This is a 3000 point QB ME. I have opted to play the Italians (I love playing the whoppers!). It is 1943, and august... a good time in CMAK world to be Italian... (LA LA LA LA LA LA LAAA). We'll be playing in medium rural terrain with gentle slopes and medium damage on a LARGE battlefield...
So what we'll most likely have is a very infantry friendly battle... (yes, yes, I know... I'm such a ghey infantry fag...)
In 1943, the Italians have two real strengths: access to some very decent and deadly Italian Folgore units that have high ammo loads, and 9 SMG's per squad. The other is that they have access to the Brixia mortar... a 45mm 80 ammo load pinning machine...
Some other niceties about the Luigi's is that they also have a lot of cheap HEHE - High Explosive [ENG]
in the form of Semovente 75mm Assault Guns...
Now, I know what your thinking... Leto is stacking the odd's in his favor again... well... what I am going to try to prove to my adoring fans (yes, the hate mail is still piling up) is that when you are in a fight... especially an ME... you do not need to get to the flag first...
Yes, yes, I know... the whole POS argument that if you get there first, it's like having a straight on attack defend QB instead of an ME, with you defending... but here is the catch... the enemy who heads for the flags first will not always get there out of site and be hidden... they need to take that ground, and often, they need to face some withering fire to get to that ground... that enemy has to expose itself...
So you see, the advantage is not always clearly demarcated. Especially if you are facing me... I am often very happy to let you take the flags when you fight against me... cause I know that I am prepared.
In this battle I've brought along a few tools just for that...
I've purchased 4 platoons of Semovente 75/18:
8 Regular SMVTE
8 GREEN SMVTE
These tanks are no match for the Sherman or M10 at range... so I will only be using them in an anti infantry role where possible, and if I can overload against an enemy tank or two at short distance, I may use them in a tank destroyer role... but only if odds favor me.
I've also bought a battalion of Blackshirts... they are merely fodder and are to be used for holding ground. For 980 points, you also get 6 brixia mortars dirt cheap... so that's cool.
I've also bought a company of Folgore paratroopers... they come with four 47mm ATAT - Anti-Tank [ENG]
guns (decent at close to medium range against Shermans). The Folgore paratrooper company will be used in assaulting the flags that I think will be potentially most well defended... and where they will be most useful in terms of terrain... so flags in the woods will definately be the main area they will be unleashed upon...
I've also bought two 75mm Field guns... 6 trucks (conscript) to haul all 6 guns.
Lastly, and perhaps most iniquitous of my purchases are nine 81mm mortars... each Italian 81 has 40 HE and can cause havoc on yank infantry.
My thesis is thus: It is not tanks that win battles, but infantry... infantry is needed to hold the flags... but... if that infantry is neutralized... with a crapload of HE... then tanks must hold the flags... and when that happens... my AT assets will be used...
I know... stunning plan ain't it? Guaranteed it won't make it past turn 10...
Skilgannon is a highly competent opponent and CM player... I've never played him before, and thus I do not know his habits or have any real intelligence on his playing style... so I have no idea what to expect....
The stock pick kit for an American player would be the following:
and sundry items of nastiness... perhaps an arty spotter.
As I am playing the italians, there it little chance that I can afford to pick the nastier panzers of the German ilk... so it makes sense to go with the generic and cheaper american tank picks with lots of HE...
The american rifle companies are superior to my Legion of Blackshirts, but I do not plan on getting into any firefights with the Americans unless I have my mortars fully behind me, pinning the Yanks... the Folgore are superior... and thus do not need as much support... but I will still out them with some indirect arty support.
This should be a fun little exercise... I hope you all enjoy... feel free to ask questions, make stupid comments, or just make fun of me... all is good.
Wow. What a large map... I'll show it to you guys next turn, but there are no roads, lots of terrain, and very few ways for AFV's to make it to the flags. I'm not sure if it will hinder or hurt me... Thinking now that perhaps the Folgore Battalion may have been the way to go, as I foresee a lot of close fighting. IT's going to be medevial and brutal, with each side positioning its guns and artillery on the opposite side of the flags, and pounding away at the others infantry... with AFV's not really having much of a chance to get into the mix.
Skil has told me he picked Canadians (bastard is making me fight my own countrymen!) and if that holds true... his PIAT's may be a real worry for me. The Semovente's are not invincible tracked boxes of might and fury... and can be easily dispatched by a Projective Infantry Anti Tank weapon quite easily.
Once you see the map, you'll know what I mean... a thick swath of trees, woods and rock pretty much separate the map down the center of the two engaging sides...
