Friday, February 4, 2011

FOW Batrep test game for the MG Sperr

Chris came by on Tuesday to give my 1200pt Sperr for Craig's MG weekend at 'Day of Days' a trial run.

I modeled my force on Sperrverband 'Harzer', which was commanded by Oberst Egon Gerhard and fought holding the right flank of the German defense in the Betuwe area. I used the list from 'Hammer and Sickel' and just did not take equipment options that would not have been available for Market Garden. My list was: (Reluctant Veteran) HQ with one PF, 2x Sperr with PF and one HMG each, Full Sperr Pioneers, Full Pak 40 platoon, a pair of 8cm mortars and five Pz IVs (Confident Veteran) detached from a nearby Panzerdivision. I got three Reluctant Trained Panthers as the firestorm troop. Chris made a British Guards Rifle (Confident Veteran) with two infantry platoons, mortars, something else (more infantry?), a Sherman platoon with two Fireflys and a full 25 pdr battery. His Firestorm troop was another Sherman platoon. His boys were actually Germans using British tactics and captured T-34s to represent Shermans, since this was actually a Wehrmacht training exercise!
Since the first round is likely to be Encounter, we played that on my snow table. I had both tank units on the board with the Paks and Pioneers holding the objectives to their left flank. Chris put down the arty behind the village and then had infantry and tanks on his left flank - facing my massed tanks. I raced up my armour and totally smashed his units with the Schwerpunkt.

In order to exploit my initial success, I closed on the remaining infantry with the armoured pincers... This was to be my undoing! 
Brit arty can operate as two separate batteries. So one battery fired ROF 2 AT 9 direct fire into the weak flank of the Panzers, while he positioned two Independent teams to do a followup assault on any bailed survivors. No need though! The accompanying arty barrage from the other half of the battery was enough to force a morale check, which the tanks failed and they went running off the board.
The Panthers pressed forward though, the enemy infantry were still not dug-in and were relying on gtg status to carry them through until reserves arrived. So the plan was for tank mgs to knock them under half. Chris kept helpfully suggesting I assault the infantry as well. Three reluctant TA 1 tanks vs veteran infantry, in bogging terrain, and armed with a PIAT? No thanks!
 Unfortunately for me, Chris also had Brit arty to back up his taunts and I lost a Panther the next turn. So far the exchange was one infantry team for a Panther - not good.

However, I got my reserves and got them in the corner that I needed them in. Sperr infantry Attack! Chris tried pinning these boys down all game - However, who needs Fearless rating when you can roll fives for motivation? I was quite unable to knock off anymore infantry though.
Then Chris got his reserves... Right in that corner too. In fact, right in between my two Panthers. Ruh roh.
But the Panthers live, and bail out a Sherman in return. What's more, additional Sperr infantry arrive to support them and the first wave has been advancing. 
So the lead elements move on the plucky Shermans. Now Sperr infantry actually ARE fearless in assaults vs tanks. They go in, survive defensive fire and kill a tank. However the tanks escape.
All the while, Chris is raining big 'Stonks' and 'Murders' (he can choose to either have rerolls to hit or double-width templates) on the attacking platoons. Mortars join the reserves on the flank but all the intermingled infantry are taking casualties. Worse still, I can't seem to kill the rest of the Shermans with the Panthers. I try another infantry assault but Chris gets enough hits to drive them off this time.
And here is where the courage of my men fails. He takes out the Panthers, then one after another, the other platoons break - leaving a lonely mortar platoon wondering who is running this farce of an operation.

Well done Chris. That was a hard lesson in the limitations of Sperr on attack. Neither of us was taking the game too seriously - but then we were running under the exact battlefield conditions that will be in effect: good relaxed games, a few beers and food to go with it, and all played in the spirit of fun. The game itself definitely has given me something to think about. Chris has even more 'training' to mete out to me sometime soon. Hopefully I can measure up to the challenge of the reluctant troops by 'Day of Days'!


  1. LoL- practicing with your force is cheating!

    Looked like it was a fun game, played in the spirit we are trying to capture.

    I'll be interested to see how the reluctant rating works out.

  2. You know Chris, he'll be thinking about things. I know the lack of recon is troubling him a bit for the TW phase!

    I think encounter is not the best mission for Sperr, but hopefully I get the hang of it.