Monday, April 2, 2012

Combat Mission Battles for Normandy Commonwealth Forces - What's a Good Infantry Tank Anyway? - Intro and First Shots

The game: as per the title of the entry
The scenario: Buron - The Main Event
The question: Infantry Tank? What for?

Spoiler Alert! Do not read if you are still to play the scenario!

I'm not going to lie to you. After the first few minutes of playing this scenario I wanted a couple of Matildas so bad in my formation. But in the end the Sherman V didn't end up being so inadequate in the "infantry tank" role as a couple big wig military historians have claimed. Even when I got fewer tanks than what 1944 doctrine prescribed and when the virtual Germans at Buron seemingly had not too much to throw at them.

The scenario features a few hundred yards of Operation Charnwood (8th July 1944), specifically Company A of the Canadian High Light Infantry plus four tanks from the Squadron A of the Sherbrookes.

An excellent account of the attack on Buron by the Canadian author and veteran wargamer Michael Dorosh can be found here.

As for the game scenario, below is the briefing. Right click and select "open in a new tab" for a better view.

I led my virtual Canadian troops with a lot of caution. I planned to punch a tiny hole in the perimeter of Buron, gain a foothold, expand it towards the depth of the town and roll in fresh troops for clearing the objective.

This a birds eye view from the Canadian FUP. Buron is in the background. Those zig zag lines on Buron are linear artillery fire plans. Note how the artillery targets are at the center of Buron: I'm going to attack on our right flank and I want that portion of the town free from smoke to acquire targets.

The artillery FO and a couple of scouts didn't see threats against the tanks, so I started moving them into support by fire positions. Chances are dismounts won't see sh!t! So here is a Sherman V in a hull down position, trying to target German armor (grey icon within the town).

The first contact in Buron turned out to be a Jagdpanzer IV in a well concealed position. The Canadian Sherman V fired a couple of shots which hit the German tank destroyer, but with no penetration. After the return fire from the German destroyer produced a partial penetration in the Sherman V (see text in the background of the screenshot), I retreated the latter into cover. The Sherman V was seemingly inadequate to get the job done.

A few minutes later, I moved a Sherman Firefly into position and after a short but tense exchange of shells, the German tank destroyer in Buron is defeated.
So, after the first shots were fired, the underpowered gun of the Sherman V gun comes into light. Fortunately I had the Firefly.

Stay tuned. More is coming,



UsF said...

I really enjoy reading your Combat Mission stories and the pictures are good, too. :D Even though it is a bit spoiler-ish.

JC said...

Thanks! That's very kind of you ...
After I'm done with this one, the next one up is less spoily! :)