Well, still not sure what ole skilly will throw at me, but just a few comments on the strategy of my kit selection:
1) A crapload of HE.
Now, many of you are thinking that buying a lot of cheap HE meatball chucking Italiano tanks is a recipe for disaster, especially if the Allies have superior tanks. All that HE will be burned to a crisp after a Sherman or M-10 platoon chew the nuts of the Italian tankers. First of all:
a) Tanks in world war 2 as in CM, were not the winged horses of the cavalry charge as some people try to use them in this game. Tankers were very anxious (and justifiably so) of getting the crap shot out of them by hidden AT guns, other tanks and tank destroyers... not to mention infantry AT assets. Tanks were used conservatively, and in this wonderful game of CM, it pays to use them conservatively as well. Indirect fire is perhaps the most underrated tool in the game... especially against other armored units. It is very easy to use tactics that keyhole your own vehicles to indirect fire into enemy positions and not allow direct LOSLOS - Line of Sight [ENG]
back onto your tanks. This is why my argument for using green and conscript tankers is prevalent: the green crews weren't really expected to engage the enemy armor... they were just there to chuck HE at anything that moved... and usually from a distance or a particularly safe hiding place.
b) Scoot and shoot was a VALID tactic, and moving around and anticipating your enemies movements is key. There were several games that I have played in the past where I faced TigersPzKpfw VI Tiger - Panzerkampfwagen VI
and successfully took them on with Priests, or lesser armor, as I kept the enemy on his feet, kept moving around my own assets and attacking from different keyholes and flanks, and basically attacked them at range indirectly, not allowing the Tigers to return fire. All the time, the Tigers would be trying to find range and LOS on my constantly moving assets, my AT guns and infantry AT assets were being moved into range... and before you know it, the Tigers forgot about these little potential problems and I was able to get in a few attacks from infantry based weapons as my enemy became intent on destroying my own armor.
c) Tanks in an indirect role should always engage infantry. Don't direct target them, as they may go icon on you or hide, or move... indirect fire is always best. Even if you know there is an enemy tank in the area, and that you're green HE chucker is vulnerable, give order to blast away with about 4-5 shots and then begin moving backwards with a delayed pause or retreat EVERY TURN. This allows you for quick getaways as you already are beginning to move in your orders phase. If you're enemy tanks and AT assets are hot to trot for killing your own tanks that are potting up his infantry, having QUANTITY is a bonus, as you can move about and attack from different angles and perspectives... he goes after one tank, you move in from another area the next turn to engage the enemy as your other tank begins retreating. This drives some opponents absolutely caged monkey mental.
d) At the end of the day, you are not worried about losing a few cheap tanks, for you will... but by then, you should be devious enough to know that the loss of those tanks will have set up AT ambushes and infantry infiltration inside enemy armor safe zones. Look for opportunities and don't always pull the trigger on the first LOS contact you have.
2) A crapload of crappy infantry.
No matter who they are, what their FP rating is, and how green they are, infantry must be attacked and systematically cleared from a flag area. IF you buy crappy infantry to hold the land, you have more kit dollars to buy the HE necessary to make that enemy attack a real dear one. Besides, your infantry will sneak and hide and move around as much as possible to deter the enemy using HE back against you. Only when you think you need to attack a position or flag, then Veterans or SMGSMG - Submachine Gun [ENG]
or superior troops should be purchased. I always try to buy at least a company of SMG troops or a company or platoon of Vet troops just for this purpose.
3) A crapload of make you crappy in your pants if you are infantry indirect onboard artillery.
Okay, here is the real litmus test. Can I defend and attack against superior infantry and tanks by using 360 rounds of 81mm HE indirect mortar fire and 480 rounds or 45mm mortar fire? These puppies are beautiful weapons and are the most devestating if strategically used. The Meatballers have lots of HQHQ - Headquarters [ENG]
, and sometimes that makes up for their crappy infantry ratings... many 2 unit HQ units that can sneak around and be used as spotters. For every platoon of Italians, I have at LEAST 2 officers in the vicinity that can command troops (and give bonuses) and spot for out of site mortars. This gives me a great deal of flexibility with respect to where I can drop those mortar shells and how concentrated. The Brixia are nothing more than an attack or pin weapon... basically you fire these at troops in the open, fire them at troops entrenched or defending, ONLY if you are going to attack. This pins the enemy infantry and allows a pathetic little Italian rifle unit to get in close and unload with its paltry 98 FP. Get two or three Pathetic little Italian riflemen firing on an enemy unit pinned by a Brixia mortar (and his M8's getting pinned by other Brixia's and thus do not return fire but intermittantly) that enemy unit will break in one turn and is done for the game. Those of you have played this game for awhile know that you need to concentrate your fire on one unit per turn, destroy it, or break it, and then move on to the next... one on one fire is for chumps. If you are in a one on one situation, get out of it, or hide. No need risking getting pinned or panicked without any benefit coming to it. You only attack when you have the numbers, or the enemy is within 40m in the open and charging on your position.
