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Mike Whitaker reports an amusingly lucky shot in a recent club-night game of IABSM:

Last night's club game...in the Italy '44 campaign.

The Germans are attacking (for once) in the pouring rain:

  • one range bracket worse for spot/autospot
  • -2 to hit for AFVs
  • one range bracket worse outside 18" for all infantry fire

The German Elefant was the first thing to deploy. The British in the villa lucked out on a spot roll, so the 17pdr took a shot from across the table.

Hit by one pip, then rolled 7 hits on 12 dice vs 4 saves on 14 dice...boom!

Mike then adds:

I should add that despite that, the British lost. Without the Germans even deploying their StuG's.

Gary Martin played the Germans:

It was a good game and I learnt a couple of important lessons.

The Bridge was the objective so the expectation was that one of the two British platoons would be around there and the small wood next to it.

The second platoon almost certainly in and around the farm complex. We also perceived the 17pdr platoon would be in the wood on the plateau.

This meant they would only have a few bits and pieces and maybe the Churchill defending the area around the ploughed field and small wood in the foreground of the first pic.

Using this as our planning assumption we decided to set up a base of fire into the wood opposite the farm (just out of view on the right, north edge of first photo), consisting of two MMG and the Elefant. However they would remain on the Blind initially to soak up some spotting of the enemy and do some of our own to establish their positions. Previous experience had seen our opponent tend to shoot at everything that moved so we were hopeful this would reveal themselves quickly.

The first error I made was to over think the pre-game stonk. Initially we considered dumping it on the plateau , however I was concerned they would recover from it before it became an issue, instead we brought it down on the ploughed field to little effect.

To the right and left of this base we advanced two dummy Blinds with two key objectives: confirm the defences around the bridge and its small wood; and strength of enemy near the ploughed field and its wood.

We intended the ploughed field and wood to be our main route of advance to put further pressure on farm and unhinge the flank of the plateau all be it we agreed to change this to the Bridge and wood should the brits have left this lightly defended.

Obviously we were wary of the impact the 17pdrs could have on our StuGs, but felt confident that the Elefant, concealed in the wood, in driving rain, the other end of the table would be ok!!!!

So spotting efforts were ineffective initially. The Brits immediately deployed an MMG in the small wood by ploughed field which shot up a section from a zug following up the dummy. Then the impossible: an unlikely spotting roll revealed our base of fire.

The Brits deployed a 17pdr and fired. First shot, unlikely hit: 14 Armour dice v 12 Strike dice and we lost by three knocking the Elefant out. Not happy!!!

However fire from the MMGs on farm and from the deployed zug caused damage and the right flank dummy Blind successfully spotted nothing in the wood, causing us to move reserve zug and StuG Blinds onto the right following up the dummy toward the bridge and wood. Xmas arrived early and cheered us after the loss of the Elefant.

The dummy moving toward the apparently empty wood near the bridge was the first confusion in my head as I thought that you spot the terrain piece. If successful you reveal any hidden Blinds. If they occupy a piece of the terrain not visible (in this case further than 4” into the wood) then a Blind was placed indicating that something was around but not clear.

So it was a bit of a surprise (well two actually) when the dummy Blind entered the wood and bumped into a 2-man PIAT team at the back of the wood. The second surprise was that the bridge was only defended by a 2-man PIAT team.

The dummy was removed and we immediately deployed the following zug Blind into close combat destroying the PIAT and effectively capturing the objective. The StuG Blind moved up behind the wood keeping it out of sight ready to attack the plateau.

In the centre the platoon in the farm was being steadily depleted by the base of fire and a barrage from four medium mortars. The British MMG was destroyed.

Again confused over the status of this small wood I quickly moved up the final zug Blind to the edge. Here I was spotted and as I deployed the zug into the wood it bumped into the second platoon arranged shoulder to shoulder at the rear and a big close combat took place. Our zug was devastated and pushed back Suppressed, effectively out of the game. However the British platoon had also taken a battering and was Suppressed.

A bit of further fire from our first zug reduced the platoon further, making it pretty much ineffective. The game was called shortly after. Time was short and the British had nothing with which to make any attempt to threaten the bridge.

Good scenario, chastened by the couple of mistakes I made. Looking forward to the campaign finale.

Mike Whitaker, Gary Martin