Ok, so now on to the third report in the series. I already had 1 loss and 1 win on my board and was looking for some more blood. This time, it was German Pioneer company. The opponent's list was a solid mix of big, veteran platoons, some decent guns/tank destroyers along with a unit of 2 brummbars. The exact setup was:
Pioneer company - East Front
HQ + knackers
Full Pioneer platoon
Full Pioneer platoon
Heavy platoon with 2 hmgs and 2 mortars
4x Marders III
2x 88 guns (Confident/Trained)
3x 2cm aa guns
The mission was Encounter. Since the table was again pretty even, the choice of the deployment areas was pretty much irrelevant. I decided that my first wave would be 2 infantry platoons, 75mm guns and Pak40s. The opponent went for his pioneer platoons, 88s, nebelwerfers and Brummbars (if I remember correctly). Only now have I realised that he might have started with 5/8 platoons on the table. I might be wrong though, so it is nothing big really.
The first couple of turns went on without any major events. I pushed forward with some of the guns and one infantry platoon (which turned out to be confident/veteran) to take control of the middle of the board. In the meantime, I was being mercilessly bombarded by the nebelwerfers, which stayed covered behind some hills and treelines. My opponent's offensive actions were limited to moving Brummbars about and taking shots at my 75mms. Several pins and Brummbar hits later (he was really successful with taking out my guns), I got some of my first reserves which arrived on the left flank. My choices were the only mobile platoons that I had - Pz35s and mounted scouts. They rushed forward to get into action as soon as possible.
I went forward to try and attack his infantry supported by a hmg and the brummbars but the nebelwerfers managed to kill one of my little tanks early on. I initiated the assault with them nevertheless. I charged into contact and ... scored 0 hits (they were reluctant/veteran). The counterattack succeeded and I lost one tank. My last remaining tank broke off and run away :( Next up were the mounted scouts. They had the cover of smoke, and I managed to dismount them before the assault. The enemy had a good amount of shots ready for the defensive fire, but hitting mainly on 5+ he only got 3-4 hits. I made all the saves and got a decent number of hits on his infantry as well as a vanator de care hit on the Brummbars. The Brummbar died and his infantry broke off. Later on I realized that I forgot to roll for tank terror, for which I apologized and since one of the Brummbars died - I offered we should return it to the table. The opponent was ok with the kill though, so we went on.
The assault on the left flank did open a contest possiblity for my troops but after some successful shooting made by the Germans, the scouts were reduced to only 4 bases which was not enough to pull off another charge. They were also completeley exposed in an open terrain so I decided to dig them in.
The rest of the battle had similar results. I tried to attack, but had no real luck. The Germans were firmly dug in and were bombarding my troops from a couple of safe spots, using observers to mark targets. This annoying tactic worked and I lost all possibilities to attack. In the meantime, time has run out and we had to call it a draw.
I was a tiny bit irritated with how the battle went. I knew I could push it under 2 circumstances:
1. A bit more terrain in the middle of the table. Since all the major pieces were more or less located in the deployment areas, it was extremely hard to march through the center of the battlefield without taking a lot of casaulties.
2. A different selection of initial wave of my troops. If I would have started with the mounted scouts, tanks, mortars and an infantry platoon on the table I might have pushed quick enough to wipe out the right flank where the nebelwerfers were and opened up the possibility for my foot troops to get to the opponent's deployment area relatively unhindered.
All in all though, at least I tried :)