EH! MARIO! U PUTTA ON DA FUNNY RACCOON SUIT, AND I, LUIGI, WILLA EATA DA BEEG BEEG MUSHA ROOM!! DEN WE KICK A DER ASSES, NO?
AH YES, LUIGI, AND THEN I MARIO, AND YOU LUIGI, WILL RIPPA DA NUTZ OFF A DA SKILGANNON, AND A MAKE A MOZZA BALL ZOOP, EH?
DAT SOUNDSA GOOD, MARIO!! AFTER THAT WE CAN A DOUBLE PENETRATE THE PRINCESS IN A BIG A SWEATY PILE!!
GOOD A IDEA LUIGI! BUT I, MARIO, GET A TOTO - Těžké opevnění [CS]
FARG HER IN THE HER BIG BELLA ICEHOLE!
And therein lies my strategy. Good plan, eh?
THE MAP is a humdinger:
As you can see, there are basically three flags and an ocean of battleground to use to get at them. I first considered making a surgical all or nothing strike down the left hand side of the map (it has the only road infrastructure) with half of my tanks and an Legion scout platoon and see what damage I could do... but the intricacies of manuevering in enemy backfield territory are much to complex and dangerous (I cowered my chicken ass out of the idea in other words).
I did send up a Sgt HQ and an ATRATR - Anti-Tank Rifle [ENG]
rifle to guard the road against marauding villains in scout cars... (let's hope scout cars and not tanks). On the right flank, I also noticed some open ground for which Skil can move through to my side... a 47mm AT gun and an ATR will move to close that out. (Canadian rifle battalion kits come with six 57mm guns, 4 MMGMMG - Medium Machinegun [ENG]
carriers, quite a few Bren carriers and 3 Universal carriers... so he will have a lot of scouting and fast recon tools... I need to be aware of this!)
Basically, the plan is simple, flood the back parts of the flags on my side with troops and mortars and tanks... and wait for the enemy... as the map is such a clusterfuck, I will try to identify key terrain points along the way, and how I deal with them.
Simply put, my Folgore' (1 platoon) is moving up fast as tankriders to get to the wooded flag on the left... the rest of the company is coming up behind. A legion scout platoon and AT gun protects the flanks of the Folgore, and another Legion rifle platoon the other flank. Two guns move up in trucks for positioning around the flags.
The one flag on the right will be attended to by 2 companies of Legionairre's. I am moving the 6 Brixia mortars and 2 HQ on the backs of my Semovente's to get quick support units in place. Two more truck bound guns move along with them.
I've opted to spread out my men and when I begin getting into position will start to talk about tactics, especially splitting half squads, ammo preservation, the power of pinning, and LOS.
This could be a bloody mess though... so you just may see my bloated Arse get the crap kicked out of it....
Two armies race across the dusty plains ready to clash
And my meatballs...
Note that I picked rain to keep the dust from being a factor, but that doesn't seem to be affecting this terrain much... Skilgannons tank columns (tanks make most dust, AC's and HT's second most, and trucks and nonarmored vehicles very little) betray his intentions quite well. On the other hand, my grouping obfuscates the number of units that are actually heading towards the flags... he's scared to death of my Folgore, and his strategy has been aimed at neutralizing their threat... so my not "seeming" to have many AFV's is reconfirming his fear... I'll let that fear ferment a bit inside him.. it may be extremely beneficial to me that Skil thinks my Blackshirts may actually indeed be Folgore... This is where my experience at poker comes in handy...
Also, note that if I had opted to do the flank along the roads, it would have been discovered right away, and thus doomed to failure. I made the right choice. It also reinforces the lesson to check your terrain parameters on CMAK for dust.
Lastly, he has no units using those roads to the left as well, so his entire force is heading for those three flags in a niblet section of the map...
Next turn I will show you some tactical considerations with the terrain that will become the graveyard of many lovers (ITalians) and drinkers (canucks) in the next 33 turns...
Major Mario is becoming impatient... he already dreams of sinful penetration into the princess... Capitan Luigi disconcertedly wonders why he never gets to be on top.
"A beginning is a very delicate time."
