Friday, September 18, 2015

Panzer Battles Normandy - AAR, Part 1: With Our Backs to Caen ...

... We move south onto an entrenched enemy who is tenacious and a master of reinforcing defensive lines in record time.


The 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade (highlighted yellow) has just made contact in the proximity of "The Factory" objective (light blue box with a 50). Grenadiers from the German 272nd Infantry Division (light blue counter) open up immediately onto the platoon-sized patrol from the Calgary Highlanders Regiment. 

This is game play from the soon to be released Panzer Battles Normandy. Graphics and game play functionality are subject to change. The briefing for this scenario can be found here. For a better view of the screenshots, right click and open in a new tab.

The east flank belongs to the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade (highlighted yellow in this screenshot).
The attachment of armor and fire support units (not highlighted yellow in neither of the two screenshots above) is very evident. In real life, there was also another layer of complexity added: multiple, interdependent start lines for successive objectives. I am spared from that heavy load of coordination, but moving my troops south without losing my entire command is challenging enough.

Two pairs of Firefly tanks (one of them highlighted red) just crested the hill hosting objective Verrieres. The terrain is deceiving. It appears to be easy to move through those crops but infantry has a hard time keeping up with the tracked vehicles. In addition, the hills offer great opportunity for long range, west to east flanking shots. 
The Firefly is one of my favorite allied tanks. The screenshot above shows the statistics for this type of tank (top left corner).

A close up of the enemy entrenched east of "The Factory" objective. These German positions are generally occupied by a platoon of infantry. In this case, grenadiers.

Another close up of the Calgary Highlanders attacking through St Martin de Fontenay and onto "The Factory" objective (light blue box with the number 50 on it). Moving towards the objective was very slow: in half an hour, the companies moved just 500 meters. It will likely take an hour to assemble the troops needed to assault the objective.


The situation sometime after 0500. The Calgary Highlanders (CHR) are in contact near but still short of "The Factory" objective. There was some local success near the objective (see if you can spot it), but not enough to capture it. The Black Watch Canada Regiment, in view of the lack of progress by the CHR, peeled off a bit early from their original intended axis of attack. They stumble onto entrenched German infantry soon thereafter. The Royal Hamilton Regiment (RHLIR), started to climb the Verrieres ridge with the two Firefly tanks in support. Note the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1RTR) moving south towards the railroad. 

Despite the best efforts of the Calgary Highlanders, the first assault onto "The Factory" objective is repelled. At the very least hint of movement in our lines, the Germans open up with their machine guns and mortars.

In the center, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment destroys a German position with a healthy dose of HE shells. All from a prudent distance, the enemy is very difficult to spot among the fields and the least we want is tank losses by close range ambushes by hand-held anti-tank weapons. To spot and clear those positions, companies C and D from the Black Watch Canada Regiment move forward. Unfortunately, a flak gun fires onto them from the south west. It is plain murder. I call mortar fire onto that German AAA at once. No effect. Damn it!

In the east, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Regiment is painfully moving forward through acres and acres of cultivated land. They literally step into the enemy positions to make contact. With the fire support from the Firefly tanks they achieve the very first successful assault.


Despite heavy German fire, the assault at "The Factory" objective succeeds. Note the casualties and fatigue levels of the units involved in this assault (top left corner). Also note the vulnerable east flank that this assault has created. The Black Watch Canada Regiment (BWCR) is still prudently waiting for the 1st Royal Tank Regiment's and the Divisional mortars support fire before moving through the railroad.

The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Regiment has punched a hole through the German positions and pours through it. At around 0700, they are just 500 meters short of their objective. Verrieres appears to be defended only by machine guns and infantry.

Stay tuned, more is coming!



Anonymous said...

Nice, looks like the attack is going well... until arrive nuts harder to crack hehehe.

I like the inmersion in AAR you feel the pain of poor infantry.

Doug Miller said...

Not like this is a surprise or anything, but I'll be buying this on release day. The first PzB game is great and I'm looking forward to the change of front.

JC said...

Hi Anonymous,

The infantry is moving at a glacial pace, under fire and walking through soft terrain. :)


JC said...

Hi Doug,

Yes, you gonna like this. And happy birthday! :)



GH65 said...

Excellent AAR! Great games from JT. I've got most of the Panzer Campaigns plus the Kursk Panzer Battles. These games are so detailed and have so much depth. Virtually every move must be scrutinized and every hex has a cost moving into. Looks like you are definitely a tactician of Monty's persuasion...steady and careful. ;)