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The 7th Armourned Division Advances. Total War Event Report
with David Lister

Patton is stealing my supplies!

A few weeks ago the Total War rules where released as a PDF on the Flames Of War website. At that point one of the members of the local gaming club started talking about hiring the hall for an all day event. During the discussion on our forum, the club chairman from Northampton Warlords started posting. The idea of a challenge game grew from there. It was decided that my local club (Cambridge) would host, and provide the Allies. The Germans would be provided by the Northampton club. Due to numbers of people wanting to play we went with two tables, each 18 feet long. All players would bring a 2000 point army.
We had enough armies to field 10,000 points of Russians and a like wise number of US and Commonwealth forces. As terrain would be an issue for both clubs. The Northampton club offered to provide the terrain for the Western front table, and some truly beautiful terrain they provided too. With less than a month to go planning was still going on. At that point I offered to paint up a 2000 point Russian army. This was so another player could use my incomplete Guards Armoured Division, and we could balance the forces better. This threw me into a painting frenzy. At least two other players started buying up models and painting like mad with three of us still painting the day before the event. I also had to buy quite a lot of models. However with just two weeks to go, supply issues cropped up. As I’d managed to buy all the stock of some of the required models.

Luckily, I contacted Empire games. Due to some cracking service from Matt (and possibly a wormhole to deliver the models so quickly), he managed to get me all the tanks and infantry I needed, with the last ones arriving two days before the event started, and that was a replacement. All I can say is thanks!
99 Luftballoons, 88 Dunkelgelb Tigers

On the day of the Event, much to my surprise I’d managed to get everything painted and based. Everyone arrived and the terrain was set up. On the western front, there was one large French village on the south end of the table. An open area with a crop of trees was in the middle of the table. The north end was farmland with patchy tree cover. On the eastern front there was a river valley running down the middle of the table with a pair of small villages on either side. The area was covered with woods and fields.

Tigers halt the advance.
Taking the bridge. Once the terrain was done, the forces where deployed. The Russian army, scarily, stretched for all 18 feet of the table. Shoulder to shoulder. Facing them was an army that had been written by Ambrose. Tigers hundreds of them (or so it looked)! Every bush and field had an 88 in it somewhere.

On the western front I’m sure the Germans where equally worried by the fact they where facing a full regiment of Sextons, along with 14 US 105mm’s and 4 155mm’s. With both sides looking worried at the prospect of engaging one another in battle. It was pointed out by the Cambridge club that since the German tanks had all driven 60 odd miles that morning, they should all broken down and run out of fuel.

Open Fire

About an hour after we planned too we started gaming. I really must stress how much longer everything on this scale takes to complete.  If your doing a Total War game, then allow a lot more time than you think you’ll need. I’ve asked some of the players to do some write ups on their experiences. However, two of the high points I saw where the Germans killing more of their own bases than the Soviets killed on their own side. In a fit of bloodlust, two Fallschirmjager recoilless guns fired despite the back blast rule would kill off their own platoon commander. Earlier, one of the US players brought out a B-29 model for some close air support (we had originally considered making a large mushroom cloud for comedy effect).

Soviet infantry move towards the enemy positions.
Infantry taking cover. Here are those accounts from other players.

Daniel, 7th Armoured Division, North end of the Western front battle:

"The Desert Rats battle began in the crowded start line with the high drama of an air strike... an enemy one... and unfortunately it was aimed directly at the squadron CO! As luck would have it one of the two Stukas was blown out of the sky by a veritable whirlwind of fire from the AAMGs of the eight Sexton's very close behind him.

Finally our turn came around and the Rats sped forward laying down a suppressing fire on the PaK 40's facing them to their left whilst manoeuvring to pass to the right of them and the shadow of the woods.

The Germans unpinned and returned a brisk fire with the PaK 40's and also another air strike. This resulted in the brewing up of another three Cromwell's including a troop commander.