-Princess Irulan (she's hot)
Yes it is, especially if you go into it backwards with your ass bared and your pants down around your ankles... It is not a good time to take chances... unless you are the type that stands on the top of a hill in the middle of the night with a flashlight between your buttcheeks, hoping to be picked up by Aliens and anal probed.
Recklessly racing to the flag can end the game quicker than a wet drawn out fart can ruin a good pair of shorts. Here is the situation:
As you can see below, somehow Skil has raced some light armor into the gap with LOS behind the lone flag on the right. The terrain makes this flag a horrible trap for those who enter into the "kessel". Thankfully, my boys hit some rocky sections of terrain and were slowed up and I can actually redirect them to pitch their pasta pots elsewhere. (Btw, I hope you appreciate my "pink" respresentation of my troop movement... its a color I'm sure that denotes me well in some players books...lol)
So I am already giving up contention of one flag. Why? My main infantry and heavy mortar force on the right flag are a long ways off and all I have up front are brittle brixia mortars, and I cannot allow them to be shot off the backs of my armored turtles. They need to sneak into position out of LOS. The plan is now thus:
AS you can see above, there is a crossable section inbetween the two sets of woods. It is also somewhat sheltered from his armor, and Skil will have to face me with infantry (where hopefully I can blast him). By conceding this flag and encouraging his troops to take possession I may now begin to unload my 480 HE shells from my Semovente's into his breadbasket from pretty well protected firing holes and lanes.
Over on the left side, my Folgore have made it to the flag in the woods, but that is where they stop. I can't allow them to move into the front of the woods and let the enemy armor blast them to pieces... I also again must wait for my mortar support. My tanks can find firing lanes against his infantry, but I must have bushbeaters ahead of my tanks not to let any nasty PIATPIAT - Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank [ENG]
teams through to fire on my own armor.
Lastly, my trucks are not made by ferrari or lamborghinni for that matter, and my towed guns will be a long time coming. Thus if I am to attack, I would like to have my guns well positioned to use them in a fully concerted attack.
I'll take my one wooded flag for now, and beg Skilly to enter the woods... nope! no evil children eating witches in gingerbread houses living in here! mmm are those "magic" mushrooms?? (Let's hope this is a British Columbia based Canadian regiment).
Looking at the immensity before me, I am beginning to understand that there are so many options that this is going to be a highly reactionary game... my opening moves will dictate greatly as to how this game plays out.
There is an awful moment of anxious anticipation in the first few turns that is based wholly on the essence of uncertainty, and any perceived abilities to not be able to control the circumstances of the battle... I'm at the zenith of this nervousness, and admit that at this moment, my confidence is wavering. I have crappy tanks, crappy infantry, but lots of HE. I can't make too many mistakes... I'll feel much better when I start identifying his units and movement paths... but until then... I cover my ass as best as possible...
Until it's bait and lure time... and then we'll see what Skilly is really made of.... (old rags and hamburger wrappers hopefully...)
Lacking the wherewithal to make any comments that I could possibly deem worthy, due to a night of poker, garlic sausage and too many beer... I simply shall cut to the chase:
You will lose 1 morale off a squad that is split (SS). This affects how quickly you get pinned and ultimately, how fast your troops crap their pants and run like flailing toddlers at breakneck speed away from the enemy, solidly routed. My platoon HQ is a +2 morale leader, and also has +1 Combat and +1 Command... so I can keep him in command control range of my split squads and still RAISE their morale by one after assuming the SSSS - Schutzstaffel [GER]
SS - Submarine [ENG]
The rootin tootin meatball hootin Folgore!~ will advance split squad into the woods, far enough to stay out of indirect fire range from armor on the other side. Splitting them also gives me the appearance of a whole lot more dudage for what I have, and can often be used to deceive the enemy by making you appear bigger than you are (like a cat with its hair up, or McIvan when he was younger and needed to stick a few socks down his pants to impress the ladies).
In the east, a lone scout (I'm quite sure due to the dust signature) is doing some probing further than I thought he would...
I need to be careful unloading my precious mortar cargo as well, not to break any eggs charging for the woods whilst under MGMG - Maschinengewehr [GER]
MG - Machinegun [ENG]
or light cannon fire from that scout. My Semovente's will cruise in and make a drop and then rotate to face the curious little kitten.... hopefully I will pity da foo quite soon.
"Sink the pink, it's all the fashion
Leto's a dink, and old-fashioned
Gimme water, gimme wine
Gonna show you a good time
Sink the pink
Sink the pink"
-AC / DC
The forces of glorious pink are on the move...
