Sunday, May 6, 2012

Utah Beach Part Two

The second part of Utah beach was fought at Greg's house. The game had remained as it was at the end of turn 3 while Greg was traveling. Dan and I continued our assault on the German beach defenses. We concentrated our re-enforcements on the flanks and started rolling up the defenders.

 Additional re-enforcements were also arriving for the Germans. These were arriving in various locations on the table edge. The Germans sent most of the armored units around the eastern side of the battlefield. Four PzIV's took up a position guarding the eastern causeway, while Panzergrenadiers prepared to assault the eastern village. On the western side of the battle the fallschirmjaegers were having a difficult time making any progress against the 101st's defenses. On the southern edge the German panzer commander and the fallschirmjaeger weapons arrived. The infantry dug in and the panzers advanced. A bazooka team took out the commander's tank, but he was able to escape and take command of his second tank.

On the seventh turn our aircraft finally destroyed the last German 105 that had been bothering us all game long. We had been lucky on the first turn when our aircraft took out three of the four guns, but they were unable to do any further damage for the next five turns.

When the game ended I was ready to advance across the causeway with most of my armor. Dan had cleared the defenders on his side and took up a position to prevent the German PzIV's from interdicting my advance. The German defensive position at the other end of the causeway still suppressed and had been that way since the beginning of the game.

This game had been a very large one for Flames of War. The Americans had landed most of two infantry battalions and a tank battalion along with the battalion of paratroopers holding the villages. The Germans appeared to have about a company sized Kampfgruppe of panzers and panzergrenadiers and a company of fallschirmjaegers arriving as re-enforcements (maybe more) along with their initial defensive positions.

 I would estimate that the game would need about 10 turns at the minimum for the Americans to link up with the paratroops. We had some good luck initially with the aircraft and some bad luck with sinking tanks so the overall effect was about average for our side. The Germans also seemed to have average luck.

Although the beach defenses were stronger than they were historically, this was a fictional what-if scenario and overall the game was well balanced.

The Americans should land a combination of tanks and infantry along the whole beach on the first turn in order to avoid having too many units within the blast area of indirect fire. They should seek to take out the flanks of the German beach defenses so that they can gain a superiority of force and start rolling up the flanks of the defenses. The second turns landings may also need to be spread along the beach in order to avoid the German indirect fire. Depending on the situation from the third turn on the Americans may be able to concentrate their landings on the flanks.  Although Teddy Roosevelt Jr. provides a landing bonus bringing him in too early would expose him to German fire.

The Germans are somewhat limited as their beach defenders have few places to move to. Their re-enforcements arrive randomly and they will have to make the best of this. If there are enough experienced players then they should be able to get more turns in and take less time doing so than we did. Greg was an excellent umpire and had to do almost all the calculations for the die rolls as most of us had not played FOW before. The two sessions took about nine hours of game play to complete seven turns. At the end Greg determined that the Americans had a slight edge in the victory conditions.

Thanks to Greg for hosting and umpiring the game and thanks to all those who participated.

                                          western end of the beach
                                         eastern end of the beach
                                         German armored forces, southeast corner
                                         fallschirmjaeges and paratroops western edge
                                        beach defenses crumbling at end of game western edge
                                                      aircraft destroy last 105
                                                 Panzer commander's tank ambushed
                                          panzergrenadiers prepare to assault town
             Dan cleans out eastern beach defenses and takes up position to counter German panzers.

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