The Prussian's Stash | 7-12-02, 8-16-02: Turns 1 - 5, 6-7


Players:  Mike Phillips, Steve Schindler, Tom Bauman (Germany); Matt Marlin, Skip Dahms, Jim Cluck (US). 
Action:  Turn 1 was, as usual, filled with preliminary maneuvers. The Germans, in hidden positions, opted for the most part to pass their turns, while the Americans moved forward toward the vineyard at pace; one group, under the command of Lt. Cluck, move quickly forward (playing the provocateur), and spotted a Schwimmwagen on the shore of a small pond. The Sherman fired both main gun and hull machinegun, but missed.

Having spotted some German resistance and suspecting a great deal more, the American tanks began lobbing HE shells into the vineyard outbuildings, where any German would logically be congregated. That brought out some real resistance from what turned out to be Panzer Lehr veteran infantry, hidden throughout the grounds. The two sides traded desultory fire, with the odd casualty here and there, through turns 2-4, along with American shelling for effect around the buildings.

The Americans began advancing in earnest on Turn 5. Late in Turn 4, a hidden German machinegun emplacement opened up on an American truck carrying Lt. Cluck's squad, causing it to crash into a wall and overturn. Only four men made it out alive, but they were able to destroy the emplacement with a well-thrown grenade and concentrated rifle fire. But the presence of the bunker proved the theory that the Germans were dug in and waiting in ambush. The Americans, well aware that the best way to get out of an ambush is to fight through it, began bringing their tanks up en masse while disembarking the last of the infantry from their carriers. Sniper fire from near the lake kept American heads down, but didn't stop the advance.

There was some exchange of fire from pre-planned positions on T6, but in general the american forces continue dtheir advance, while the Germans took receipt of a squad of reinforcements and in an armored car. 

On T7, however, things began to break loose, and this turn when complete was unanimously accepted as the turning point in the game. The German Ambush was set perfectly - the panzerjagers were in position, unseen, and prepared. The Shermans entered the killzones and the 'jagers attacked with 'shrecks... but in both cases: solid hits amidships, good penetration... and TWO natural 20's on the damage roll (minimal damage, tank out for a single turn). All agreed that, had the ambush gone as expected, the Shermans would have been brewed up and, with the squad of reinforcements that had arrived the last turn to support the northern American advnace (which was already breaking), the American victory would not be quit so assured, despite the numerical advantage. 

By T8, the American victory was well in hand. the Shermans and their supporting infatry prepared to make short work of the panzerjagers, and though the sniper continued his toll, the German commanders could do little else but admit defeat.

Victory: USA.

Quotes: Steve: "I've already had one nasty dead-rabbit-related surprise."

Les: "It's a French sasquatch." Mike: "They're the worst kind!" Steve: "Yeah, they're elusive AND rude."

Steve: "These guys, they can either shoot, or move forward and expose themselves..."

Skip: "He got to the cheese."

Photos:

`Pre-Battle: East Vineyard Grounds, Southerly View
`Pre-Battle: West Vineyard Grounds, Southerly View
(2)

`Pre-Battle: East Vineyard Grounds, Southeasterly View
`Everybody Out! Sgt. Dahms' dogfaces disembark the truck at the vineyard wall
`The American forces advance cautiously through the vineyard in a mutually supportive three-prong advance.
`One tough hombre: A lone German, manning a MG overlooks a Sherman as it passes
`Got em! The survivors of Lt. Cluck's squad check out the remains of the MMG bunker that took out their truck
`End T5: East Vineyard, Westerly View
`Through the wall: Shermans blast through the vineyard walls toward the German positions
`End T5: East Vineyard, Northwesterly View
`End T5: East Vineyard, Northern View. Soldiers to the right are American, to the left German. The destroyed German MMG position is at center.
`End T5: American advance

`T6: The Americans regroup and push forward toward the German reinforcements. High explosive shells from the Shermans didn't do much damange, but put up a cloud of smoke that made deense difficult for the retreating Wehrmacht.
`Aerial view of the American advance; the plethora of counters show the ferocity of the fighting.
`American tanks advance on the treeline and German command post.
`The typical American dogface after fighting the Germans: wounded, gun jammed, running away :)
`T7: View from the south. The Americans continued their textbook three-point advance, with teh infantry dismounting to press the attack.
`Sgt. Cluck's men apprach the pond, wary of ambush.
`Gruss Gott! German Panzerjager fires a shreck at an approaching Sherman (1, 2)
`Wehrmacht-eye view of the ragtag - but implacable - American infantry.
`What the sniper saw: American's warily approaching the treeline after a second one of their comrades was shot (foreground); the sniper was never found.