The StuG IIIG has a narrow field of fire and lacks the ability to shift it rapidly as tanks do. Unexpected fire from the flanks is one of the most scary liabilities of these assault guns.
In this after action report, I placed my StuG IIIGs in a relatively safe support by fire position and let the infantry roll with the close assault.
|Splitting them up: one of my 4 StuG IIIs moving to a support by fire position. Infantry from 1st Platoon can be seen, moving forward for an assault jump-off position.|
|Maneuvering into position. Two platoons of German (grey icons) infantry on the left flank, a platoon of assault guns on the right.|
|Grenadiers from the 2nd platoon closing in with the enemy position while HE rounds from the assault guns pour into the enemy defensive line.|
|Many of the rounds from the Wespe vehicles fell very short, some of them near the 1st Platoon Grenadiers.|
|The 2nd Platoon, meanwhile, tried to turn the US defenses with a wide left flank maneuver. Not even the cover and concealment offered by the dwellings and their backyards made these men immune to enemy fire.|
|The problem with the stream and the cut on the terrain was that it offered cover for the US troops from both sides. In this screenshot, a US cal 50 HMG opens up on Grenadiers of the 2nd Platoon which are approaching the defensive line from its flank.|
|Even an enemy AT gun tried to join the fight on an almost reversed front.|
|New fire missions are called for, and the assault guns response is very rapid (note the dirt lifted by the StuG IIIG shells). Unfortunately, the US MG continues to fire.|
|Eventually, after a lot of effort and bloodshed, the US flank falls.|
|And after a small break to regroup and catch their breath, the Grenadiers continue their way through the enemy defensive line.|
|Resistance pockets were found everywhere. Unfortunately, the US is still able to inflict casualties with these ad-hoc ambushes.|
|In a couple of occasions, the best protection against enemy fire was just speed. This lead to some peculiar situations like the one shown in this screenshot.|
|But the enemy's means to fight were already at their minimum. Surrenders spread all over the place.|
|Until the last hardcore defenders were killed.|
The battle ended with a German victory. The US suffered 54 casualties, the Germans 22. All infantry.
The major battlefield killers were:
- For the German side the StuG IIIGs scored 37 infantry kills and two AT guns knocked out.
- For the US side, the .50 cal HMGs inflicted 11 casualties.
The Wespe vehicles failed to score a single victory. I know this weapon system is most effective in the indirect fire mode, but yet I was expecting a bit more from them. Due to their poor armor and open crew compartment, I didn't dare to move them forward.
The assault guns -which most of the time fired at target areas instead of identified targets- made the day. It is noteworthy that the StuG IIIGs have a limited amount of HE rounds, so it is advisable to use them wisely if a long fight is anticipated. I don't know how wise it was to keep them back in a support by fire position, but I'm guessing that if they would have accompanied the infantry, enfilade fires from the US AT guns would have been catastrophic.
It was not a cheap victory, but it would have been impossible to crack open this US defensive position without the help of the assault guns.