Dogs and Devils

Operation Fischfang Battle Report
by Jochen Schreiber & Kit Goldsbury

We managed to corral two play testers to do a battle report using Ken’s Operation Fischfang scenario. We even managed to get a real German officer to conduct the counterattack. Unfortunately though, we had to settle for a New Zealand lawyer to lead the Americans. However, it made for an interesting game so let’s see who won.

Read more about Operation Fischfang here...

Download a PDF version of the Operation Fischfang scenario here...

Pre-Game Thoughts

German Commander - Herr Schreiber

Having played this mission before, and against Kit, I knew I could not sit idle or make mistakes or Kit would exploit them. Time is your worst enemy and you have to rely on the forces on the table to do the job. You should not rely on your reserves because they arrive in the village and you can never be certain if they will show up, but if they arrive early, they have a chance to do some serious damage.

My plan was to deploy my attack force on the left hand side with only one grenadier platoon on the right to deal with the infantry deployed there and to threaten that objective. The HMGs would be in the centre giving fire support to both flanks when needed. The indirect fire would support an assault to reduce the enemy platoon strength to allow me to break it. Ideally we would be fighting over the road which would allow me to retreat after the first attack back into bullet proof cover and setting up the next assault onto the objective. However, to make this work I had to lure the enemy infantry onto the bank and then break them in one round of assault. There is only one reason why his infantry would leave their fox holes to meet me at the bank, so I had to make sure he could not observe my advance otherwise his artillery would easily range in on my advancing infantry. So, I formulated a plan to kill the AOP in the first turn. By not requesting an air strike in my turn I had a full dice pool for interceptors in Kit’s first turn and that should take care of the AOP, no matter if he gets air support or not. Having the observation tower that allows your observers to see everything should give me an advantage in the first couple of turns to decimate Kit’s forces. Well, having said that, let’s see what my opponent thinks of my plans.

Let the dice rolling begin.

American Commander - Kit Goldsury

The plan is basically do a Stonewall Jackson and hold the line of the road embankment against all comers.  I realised I needed to get the embankment and set up observation posts so that my superior artillery can pound the German attack into scrap metal.  With any sort of decent observation post I will turn this Fischfang into a fish finger!  Accordingly I deployed my two large infantry platoons in a cordon, each with an attached LMG and placed my 60mm mortar platoon in the middle of my deployment zone – these platoons would rush to the embankment and establish a firing line from which I could call in my not inconsiderable artillery.  My 90mm AA guns were deployed in the woods close to the railway tunnel to take advantage of their long range and hitting power to stop any Panzers that might try a dash up the road.  My 155mm artillery battery and FDC were deployed in woods and a small tree line close to the 4.2 inch mortars and the 90mm guns for the purpose of being able to fire a co-coordinated bombardment.  My 105mm battery I deployed behind the infantry platoon on my right flank, as it has a Staff team it does not need to be within command distance of the FDC in order to fire as part of a co-coordinated bombardment.  My company commander was deployed bang smack in the middle of my deployment zone, within command range of the infantry platoons, the 60mm mortars and the 155mm battery.


Below: The forces deployed before the battle. Amercians on the left and Germans on the right.
Deployment
German Infiltration (See the scenario rules)

My Panzergrenadiers accompanied by the Company Commander and 2 Panzerschreck teams and a mortar observer bravely moved ahead of the Kampfgruppe in an effort to secure a position at the road embankment before the Americans notice this and call in their devastating artillery bombardment.
The Germans advance
Turn One

German

With the promises of further reinforcements arriving soon the whole Kampfgruppe advanced towards the road using its cover to gain ground quickly and hopefully surprising the Americans. My Panzergrenadiers sent a couple of teams up the bank to report back on the deployment of any enemy troops they could identify while the rest of the assault force gathered in its staging area ready to overrun once the artillery fire had pinned the Americans. The 105 battery opened up with excellent fire direction from the observation tower but only managed to pin the 155s and a platoon of infantry. The mortars joined the fight and manage to further pin the enemy mortars and the FDC. However, the enemy had prepared well and no casualties could be inflicted. The Luftwaffe was reluctant to give away its surprise and the commander decided to wait for the allies to attack. The assault platoons and tanks advanced further under the cover of the bombardment with the HMGs supplying over watch.