Skilly's scout car appears to my forces on the right as I send a Semovente chasing after it... unfortunately, the retreating AC raises dust and LOS is broken and I cannot get a shot at it... this dust will be as much of an advantage as a disadvantage, as I foresee many retreats like that myself.
In the west:
The second Canadian blip is another recon car, and Skil drives it right into the meat of my onrushing ball... ahem. He is also chased back by Semovente's and the dust allows him to elude brutal persecution by APAP - Armor Piercing [ENG]
shot. My Semovente's realizing the significance of that passage, will swarm (all 8) into the passage to hopefully prevent anymore of this thillyness to be allowed... on the last few seconds, an Italian LMGLMG - Light Machinegun [ENG]
squad gets sent running for cover with no casualties from that little irritant scout car.
On the far west:
You can begin to see my intentions take shape as I remain at my wooded flag encouraging the Allies to enter inward and visit. Two Folgore platoons and a Blackshirt platoon accompanied by 2 AT guns (both 47's) will form a line that hopefully I can lure the Allies onto and perhaps pot a few pieces of armor with my guns once set.
Once again, I am not making any hasty moves and am waiting for the lines to form, even if I am allowing the Allies to move forward to form them. Once I know where his forces are, the better I can plan my actions...
If I had the purchase money for a Crack Sniper, he would have been inserted into the woods in the west near my flag, and I would have moved him up to the front of the woods to spy the enemy forces... as I have no sniper, a common Folgore unit will be given this task... on sneak orders of course, since they will not benefit from the same stealth ratings as a Crack sniper.
Hey, is anybody even reading this stuff??
Zzzzz snort snort zzzzzzz
Zzzzzz (flatulance) Zzzzzz (more flatulence)
"What'sa matta you, hey,
Gotta no respect, whatta you think you do,
Why you looka so sad?
It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place,
Ah, Shaddap You Face."
My men at least have a theme song.. I guess... better than anything by George Michael or WHAM! for that matter.
And speaking of WHAM! Absolutely none to be had yet.
But things are starting to congeal into a nice greasy easily perceptable tactical mush.
On the far right, due to perhaps estimating that my semovente's are no real threat and looking to flank a roo me... SkillyG send his Stuart Recce out to bust a my balls a little. HE traps a few squads at the back of the map and unfortunately for me, sees the dust that represents two charging semovente's out to his positions
Perhaps a dumb move on his part, but for now, it's lookin real sweet as he wounds one of my Breda Mg men and forces them into the dirt...
I don't expect the AC to stick around for long... perhaps my Semovente's will get to gnosh on some sweet Canuck Cannoli.... mmmmm Cannoli...
Well, the Canucks are feeling there good luck as they begin walking into the artillery zone, er I mean flag zone on the right...
My gunners and mortar men begin to salivate... looks like I'll need to order some military issue bibs... sheesh!
And in a turn that just keeps on revealing little devilish plans... A sherman tries to sneak up on my gaggle of Semovente's...
No sweat... my Italiano scout eyes foresaw this coming, and the steely eyed Semovente crews reverse their noble chariots and bravely flee!
Much to the chagrin of the Sherman, a 75mm gun is being pushed into position with a nice big Sherman Arse as a target next round. If he sticks around, this may be a good day for these Italian Dawgs... (I say a... woof!)
Also as predicted, SkillyG shows his hand to me: 4 Priests!... not bad... but a Straight flush of Semovente's and AYA STAYA OUTTA YOUR HE RANGE HERE IN A MY WOODS YOU BASTAGE beats his quads....
I've got to make sure that if I sense an artillery strike headin my way in those woods that the whoppers beat feet, pronto like... I'm pretty sure that is what SkillyG has planned. I seriously doubt that his mind is roont enough to walk into those woods with his dick swinging and no support.
And lastly, in his mad attempt to distance himself from the Fellowship of the POS days, he's split up his Shermie-poos and knowing that my Semovente's are tucked in nicely within Olive Oil Cove, he's gonna try and get behind em and be a dirty dirty boy...
Thing is, I have one gun ready to position and a whole mess of Italiano bakers and pasta makers having noon tea around the area he is looking to penetrate... may be a fun little gnocchi tossing fest... we'll see.
The plan is slightly pee pee'd on but remains stalwartly in place...
Pass the Parmesana!
Off ye to get yer popped corn and taffee!
Travelling to Melbourne today. As I'm starting out in Saskatoon, this should be a very long trip.
14 hour plane ride.
GAWD... THIS ISIS - Iosif Stalin [RUS]
ONLY TURN 12???
