Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Running Up That Hill - 'O' Group AAR

A couple weekends ago, I attended another game run by Rocky of the Army of Central Maryland group.

The game was 'O' Group and the theater was Italy, 1943, with an attack on Caiazzo by an American battalion.

Alex and I were commanding the German defenders. We had two infantry companies with limited assets; a trio of machine guns in pillboxes, a pair of 88mm flak guns, and a 20mm anti-aircraft gun. The Germans also had a number of defenses they could deploy to the table; three foxholes, four lengths of barbed wire, and two minefields. 

The Americans, controlled by Kelly, Scott, Jim, and Kevin, had three infantry companies (two rifle, one engineer) and a tank company. Assets included MMGs, an HMG, some light mortars, and an airstrike.

One of the two 88s was deployed on top of a rise that gave it good coverage of the American approach. It was defended by two platoons of infantry in foxholes. Two lengths of barbed wire and a minefield created a funnel for the advancing Americans, and two MMGs in pillboxes added their weight of fire.

On the other side of the small town the Germans placed another minefield and two lengths of barbed wire, defended by the last MMG in a pillbox.

The American infantry companies pushed hard up the flanks (with the company on the far side of the table being targeted by artillery and machine-gun fire), while the tanks were being hammered by the 88 up on the hill.

The Germans lost their first defense when the Americans deployed their engineer company (whose platoons where equipped with flamethrowers and SMGs) and assaulted the machine-gun pillbox. The flamethrowers made quick work of the German defenders. 

While the German defenses on the hill were formidable, they were also static; the perfect target for American artillery. 

A daring American raid punched through the German lines and assaulted the 88. The gun was destroyed and the crew routed.

The Americans only had two tank sections left (the Company HQ and a remaining section of Shermans), but they now had more freedom in movement and fire. 

After the MMG team in the pillbox was removed, the secondary German defense - more dug-in infantry - revealed themselves to the Americans. 

The remains of the German company defending the hill were in full retreat as the Americans continued their push up and over the hill.

Their attack was stymied by the remaining 88 and the last German MMG team. 

The two sides were in something of a stalemate. Both were close to their last FUBAR, and the Germans were incredibly lucky , having survived a couple of American assaults out from the town in the center of the table. 

However, the Germans turned their eyes upward as the roar of engines became louder and louder...

And watched as an American airstrike knocked out the last 88. 

At that point, the Germans decided to call it quits and retreat. If I remember correctly, we were only three bases away from our third FUBAR. While the Americans were only two bases away from their fourth FUBAR, they now had the long-range firepower from the remaining tanks to chip away at the remaining Germans. 

Still, it was a fun scenario. I think the Germans could have deployed their defenses a little better (mea culpa, Alex) but we still put up a decent fight against an opposing force twice our size. And 'O' Group continues to be an excellent set of rules.

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