Below: An overview of the German turn.
German Turn One
American

I received air support and the Luftwaffe promptly rolls to intercept and chooses to drive off my AOP!  I move one of my infantry platoons on my left flank up to the road embankment along with the 60mm mortars.  Given the large amounts of Germans coming towards my right flank, I decide to await developments with my second infantry platoon.  My air support gives me three planes! They zero in on a huge concentration of Panzers and infantry (two tanks and about 7 infantry teams under the template! Oh goody!).  Then I fail to spot any targets, so no planes at all – thanks very much.  My artillery fire at a Panzergrenadier platoon and inflicts three hits (but no kills) and pins them.  Using the 90mm guns as the spotting team I fire a co-coordinated bombardment on to a Grenadier platoon moving down the road toward the tunnel – I score four hits (miserable given that the template covers the entire platoon) and achieve one kill, pinning down this platoon as well.

Turn Two

German

Good, my plan has worked; the AOP was successfully scared off by my fighter interceptors. With such good news all my troops unpinned from the previous bombardment and continued to form up for the assault over the road. The Panzers on the left hand side took fire positions to give covering fire for the Grenadiers on the right flank which were supported by three Panthers arriving as promised and quickly deployed in the village to bring the long range guns to good use.

The Germans move up to the road
The Panthers arrive Two Stukas were flying overhead ready to drop their bombs on target when they were surprised and shot down by enemy interceptors. Was this a sign of things to come, should the assault on the right hand flank be held off? All platoons started to open up to cover the right hand flank assault. The Grenadiers on the right hand side fired three shots with one hit on the infantry on the road that they had lined up for their assault. A good start. The Panthers joined in and scored another hit. The HMGs had remained stationary and utilised their incredible firepower of 18 shots (the left hand team had no clear line of fire, resulting in a single hit. Things started to look grim, did I have to use all my units just to pin a single platoon? 
The Panzergrenadiers saved the day by adding four hits and the first kill. The Panzers also shot at the infantry hoping that their rounds would inflict some casualties, but managed only one more hit, no further kills. The artillery repeated at the same target managing only to pin the 155s and infantry again. The mortars fared better managing to hit two infantry teams and a gun team on the road killing one of each. The Grenadiers on the left hand side had two teams at the top of the road sniping a 105, but could not get past the gun shield. The Grenadiers on the right motivated by the shear amount of firepower that suppressed their target immediately started the assault. Defensive fire was not able to pin them or even hurt them. The initial attack claimed all three enemy teams in range. However the Americans did not seem impressed killing one infantry and a mortar observer in the counterattack. With only three enemy teams in range the Grenadiers could only manage to kill two more. The final counterattack from the enemy resulted in three more dead teams forcing the Grenadiers back. Seeing their platoon diminish that quickly, the survivors retired from the battle. Using their initiative, the HMGs, Panthers and Grenadiers on the left flank all advanced to better positions.

Below: An overview of the German turn.
Overview of German Turn Two
American

Well, no mucking about by the Germans! Fortunately I have staved off that German assault on my left flank, but have both infantry pinned as well as the 60mm mortars and the 155mm guns.  I roll for air support and get one plane.  The infantry platoon on my left flank unpins but everyone else remains pinned! I fire an FDC bombardment on to a Panzer platoon, a Grenadier platoon and a Panzergrenadier platoon menacing my right flank – I manage to kill a Panzer III, a mortar observer and an infantry team. 

A P-47 strikes

Hardly the effective artillery support I was expecting; if this keeps up I shall complain to Eisenhower.  Along with this my rifle platoon lining the embankment fires a total of 8 shots at the German HMGs and get a single hit, which is promptly saved.  Fortunately my plane roars in and even with the re-rolls managed to kill three infantry teams from two different platoons.  Then a pinned 155mm gun fires at a Panzerschreck team that has made it to the embankment and hits on a six! The saving throw is failed and the firepower roll is a mere formality.  Scratch one Panzershcreck team, all things considered a disappointing round of shooting.

Below: An overview of the American turn.

An overview of the American turn
The Germans move over the road Turn Three

German

Again all troops stayed motivated and unpinned. The left hand side assault was set in motion by the Panzergrenadiers and Grenadiers moving across the road and the Panzers taking up positions on the road. The Panthers moved forward to engage the guns protecting the bridge and two Elefants arrived in the village. The Luftwaffe had sent another Stuka but it received the same welcome as the first Staffel. Knowing that time was running out and the Americans would get reinforced soon all platoons concentrated on getting the combined attack of the infantry to break the Americans. The artillery failed to range in on the 105s leaving it to the Panzers to pin them without casualties.
The mortars managed to pin the dug-in infantry, but alas, no kill. The infantry shot at the same target but did not do any damage. The HMGs, having only one target, opened up and managed to kill two teams in bullet proof cover on the road. At last they know how to shoot. The remaining tanks tried to get long range shots through the gap, but failed to hit anything. Being in the open and knowing the urgency of their task the Panzergrenadiers bravely assaulted the infantry in front of them only to be pinned down by the defensive fire and losing one team. The Grenadiers also tried to overcome the defenders, but suffered the same fate with 5 hits killing enough to force a moral check which they failed. The C.O. tried to motivate them to stay, but seeing the desperate situation failed to do so and was lost in the confusion. Things were looking grim and the Panzers decided to take cover behind the embankment rather than facing all those guns. One Panzer IV H could not manage to reverse down the bank and got stuck at the crest. The tanks on the right hand side, knowing that they had to help out rushed forward to put pressure on to the American flank.

