Saturday, August 6, 2016

Opertion Nordwest - Battle Report

The Prussians deploy their armour on the left flank, seeing to exploit the open ground to maximum effect  The hulking Waltze Heavy Ironclad guards two sturmwagons packed with assault Grenadiers.  A section of Landwher and two Kettenkare tankettes use the small forest and windmill for cover, fearing the power of the British guns.

The bulk of the Prussian force is deployed in the centre of the battlefield.  Here the massed infantry seek protection in shell craters, as Grenadiers, Teutonic Knights,  and the fearsome Marshall Hahal seek the most direct route to the farmhouse, and the Russian delegation.  Their advance is covered by a Heavy Machine Gun section and field gun. 

The British meanwhile, deploy their armour on the opposite flank; the mighty Terrier Heavy Ironclad, supported by two Bassett tankettes, and a section of Black Watch in an Armstrong General Conveyor.

In the centre of the battlefield, opposing the  bulk of the Prussians the British deploy a large Black Wolf Raiding party, Sky Hussars, and Assault Section in a Armstrong General Conveyor and Light Dragoons, led by Colonel MacDonald and his Black Watch escort. 

Captain Smethington (DFC) bravely parachutes onto the battlefield, aiming to reach the Prussian delegation first, but the prevailing winds push him over a field of crops near the British lines and he touches down near the Heavy Machine Gun Section and Line Infantry who oppose the Prussian armoured forces.  Seeing a challenge worthy of his heroic status, Smethington takes command.

Meanwhile, the Prussian Commander leads from the front.  He and his section of elite specialists (and robot dog) capture a nearby objective showing the rest of his troops how it's done.
Colonel MacDonald, unwilling to let the Prussian success go unanswered sends his steam powered chair down the road to capture an objective outside the farm.  His Black Watch take up defensive positions around him while the Sky Hussars rocket overhead

On the flank, the mighty Prussian Waltze tank pushes forward, its huge gun swivelling toward the thin line of British infantry ominously.  The British field gun carefully sight their target and fire, scoring a direct hit. The shell ignites the magazine and the Prussian ironclad is torn apart by a huge explosion!

Battle Log Points at the end of turn one, Prussians: 4; British: 7

The Prussians now perform a carefully planned manoeuvre, as the sturmwagons reach the entrance to the farm,, their smoke launchers fire a huge column of smoke obscuring the entrance to the farm and covering the advance of the Grenadiers who pour out from inside the armoured vehicles.  In moments the entrance to the farm is filled with Prussian troops.

Overcoming their initial surprise, the British assault section react swiftly, disembarking from the general conveyor and firing their flamethrowers through the smoke cloud  causing heavy Prussian casualties.  The Light Dragoons also join the fray, unloading their shotguns at close range into the tightly packed Prussian troops, shaking the stout assault Grenadiers. With Prussian attention elsewhere, the Sky Hussars swoop into the courtyard and claim the major objective.

Battle Log Points at the end of turn two, Prussians: 10; British: 15

Meanwhile on the flank the British armour advances to the river.  A General Conveyor fords the river and Black Watch capture an objective near the cottage, they soon come under heavy fire from the Prussian field gun.  Prussian Luftlancers swoop in and attack the mighty Terrier Ironclad, damaging but not stopping the iron behemoth.  The Terrier fires its massive main gun, and turns the Prussian field gun into a smoking ruin.

On the other flank Captain Smethington and his infantry battle two  Kettenkare tankettes and trade shots with the Landwher at long range.  The British line infantry take several casualties, but one of the tankettes is knocked out.

Battle Log Points at the end of turn three, Prussians: 16 British: 24

The fighting around the farm is intense.  The Prussian Machine Gun section knocks out the British Light Dragoons one by one, while the Prussian medic manages to save the gunners and keep up the devastating rate of fire.  The British assault troops continue to inflict heavy casualties on the Prussian Grenadiers with their flamethrowers, and only the heroic actions of a medic prevents the section from being wiped out entirely. 

To try and shield their troops, and deny the British access to the farm, the Prussian sturmwagons reposition to block the road.  Obrest Hahl leads fresh reinforcements into the courtyard and the British Sky Hussars flee this ferocious assault.

Battle Log Points at the end of turn four, Prussians: 24; British: 28

On the flank the Black Wolf and British Tankettes wipe out the Prussian Luftlancers before they can cause further damage.  The British field gun knocks out the remaining Prussian tankette, but heavy Prussian fire from across the river devastates the British line infantry leaving them unable to retain their objective, despite Smethington's presence.

Around the farm Prussian inventor Professor Gustardt & Siegfried unleashes his Telsa Gauntlets into the assault troops, killing half the section.  The return fire claims the life of the brave Prussian scientist.

Although the Prussians now firmly hold the major objective, it is too late.  The British have done enough to win the day (and secure the necessary 31 Battle Log points to win the game).

 Battle Log Points at the end of turn five, Prussians: 30; British: 38

Author's Note: This was a great game, and a whole lot of fun.  We completed comfortably in one day of play.  I did make an error when calculating the deployment zones.  The main forces began 48 inches apart, whereas they should have been 32 inches apart.  the additional 8 inches deployment space on each side would likely not have been significant for the British, but may have made a difference for the slowest moving Prussian units (particularly the Teutonic Knights and Obrest Hahl).

Unfortunately we did not realise this mistake until the post-game analysis.  In addition, losing the Waltze so early in the game was a significant blow for the Prussians, and there was much muttering about the power of the British field gun and the relative fragility of ironclads. 

These issues aside, the game was a genuinely tense affair, and the tide had definitely turned in the Prussian favour in the last two game turns.  Have we played a sixth turn it's fairly likely the Prussian score would have eclipsed the British points.

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