Once again wwpd.net, the premier independent website focused on Battlefront Limited”s WWII miniatures skirmish game Flames of War is producing a global, massively multiplayer online campaign. Last year it was D-Day: Operation Overlord (Check out my blog about it here – I was named the “Best of the Blogs”) and while I voted for Market Garden for this year”s campaign, wwpd chose to do the Allied invasion of Italy, probably because the timing coincides with Battlefront”s release of two new Italy sourcebooks.
So my buddy Matt and I got together yesterday and recreated part of the famous battle of Monte Cassino, where the Allies encountered extremely rugged, mountainous terrain and the tough-as-nails 1st Fallschirmjager Division. We aligned our game historically in this way:
It”s mid-March 1944 and the Allies have secured the Cassino “town proper” and its strategically important rail line. In preparation for an assault on the monastery at the top of the mount, the 4th Indian Division takes over 2nd New Zealand”s position on Castle Hill. But on March 19, 1st Fallschirmjager Division descends from the monastery to launch a surprise attack on the http://paris-canaille.org/acheter-cialis-10mg/ position. If the German paratroops can retake Castle Hill they can steal the initiative from the Allies and blunt the next assault on the monastery before it ever begins.
We rolled randomly for one of the two recommended missions for Castle Hill in the Cassino source book campaign: No Retreat and Cauldron. We got No Retreat. We played at 1500 points so we used a full-sized board and the standard two objectives for the mission instead of the 4″x4″, single objective set-up suggested in the campaign mission. We both had infantry companies so we diced off and the Germans were the attackers. (If the Allies had been the attackers
our game would have represented the March 15th advance that took Hangman”s Hill and I would have played a 2nd NZ list that had been prepared beforehand for this contingency.) We tried to re-create the historical terrain by working off of the full-color painting in the Cassino book. A pre-game sketch of the terrain board we wanted to produce is included in the attached photos.
4th Indian put its armor in reserve – Churchill NA75s, Shermans and Humbers (using German-captured Panhards as proxies so don”t be confused by the balkancruzes in the pix) – and one platoon of Ghurka infantry in ambush. A platoon of Vickers occupied the castle ruins (which were also the location of the Allies” Objective placement) giving them a vantage point with excellent fields of fire and lines of sight in the hilly but fairly open terrain. The UK sniper was… everywhere (and a pinning machine).
The Fallschimjagers put an assaulting platoon of infantry on each side of their line, PAK 40s and Mortars in long-range firing positions and Marders and Pioneers in support. Entek placed his objective at a bottleneck on the precipitous mountain road leading from Castle Hill past hills 236, 435 and Hangman”s Hill up towards the (off board) mountaintop abbey.
Things did not go well for the Germans. As with the real battles, this game was going to be tough going for either side on attack. Entek “won” the roll and the privilege of charging into the meatgrinder to take an objective. As soon he”d had his first turn and started his advance my Indians got reserves and the Churchills moved into a firing position covering the objective on the UK left.
While the Fallschirmjagers scored an early kill, brewing up a Churchill, luck immediately abandoned them: their Marders failed a stromtrooper roll and were left exposed, the platoon of TD”s quickly going up in flames. At the same time the Fearless FJs blew 5 or 6 rolls to rally from being pinned across two turns (THAT was A LOT of 1s and 2s…). Those same two turns were their sole reprieve from reserves: the third turn saw BOTH of the Ghurka”s remaining reserve platoons come on the board: Shermans and Humbers.
In the meantime, one FJ platoon had reached the castle but the assault was repelled, Vickers and Khuhuris inflicting major casualties on
the elite paratroops (who still couldn”t catch a break and make a motivation roll.) The defending Ghurka platoon paid dearly as well – coming out in to the open to repel the FJ assault brought the platoon under fire from multiple directions and the shattered remnants (three stands) retreated behind Castle Hill
On the German right, the second Ghurka platoon leapt out of ambush, scaling the rocky kills and cliffs of Hill 236 to spring a surprise assault. Two assaults were pushed back and the platoon was decimated, but it was a tactical success: both the second FJ platoon and the Pios were reduced to minimal fighting strength.
had picked off both FJ combat platoons and the FJ Pios. With 2 Morale 1st Fallschirmjager was NEVER going to break, but with only gun team platoons left on the board it was clear that they weren”t going to be able to maintain a position on the Allied side of the board, much less take an objective from 2 full-strength and 2 half-strength UK platoons still defending.