Well, I'm back... sorta... Skilgannon has most definately shown his hand and I can now quite safely tell you that he has 4 Shermans, 4 Priests and at least a couple of companies of troops.
We see below a quickly cementing stalemate...
On the far right, Skil has advanced his troops onto the flag and takes possession. I now unleash the hounds of hell... about 3 mortars open up and 3 Semovente's begin shelling his positions. I'm going to make it awful expensive for him to hold that real estate.
In the middle, the previous turn shows what happens when you move a gun around TOO much...
His infantry open fire on second 58 of 60 of last turn winging a couple of my meatballs manning the gun. I hide the next turn and return fire on his troops with a couple of mortars for some pretty good retaliatory spreads... the Canuck gunfire falls silent.
BUT... and yes, this could be a real big but... I see a sexton creep up (now in the gunsights of my pinned 75mm field gun) but due to the hiding, and due to the dust from the mortars, he cannot get a bead on the gun. He most almost certainly be area firing as close to the gun next turn as he can... I'm hoping the mortar dust keeps his Sexton out of action, but I think the whoppers are about to lose their first key piece...
Near the main two flags... the stalemate really is setting in...
I'm going to begin moving to the left flank and see if I can begin pressuring Skil with tanks and troops in the side... my only objection to this is that his tanks and sextons are most definately waiting back there and I don't want to get my Luigi's shot to hell...
I'm going to begin moving forward a bit on my forest held flag to see if he's cheeky enough to think he can sneak into range and neutralize it... He wouldn't be that big of an arse would he? Do ya think???
Only one thing to report, a very stalwart crew of a Semovente gets potted twice almost by mistake at a charging sherman... the sheer luck of hitting my Italian tank at the distance the Sherman was at and speed it was moving, (notwithstanding the excellent gyrostabilizers), was returned in kind when the first shot penetrated and killed a crewman, and the second penetrated, and damaged the gun...
The Semovente limped back in reverse... they will fix that gun and they will return... someday... but not today...
Trading blows it appears:
The Stuart Recce gets a bit too ambitious and meets up toe to toe with a Semovente... the arrow flies straight and true but....
... the stuart reverses after the penetration and hopefully at least has its MG damaged... tuff little nuts those Stuart Recce's.... the hard charging Sherman looking for love only chokes on Italian fart laced dust as they take their one shot and bounjourno on its ass.
The Sexton in the middle (no picture) comes around to take another potshot at the 75mm field gun and on the third shot, knocks it out... BUT!
A fortuitous event... looking for Semovente blood, this lone Sherman charges hard, and is caught without a covered arc as an Italian nutjob rifle half squad charges to where it was previously (hoping to make sweet sweet love to it with an Italian demolition)....
... the 47mm gun waits and fires! Side turret penetration... watch those covered arcs people!!! They may spell your doom... But nonetheless, no luck in Letoland, as the second penetration of the turn is for naught... but notice the direction of the turret... it stays that way as the tank continues moving forward... a sure sign of gun damage...
2 more 47 shells ricchochet off the tough hull of the Sherman, even at PB range (PB= peanut butter and jelly), and I have a shot on second one of the next turn that will hopefully catch him in the side turret again before he can amscray. I still don't hold out hope.
ON the far left... my recon folgore platoon gets caught with its pants down... even though they were moving on a "C" command, they get dropped by two enemy units and then a Stuart recce chimes in (turn 14)... a Sherman comes trundling along this turn and I suspect the Sherman in the background is moving for a flank shot on my armor buildup denoted by the pink armor symbol (they are behind it).
Don't know what I am going to do here... think I will pull back... can't let these very precious SMG troops get beat up too badly... they will be the force that presses home the win... one platoon broken up (I have one panicked unit, one broken, and 2 that continue to fire, but it doesn't look good... right from the get go, these guys were pinned and just would not get up... the lesson learned here is ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, let a half squad lead any platoon sized movement in unknown enemy territory...
Now here is the good news... I know that he has only 4 Shermans... so if I can nail the other one on the right... I can go to town on the lone flag with my armor... but I still cannot move about freely as I suspect that the Canadians have towed guns and PIATS hidden all over the place... keeping a safe distance and shelling from a distance will be the play for the day.
The bold gambit of Skil's lone Sherman meet's it fate at the hand of an Italian meatball chucker.
Time for a gambit of my own. ATTACK!
Both columns of Semovente's swarm like locusts out of the Italian backfield as one of the impediments to their release (the knocked out Sherman) burns away, while the others have been committed to flank protection... leaving the soft gooey middle very unguarded (I hope) and with naught but Sexton's picking away at my infantry.
