Another IABSM Lite scenario, set in Italy '44 again. The British (Carl, Rod) are tasked with taking the farm of Santa Anna, a German (Colin) strongpoint. They have a troop of Churchill NA75s, a carrier section and two infantry platoon, as well as a Vickers. Ranged against them are two understrength German platoons, a couple of MG42s, a StuG, and their CO's new pride and joy, an SdKfz 251/10. Probably a hand-me-down from elsewhere :D

View from above the farm, looking South

View from above the farm, looking South

The Germans went for a fairly agressively forward deployment, with an infantry section on the E/W road, the StuG in the vineyard and the half-track by the avenue of trees leading up to the farm.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it got a bit bloody when the first British platoon deployed off Blinds in the field, and then waded in to close assault one of the German sections. Result, 1-0 to the boys in khaki, as the survivors hightailed it to the farm.

The valley becomes rather a killing ground....

About that point, the two MG42s (one in the farm, one in the villa by the vineyard) as well as the Vickers which had deployed in the church tower, all opened up on the area of the field, and turned into something of a killing ground. It's fair to say none of the units involved in that scrap around the field did much useful for the rest of the game, not helped by the StuG popping up and dishing out HE and the inevitable pins. Meanwhile, over on the German right, the other platoon was dug in by the avenue, and the British sent the carriers and the other platoon that way, behind a heavy screen of 2" mortar smoke (I'll say this for Carl, he never fails to follow that bit of the British manual!)

After taking some fire from the carriers, that platoon fell back to the farm, and took up some carefully loopholed positions along the south wall.

The carriers and the Blind carrying the other platoon carried on with their sweep around the German right, while the Churchills deployed off Blinds, offloaded on the StuG twice each and to a man, missed. Wisely, Colin took this as a cue to be somewhere else, pulling it back onto the hill, and the British elected to deepen the smoke around that area anyway, causing the next few runs through the deck to result in quite a bit of 'no, can't see that for the smoke'. Bit of a two edged sword.

Reconnaissance in Force

The halftrack deployed, missed the Churchill it could see once and had a second bounce off the armour. The Churchill inexplicably chose not to return fire but advanced into the smoke with its troop-mates. After a couple more rounds of jockeying for position one Churchill pulled back and nailed the 251/10, causing the CO to have to bail and then dodge a fusillade of small arms fire from the remains of the platoon in the field.

About then we called it for time: pretty clear that one StuG was unlikely to take out all the Churchills (although in campaign history it's not been unknown!). At which point, the armour support can pound the farm till the occupants are pinned, and the flanking force can go in. Almost certainly a British victory.

Thanks as ever to my players Colin, Carl and Rod, and to Rich and Nick for an excellent set of rules.

Mike Whitaker