose than recent Warlord plastic releases (Ian’s Fallschirmjagers are much smaller and more lifelike than my Brits) so I am hoping they get a reboot soon. But we now know that the new starter set will have new US Airborne plastics, so I guess it will still be some time before the Brits are replaced. I can’t wait that long, so I don’t really have a choice. (It reminds me of the time when GW introduced the new, tiny and beautifully sculpted Night Goblins, thereby rendering obsolete my freshly painted army using the previous, now gigantic and crude-looking multi-pose set. But I think it just has to be!)