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Neil and I played "Scenario 17: Fauville" from WTHHYBB yesterday. This is the one where US Airbourne come on one end of the table and the German/Georgians come on the other. Yanks have loads of elite infantry, Germans have huge numbers of superior infantry plus some ex- French tanks.

The game started badly for the Americans with Neil's realisation that he had brought the wrong tea chest of figures with him! Back into the car and home to get the Airbourne figures.

This, naturally enough, upset the American figures so much that they spent the first few turns sulking on their baseline, refusing to move on to the table! The Allied Blinds chip seemed stuck to the bottom of our chip bag!

At the same time, the Georgian 5th Platoon suddenly developed the running skills of Dame Kelly Holmes (although not the shoulders: that would have taken many more years of training...and I'm tempted to add the old joke about "or the balls either" but I won't! I was watching her on Strictly Come Ice Dancing and would put her in the ring with Amir Khan any day!) and hurtled into Fauville, occupying a house that dominated the southern approaches. They then spent the next ¾ of the game getting their breath back and doing nothing!

This delay in getting started, and the enemy's 5th Platoon's rapid advance, meant that the Airbourne troops could occupy the chateau, but then weren't sure what to do next. Orders were to take Fauville, but there did seem to be a lot of Germans (well, Georgians in German uniforms) already in there, and this was supposed to be an encounter game, not an attacker/defender game.

The Germans then brought up their mobile artillery, and began firing incredibly badly aimed shots at the Amis Fallschirmjagers. No casualties, but the Yanks realised that if they didn't do anything, and fast, they were just going to get chipped away at from long range until they lost their effectiveness.

A platoon chip followed by an heroic commander chip provided just what they needed, and 3rd Platoon charged across an open field straight into a German column moving to outflank them. With their extra SMG's and elite rating, the US were rolling over 50 dice verses the Germans under 30, and beat them easily: with enemy survivors surrendering and being taken to the rear ("to" the rear, Nick: "to" the rear).

The Airbourne troops then established themselves behind hedges: almost untouched after their efforts. Unfortunately, the German mobile artillery finally got their range in, and started dropping shells on them; the German tanks moved up and started machine gunning them; and the German 5th Platoon finally got their breath back enough to fire shots at them from the flank ie along the line of the hedge.

Continuing their aggressive tactics, Winters himself (orange paint!) led another platoon forward, and charged down a road, round a hedge, and caught another German platoon in the flank. All the dice in Berkshire were gathered up for the US close combat, and the German platoon evaporated!

Unfortunately, this proved to be the high watermark of the US action. Although they now threatened the German mobile artillery, they still hadn't dealt with the tanks, and had got a bit far forward from their support in the chateau. The two Amis platoons were subjected to a hail of fire from all sides, and had to go to ground with heavy casualties.

At this point, the US commander assessed the situation. He had lost about half to two thirds of two platoons, and their bazookas more to the point. The rest of his force was under cover in the chateau, but taking heavy (if largely ineffective) fire from large numbers of the enemy. Two German platoons had been destroyed, but that still left three almost untouched, three tanks, and two mobile guns plus a couple of MMG's. He ordered the retreat.

Although defeated, he could also take comfort, however, from the fact that his sniper (presumably murmuring biblical phrases all the while) had killed three German Big Men and left the fourth one in such a state that he refused to attach himself to anyone, merely hiding behind a house "in case he was needed later on in the game". The other Big Man, in his tank, had welded the turret hatch shut, along with all other ways a bullet could get into the tank!

A great game that the US lost really in the first half an hour. The delays getting onto the table meant that the Germans were able to effectively defend an encounter situation...and if there's one thing I'm good at, it's defending! Significantly, both German platoons that did move towards an attack were annihilated! What was also obvious was how devastating the US Airbourne troops are in combat. With a Big Man and a bonus for SMG's at Close Range, there were some firefights where a section of infantry were rolling 6d6+2 for shooting!!!!!! Without the armour and mobile artillery, the Germans would have been in serious trouble.

Neil, in a massive sulk I might add, was muttering something about Scenario 18 having the same situation but with my troops now attacked in the flanks by another company of US Paras but because he'd had to fetch his Americans, having forgotten them in the first place, we just didn't have time to play on! Shame!

Perhaps, later on, he took comfort from the fact the result was the same as the historical one...but I doubt it!

Robert Avery