Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Aggressive infantry, my lesson on what not to do with an infantry company.

We are on a roll with FOW currently. The last few weeks we have had several games, most undocumented. However here is a report from last nights game. It was Chris and me playing German infantry fallschirmjäger and Dan and Alex playing the mechanised British Guards. The game was, ahem, unsuccessful for me and Chris, however we had a lot of fun and I think played a great game and learnt some lessons, namely infantry probably shouldn’t be an attacking force specially against a mechanized company.

We played Dust Up - similar to free for all however with delayed reserves and a interesting layout. The deployment zones are on opposite quarters of the table and, what I believe partially contributed to our loss, reserves come in from the other quarter. Chris and I deployed our infantry and panzers holding back a mg platoon another infantry platoon and Pak40s. Dan and Alex put out a recce platoon, tanks (using substitute M4A1s for his British Shermans) and an infantry platoon protecting their objectives. They held back an infantry platoon, mortars, a recce platoon and another tank platoon. Anyhow here is what happened.

Just after setup, recce have already moved.
For some reason Dan insisted on putting our german objectives on our side!

Turn one: Dans Guards being a mechanised force had the first turn. He moved his recon up with his free recon move. Then he moved some tanks up, fortunately his Firefly bogged down on the railway tracks exposing its side to my panzers. His infantry remained protecting his objective behind the church. During the shooting phase he managed to pin the infantry and kill one infantry team. Our turn. Chris moved his troops up, forgetting to roll to unpin. He did the roll after movement, failed it, and had to move all his troops back. I moved the panzers to hide behind some bocage and shot at Dans Firefly. One hit against side armour but failed my 3+ firepower so his Firefly was only bogged and bailed. Humph. I storm trooped the panzers up 10cm and preformed a complicated parallel parking maneuver.

After turn one

Close up on german parallel parking prowess! 

Turn two: Back to Dan and Alex, one turn away from rolling for reserves. They managed to remount the bailed out Firefly but remained bogged, things are looking up for me and Chris! Dan moves his tanks behind the forest and towards our objective, digs in his platoon protecting his objective and shoots again with his recon, this time no kills! A sigh of relief. Our turn. Chris un-pins the infantry and moves them up into the forest, shoots and manages to bail out two of the recon with 2 lucky shots. I move my panzers up, one bogged down, and remained bogged down for the entire game in another forest! What gives. I had 3 shots at his firefly, all missing and some unsuccessful MG fire at his troops straddling the forest across the valley. Now we may have the rules wrong here, but Chris assaulted the bailed out recon with one of the two panzershreck teams combat attached into the platoon, leaving the rest of the platoon in cover, as they were bailed out they were destroyed automatically, no defensive fire was possible.

Our panzerschreck assaulting. We probably got this wrong but figured that if he could assault out to 5cm within range of a bailed vehicle as per rules they would be automatically be destroyed. Only problem is he didn't quite reach so perhaps was an illegal move. 

Turn three: Dan rolls for reserves, success, they get another platoon of tanks, making Chris and I sweat. His other tanks advanced, still unable to see our infantry except the panzerfaust team who boldly assaulted the bailed out recon. 18 or so MG shots later he was well and truly destroyed. Recon remained reorganising. Infantry holding the objective remained where they were. In our turn we got reinforcements and went with our other infantry platoon. Boldly and foolishly we placed them as far away from our objectives as possible to march them up to take Dan and Alex’s objective. Now for a moment (which I felt was a personal success), I moved the Panzers (except the one still bogged in the forest) into assaulting distance from the troops guarding our objective, shot them up, no kills but pinned. After that I assaulted, survived return fire (one PIAT) and killed two teams making them fall back and I contested the objective. Yippee my first successful assault! I think I am starting to get the hang of this.

A before and after my assault

Turn four: Dan and Alex roll and get reserves, they put out their universal carriers. They advance their tanks forward for an assault, with 18+ mg shots. Against concealed, gone to ground troops he only managed 4 hits, not enough to pin and no kills. Fortunately for him our panzerschreck team wasn't placed at the front so couldn't return fire. The tanks assaulted in, killing three teams and pushing us back. On the other side of the table he left his infantry protecting the objectives and moved his tanks up to protect the objective at the back. Because we were in the area terrain no shots were possible. 

