Sunday, February 5, 2017

Operation Jupiter 15 - Attack on Louvigny

Introduction
This is game 15 in replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).   I played this one on a 4'x4' table using 20mm. The background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Normally I play these solo but for this game I played with the 12 year old son of a friend.  I had played a few WW2 20mm games with him before over a period of several months (this is the 3rd of those games).  He has been asking to play again for the last year or so but only realised late 2016 that it had actually been two years since we last played!  Badgering for two years, not one :-(  The stars aligned and he came over during the Christmas break and we got three games in (game 13, 14 and 15 in the Operation Jupiter book).  We have a few people staying with us at the moment so there was no room to get out the half a table tennis table I normally use so I used the dining table that gave a 4'x4' area.

Rules used
Games 13-15 are using a revised company level rules, still at 1:3 for infantry and 1:1 for everything else.  The revision is I have done away with roll to hill, roll to kill and gone with rolling 1-3 dice with a die roll of 4-5 is one "success" and a 6 is two "successes".  The number of successes determine the result.  I have not written these up well enough to post them but they exceeded my expectations and they worked really well.  Reasons on why I switched  away to this mechanism is at this rambling blog post.

Scenario
The British need to advance across the river though the Germans to meet up with the Canadians. The British need to exit 51% of their forces off the east edge.

Troops
Note that although I am playing with 1:3 ratio and the scenario is at 1:1, I fielded the same number of figures and vehicles as the scenario e.g. the 10 person rifle squad became a 10 figure platoon.

British (L---)
1 Company HQ
    6 figures
2 Platoons
    1 platoon HQ (1 figure)
    1 2" mortar
    3 Sections (3 figures each)
5 Universal Carriers


Germans (me)
1 Kompanie HQ
    4 figures
1 Zug
    1 Zug HQ (1 figure)
    3 Gruppe (3 figures each)
1 MG42 team
3 Fire missions of 80mm mortar

Germans are all regular

Deployment
The river may or may not have a ford - the picture in the book had a track leading to the river.  I put a ford in just in case it was supposed to be there.  to cross the ford is one turn i.e. stop when enter the ford, stay on the ford for one turn, then next turn may move off.  Very vulnerable, but then crossing the bridge would be too!

The Germans deploy the HQ to the right of the bridge be able to call down artillery, and slow down the advance.  One German Gruppe on the British side of the ford to also slow down any advance there.  The rest of the German forces are deployed in the town.

Deployment, Germans to the bottom.
All infantry are not dug in and so can be spotted with LOS.  In woods/orchards spotting distance is 8".

Game
Note that I use card driven activation.
Out of the three games played against the 12 year old, this one was the most tense.  And it has the most pictures too.

The British move on their Company HQ in carriers.  The German Kompanie HQ successfully call in the mortars and pin the leading carrier.

Kompanie HQ (bottom right) successfully call the off-board mortars on the lead carrier.
The other British carriers move towards the ford.  The 2nd Gruppe defending the ford fires at the advancing British and kills one passenger and pins the section.

Action shot of disembarking the infantry from the carrier near the ford (at bottom right)
One of the carrier unloads it passengers and that section charges the 2nd Gruppe section at river. In the ensuing melee they lose one figure each and the two Germans survivors are forced to retreat across the bridge and are suppressed.

German 2nd Gruppe retreats across the bridge. The green "bush" near one of the figures is a suppression marker for the Gruppe. 
The 2nd British platoon, without any transports, enters on a wide front from the British table edge.

At the top, you can see elements of the 2nd British Platoon entering.
The lead carrier in front of the bridge (with ½ the Company HQ) moves to bridge, unloads and the section fires on the suppressed German Gruppe and kills a figure.

1/2 the British CO HQ advance over the bridge and kill another German figure on the other side.
One of the British sections, with the 2" mortar is advancing to the German Kompanie HQ.  The Kompanie HQ fires on the advancing infantry but only managing to pin them (-1 dice when shooting).