Below: An overview of the German turn.
An overview of the German turn
American

A further German assault, this time on my right flank is held, barely.  Those attached LMGs have really earned their pay.  Time to unpin and advance to drive off the Boche on the right!  Needing air support I helpfully receive none.  I successfully roll for reserves and that’s lucky because like Stonewall Jackson at Bull Run, I am beginning to need them.  On rumbles a platoon of Sherman.  My rifle platoons unpin and I advance the rifle platoon on my left flank down the embankment and towards the troublesome German HMGs.  The 105mm battery remains pinned, but the 155mm unpin. 

The Shermans arrive
Firing, the rifle platoon hit the HMGs once, which is saved and the 60mm mortars completely miss the HMGs – who are in command of these boys, Gomer Pyle? Anyway, better success with the pinned 105mm who fire at the Panzer IV on the embankment and kill it. The 155mm, 90mm and 4.2 inch mortars FDC bombard the Panzer platoon and bails the other Panzer IV, in conjunction with the recently arrived Sherman tanks hitting the two remaining Panzer IIIs and bailing them leads to a platoon morale test which the Panzers pass.  The rifle platoon on my right flank then fire at the pinned German Grenadiers in front of them hitting 10 times and killing two rifle/MG teams – this is followed by an assault which wipes out the Grenadier platoon and puts them in range of a break through assault on the Panzer platoon – unfortunately they fail their Tank Terror test as they had three bailed Panzers at their mercy without a shred of support!

Below: An overview of the American turn.
An overview of the American turn
Tigers and Elefants in the Village Turn Four

German

Both flanks started to collapse and desperately needed reinforcements. It arrived with two Tiger tanks in the village. The left hand flank however, was sparsely defended with the two remaining Panzers. They opened up at the Shermans, killing one and bailing two. The artillery joined in and managed to range in on two Shermans, one 105 and an LMG team killing the latter.
The HMGs kept shooting at anything that moved, however they must be seeing the local fauna. Their bullets managed to pin the infantry platoon in the process. Neither the mortars nor any tank on the right flank managed to damage or pin the 90mm guns. And the initiative slowly came to a halt with all troops reconsidering their positions.

Below: An overview of the German turn.
An overview of the German turn
American

My side of the table is starting to get crowded! It’s time for Stonewall Jackson to lead the counter attack that will drive the Yankees from the field! Hmmm, that might be the wrong war, but the general concept is sound.  I roll for air and get: 1 plane – you can bet that I am writing to the Pentagon after this is over.  My rifle platoon within assault range of the Panzers does not unpin.  My rifle platoon opposite the German HMGs does unpin.  The 105mm remain pinned, one Sherman tank remounts and two more platoons arrive from reserve – the Tank Destroyers and the third rifle platoon.  The unpinned rifle platoon heroically charges over the embankment in just the manner of their Virginia forebears, straight at the German HMG platoon!  The Tank Destroyers move up next to the Sherman tanks to begin riding down the Panzer platoon that stubbornly holds the embankment on my right flank.  The rifle platoon charging the HMGs hits them 5 times and kills 2 HMGs and the command team. 

Shooting it out
The 60mm mortars hit one HMG and kill it.  The German HMGs fail their morale and are off – that’s the fourth German platoon that has bitten the dust.  The 155 abandon FDC and fire a bombardment at the panzers that save both hits.  The 105 who are pinned fire at the panzers direct and all miss.  The Sherman tanks fire at the Panzers and get two hits, which are saved.  The Tank Destroyers fire at the Panzers and get no hits.  A Bazooka team fires at the Panzers and also misses.  Then a small boy reminiscent of Thomas Sawyer fires a sling shot at the Panzers, which also misses.  On the other flank the 90mm AA guns fire at the oncoming Panthers and hit them twice, but both hits are at long range and are saved.  Don’t quite know how the Yankees, I mean the Germans, survived that one, Stonewall.