Now it was our turn! No reserves arrived, I was worried, I knew Chris wouldn't be able to hold off with his infantry and we possibly should have protected the objective better. Oops. Then I saw it! Victory, all I had to do was move my panzers in, kill the two tanks who were able to move in and contest the objective without anyone able to make it there. I moved my panzers boldly, argg! one joined in the bogging fun along with the panzer which got bogged down before never to un-bog. The other three made it, one taking on one and the other two taking on the other. Pew pew, the one on one panzer shot and destroyed Dans sherman, however the other two panzers missed! Me and Chris shook hands and came to terms with our loss then and there. That was our last chance.

Post my bold move, one sherman down, one to go. (note I was going to have to storm trooper in post shooting to capture the objective. 

Turn five: Dan and Alex advanced, shooting the panzers now exposed. bailing out one and destroying another leaving one still active. No motivation needed. With their tanks and other riff raff on the other side they moved up for an assault but managed to kill the whole platoon with MG fire first and be in a position to control the objective. Sadly in our turn we couldn't get in quick enough and lost the game in turn 6. I have a slight feeling I may have missed a turn but that is that.

Dan and Alex moving in! (Chris took this great photo)
End game, bummer.

Now for a short 26 second clip to display Chris and my feelings on the matter!

In summation it was a pretty fun game! I enjoyed being aggressive with the panzers and I felt that victory was in our grasps. However our defence wasn't enough and troops coming on opposite the objectives in dust up is annoying. Plus if we set aside our panzers as reserves and put in the PaK40s playing a defensive game we may have had a better chance. All in all a good game, I felt both sides played well and I certainly learn't some more valuable lessons. One of them is, I like tanks and I like attacking! Oh yeah, and I had no idea what to do with our damned barbed wire!

Side note, I couldn't be bothered grammar checking this so forgive any discrepancies. Dan here - just edited it for you


  1. Great batrep boys, nothing wrong with a good game and a loss...just ask Ray he's quite used to it!

  2. Excellent report, sounds like a fun game and both sides went for the win. You'll learn more from that game than any amount rule-book reading and theorising! Nothing wrong with being aggressive either, you've got make things happen if you want to win :-)
    Your assault on the recon: at least one assaulting team must make base-to-base contact with an enemy team. After that, remaining attacking teams only need to get within assault range (5cm) to roll to hit in the assault.

  3. Great report Steve! Love all the exclamation marks too! Just did a tidy up edit, changing the fausts for shrecks etc. Thanks for doing the report, as usually its the winning team that has to! There must be some rule out there about having to assault with more than one team, or having your commander in there as well or something! Worth a post in the FOW forum!? Game still could have gone your way if you had hit that tank at the end!- oh well!, perhaps next week!!!!

    1. Unless you're British (with the "Carry on Sargeant" rule), you must have a platoon leader to launch assault. The leader doesn't have to actually be an assaulting team though, and you can designate as few teams as you like to be assaulting. The problem with this is that hits from defensive fire can only be allocated to assaulting teams, so if you send in one guy on his own there's a good chance he may die! Sending up a few "bullet-catchers" as well is a good way to make sure your critical teams can get in. You also don't have to stay in command when making assault moves.
      Hope that helps :-)

    2. Thanks for your feed back guys! Helpful information Paul. Looks like we did the assault wrong as we did not quite make base to base contact otherwise it would have been ok. We were going under the premiss, if you are within 5cm of someone bailed out you automatically destroy them.

      It is interesting working out when to be aggressive or not and playing is the best way to work it out!

  4. Wow those panzers were squeezed up together. Too bad no air support! :) Best, Dean

  5. Good game guys. I was going to give you answers to your questions but Paul has beaten me to it!

    Dust Up, being a free for all type mission, can be tough with infantry as you are having to both attack and defend, and once infantry are out of their comfy foxholes they are prone to Vehicle MGs... I think Paul may have mentioned in the past that usually infantry in these circumstance end up having one go at an assault, and if they get shot up, they stop and end up in staring contest...

    Oh and as dean said, before you clump you armour together, just check out what template assets your opponent has ready to drop on your head! Planes and heavy arty can spoil your fun quickly! ;-)

    As Paul said earlier, you'll learn a lot from these games... whats better deployed, whats better as a reserve etc etc... when to go for it, when to wait...

    1. Good point Scott and Dean! As cool as a complicated parallel parking manoeuvre is, and as proud as it makes the fatherland, need to watch out for template assets! Fortunately not to worry this game. Once again I agree I felt like it was a great game and we learnt a lot.


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