Boy, did I screw the pooch on this one.
Continuing our trek through all of the TAC scenarios, the next one on the list for Pierce and I was TAC 4 “I Remember”. This is a fairly large scenario. Four boards including the river boards (7 & 8) and ten turns. It was my turn to defend, so I got the Germans. A nice force of 18 squads with all the usual accoutrements plus a trio of Mark IVs and an 81mm mortar. I get three more tanks in turn 5.
Pierce’s troops are Canadians, starting the game with Elite troopers and reinforced by 1st liners. Plus nine Shermans, eight to start and one later on. His pieces enter in groups at different spots on the board.
The Canadian objective is to take the castle on board 8, a tall task. He must first cross the ravine. It is bog terrain for the tanks and slow going. He’s got some 88mm artillery he can drop.
A look at the map in three shots:
Pierce brought his guys on carefully. I got an early shot on the rear of a Sherman firing from west to east and punched it’s ticket, but he got most of the rest of his troops on the map in good shape.
In the west, he moved 4 Shermans into the ravine, I had a long shot from board 8, but missed.
In my half of turn 1, I moved the two MkIVs in the west to cover the approach of the afore mentioned Shermans. Pierce got his OBA down, right on the castle and the first results roll was a deuce. I was afraid he was going to bring the roof down right on my head but I lucked out and escaped with minimal damage.
Ok, I have to admit, I have thought lady luck was being extremely cruel to me recently, we all go through those periods where nothing seems to work. This time though, I simply can’t complain. Pierce brought those Shermans out of the ravine using platoon movement. I waited for them to spend enough movement points to drop the “J” modifiers to my shot and opened up. Firing after each impulse, I got rate of fire on each of my PzIVs and didn’t miss. I burned one and killed two in first fire, and burned the fourth in the Dfph. Pierce was down to 3 Shermans on turn two.
At the time, I was thinking that I was in pretty good shape, but Pierce had other ideas. This is after all an infantry game, and I need to remember that. After thinking the roof was going to bury my guys in the castle, Pierce just kept hitting it… over, and over, and over. I thought the artillery was never going to end, and I was right. Pierce just pasted the troops in there, I couldn’t leave and I couldn’t reinforce. By the time he was finished I was left with unpossessed weapons and a couple of broken leaders.
I thought I would use the castle to get shots into the ravine from the upper levels, but the pummeling I took put paid to that idea.
The scenario took a turn towards the British at this point. In turn 4, Pierce was successful on every SMOKE roll, essentially blinding me to the units crossing the ravine.
The most direct route from point A to point B is a straight line and Pierce brought his troops right up the gut.
He shut down his OBA module after reducing my castle troops to a blue goo and used advance vs. difficult terrain to climb the steep hill on either side of the center road. Entering the castle before I could react. At this point, I knew I was in trouble. I had turned from being the defender to be the attacker and I really didn’t have the troops for it. Pierce had PIATs, and what is one of the selling points of the PIAT? No backblast when fired from a building and these German tanks were not going to survive many of those shots.
Well, there’s no reason to beat around the bush, the next few turns were spent sparring with each other as I tried to get my flank guards to the center and Pierce just kept feeding units into the castle.
I probably could have surrendered at any point, but the victory conditions called for either side to have “complete control” at the end of the scenario. So I figured I needed to get one location in the castle to force a draw. Not entirely sure if that is the intent of the VC, but that is what it says.
But Pierce was firmly ensconced in the castle, and my attempts at the end of the game to get in were forcefully rebuffed. My efforts to VB sleaze only resulted in dead tank hulks from PIAT shots.
I surrendered on turn 9 of 10 as I just didn’t have anyone in position to get in the building.
We started this game in November via PBEM. We finished it in early August. That doesn’t bug me, but I noticed that almost all of the games I had started around then went badly. Not even really competitive. I had played a total of 5 games in the previous year and they were all at a tournament in July. The games I have started this summer I am faring much better. I still don’t win much, but I am at least not out of games halfway through.
Pierce is still whipping me, but I am going to get him before long. We have skipped TAC 5 as Pierce felt that night scenarios via PBEM don’t work well. TAC 6 is underway and we’ve just started TAC 7. I can’t lose every TAC scenario I play with Pierce……….. can I?
Thanks for reading.