At this point the Recce platoon of three Stuart's had completed it's sneaky end around and to the surprise of the Germans appeared from reserve in the centre behind a group of Panther's, Panzer IV's and self propelled AA and proceeded to open fire killing one of the AA guns.

Back to the main action and with the 2iC taking over the duties of the brewed up troop commander and with the tanks still speeding onwards the RHA boys finally remembered what their real job was and the ground shook to the welcome impacts of a 25pdr barrage on those pesky PaK 40s. 

A mass of Soviet armour
The hardpressed Americans
The barrage combined with the fire of the 3rd tank troop resulted in the timely demise and one of the guns and their repining. The main headline was that the lead tanks had passed into the shadow of the woods and nothing but clear, empty undefended ground lay directly ahead of them. A chance to roll up the flank of the enemy and cause chaos in the rear beckons?

Alas, no as to my horror in front of my tanks from out of reserve appeared a four strong platoon of Tigers! As luck would have it and to my great relief the Tigers seemed to be as surprised to see my boys as they were to see them, their first volley resulting in single bailed out Cromwell. Surprisingly the Stuart's in the centre held up too with only one tank brewed up by a Panther.

I considered pulling back behind the wood and consolidating my now somewhat strung out squadron but I figured speed was of the essence and all the Cromwell's in range speed straight towards the Tigers looking for flank shots whilst one of the two closest Firefly's barged his way through the wood and the other stood his ground and tuned his turret for a good pair of shots... The 17pdrs fired causing two very satisfying explosions as they passed straight through the thick armour of the Tigers. Phew!

At the same time the Stuart's in the centre sped forward managing to get a flank shot on one of the Panthers which unfortunately missed and the 25pdrs still pounding away managed to kill a second PaK40.

StuGs holding the line
The calm before the storm
The Germans responded to this with the expected ferocity, the Panther's making short work of the last two Stuart's in the centre and the remaining two Tigers breaking one of the two leading tank troops engaging them. With the 3rd troop still racing to catch up courtesy of the start line traffic jams, the 2nd troop continued to engage the Tigers with their remaining Firefly and the command Cromwell. Both missed however.

The 2nd troop's Firefly didn't survive the Tigers return of fire and vanished in a large explosion leaving the remaining tank alone and in need of a morale check. Would he stand and face the Tigers with the 3rd troop riding to his support? Alas no. Unfortunately with 3 out of 4 combat troops down this meant a squadron morale check and consequently the Rats decided they'd done their bit and withdrew from the battlefield."

~ Daniel.
Gaming underway Chad, US 8th Infantry Division, Attacking the Village on the South of the Western front battle:

"Well, we in the 8th Infantry Division (maybe it was the 8th, they never told me where I was when I arrived from the depot) ended up next to some Brits in tanks. Don’t know how. But anyway, we were asked to go the edge of a village and hold the position, while the Brits attacked a patchwork of fields on our right. In between us and the Brits was an open area with a few patches of woodland – and that seemed to demarcate the American position from that of the Brits. 

So we were all set to get comfortable in our foxholes, when up shows a company of U.S. tanks on the extreme left of the village, on the other side of the river from us. We became uncomfortably aware that they would want to take the fight to the enemy rather than sit around and get shot, and that likely they would want us to join in their ‘fun’.

Anyhow, soon there was a commotion over in the British sector, with German planes all over the place – I thought those guys didn’t have planes anymore? We could see smoke and stuff over the tree tops, and were sure glad it wasn’t us in there. We could see movement to our front – the Germans were coming through the village and the cornfields on the right of the village.

An 88 opened up on our anti-tank guns which caused a couple of the crews to get outta there – stupid CO put them in the wrong place! Someone was whisperin’ that these Germans were paratroops and they were tough as hell – well I didn’t care who they were, they were coming up against America’s finest!