The gaggle of Italianereenos should make short work of those 105's... unless Skil's got some guns of his own... (All my Semoventes have a "I brake for PIAT's" sign on their bumpers as well.)
My troops move up along the entire front... hopefully luring opposition infantry out to fire at them, and perhaps maybe even a gun or two.
This is turning into AHH SPICEY MEATA BALLA !!!
Things are heating up as I have taken full advantage of Skil's strategy of separating his armor along a very large front. The hole left by the Sherman being destroyed is fully being capitalized upon by my Semovente Super Mario Karts...
Along with the Semovente's, about five 45mm and three 81mm mortars are chiming in on the flattening of Canuckville. The strategy both of us are attempting to use is the old destroy the infantry with AFVAFV - Armored Fighting Vehicle [ENG]
and HE fire, without actually engaging in tank to tank combat (at least I don't want to). Whoever is left standing at the end of this fierce attritional strategy will then ultimately use their remaining infantry to push back the line and trap the other's AFV's between tanks and infantry.
Things are going well in the east for me... Skil's second Sherman is locked into an LOS with a 75mm field gun (currently setting up) and a 47mm AT gun (that I think he has spotted but could not indirect fire close enough to get it). If the Sherman retreats from the infantry moving on it, it will be right through the LOS of the 75, and Mozza balls willing, I can pot him if that gun sets up in time.
In the middle, the Canadian and Italian line is spread out in pickets and my mortars are pummeling his troops, while his Sexton is attempting to do the same to me.
I retain a stranglehold on one flag, and Skil is moving to intercept my right flanking move with infantry and tanks:
This is the fiercest firefight on the front and I am having serious problems... If I can pot his Sherman (I anticipate he may want to come at my Semovente's flanks) with my AT gun... I am also trying to get around his stuart recce and a newly arrived Sexton... If I can catch his armor in a kesselshlatt, then this stalemate could bust open for me quite rapidly. I am also considering attacking through the forest, forrest gump, from my held flag to catch his own little attack in the flank... but I sense that another Sexton there may cause some harm... I will have to think about this...
The next few turns will be great fun. This is a chess match and Skil is proving to be a very apt opponent... I am hoping that my numbers and my award winning meat sauce will win the day.
Skil makes two major mistakes:
One, never park your open tops in scattered trees when you sense that some Italian somnabitchin bastage may drop a few spicey meatballs into the woods in which you hide. The meatballs drive open top AFV drivers nutso, and make them do wild and crazy manuevers that are extremely hazardous to their health.
In the picture above, my Italian meatball men lob a few saucy ones into the woods and the Canadian Sexton comes bounding out, tongue lolling like an overzealous Labrador who's just eaten a bag of frosted milkbones... and gets potted like a deer.
The Stuart recce was caught at the last moment by Skil, and he was able to reverse back out of harm's way.
Over in the next picture... Some Italiano's want to see what the back of a Sexton looks like and the Canadians keying in on a strange garlic marinara smell, bolt straight for the Italian lines where it takes a grenade, and then keeps on trucking back to the Italians that first stirred it up. It takes another grenade... stops.. and I think I have it, but it actually backs away out of grenade shot in the following turn:
When an open topped vehicle is flanked close in by infantry, it behaves the same way as if a mortar attack spooked it. This often causes erratic and drunken like movements that eventually end in a charred and smoking AFV. Not in this case. Leto needs a little more LUCKARINO he thinks...
I'm doing everything in my power to smack Skil around, but he somehow seems to go down on the mat, get up and keep swinging.
I now find out that the reason these Canadian troops are not dying as fast as I would like is because they are FRICKIN ENGINEERS (who can, who can, demolish forty beers)... and have the big 12 man squads... they are giving my Folgore SMG dudes a real run for their money... thank goodness I am staying out of suitcase range... it appears that Skil has really taken the strength of the SMG Airborne troops to heart and hoped to combat them with some baked Lasagna demo charges (here boy, here Italian trooper!! Lasagna!! Come get it!! ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF AHAHAHAHAHA ROOF ROOF ROOF BLAAAMMMOO!)
So far no death by large suitcase of explosives, but knowing that he could have 3 battalions of engineers on the field makes me wince a little...
1600 engineers (3 battalions)
500 Sherman x4
500 Sexton x4
100 76mm spotter
100 Stuart Recce's (2)
That's 2800 points... a couple of sharpshooters, a dingo or two, and a few mortars and piats and that makes three.
Maybe he doesn't have any AT guns... looks like its time for the Super Mario Karts to begin taking on the Canucklehead armor!
