Thursday, 24 March 2016

Flames of War - Valmontone 1944

This week at the uni Peter organised a FOW game base on the Battlefront 'Point of the Sword' scenario of the Battle of Valmontone, in June of 1944, the drive on Rome by the Fifth US Army, which included the 3rd US Infantry division, who had to advance through this small town in order to link up with the British 8th Army.

Peter and I took the US Forces: His Combat command consisted of a troop each of Stuarts and Shermans, with accompanying Armoured Infantry platoon, and I took the remaining 2 platoons of 'leg' infantry. We shared our lavish artillery assets, 6 x 105 Priests, with an observer team each. Unused to playing with US forces, I had heard a lot of the power and flexibility of US Arty, so was looking forward to the 'redlegs' doing the bizz - especially the 'Time on Target' special rule!

However when the Germans, Bryan and John P, had finished their deployment - a battery of 88s, 2 platoons of infantry, a battery of PAK43s, 4 x 105mm howitzers, and 6 x Nebelwerfers, we realised it was the opposition who had the lavish artillery support! - And as reserves they still had 3 (albeit small) platoons of Panzers to come on! But it was the 88s that really worried us - they were adroitly deployed to effectively shut down the entire left, eastern half of the table, and most of the right!

We made our plans accordingly - the obvious and only clear line of approach to Objective 2 was shut down by the 88's, and the middle ground approach was dominated by a wood and a large patch of difficult going caused by the earlier naval and air bombardments - not a good place to send the armour. Complicating things, in this interesting scenario, was the
Pz IV, Herman Goering Div, Italy '44
fact that we knew the German armoured reserves could come on at either end of the table, depending on the situation at the time. We decided to leave one infantry platoon covering the eastern entrance, which could then be redeployed if the Armour came on at the other end, and lead off with our armour at the extreme western flank - if the German armour came on their, well, who better to meet it? The remaining leg infantry platoon would push up the centre, covered by the woods to its flank and taking protection from the shell craters if taken under fire. The idea was that both the armour and infantry would then converge on Objective 1 from both flanks...

Don't get too excited by the Long Toms in the foreground, these 155s were just simulating 105 Priests!
So we duly deployed according to plan, knowing we had the first move so could afford a fairly 'busy' and dense concentration before going forward. With the Germans starting the game dug in and gone to ground, our first barrage was a disappointment, needing 6D6 to range in - my dice had not warmed up yet!

Still, gradually and cautiously Peter's armour and my infantrymen moved up through the challenging terrain, and my second artillery strike, using time on target, was able to destroy an impudent 88 that had revealed itself by a long shot at one of Peter's Stuarts right on the other flank. I was liking TOT!

Unfortunately for Pete's armoured advance, German armoured reinforcements turned up on time and in strength - the Stugs in particular were very effective in making their presence felt...

Pete's initial assault with the armoured infantry, against dug in and unpinned infantry and AT guns was forced back, but the second assault, screened with smoke and against pinned opponents, succeeded in clearing that part of the town nearest Objective 1...

For my part, my infantry was poised to provide the other side of the pincer movement, albeit against a fresh, gone to ground and unpinned infantry platoon....However time was against us and we were unable to resolve the game...

Still, an enjoyable evening's gaming, good to brush up on FOW again after much Team Yankeeing, and I found US forces interesting to play with - particularly the artillery.
Happy Easter!


  1. Did I hear the word " Artillery" ??

    When the Germans fire the Allies take cover.
    When the British fire the Germans take cover.
    When the Yanks fire ......Everyone takes covers.

    1. Yes mate, Queen of the Battlefield and all that...well it is when all your tanks are bailed or KOd!

  2. My dearest Sparkles

    Looks like you'll need to replay the scenario to get a completion. Not such a bad thing I would've thought.

    von Peter himself

  3. Oh, I need to get back to Flames of War. It's been too long now...