Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canadian Armored Recce attacking 21st Panzer Grenadiers in Argences

Canadian Armored Recce Company versus 21st Panzer Grenadier Company
Canadian Armored Recce:                                   21st Panzer:
2 Sherman (CiC and 2iC)                                     2 SMG teams (CiC and 2iC)          
4 Recce Sherman’s                                               Full panzer Grenadier Platoon
4 Recce Sherman’s                                               Full panzer Grenadier Platoon
2 Stuarts                                                                2 Tiger 1E
2 Stuarts                                                                4 Panzer IV H
4 Sextons                                                              4 12.2cm FH 396(r)
4 M10 with 17lb guns                                          3 Pak 40
2 towed 6lb guns
6 team rifle platoon
The mission is Pincer and the Canadians are attacking. Cory and I drew lots this afternoon and played a game. He used the Canadian Armored Recce and I played 21st Panzer Grenadiers.
The Allies are gaining ground and it is now up the Canadians to take the point. They send to the front of their attack Captain Hubble. He is in charge of his armored company and is up for the challenge. Captain Hubble has been charged to capture the edge of the devastated French town of Colombelles. With this town in allied possession another step in the thousands of steps to free the French people will be accomplished.
The allies start up by moving as much armor forward. The Stuarts are leading the attack on both sides but the main thrust of the Canadian attack is in the middle and to the north of the town. Most of the force is able to cross the train line and Captain Hubble is keeping a good line of attack. He notices that 2 platoons of Panzer Grenadiers from the veteran 21st Panzer Division are dug in around the town. He starts scanning the town in more detail and discovers nothing. The vibration of his moving Sherman is making his observation efforts almost impossible. He yells down to his driver “Can’t you keep this bloody tank steady!” He does not hear the response of his driver over the load rumbles of the company of tanks.
Captain Hubble switches his scan from the town to the woods directly to the front of his company when he sees an explosion on the other side of a burned out monastery. This was quickly followed by another and yet another. He recognizes his second in command 1st Lieutenant James Martin yelling at the troops over the command net. He must have keyed his microphone without knowing. “Get back into your bloody tank! Pour some 75 shells into that tree line!” Lt. Martin continued yelling for a good 30 seconds then calmly you heard him say, “Captain Hubble sir, 2nd platoon is out of action. Anti-tank guns in tree line directly ahead of our position. Infantry advancing to take the guns. I am coming up to join your troop sir”. The microphone switched off.
 As a reaction to seeing the 2nd platoon getting hit, both units of Stuarts and the infantry advance onto the position where the shots were coming from. The OP Sherman, whom was next to Lt. Martin, was able to bring down artillery fire onto the tree line. The Canadians were able to put a lot of firepower onto the position but the Germans were dug in good.
The German Pak 40’s returned fire and then neutralized 2 Stuarts in the middle. The angle of the guns as they were set in their ambush was not allowing them to bring fire down onto the north side of the trees. It looks as if the rest of the Canadian Company would be able to slip by this trap.
Captain Hubble continued his advance with most of his remaining company on the north side of Colombelles. Trying to keep his composure and take decisive action he belts out an order over the radio to the man in charge of his 6lb gun section. “Sergeant Thomas, get your guns unlimbered and neutralize those anti-tank guns before the whole attack is stalled.” All he hears as a response is “Yes, sir”.
Sergeant George Thomas gets his 6lb gun battery to unlimber at the edge of the wheat field slightly oblique to the Pak 40’s. “Come on boys; get the lead out of those boats of yours. Get these guns firing onto those kraut bastards!” The battery unlimbers the guns and gets them operational in record time. They start putting shells into the tree line. “Keep the firing up as fast as you can! We need to take them out before they take out are boys over there!” Sergeant Thomas calms himself for a second then reports to Captain Hubble, “Battery unlimbered providing supporting fire for Sergeant Jacobs’s infantry sir. Will hold this position and take those krauts out, sir.” Sergeant Thomas puts down his radio headset and notices the impending assault by his fellow countrymen. “Steady boys. Keep that gun crew pinned down. Watch out for our boys as they look like they are fixing bayonets and are going to take out those guns.”
“Good shot Lawrence!” bellows Sergeant Jacobs as he sees the rounds from Pvt. Lawrence’s Bren gun tear apart one of the Pak 40 crews. “That will be less for the rest of you. Okay lads, fix bayonets”. The anticipation is growing in the hearts of the Canadian infantry. “Okay lads, run as fast as you can across this field. You will be safe in their lines and not loitering about in this field. Lawrence, covering fire; Come on lads, follow me!”
