The DAK, the Germans, with a force cohesion of 15, fielded 5 Panzer III J Platoons, an 1 Panzer IVF2 Platoon, along with 4 Halftracks loaded with infantry, some AAA, and an Artillery Recon vehicle.
The "Amis" had a force cohesion level of 13 (early war) along with 5 Sherman platoons, and 5 Halftrack platoons along with an FO in a jeep and an M20 Recon vehicle. I will get right to the action, but I have some pointed comments on what the GHQ rules offer - and what they don't offer.
Both sides had a Battery of 105mm artillery on stand-by supporting the movement. Under "normal war" this operation might be called a movement to contact, where contact is expected but unknown where it will be.
|Unlike some "other" recent games, the Germans had no trouble moving out this time.|
|Hungry cats on the prowl.|
|US Armor grinding towards the enemy|
|The entire US Force.|
|US Teams break off and move out (note the artillery plot)|
So both units moved out. The Germans chose to send their armor towards the large, open area on their right while sending the 222 recce vehicle towards the oasis to call in artillery fire on the Americans.
The American player had 3 company teams in all - sending one towards the oasis with the command element, and 1 up each flank.
Believe it or not, this game would have been over much faster but the US, even with a 13 cohesion, won the initiative 9 out of 10 turns!!! Staggering!
The US Player launched the halftrack platoon that was backing up the recon team towards the woods to close-assault the Sdkfz 222 Platoon. Remember kids, in GHQ games, dismounting a halftrack costs half of the truck's movement, and half of your troops' movement... Not enough to get there. Horrifyingly they dismount early in front of those 20mm cannons....
|The 222 settles into the cozy oasis and immediately begins to call in artillery fire missions on the advancing americans.|
|US player assaults the 222!!!|
From the pics, you can see the battle unfolding. The German armor makes it precariously towards the American positions as one, combined force. Albeit with inferior tank guns. The Americans dont have enough firepower to win a stand up fight with them as they are too scattered. On the American right flank, the 222 is pushed out of the woods, but not before their ride is blown the hell up from German armour. By now, the half tracks of the German infantry platoon are closing in. You can see in the last pic above the small front of the 251 as it races towards the oasis...
|Close assault! The Germans win the initiative on the turn when the US player REALLY didn't need them to win the initiative.|
|Germans deploy around the oasis. Determined to hold it.|
|View before the German close assault on the oasis.|
|Close assault! Even with a disorganized platoon, the US player knocked out 1 German platoon, before his platoon was KO'd. Not bad! Nice pic too...|
|Halftrack brews up. Defense is a 3 and German attack is a 6. They fire in the +3 column!!!|
|German side of the oasis. Plenty of armor. Everywhere.|
|attack! advance! assault!|
|Germans deploy an infantry company to hold the oasis.|
So the Germans capture the oasis and their armor advances as a solid line on the right. The Americans are in trouble and realize the error of their deployment too late. 1 German tank is suppressed by tank fire - but all of the rest misses. The Americans withdraw and the battle is over with the loss of 2 US Infantry platoons, 1 US Tank platoon, and 2 US Halftrack platoons. THe Germans end up losing only 1 infantry platoon...
|Germans in charge here.|
A few observations from me.
First of all, if you're playing GHQ - make sure your Recon vehicle is up to the task. The only advantage of recon in GHQ is that they get to move on their own initiative and not be penalized for it. Other than that - it's like having a "free" AFV that doesn't need to be under movement orders to go somewhere. I almost always make the Recon platoon my forward observers.
Most games have rules for dealing with infantry close assaults. You should know the rules before planning and ordering a close assault. In this instance - the US player could have been messed up by those 20mm cannon and HMG's from the recon platoon while they were marching towards the objective. Luckily the Germans lost the initiative and they moved into the oasis without a scratch. You can't always count on good dice rolling. You have to have 1 movement point left to carry out the assault. That leaves only 3 other inches to go. And it costs 2 inches just to dismount....
ECONOMY OF FORCE:
Troops need to be up to the task. Not over what you actually need. The US Player should have kept his armor together. It would have made sense to cross-attach 1 tank platoon to the infantry company as support in case they got into trouble. That being said, making the company teams up was a really, really bad idea for a WWII game. You need lots of armor to counter the enemy's armor, and you need lots of highly mobile infantry to counter the enemy's infantry. Combined arms doesn't always mean they fight side by side - it means they fight in concert with each other's actions in a decisive manner.
Artillery Forward Observers:
I am really disappointed in my original branch here... Not only was the artillery practically a no-show but they never got the chance to suppress anything because the FOs were busy either driving around the battlefield, or taking objectives like the Sdkfz 222 in the oasis. The 105mm is a great and awesome projectile and works wonders suppressing tanks and killing infantry in the open. Imagine if the FO would have been stationary in the rear watching the battle unfold in an overwatch position. There would have been free US 105mm shells for everyone, falling everywhere and exactly where it was needed. It was a gunner's dream for both sides and they all missed the opportunity.
You can plan to use the artillery to interdict the enemy's movement and force him to either turn and expose a flank to you but enemy armor doesn't care as much about that so here's my advice:
SHELL THE HALF-TRACKS
Armored vehicles lose 50% of their armor value when being attacked by artillery. And halftracks have even more restrictions. From now on, unless it's a major and concerted effort, I'm going to nail the halftracks with artillery.
Anyways those are my thoughts. Look for a Volley and Bayonet Napoleonic game coming up soon and another WWII game. After that I'll try out some Disposable Heroes rules for moderns, WWII, and the AWI. Yes you heard correctly, the AWI ;)