Sunday, January 6, 2013

Memoir '44: Hill 112

After "Capturing the Crossing", Patrick and I continued along the first leg of the Memoir '44 Campaign chapter, The Battle of Normandy, which spans from June 25th through July 11th. To date, my Allies have not won any of the 4 missions in this chapter.

The 3rd mission of the 4 was Withdrawing from Hill 112, which we played a few months ago. I didn't bother with a write-up since it was a total drubbing, the Allies being trounced and routed before Patrick's Germans in short order. I'd like to say that our fight could've gone both ways but it just seems like Patrick's Axis had some strategy and paired tactics in mind that were executable, while I did not. Thus ends 3/4 of the chapter and the end to Operation Epsom.

At the time in 1944 when Hill 112 happened, Monty was trudging through Operation Epsom, The British 11th Armored division meeting the German 9th as well as 2 SS formations of the 10th and Das Reich. In real life this battle and the following were gains of attrition over real estate, that swapped land owners more times than can be told and saw thousands upon thousands of casualties (which recreates itself in our fight, given that figures are percentages of unit strength at map scale).

While my Allies never won a mission so far, and ended up low on the medal counts as proof, the feeling of expensive victory came through; my performance was certainly the example of how bad things could have went for the Allies as they fought inland.

 After Withdrawing from Hill 112 we were set for a return to the Cornwall Wood, Hill 112 and the opening fight of Operation Jupiter, a 6 medal game.

So, following the campaign tree, the Allies have one more chance to shore up their French countryside before the next chapter in the campaign. On to Hill 112...

Board at game start

Victory Event Rolls: PG 6 of Memoir '44 Campaign Book 1

·         Axis Results: Remove 2 Allied figures of Axis choice, Pat took one tank and an artillery unit from my British units.
·         Allied Results: I removed 1 figure from the 102nd heavy panzer battalion at Maltot, one less Axis command card to start.

 Play Reserve Tokens:
·         Axis player results: Special Reserve Rolls, Star and Tank=Elite Panzer unit for Reserves.
·         Allied player results: Make one unit an Elite British unit.

Allied Turn 1: Played Barrage card, took out half artillery unit
Axis Turn 1: Played Dig In card. Added 3 Sandbags, 3 infantry and 1 tank. Draw two cards after play.

Allied Turn 2: Played Recon in Force card. Tanks advanced, attacked Fontaine, Hill 112, no casualties
Axis Turn 2: Played Attack card, 3 units his right flank. Infantry close assaults tanks, down to 2. Artillery takes out remainder.

Axis Armored Assault
Allied Turn 3: Played Assault card, all units Allied Right flank. Armored attack up onto Hill 112, take Temporary Objective medal, ¼ of Axis infantry unit KO’d
Axis Turn 3: Played Armored Assault card. Attacking uphill 112 minus die for hill, gained die back for Armored assault, Shermans safe. Allied Shermans Left flank totally destroyed.

Allies: Probe, elite Panzergrenadiers redueced to half strength, retreat.
Allied Turn 4: Played Probe card, 2 units Allied left flank. Infantry flanked West, Armor East. Attacked Elite Panzer grenadier unit, reduced from 4 to two, German retreat.
Axis turn 4: Played Close Assault card. Axis Right flank infantry assaulted, destroyed Sherman, rest fled, one flag.

Axis Turn 4: Dug-in German infantry repel Sherman attack on Hill 112, 1/3 Shermans retreat, lose Medal objective

MEDAL COUNT: Axis 2, Allied 0

Board view turn 5
Allied Turn 5: Played Attack card, 3 units center, envelop Panzer unit, destroyed for medal.
Axis Turn 5: Played Attack card, 3 units center. Panzer unit sweeps up remaining Sherman unit, armor overruns into infantry for 1 hit.

Axis: Panzers overrun Sherman unit and attack field infantry. The Allies tried for the Hill objective medal many times and drove the Axis medal count up as a result.

Allies advance, combined arms attack and destroy a Panzer unit in one go. Infantry hesitate to leave the safety of the treeline and fail to advance towards Hill 112.
Allied Turn 6: Played Attack card, 2 units center, tank from woods and infantry unit. Infantry advances up the hill, tanks roll from woods. Eliminated panzers for point. Forgot to take ground with troops into vacant square towards Hill 112.
Axis Turn 6: Played Counter Attack card, 2 units center. Panzer Corp eliminates Sherm unit, Armored overrun, 2 hits on Allied infantry. Panzers center reduce Shermans by 1 on three dice. Whew.

Axis Turn 6: German armor advances against Allies across center
Allied turn 7: Played Recon card, 1 unit left flank. Infantry flanked Panzers, one hit, 1 flag. Drew two cards and then discarded Armor Assault since I have 1 tank on board, kept Probe 2 Center.
Axis Turn 7: Played Recon card, 3 dice on sole Sherman, retreat. Panzers armored advanced, attacked again, gained medal.

Allied Turn 8: YO JOE!!!!
 Allied turn 8: Played Behind Enemy Lines card, flanked Panzers, eliminated 2 on hit and flag (no retreat) Advanced again to Hill 112, took temporary objective medal. 2nd time in game.
Axis turn 8: Played Recon card, 1 center… 1 hit, flag, Allied retreat off hill. Panzers take hill regain temp objective medal again.

Axis Turn 8: Hill 112 is ours... again.
Allied Turn 9: Played Probe card, 2 in center. Messed up activation. Artillery fired on Hill 112 panzer retreat. Sole infantry 2 flags on panzers.
Axis Turn 9: Played Recon in Force card, 1-1-1. Sole infantry wiped out for Axis win.

Allied Turn 9: Damn it. That understrength British infantry unit valiantly repels the Panzers amidst a danger-close Allied barrage on their position (which drove back the elite Panzergrenadiers too) but their fate was inevitable. Axis win.

End of Chapter: Decisive Victory, Allied surrender.

Grand Campaign Results: Move on to The Breakout mission in next chapter, encompassing Battle for Saint Lo, Operation Cobra & Unternehemen Luttich (pg. 24 of Campaign Book Volume 1).

Well, the Allies didn't win one game (of 4) through the "Flanking Caen" chapter. Although the Reserves and Victory Events rolls coupled with the Grand Campaign rules really added some depth to the standard Memoir '44 game, it still came down to execution, as is true for all things.

As the Allied player I am comforted by the fact that historically, Allied victories over this historical time period (which I missed repeating here) saw victory on a knife's edge for both sides. While Pat essentially floored the Allies, he didn't roll over me. A combo of bad Allied luck offset by good Allied strategy (but bad tactics) plus German determination (Degermanation?) resulted with the both of us empathizing with the slog both sides saw in Europe over the summer of '44, which I think is a goal with this game. All-in-all, great games so far!

Stay tuned for the next chapter, the Allied push to Saint Lo, July 11th 1944!

Pat takes the spent M1 Garand brass as a trophy. Jerk.

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