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Spring has been very hectic, so very little time to write here, even if we have played two more scenarios from Blenneville pack and I have finally painted the early war German schützen platoon and some armoured support for them. But badly lagging behind with the AARs. So onwards to Avaux.

After the successful recon action near Pierrecourt, the allied force pushed forwards along both flanks of the valley. Main thrust was supposed to be with the armoured division, but the infantry decided that they would not be playing a supporting role and their feint turned to a real attack. A company of infantry under captain Stromberg supported by a company of Shermans against unknown German force. More bocage than you can shake a stick at, so plenty of opportunities for the defender.

US player decided to do recon on a broad front with mostly dummies and then commit the main force where resistance was weakest. As soon as resistance was found, 105mm arty would start hammering it.

German kampfgruppe Steinhart had reasonably weak force of infantry squad, some support weapons and a platoon of StuGs. These held a broad frontage with the assumption that parts that were not under assault would form a mobile reserve.

Plans: red showing German MLR; blue is the US real advance; and dotted blue US recon effort. This picture probably already shows where and how it will end.

The battle started slowly, with US recon pushing forwards but not finding much anything.

Recon on broad front, something moves in the orchard. Tigers?

Base of fire, contact imminent.

This made the commander of the first Sherman platoon a tad careless - Shermans cleared yet another wall of bocage, this time without waiting for scouts and StuGs behind the next wall opened fire.

One brewed up immediately, second was abandoned and the whole platoon was saved only because Sgt Wilson believed in some extra armour and had hoarded anything looking like add-on armour to the front of his turret (the Sherman model with some track links as extra armour took half a dozen direct hits without as much as a point of shock).

2nd Lt. Belowitz made a brave dash in his 76mm Sherman to outflank Jerry, but was intercepted and barely got out of his burning tank.

It worked this far, but when you cannot get a penetrating hit, you cannot get one.

On the other flank, two blinds were staring at each other very menacingly, but nothing else happened (one US blind managed to tie up the other half of German infantry, so no mobile reserve). US player tried to push some recon troops through along the road in the middle, but was stopped cold by the hidden ATG.

To break the StuGs, US player brought forward another platoon of Shermans and a platoon of infantry, only to find out that few squads of veteran Germans supported StuGs. 1st US section was mangled badly and others started to take casualties, too.

US player finds more targets, unfortunately they shoot first.

Finally the breakthrough was achieved by spirited 2nd infantry platoon. They used the bocage and burning tank as a cover and dashed past the confused defenders to the next bocage. So now Germans were faces by a dilemma - their position was strong, but they had a platoon of infantry behind them, heading for the town, which was very lightly held. (At this point US player noticed that he had forgotten to hand out the bazookas to individual platoons, so the spearhead platoon had bayonets and grenades against StuGs!)

At the double, boys!

Spread out! Where are the bazookas?

So a command to withdraw was given, with one StuG heading to backfield to hunt infantry, another trying to duke it out with yet another platoon of Shermans and hard-pressed infantry dealing with Amis. This worked for a moment, as the StuGs seemed to be invulnerable. They shrugged off grenades, solid AT shots from 76mm guns and gunned the attackers down: even took a critical hit from 76mm, with no effect. Until the inevitable happened, the StuG helping infantry lost its' gun and US player launched an assault, clearing out the German infantry. And simultaneously 2nd Lt Belowizt had found another tank, directed it to drive "just between those two burning Shermans!" and finished the other StuG.

US infantry takes a belting

But cavalry arrives

And casualties are light

German managed to stabilize the situation for a moment by bringing the ATG to village plaza and withdrawing some remaining grenadiers. Cafe by the plaza was declared a festung and men prepared to sell their lives dearly, as long as there was wine remaining. It did help that Lt. Hightown, leading the US assault, lost his head to scattering 105mm artillery at the moment of his victory. But unfortunately 60mm mortars got a fix on plaza and after an order for "rapid fire!" knocked out the ATG and shocked the remaining infantry so badly that they routed.

Preparing a last stand

Heading home

Not a step more, we drink and die here!

The end. Germans had 2 almost full squads on the other flank, but they were pinned by a single dummy blind.

This time the game was not so lop-sided, both sides fought hard. German tanks had hard time hurting anyone, but their armour also kept the crews safe, so fortune favoured both. The decisive action was the brave outflanking manoeuvre by the infantry, which forced Germans to create ad hoc reserves in a situation where there were none available. So the lesson probably is "no matter what the situation is, part of your troops form reserve behind MLR."

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