The Bren gun starts laying down fire as the rest of the platoon runs across the field. Following Sergeant Jacobs the platoon makes it into the defensive works unscathed. Now the real business starts. It is a brutal fight and the veteran German gunners do not want to give up their position. Finally, Sergeant Jacobs’s men, with heavy casualties of their own, are able to take the strongly held position as they watch the remaining Germans running away from them through the woods.
“They are coming back!” yells Pvt. Jackson as he spots the Germans returning back to the position. As he stands and alerts the rest of the platoon he is then riddled with bullets. He falls into a lifeless heap. His mates in the platoon are in shock and several more are hit by the hard charging Germans. Another bloody hand to hand fight ensues when this time the Germans did not run away; they just lay where they fell. Sergeant Jacobs, now wounded in the shoulder, assess he very few remaining in his platoon.
“Keep the advance up. Sextons, range in on the dug in infantry just north of town. 1st platoon prepare to move in on that dug in infantry” barks Captain Hubble as the main body of his company continues the advance North of town. “1st platoon, follow me!” barks Captain Hubble as he charges at the dug in infantry. The platoon is able to kill half of the German infantry before the Captain decides to back off from the fight.
“Regroup for the next assault 1st platoon” is what Captain Hubble is able to order before he hears over the radio “Panzers to our rear!!” Captain Hubble turns his head in the direction of his M10 tank destroyer section.
Sergeant Phelps releases the button on the microphone and commands his tank to rotate the turret 180 degrees. 4 Panzer Mark IV H tanks have infiltrated the Canadian advance and have deployed directly behind the tank destroyers. The young sergeant from the Yukon is frantically yelling for his crew to get that turret around. He increases the volume of his voice after the M10 directly to his right gets slammed by a German shell and explodes. The hiss of shrapnel flying overhead adds to the excitement of the already frantic crew. Then another explosion from the other side and then another. Giving up, Sergeant Phelps orders his crew to abandon tank. The crew jumps over the side and starts running away. Sergeant Phelps looks back just in time to see the M10 he just left explode.
“1st platoon all rotate turrets east and engage those Panzers!!” Captain Hubble yells over the platoon channel in his radio set. He has now starting to lose the momentum of this fight. He hopes he can destroy this new threat and continue onto the objective. The destroyed M10’s are making perfect cover for the Panzers as the Sherman’s start firing onto this new threat. Captain Hubble cannot assess if his platoons firing is having any effect. “Make sure you load that gun as fast as you can Jones!” barks the Captain.
“Firing onto Panzers to your rear sir” is heard in Captain Hubble’s headset. It is 1st Lieutenant James Martin to the rear of the Panzers. “Good flanking position sir, I will have you out of there in a jiffy.”
“Captain, guns to the west. Engaging, sir” was heard in the Captain’s headset clearly over the sharp cracks of the 75mm gun. It was Sergeant Smith from the Recce Stuart platoon. Captain Hubble closed his eyes for just a second as he now realized he is being surrounded. He snaps out of it and continues to fire onto the much obscured Panzers.
Now realizing he will have to fight his way out of this trap the Captain stops shooting and pops the hatch to see what is happening. The 2 Stuarts to his west are in flames, 3 of the 4 Sherman’s of 1st platoon are up in smoke and the tank crew of number 4 tank are bailing out. “Get back in and let’s get out of here!” the Captain yells. The tank crew responds and gets back into their Sherman tank.
“Hurry up sir I cannot keep them occupied forever. Oh Christ, Tigers!!” then the radio went silent.
That was the last Captain Hubble heard of his friend 1st Lt. Martin. He took a second to compose himself then gave orders for the crew to start heading back to the railroad tracks post haste. Just after getting underway a shell hit the tank right in front of the driver. Smoke filled the small confines of the tank and the concussion of the shell blew out the Captain’s eardrums. That was enough. The Captain gave the order to abandon tank and worked his way out of the commander’s hatch. He helped his loader out and they both fell to the ground. The Captain peered up at Number 4 tank which has been turned into a heap of scrap metal.  
Collecting himself the Captain grabbed his loader, Corporal Barnes, and tried to get to their feet. Just as the both of them stagger to their feet holding each other for support the Captain notices the German infantry closing in on the two of them. He turned to Corporal Barnes and said “looks like the war is over for us lad.”       
Germans won 5-2
Thanks for the game Cory!! Hope your dice do not stay so cold.
Michael (crimsonexec)


  1. Nice battle report, I like the narrative style. Good looking game too, are those JR Minatures buildings?

  2. Agreed, an enjoyable read. May have a go at a storied AAR next time around..., stand by for dodgy German accents and dialogue ;-)

    BTW, Pincer is often a bugger with the defenders reserves arriving on your flank, never pleasant...