The U.S. tank company gunned their engines and charged forward, straight down the streets, which seemed to be lined with Germans with funny lookin’ bazooka type things. A big German tank was seen at the end of a street, had a huge gun on it (I think it was a Jadgpanther), but the tankers fired smoke at it and that kept it honest. However, the German infantry in the streets started assaulting the tanks. Our company commander reluctantly released one of his platoons to go and clear the Germans out. Well that didn’t turn out so good. Despite pinning the Germans, when the 3rd platoon went into assault they got cut to pieces and retreated with only three teams remaining. Still, it allowed the tanks to get through the streets with only minor loss, and started shooting up a bunch of assault guns the Germans had brought up over the bridge.

Meanwhile, in the centre and right of the village the Germans had moved into position to fire on us. However, our machine guns opened up and boy did they go to work on one bunch of Germans in the cornfield on the right of the village – we cut ‘em up real good and they were good for nothin’ after that. In the centre the Germans lined up in a church and we exchanged fire with them – we were too well dug in for them to hurt us, and they had good cover from the houses and all, so that shooting match could’ve gone on all day.

All of a sudden a bunch of Fallschirmjäger appeared on our extreme left. They attacked and swept over our mortar platoon, until we bought some LMGs to bear on them which scared ‘em off good. But the other side of the river was mostly in German hands.
British tanks at the jump off point
Still, we were good on our side, and the tank company was still in the fight, though with a few less tanks than it’d started with. They couldn’t go no further into the German position ‘cause of a coupla anti-tank guns. Things looked pretty tight, but then we heard that the Brits had finally done their work on the right flank (thanks to the US, of course), and things seemed to quieten down – the Germans had had enough!"

~ Chad.
A good time had by all Chris, Soviet Armour, North end of the Eastern front:

"The Northern Soviet flank was held by an armoured battalion. T-34's, T-70's and even some IS-2's. They had no objective to defend and only several Tiger's, Jagdpather's, PaK 40's, 88's and an infantry platoon to get through. The reserve artillery kept the Jagdpanther's busy and air power saw to two Tiger's while the armour surged forward using what terrain was available. A combination of too many targets and the arrival of recon elements in the enemies’ rear allowed the T-70's to snatch the only northern objective in an assault. The only contested objective taken in either game."

~ Chris.
Michael, Polish Lancers. South of the 7th armoured, Western front table:

"With heavy heads after late night sampling twenty four ‘liberated’ cases of cognac the 1st Polish Armoured Brigade wondered why the race to Berlin had stalled in France? Eager to see Europe liberated and more importantly replenish now dwindling supplies of medicinal alcohol the Reece Stuarts raced forward to grab the strategically important objective of a schnapps delivery lorry before the battle began.

Not so keen on seeing their schnapps falling into foreign hands a host of Panthers and Panzers gunned their engines and unsportingly opened fire upon a badly hidden Achilles platoon. Realising that being blown to smithereens with a hangover isn’t the best way to spend a morning the remaining Achilles showed how fearless the Poles really were and legged it."
A good time had by all
In three Firefly’s gunners rubbed their hands as the trundling German Tanks rolled into sight. What followed can be best described as pathetic as after lots of smoke and bluster not one enemy tank was halted. Unlike the plucky Stuart's who did what they do best… showing Firefly commanders how to do their jobs and scratch one Panther. The Sexton's prayed for success to little avail.

Annoyed by their ineptitude the three Firefly’s stopped using the ‘special shells’ that last nights drinking partner, an interesting Tank Commander to the name of Oddball, gave them. Low and behold actual AP was somewhat more successful than red paint at stopping a Panther.

The final results
Unfortunately it was too little, too late and the remaining Panther's and Panzer's created a massive Sherman barbeque leaving the Sexton's soft underbelly somewhat exposed. Things were not looking good but thankfully a very lost Enola Gay appeared and her confused crew nuked the battlefield, mistaking it for Nagasaki."

~ Michael.

The good news is a Rematch is already being planned. Hopefully this time we’ll get to play the Germans. I still maintain fielding a full battalion of Tiger II’s is the way forward.

~ David.

Last Updated On Thursday, August 1, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront