Saturday, July 30, 2011

Combat Mission Battles for Normandy - Busted by the Bocage - Drop Your Fire and Movement Theories at the Breach Point, Soldier ...

This is a continuation of a previous entry.

In this scenario I am playing as the US Army. Right now I have two platoons of infantry, two Sherman tanks and a couple of engineer teams. Reinforcements later in the battle will complete my OOB to an infantry company reinforced with a platoon of tanks, two engineer teams ... and 9 tubes of 60 mm mortars.

The Germans are defending a patch of hedgerow (aka bocage) terrain. Ideal terrain for an area defense, much to the dislike of an Army that mastered the art of mobile defense.

A few meters ahead of our line of departure, we came under fire from a German heavy MG (grey icon in the picture below).

The German HMG appears to be part of a rather weak security zone. The initial fire and movement plan to destroy this enemy HMG ended up providing the scaffold for our attack into the depth of the enemy depth. We shall concentrate our efforts on our left flank!
With a security zone so weak, it's just game for the Americans. Fire and movement was the drill the US Army  knew best in Normandy: a fraction of the troops provides fire support while the other fraction moves to gain an advantageous position to destroy the enemy by fire or close combat.

One squad moves to the first hedgerow line while two other squads and two tanks provide support by fire.
We have men on the first line of hedgerows. Note the tracers of the support fires on the background. The enemy HMG has gone silent. This infantry squad is hugging the hedgerow and can peek what's behind it (within reasonable limits). The squad didn't come under fire, strongly suggesting that the left flank will provide a relatively safe breach point.

An engineer team is called up and they blast a hole in the hedgerow. 
Entering the breach is extremely dangerous: at this point we don't know if the enemy HMG on the right of the breach point is destroyed or just suppressed. I split a squad and I send a BAR team in ... with "hunt" orders (drop to the dirt and engage as soon as you see enemy forces). It works like a charm ... some of the HMG crew are still alive and a firefight ensues.
Stop for a minute and think about this: I had two tanks blasting their MGs for 10 minutes or so at these Germans. Some killed, some injured, but they are still in the fight. These hedgerows are a nightmare for the attacker.

Failure to secure firepower supremacy. The US BAR team in the foreground struggles to wipe out the enemy HMG crew in the background.  The low rate of fire of the BAR is unsettling at times. If the enemy HMG would be mounted, we would be in trouble. I should have brought more troops from the other side (right in this picture) of the hedge. 

Moments after I ordered more infantry through the breach, we were welcomed by the survivors HMG position. They just re-positioned near the road. These German troops refuse to die, but we force them to have it our way.
We just crossed the first line of hedgerows and now we are hugging the next one.

Men of the first squad, second platoon have moved through the breach (to the right, not shown in this picture), crossed the narrow road and moved towards the second line of hedgerows. The field in front looks like the perfect kill zone.
The two Sherman tanks are called up.I kept these in the back for fear of an anti-armor ambush in the road that my troops just crossed.

This contraption welded to the Sherman tanks, affectionately called "rhinos" by the GIs, is a breaching device that allows the tank to drive through a hedgerow.

My two Shermans breaching through the first line of hedgerows.
All this fight and all we can claim is an enemy HMG destroyed. The terrain in front of us is a kill zone enclosed in hedgerows so thick that fire and movement will not be possible. What now, soldier?

More coming up. Stay tuned.



Dimitris said...

How about doing leapfrog overwatch between the tanks and infantry? I assume the soldiers can provide enough forward visibility that the tanks don't walk right into a hidden AT team.

Anonymous said...

use da smoke, duude :-§
u do have mortars available?

JC said...

Thanks for your comments!

@ Dimitris: that's a great idea. However, the infantry can't be moved ahead alone because German MG fire is being delivered across the field. :(
I will have to move the tanks first, it looks.

@ Anonymous: another wonderful idea. I have 9 tubes of 60 mms. Can I deliver smoke with those?


Anonymous said...

what smoke?!))
i've never played new combat mishun. however there were "M302 White phosphorus (WP): Used as a signaling, screening, smoke-producing, and casualty-producing tool" rounds for 60mm M2 mortar. dunno if there is any in the game you playing)

Mike said...


You can use use your 60mm teams in an indirect role. Need to select an officer in their chain of command and call in an indirect fire mission with them.

One of the first options is smoke.

The 60mm smoke missions are kind of weak. So I would recommend using multiple tubes.

JC said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comment. I have still to get back into that scenario. I am leaning towards the option of blowing the hell out of the Germans with the mortars ...


Johan said...

That's a good idea JC. This game is one of the very few where artillery plays almost as great a role as it does on a real life battlefield. If you have access to it in the mission, you can use it very effectively.