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o he's back, and from a holiday no less, so I thought I'd see how Gnarly's fairing in the days of old... For those that don't know, Gnarly and I have been regular opponents in the modern theater (our last battle is immortalised in the DAR found here: http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/thefgmforum/threads/cm-bs-dar-gnarls-vs-artemis258-art-stay-out.23531/ ), and our last battle left the results... triumphantly unsettled. He claimed to have taken the field after the remainder of of my forces fell back the next day, I claim my Glorious Russians (what were left) used his burnt out tanks as BBQs and the the crew's helmets as vessels for the consumption of beer and vodka... The heavy casualties simply meaning more liquour for the ones who were left. War is hell. So, we return to another time, and another country. Just inside Holland, Winter 1944, where US and German forces both move towards a strategic crossroads on the edge of a forest... FORCE SELECTION In my last little bout with Gnarly, I completely misinterpreted his preferences in force selection. Instead of the infantry-heavy wave of Ukranian conscripts backed up by a few aging IFV's I wound up facing off a company of Armour, which I was barely able to stop (with two tanks... *giggle*). Now, on the Western front 1944, it is not ageing soviet cast-aways that he has for toys, but the very best of German military engineering! So, knowing what I'm coming up against, I have a somewhat bastardized armoured task force-y...thing. The split force-wise is about 40/60 infantry and armour, maybe a bit more in the tank department... Also Bazookas. Lots of bazookas. I didn't realise every halftrack had one stowed, so during set-up I was the Oprah of Bazookas. You get a bazooka, you get a bazooka! Infantry To make up the core of my foot-sloggers, I've taken two platoons of armoured infantry (2nd and 3rd) from Dog company, 2 Battalion. @ platoon is mounted in a mix of M3 and M3A1 halfies which (with one exception) are packing 50's on them.... those tracks will be great for hosing down buildings or Hannos when the time comes... To help out with the city fighting 2nd Platoon (which will be tasked with the main assault) has been joined by a flamethrower team and a breach team - two things Ive been really loving in the Aachen campaign is the ability to kill it with fire and to make new entries... Flamethrowers in particular came out with RT but I've seen little use of them on the Eastern front. Anyway... 3rd platoon is dismounted, and will form a blocking/base of fire element (at least initially) and so doesn't receive AS much love as 2nd. They do however get something - in this case, a heavy machinegun team toting a M2HB of their own. Armour The real toys! The base of my armour is (naturally) a platoon of Shermies. Knowing I'm likely to face Panthers, Bengal Tigers or Tiger 1's, two of the five are carrying the 76mm gun... The other three are bog standard M4A3s with the 75, and all have wet stowage. I also wanted something special to play with, so I have an additional M36 Tank Destroyer... a real glass cannon that will support 3rd Platoon. Artillery There isn't much left for this unfortunately, so aside from each platoon's 60mm mortar the only additional indirect support will be from a platoon of 81mm mortars somewhere off-map. I'm hoping the direct support will more than compensate for this though! The Plan Infantry movement in red, Armour in Blue, TD in green The plan of attack is pretty classic. 2nd platoon, along with it's specialist teams, halftracks and the three 75mm armed shermans, will move to the central-west edge of the village and secure the forest there. That will give them cover and clear lines of fire into the village if Gnarly comes from the south-east, or a nasty close quarters surprise should he try to do the same. I'm counting on the HE from the tanks and 50's from the tracks to turn the tide in any event, while the heavy concentration of bazookas and close terrain will allow me to open any tin cans I come across. Meanwhile, the two 76mm Shermies will rush up to the edge of a small rise on the North/South road and overwatch the whole approach to 2nd platoon's objective. In particular, they can pop any armour that tries to use the treeline as cover, or hose any infantry that comes their way. The rise makes for a great hull down position and they should be there in the first few seconds of the turn. 2nd platoon and the tanks wait to move off On the eastern side of the map, 3rd platoon and their emplaced .50 will occupy overwatch positions on the south-eastern approach to the village... the woods here are dense enough to conceal my positions till I fire, and the slope allows me to hide most of my infantry squads out of the way if the return fire gets to high.... also I can fall back to a lovely sharp reverse slope position if armour shows up, letting it close enough to give them a bazooka to the face. The road that crosses NE-SW is hidden pretty well by the same woods, and is sunken below much of the hills as well... this gives me a good spot to rush my Jackson down to where it can cover that road (and thus the village) from enemy vehicles, as well as allowing it to back up slightly and cover the SE should Gnarly bring his tanks from there, though I suspect he'll prefer the better concealment offered by the SW corner... 3rd platoon with the M36 on the other side of the map This should be good. I like the map, and the choice of three different deployment areas ( I could go any combination of either corner and/or the middle) makes things interesting...