We ended up playing WO7 - Hell For The Holidays. This is a Ardennes scenario with 11 American squads supported by 4 Stuarts and an AT gun defending against 7 squads of Panzer Lehr in halftracks supported by 3 Panzer IVs and an SPW 251/9 [a halftrack with a 75* gun]. To win, the Germans need to control 7 stone building hexes north of hexrow P [north of the shorter East-West road in the picture]. The Americans split cleanly in almost half, so I took the northern 6 squads while Tom took the southern 5 squads and the Stuarts. The picture shows the outlines of our setup. I think we both assumed that the AT gun would deter Darrell from coming down the east road, so we concentrated on defending the western approaches.
Darrell used Turn 1 to bring the Germans on the board. The halftracks stayed among the [barren] wheatfields while the PzIVs moved up between the two roads. The SPW set up along the map seam just outside of town where it could lay smoke during Turn 2. On our turn, the Americans moved a couple Stuarts south along the east road trying for decent side shots on the tanks to no effect, and moved my squads towards the Germans. For our part, Tom had a god defensive line on the N hexrow, while I set up in the town along the west road
Turn 2 things started to heat up. The SPW and one PzIV laid smoke for the infantry to advance in. The SPW, however, also called down our sniper who, with poetic justice, hit the crew of the SPW and forced a recall. One and done. The halftracks moved up to the first east-west road and began dismounting troops while the PzIVs maneuvered for shots. Our AT gun managed to take out a PzIV during their movement.
And . . . that was most of the scenario. Tom managed a nice withdrawal under fire to the buildings along row Q at the base of the hill, which anchored him to my Q8-U6 line. Losses through Turn 4 were very light - I think we lost a half-squad, while the Germans had a second halftrack recalled and lost 1 PzIV, a halftrack and a squad. Turn 4 was when we had to call the game due to time. Still, it was a good game, and a good learning experience. Here's what I learned
- My main anti-infantry weapon was an MMG, which I put in the steeple at Y8 with my best leader. That ended up being too far back to be effective. I would have been better served with dummy counters in the steeple and the MMG in W4 covering the west road.
- Bazookas can put the fear of God into almost any tank commander.
- The Americans really need to nail a halftrack or two before the infantry dismount. This is probably more important that bagging a PzIV. The German attack would have been much weaker if it was missing a couple squads and a machine gun. In other words, being defensive does not equal being passive
Right now, I'm working on getting a game for Monday night. This time it will finish, I promise. [UPDATE: We can play Scenario 1 in 5.5 hours, right?]