German Kompanie HQ fails to inflict much damage to the advancing British infantry.
The German off board 81mm mortars fire for the last time at the 2nd platoon that entered on the edge of the board and manage to kill one figure.

The British company commander, with the rest of the HQ section (was in front of the bridge) moves to their right and to the ford. The Gruppe in Building 1 (the closest to the ford - white with a brown roof)  fires at the British Company HQ while crossing the ford and manages to suppress them.

British Company HQ crossing the ford but are suppressed (the green bush is the suppressed marker)
The German occupied building to the right of the bridge fires at the British section on the top of the bridge and kills 2 figures! The one German at end of bridge failed to rally and so is still suppressed; at least the section advancing over the bridge has been stopped for now..

German Gruppe in building fires on the Brits on the bridge.
Due to a good run of cards, the British get a turn of moving up, consolidating and unsuppressing some of their units. A 2nd British section from the rear moves up and fires on the Kompanie HQ and KOs one.  Near the end of the turn the Germans get a few cards the Bridge right side Building Gruppe fires again on the lone British figure on the bridge and he is knocked out.  Another Gruppe also fires at the British Company HQ crossing the ford and KOs one figure there as well (too busy for any pics of these actions).  The lone German at the end of the Bridge moves into the building nearest the ford

Five British figures on ford charge the nearest house.  Wow - the five British rolled 6 hits and four (the three original Gruppe and the extra figure from the bridge) defending Germans rolled zero.  Excellent dice rolls for the British!  The most you can KO in one round of melee is three, so that many Germans are gone and the remaining one retreats to the red roofed building and is suppressed.  The British are slowly losing a figure here, a figure there.  It is starting to become a bit tense on both each card draw and each combat.

The British charge from the ford into the nearest house.
The German occupied building - opposite the newly taken building - fires but cause no damage.  The MG slightly further down the road fires and suppresses the Brits in the building.

The British in the building attempt to rally - one section is OK but the other section (of one figure) have had enough and rout.  Not good - another figure gone that was a easy candidate to get off the table.


The three figures in the British Company HQ charges the red roof building down the road from the newly occupied white building.  This was the building the German retreated into just recently. The Company HQ wins and loses a figure (the winner of a melee always loses a figure, unless they are only a single figure) and the German is KO'd.

Victorious Company HQ after charging the red roofed building.
A golden opportunity for the Germans - four Germans charge across the road into the building with the Company HQ of two figures. Great odds!  Not great enough.  It is a tie (that is rules in favour of the the defenders) so each lose one figure and the Germans retreat suppressed.  At least the Germans managed to get rid of another figure - the British are getting closer and closer to having only half their troops left and they need to exist over half.

Top  shot on the attack on the red roofed building.
While this has been going on, the British forces on other side of the river have been grouping near ford for a big push.  They cross the ford fine while the above combats were going on.  The are no Germans to oppose them :-(  The Brits (i.e L--- the 12 year old) has done quite well to neutralise the buildings that can attack the ford and now if moving his entire force across it.  But he needs to get nearly all of them off the table.

Just about all the British on the far side of the river are grouping.
The British move two figures from the buildings off the board while the units move off the ford and towards the edge. Two down, 13 to go to win.

British just before they move enough forces off the table for a win.
The British manage to get 15 figures off the table in total for a win! They needed to get 15 for the win (started with 28 figures and need to get more than half -14 - off the table). There is only one British figure left on the table at game end - the suppressed Company Major.  It was a very close thing!

Game end - some Germans in the building on the right, and one Company Major in the red roofed building (although he cannot be seen in this picture - unless you look very carefully and can see his head among the trees to the left of the building).

Verdict
It was a very intense game!  Although the report does not really do it justice, by about halfway through every card draw was tense - who was going to get to do something?  And the British were gradually being whittled down figure by figure and it was really a close run thing, considering if 2 more British figures had been KO's, the British could not win.   The scenario likely does not call for the ford and it would be a lot more difficult for the British to win if there was only the bridge as the crossing point.  A great game to end the three games we played over the course of the day.

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