Yesterday Stan and I got together at his place for a Crossfire bash. He set up the terrain - lots of line-of-sight blocking hedges, a couple of walls, some buildings and roads.
Normandy, thought I. Time to break out the armour.
Two Shermans and a Firefly for me (my Kiwis playing the part of the British), a Tiger and Stug III for Stan. Plus two full infantry companies per side.
Stan wins the initiative, brings up his southern infantry company forward, while consolidating the rest in the rear to the west. He then moves the Stug down the road to take on my armour, so I try to initiate some reactive fire from first the front Sherman (which goes no-fire), then the second as he lines up for a shot.
My second Sherman also goes no fire...
...so Stan brews up the front one.
Bother. The first casualty of the day...
Stan moves out the Tiger, with intend to do grievous tankerly harm, so, before he can, I take a pot shot with my Firefly. Success! Huzzah!
(Sorry, Andy, you may notice that the 50 cal from the Firefly is missing. I kinda knocked it off a minute before this shot...)
In response, Stan's Stug takes out my Firefly! Bother!
"Well, that didn't work," said I to myself, so I send two platoons up the centre, with the spotter for one of the 3" mortars and a Vickers HMG squad taking up residence in building near as no matter in the centre of the board.
I advanced a platoon across the northern half of the battlefield with aims to menace the north west corner, threatening the German flank. Unfortunately, as I tried crossing the open between a patch of rough and a wood the entire platoon got suppressed by reactive fire. The whole platoon!
And so for the first smoke of the game. Well, apart from that generated by burning tanks! I popped smoke to cover the suppressed platoon, successfully rallied all of them (an unexpected result in itself!) and ran them to the wood.
A good old stouch developed in the south (my left flank) as Stan and I traded shots across an open field from, respectively, some rough ground to the west, and a patch of wood to the east.
A lucky shot with my southern-most 3" mortar sees not only an HMG squad wiped out, but the two adjacent stands suppressed as well.
Finally, Stan's squads across the field are suppressed (or destroyed!) - in we go with the first close combat assault of the game. With a quite positive result. For me, at least!
Which left Stan a F/O-less mortar!
Consequently, Stan regroups around a hamlet in the centre.
I drop smoke and run the platoon to the east of this picture (like, below the photo) across from the north of the battlefield into the centre.
I also thought to move my remaining Sherman out and work around to the south. Stan's Stug reacted to the movement and, well, blew it to pieces!
So here's the situation. I've pushed through in the south, got plenty of bods in the center, lost my armour...what to do, what to do...
Ok, I'm running out of fire missions (and time) to try to suppress everyone before assaulting, so lets just drop smoke, charge in and hope that extra numbers will carry the day.
And so they did.
Excellent. A successful assault that put paid to a full platoon to my front, and now I've got an excellent chance of taking out that suppressed squad with a simple follow through. +4 advantage to Stan's +2. What could possibly go wrong?
On my next initiative I said "Let's try that again. I mean, what are the odds that I'd be so unlucky again?"
Pretty good, as it turned out!
So here is the situation as it stands before the final acts. Stan's moved the Stug to cover his south east, I'm lined up facing west in the south and centre, wondering what to do next with a fairly isolated platoon in the north, facing a German platoon across the road with British support kinda cut off by another German squad with HMG support hiding behind the wall.
Once again that squad to the east of Stan's south facing platoon becomes suppressed (mortar fire, IIRC). Right, in with another assault, say I. So in we go, I'm at +4, he's at +2 and, well...
...arghhh! Not again!
I finally managed to take out this jolly super squad with my Vickers gun...
...so Stan took out the said HMG with his Stug - so effectively that two adjacent squads (well, ok, an infantry squad and a F/O (whose mortars had run out of fire missions anyway!)) were suppressed as well!
I tried again in the centre, bringing in another squad but this time keeping them out of close combat and letting loose with some shooting. To no effect.
As my smoke was blocking the view down the road to the south from my northern flank guard, Stan sends the platoon that were up against the west wall across the field up to the hedge to the north of where the slow battle of attrition was happening in the centre.
Alas and alak for him, I was able to suppress two of his squads as they were coming up to the hedge from my bods in the centre, passing the initiative to me and allowing me to send in squads waiting in the field to the east of said advance and successfully assaulted the whole lot of them!
Seeing as my smoke was blocking the view of the Germans to the south to my flank guarding platoon (which had given occasion for Stan's above advance across the wall), Stan planted smoke directly in front said platoon, and assaulted them.
I kinda had overlooked the fact that one of the squads was suppressed (the disadvantage of using a casualty figure for a suppression marker rather than a brightly coloured ball) and was unaware of the rule that if combat is lost in a building, everyone on the loosing side dies!
Having taken out my flanking Platoon to the north, he then swung round the marauding Huns into my fresh from the firefight Tommies, and, well, wiped them out!
At this point time was called, and we decided that it was pretty much a draw. As night fell both sides would have most likely withdrawn to re-group and think things through.
Talk about a turn around! I had pushed through on my left, was holding my own in the centre, loose my right flank and all of that hard won ground suddenly looks really dicey to hold on to. Great move Stan, that'll teach me to cover my arse more effectively!
And a good time was had by all.
Thanks for the game Stan,