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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

"Battle Of The Bulge" 10mm Battle Report: United States Verses Germany

Updated: Aug 4, 2023


AMERICAN M4 SHERMANS FACE OFF AGAINST SOME GERMAN PANZER IIIs AND IVs

This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) so as to allow us to quickly play through a short campaign utilising many of my painted 10mm World War Two (Winter) models by "Pendraken Miniatures", and took place upon an old 24" x 24" game board. The battlefield was populated with a variety of pre-painted "Escenografia Epsilon" scenic pieces previously sold through the Middlesbrough-based company at Warfare 2021, but now sadly out of production.


“The story so far… It is December 1944 and the German Army have started their Ardennes Offensive by striking out at the Allied Forces from Losheim in Eastern Belgium. As part of their initial spearhead two divisions of Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks have moved west out of the town to capture a building situated just behind some recently abandoned fortifications. In response, the Americans have dispatched two squadrons of M4 Shermans..."

THE TABLETOP - PART OF LOSHEIM IN EASTERN BELGIUM

The Germans started on the two eastern corners of the battlefield. In the North East Festung Division contained three Panzer IV tanks with (Short) 75mm guns. Whilst in the South East Volks Division was comprised of three Panzer III tanks and a Panzer IV with (Long) 75mm gun. Across from their position, along the two western corners, were the American First and Second Squadrons. These formations both consisted of three M4 Shermans with 75mm guns apiece.


The quite heavily populated tabletop had just a single, central strategic Objective. This needed to be held by the end of Turn Six by a single army. Whoever reached the building first had to be dislodged or destroyed by enemy fire before the opposing force could capture it. In addition, no enemy tanks were allowed to come within an inch of an opponent's armoured vehicle. This was to ensure we played a 'shooting game' as opposed to just having all the tanks pile into one another in the centre of the map.

THE GERMAN PANZERS ADVANCE TOWARDS THE AMERICAN LINE

The Fuhrer's forces won the initiative and attempted to take both flanks by moving two of the Panzer IIIs located in the south east straight towards the enemy, and a single Panzer IV do the same thing in the north. The rest of the German tanks filtered around the dwellings towards the centre of the battlefield.


Realising that in their haste to dominate both the flanks and the centre the Axis forces had moved within range of their guns, the majority of the American line simply sat and fired. Second Squadron managed to damage one of the Panzer IIIs from Volks Division which was fast approaching them. But disappointingly, First Squadron failed to hit any of its targets. However, Ol' Reliable and Kraut Kruncher trundled north-east towards the inner line of fortifications.

THE GERMANS APPROACH THE OBJECTIVE AS THE AMERICANS OPEN FIRE

Determined to brave the Allied shells, the German tanks continued their advance, placing their sole Panzer IV (Long) and a Panzer IV (Short) directly beside the Objective. A second Panzer IV (Short) and a Panzer III then took up 'flanking positions' by appropriate buildings to give covering fire. The non-moving Panzer tanks then fired, with Vagabond of First Squadron taking some damage.


In response the Americans all blazed away. It was clear they were going to have to shift the Axis armour if they wanted to win the day. Impressively, Second Squadron tore both of Volks Division's southernmost Panzer IIIs to shreds, completely obliterating the German's hold on the south flank. In addition, Ol' Reliable and Kraut Kruncher managed to strike their opponents with their shells, but their targets were still in the fight when the smoke settled.

THE ALLIES CONTINUE TO POUND ANY GERMAN TANKS AROUND THE OBJECTIVE

Sensing the need to keep up their barrage upon the Third Reich, the vast majority of M4 Shermans simply reloaded their guns and fired again. First Squadron managed to strike two targets. Yet failed to knock either Panzer out of the action. In the meantime Bouncing TNT and Babs moved west to push through the fortifications.


In response the sole-surviving Panzer III managed to damage Kraut Killer, whilst the Panzer IV (Long) shockingly almost took out Bouncing TNT. Kraut Kruncher and Vagabond were also banged up during the impressive German salvo, courtesy of no M4 Sherman which was struck making a successful armour save roll. The Allied line actually looked in danger of breaking.

NOW IN FORMATION THE PANZERS START RETURNING FIRE

Trying to shore up the two Axis divisions into a single, solid defensive 'U-shape', the Panzer III to the south moved north-west to flank a fortification, This manoeuvre was mirrored to the north by a Panzer IV (Short) rumbling alongside another fortification. The remaining German tanks then opened fire and cheered when Kraut Kruncher was blown apart. Babs almost joined him. But luckily kept chugging away despite two palpable hits.


It was increasingly becoming clear that the Americans were now in bad shape and needed to thin down their opponents if they were going to challenge for the Objective before the battle's end. Disastrously though, despite some concentrated firepower on the Germans, only Bouncing TNT struck their target, and the Panzer III remained operable.

THE PANZERS CONTINUE TO HOLD THE OBJECTIVE DESPITE SOME SERIOUS LOSSES

With the day theirs to be won, the Third Reich opened up once again upon the beleaguered Allies. Kraut Killer was damaged and Babs torn asunder, effectively leaving the centre of the battlefield devoid of any M4 Shermans.


Desperate to turn the tide with one last mighty effort, Bouncing TNT managed to finally destroy the last of the Panzer IIIs and totally wipe out Volks Division. This exposed the entire southern flank of the German formation. But incredibly, none of the American tanks were able to push home their advantage and damage any of the partially-vulnerable Panzer IVs. The Objective was still firmly in Axis hands.

THE AMERICANS MAKE AN UNSUCCESSFUL LAST GASP EFFORT

Deciding that a temporary tactical withdrawal was the better part of valour, the remaining M4 Shermans conceded the battlefield. The German rush to capture the building early on had paid off, and despite predominantly fielding inferior tanks to the Americans, the Third Reich's slight numerical advantage had won them a close-fought victory...

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undercoat2670
Apr 24, 2023

Very nice battle report which I enjoyed enormously. Not as close as most of your M.I.S.S. games but the dice can be fickle! Good stuff.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Apr 24, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Undercoat. The dice were definitely against the Allies/Americans in this one. But historically the Germans did make some initial advances in the Battle of the Bulge so perhaps fate was playing a hand. I have a follow-up planned once I've painted some more Allied armour.

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Dai Dead
Dai Dead
Apr 18, 2023

Fun! Like the comic book style report and the outcome was indeed surprising considering the Yanks' superior armour.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Apr 18, 2023
Replying to

Cheers Dai. Just a couple of successful armour saves by the Americans would definitely have turned the tide of this game. But they didn't save one hit so over time the impacts added up. The loss of the centre was crucial, imho.

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wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
Apr 17, 2023

Excellent batrep Simon, the board and tanks looked impressive, and a surprising win for the Germans, sometimes numbers can be a big advantage.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Apr 17, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Dave. Just a small something which can be thrown together for an hour or so's fun tbh. The American dice-rolling was appalling, so I think the Germans were incredibly lucky. The Sherman's armour didn't stop a single shot. LOL!!!


The next battle should see some British armour providing some support to the Shermans, and resultantly allow the Germans to field a few more Panzer IV (Long) 75mm - which was arguably the star of this game.

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