Below: An overview of the American turn.
Overview of the American turn
Turn Five

German

With platoons dwindling the remaining Grenadier platoon arrived in the village and dashed towards the centre ready to disembark. The Tigers moved towards the enemy infantry with one Panther flanking them on the small side road. Then those three tanks opened up killing all 6 infantry teams in range of their machine guns, but the stubborn platoon would not run away. The remaining Panther and Elefant still could not manage to hit the 90mm.The mortars trying to relieve the pressure on the Panzers managed to pin the infantry without any kills. The artillery ranged in on three tank destroyers, two Shermans and an infantry team, killing the infantry and bailing a Tank Destroyer.

More reserves for the Germans
Knowing that by now they could only win if they destroyed enough platoons the Panzers split their fire. The 75mm gun did not manage to hit any Shermans, but the 50mm managed to bail all three remaining tank destroyers. One of them failed the double bail and then the platoon retreated. The Luftwaffe had sent another Stuka, but flying too cautiously it failed to drop its bombs on target. Not knowing what the situation was, the Grenadiers failed to disembark and only the Panther platoon moved forward to finally deal with those 90mm guns.

Below: An overview of the German turn.
Overview of the German turn
American

How annoying! The Tank Destroyers under the combined fire of the Panzers and the German artillery have decamped!  I get further air support, which the Luftwaffe intercepts.  My rifle platoon pinned down under the Panzers unpin and my second rifle platoon over the embankment remains pinned but as it has been under the galling fire of the tigers and mortars, it just lies down in the mud and prays.  The 105mm battery unpins and it looks as though at last we might have enough firepower to break up this German attack.  The rifle platoon on my right flank moves teams across the embankment and on to the flank of the Panzers for an assault.  The third rifle platoon moves up to the embankment to replace the platoon that charged across at the HMGs last turn.  Firing – the FDC bombards the recently arrived German Panzergrenadier platoon and hits two trucks and a staff car – all saving rolls are failed along with all passenger saves! The platoon morale of this platoon fails. 

90mm AA guns and Panthers trade shots
The FDC also hits a tiger and kills it.  The 155mm fail to range in on the Elefants!  The Sherman tanks fire at the stubborn Panzer platoon and only hit one Panzer III, which makes its armour save.  A bazooka fires at the same Panzer III, but misses.  Huckleberry Finn appears and the rifle platoon assaults the Panzers from the flank, walking through the defensive fire and after two rounds of fighting on the embankment, during which time the Panzer IV bogs, the remaining two are destroyed or bailed by the US rifles and the Panzer platoon is no more.  The Germans have now lost 6 platoons out of 11 and along with the unseemly rout of their company commander during the third German turn, the German force is broken.
The fatal blow inflicted on the Germans
Conclusions

German

The outcome of the battle was – well – historical. The infantry was not able to push through leaving the remainder of the force vulnerable and forced to retreat. If only we could have made it to the forest. And it all started well. I managed to get rid of that AOP but from then on it went downhill. The Grenadiers failing to run off the infantry near the bridge and then the abysmal killing rate did not help my strategy. Would I do it again like this? Yes, of course, maybe change flanks to keep my opponent guessing, but the approach is sound. Despite the loss it was a great game. Kudos and thanks to Kit for providing this enjoyable evening here at Battlefront HQ.

~ Jochen.

American

Well, I wouldn’t put it up there with Bunker Hill or Chancellorsville, but it was a decisive US victory nonetheless.  Jochen adopted the only feasible approach with a quick no nonsense advance, my only change would be that I would have attached the HMGs to the Grenadier platoons.  My defensive fire was crucial and I was lucky with the rolling for the reserves once turn three came.  But then Stonewall Jackson was always in the right place at the right time…except that once.
  
~ Kit.

Want To Know More About Dogs and Devils Releases?

Dogs and Devils Design Notes...

Dogs and Devils Pre-release Guide...

The "Devil's Brigade" Platoon (US748)...

Assault Platoon (Late) (US749)...

HG Company HQ (GE801)...

HG Panzergrenadier Platoon (GE803)...

HG Pioneer Platoon (GE807)...

HG 15cm sIG33 gun (GE559)...

HG Heavy Platoon (GE804)...

M5 3" Towed Tank Destroyer Platoon (UBX22)...


Para M2A1 105mm Howitzer (US573)...


M51 Quad .50cal AA (US547)...


HG 7.5cm PaK40 gun (GE522)...


"The Devil's Brigade" Special Service Force (UBX19)...

HG 7.5cm leIG18 gun (GE558)...

Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery Platoon (UBX20)...


Last Updated On Friday, June 25, 2010 by Blake at Battlefront