Monday, February 24, 2020

IRON CROSS: Outside Carentan

Dave was over on Sunday and we played a 15mm game of Iron Cross, which is my favorite scale to play Iron Cross in.

Germans coming from the upper right.  We only used 4 x 4 of the playing surface.
 We refought the attack by the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division counterattack against Douville Farm on June 13th against elements of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and Combat Command A, 2nd Armored Division.  This was alot of fun!  We're playing with a relatively small amount of points/units (400 points, about 12 units per side) which means you run out of command tokens quick!

Situation Map.  

Road leading past the Douville Farm.  Note the craters from continuous German shelling.  The weary paratroopers are holding on but not for much longer!  
 Dave gets his reinforcements pretty quick and surges the tanks down the road towards the main highway, past the American troops in and around Douville.  They know the Germans are coming from that direction!

 I immediately use the majority of my command tokens to push the dismounted panzer grenadiers up to the hedgerows.  My support weapons have not made it, yet.  While I need the Stug's firepower, they're busy dealing with the expected American counterattack.

troopers from the 17th SS - "Götz von Berlichingen"
 Pretty cool here that both my American and SS troops are getting their baptism of fire on the table today!  This is the first time i've used both of them in a game.  Meanwhile, Shermans from 2nd Armored careen around a corner and a knife fight begins between the Shermans and the Stug.  One of my hits causes maximum damage, but Dave has Lafayette Pool in one of his tanks and they rally (rolling a 6 for a company morale check) next turn!  Dave KO's a Stug with a flank shot down the road.

So what if we used Lichen for hedgerows.  It looks cool!

Dave brought his Canadian Shermans over.  You get the idea though!  Just pretend they're American!
Iron Cross tends to zoom in on the action and the players can fixate on one particular portion of the field.  Dave has an HMG section covering the cow pasture I am looking at using the woods to the left of to advance against the farm buildings.  Some good shooting from the SS schutzen takes out the US HMG section and so far the coast is clear!  Dave has an AT gun (57mm) at the farm, however, covering the cow pasture.  It makes my life and crossing this field very difficult.
Stug taken out by the Sherman down the road.  Meanwhile a squad of troops has a morale marker and an activation token.

Germans push up through the woods, taking a covered route to the farm!
 I begin aggressively pushing infantry up through the woods to get in position to flank the farm.  Dave's infantry will be coming on and moving right towards those woods to blunt my assault!
More Germans pushing up.  You can make out the yellow-ish walls of the farm house to the right.  Dave's reinforcements start to arrive now...
We used bazooka and panzerschrecke stands to mark which squads had organic AT capability.

massive firefight develops in the southwestern woods as reinforcing infantry from 2nd Armored Division pour in.  They set up an HMG section and it wreaks havoc on my advancing squads.  

SS Schutzen claw their way through the light forest under fire
 One of the pivotal moves of the game is when Dave gets another HMG section and moves it into position to cover the west woods where my German Schutzen platoon is coming up.  it's a great position in the covered hedgerow and they earn maximum payback for the loss of the HMG section earlier!  It completely blunts my assault.  If I had my HMG section up front with me this might not have been so dramatic!

Dave's HMG section chewing up my infantry in the woods!  

GI's from CCA / 2nd AD advance past the Douville farm and the paratroopers

Germans in the woods

The 17th SS troops along the south hedgerows attempt to cross.  My HMG would REALLY have been of great use up front where the fighting is!
 By now it's pretty obvious my attack is starting to peter out.  All of my lead squads have a number of morale markers on them and even when I rally one, Dave activates that blasted HMG the next go-around and causes markers again.  With my fire support platform, the Stugs, tied down at the line of departure tangling with Shermans, I call it on turn 6 as Dave has up to 2 or 3 squads in the farmhouse!  The 17th SS attack is blunted - just as happened historically.

Stug III on the right will eventually be knocked out by the Shermans but there were ALOT of missed rounds flying around this battlefield!

It's important to note that my gepanzerte panzergrenadiers never got to get off the line of departure as the 2 x Shermans were waiting there to ambush them.  The presence of 2 x additional squads would have bolstered the attack and I could have used teh MGs in the halftracks to help keep the GI's heads down!

Worth mentioning that my mortar was pretty underwhelming here but the HE from stugs, AT guns, and fire from HMGs is outstanding.  You need to protect your crew served weapons with infantry in iron cross and use combined arms with the arms mutually supporting one another.  Additionally, your flanks are important in constricted terrain and I should have put out flanking squads to guard against Dave sending those Shermans down the lane.  All in all it was a great, fun engagement and perfect for a Sunday afternoon.  Playing on the table, however, made me think I'd love to play this battle out using Battlegroup: Overlord and see how it plays.  Honestly, on a 4 x 4 table I'll bet the forces would come to grips pretty quickly!

Let's get outta here!  The rest of the infantry and our armored escorts are toast!


  1. Great looking game and well told little action. The eye-level photo with Sherman in foreground, STuG in background, and telephone poles receding in the distance is my favorite shot of the game. Nice job!

    1. Thank you Jonathan! I wanted to make that pic you're talking about black and white I think that would look neat.

  2. +1. Nice story and very nicely photographed.

    I notice that Great Escape Games have recently put up new army lists as downloads on their site to include 1940 orders-of-battle. Last time I spoke with them, they said they were 95% ready with a North Africa module.

    1. Thank you Norm. I know they have a stalingrad supplement out there now. A north Africa one would be excellent as my DAK tanks are spoiling for a fight!

  3. Super report and with a great set of low level rules

    1. Thank you sir! Ive always liked the games that Iron Cross produces. Lots of back and forth action between players and I also appreciate the exciting things that can pop up during a turn (ie needing a 6 to activate or react and he gets a 6, etc) it plays out like a narrative of WW2 combat and I appreciate that.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Steve! Glad you enjoyed it - we had a blast playing and I hope that came across.

  5. Superb looking Steve - and great commentary.
    These rules always provide some great action - and exciting to read.
    Some epic pics there too!

    1. Thanks Darren! It was a ton of fun! I don't play nearly enough Iron Cross.

  6. Nice report and pics...I quite like Iron cross too but some odd things can happen...your comment about players becoming fixated made me laugh...we once ha a game where "the other guy" used up almost all his activations repeatedly trying to wipe out one infantry unit....then our side had about eight activations to use with no response possible...that's when one of the "odd thing" happened ...we trundled up to his armour and took it out with short range slots in the rear armour...and he couldn't do a thing about it...giddy fun though..he hasn't made that mistake again!

    1. Cheers Sir! Yes, Iron Cross can be very unforgiving and an inexperienced player (hell, even an experienced player) can find that out the hard way!!!

  7. Great report again Steve! Always enjoy them and they continually show you don’t need big games and involved rules to have fun. Surely that’s why we do the hobby!

  8. Great report as always Steve. Just shows again, you don’t need masses of figures or big tables to have fun.