Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Hoffmeister: 13 November 1944
Deck 1, Turn 1
One of the men in Benedetto's platoon steps on a mine, then the platoon comes under a crossfire from two German platoons who have swiftly moved into the woods just in front of them. Benedetto's return fire is virtually ineffective. In the blink of an eye second platoon is down to two squads. Meanwhile third platoon moves up on second's right flank, and first platoon with the armor support enters the town of Oberndorf.
Deck 1, Turn 2
The sherman takes a wrong turn in Oberndorf and finds its path blocked in a narrow set of alleyways. The crew immediately try to back out and get back onto one of the main streets. Meanwhile a sniper opens fire from an upper-storey window and kills Captain Thorpe with a bullet to the chest. A medic rushes over to him, but too late. The withering German crossfire finishes off second platoon. Benedetto and a few survivors manage to fall back to the safety of the bridge. Meanwhile, Pickard's third platoon open fire on the Germans across the road and manage to cut them down to half strength.
Deck 1, Turn 3 - 4
The infantry on both sides continue to exchange fire, and Pickard's platoon does heavy damage to the German center. Dowler succeeds in getting his men back on their feet and first platoon reaches the north edge of Oberndorf.
Deck 2, Turn 1
The sherman still fails to extricate itself from the back alleys of Oberndorf. Meanwhile Dowler's first platoon advances on the American right, while Pickard's third platoon and the Germans in the center chop away at each other. Both forces are down to about 50 % of their original strength.
Deck 2, Turn 2
Pickard's platoon gets whittled down still further, but Dowler's platoon does some damage to the Germans facing them, completely annihilating the German left flank. If only the sherman could get free of Oberndorf, then Hoffmeister would be completely open to the Americans.
Deck 2, Turn 3
An overstrength platoon of German reinforcements marches down the road from the north toward Hoffmeister. Meanwhile, German fire from the woods facing Picard's depleted third platoon is ineffective. Pickard however, manages to keep the German platoon pinned in place. The sherman manages to extricate itself from Oberndorf, and races north along the road toward Hoffmeister, with Dowler's men dashing across the east-west road, right alongside.
Deck 2, Turn 4
A panzerfaust team takes a shot at the sherman as it rolls up the road, then pulls out in the face of close range MG fire from the tank. The sherman then rumbles forward into Hoffmeister with Dowler's first platoon immediately behind. The German reinforcements, hearing the tank roll into the town ahead of them, take cover in the trees northwest of Hoffmeister. Meanwhile the exchange of fire in the west near the bridge is relatively ineffective, as both sides have very little fight left in them.
Deck 2, Turn 5
Dowler's men join the tank in Hoffmeister, and with a final ineffective exchange of fire, the remnants of the German force pull back off the battlefield. Though it cost them dearly, the American are victorious.
[Game notes: Lt. Benedetto hit the bottle before going into action. This did not help the Americans at all, as his platoon had a severe penalty to their dice rolls. Consequently Benedetto's platoon got wiped out very quickly. The random events were still quite unkind, but manageable [barely] with the numerical advantage for the GIs. Even so, it was a near run thing, and had the Americans not secured the town as they did right at the end of the second deck (which allowed me to call the game there), they would certainly have lost -- a third deck would have killed them. As it is, the GI's took a lot of casualties securing their objective.]
Two Up, One Back
"The dominant (though not the only) tactical formation for the infantry in both attack and defense remained 'two up, one back.' This was a product of the triangular organization that the infantry used from platoon to division level. Triangular units had three main 'maneuver' elements (weapons units did not count as 'maneuver' elements). Rifle platoons had three squads; rifle companies three rifle platoons; battalions, three rifle companies; and so forth. This encouraged commanders to place two of their maneuver units forward while keeping back the third so that it could relieve or reinforce a frontline unit."
--John Sayen, U.S. Army Infantry Divisions 1944-45 (28)