The battle still rages in the west:
As you can see, the sneaky evhil Wario bastages have partly encircled the depleted Canucklehead infantry to the very right of this picture.
Another interesting point, is that Skil has done his best to sneak around on my flank and come up behind my Semovente's for a little man lovin on my armor. I reversed one Semovente back and rotated two others so that if Skil tries to come through, he'll have to run the gambit of fireball spitwads, and perhaps have a mushroom engorged Luigi jump on his balls.
I've also began to move up my SMG Folgore, using the regular Bersagliari as half squad scouts to beat the bushes. This will be fun. Note: this also lessens the chance of Skil using his arty if my Marios are busy popping coins over his troops heads.
In the east, the Canadians seem to have broken and headed for Tim Hortons for early morning coffee.
With only the one Sherman stalwartly defending a breakthrough, I'm not sure how this will go, but I am going to take my time and reel around another Semovente to take the Sherman from behind if he tries to engage my main force of Mario Karts.
It's amazing what a little mortar meatballing can do for even the weakest of infantry units like my hapless Bersagliari. It just goes to show that if you have lots of HE, you don't need to worry too much about your infantry engaging other infantry... especially infantry twice as superior as your own. Those Bersagliari are only taking up space and beating the bushes for broken Canuck units now. And that is all they were intended to do.
Also note: the two LMG's in the Bersag LMG units with their 50 plus ammo loads makes for a nice long distance suppression fire unit. That is precisely how I have been using them, and the Canuck infantry has not been able to move in the middle at all.
As you are probably reading in Skilgannon's DARDAR - During Action Report [ENG]
, his Shermans are defying me in a most annoying way. Time pressed, so all I can say is that, "I'VE... GOT TO.... HOLD.... ON!!!!" (that was my Spiderman cartoon impersonation btw)
I've got two flags, but Skil's dusted 4 Semovente's and brutally savaged another so that an Italian gunner crapped his pants in the breech and now the gun is damaged. So we're about even on armor trade offs with his Sherman, Sexton, and 2 armored cars.
On the far right flag, I've chased his canucks with pitchforks and loud banjo music playing... them hayseeds won't be coming back this way.... "CUE CUE CUE!!!" (that was my Rosco P. Coltrane impersonation, btw)...
I'll return on turn 32 with some stunning tactical screenshots and a new tournament where I fight against 26 rabid, hormone enhanced Panda bears in complete darkness with only an electric toothbrush as a weapon. The Panda's will probably choose the Germans, so I will be disadvantaged right from the start! I plan on calling it Panda's On Steroids vs 21st Panzer.
My apologies for not finishing this off in the way it deserves... but I am bound by time and distracted by other matters.
What I wanted to show here is that even bad infantry can be made to look good with the proper on board artillery, even in the face of superior armor and infantry. My Semoventes received some punishment, but the sacrifice had to be made... in other instances, I used the Semovente's as bait to lure Sherman's to their death against a backdrop of AT guns... as you can see, in the dust, that tactic was marginal at best.
Perhaps the star of the show is the 81 and 50mm Italian mortars. Why the Italian light mortars are so effective is because of their high ammo loads and short ranges... in many close in fighting conditions, those light mortars can make all the difference in the game... the object is not to kill, but to pin... and once an enemy unit is pinned, they are doomed if fire can be sustained on them.
The above picture shows the left flag that I had initially let Skilgannon have. I forced his armor in close, whacked a Priest, and scared off a Sherman with guns... I then mounted a massive counterattack with Semovente fire and mortar fire that effectively rubberized the poor Canuckleheads, making them flee back to Toronto to console themselves with poutine and good beer.
The main top flag was a gong show... I had Skil surrouned but his Shermans were little Tigers against my guns and Semoventes.... quite a few were knocked out in defence of the meatball motherland... I actually had to sneak around behind one to eliminate it, or I would not have been able to neutralize the flag... My folgore were inneffective against the Canadian troops, and could not recover from an early advance and pin. The flanking manuever did scare off his priests and claimed a few recon cars for its effort, but the third flag could not be taken...
A dissapointing win for me, and a very good game for Skilgannon. The dust was a major factor in allowing either of us to deploy our weapons and capitalize on good tactics... I do not think I had units throw so many grenades for naught effect in a game before... might have something to do with the Italians using eggplants instead of actual grenades. Who knows?
A rematch will be in the works after my life settles down some...
I hope you enjoyed, and once again, apologize for the delays and abruptness of the ending... these take a considerable amount of time, especially if you want to do them right!