I played the mission yesterday evening. Actually I only wanted to browse through the scenarios to see what is there after finishing the Road to Montebourg campaign. But I was fascinated by the size of the Huzzar map and got drawn into the scenario.
(played in real-time)
I don't remember the geographic directions of the map exactly. So for orientation purposes I assume that the US setup position was in the south of the map and the Germans attacked from the North.
I chose to play the US side because I was eager to face the challenge of fighting against some serious German armour (there is little armour in the Montebourg campaign).
During the setup phase I ordered the scout units to cover each of the fords and bridges on the map. The idea was not to stop any German advance across those points with the scouts alone but to get sufficient warning of any German movement to allow the according deployment of US armour and infantry. All scout units were positioned on the south side of the river behind hedgerows or other cover. The only exception was two M3 Stuarts that I sent into the small village on the north side of the river.
After the game began the scouts moved to their designated observation points. One M8 Greyhound, that was observing the train tracks from the south side of the river, spotted the first enemy units advancing towards the village. He quickly retreated behind cover (I feared that there might have been heavy armour in that initial wave) and I prepared the two M3s in the village to confront the Germans heading towards them. My intention was to destroy two or three of the advancing enemy units and then to move the M3s to the south side of the river and wait for reinforcements. However, as German and US units came face to face one of the M3s got hit immediately and blew up. The other M3 hid behind some buildings and managed to kill the AFV that had shot at the other M3. The crew of the disabled M3 managed to bail out and moved into some buildings, providing a view on the train tracks. It became clear that the German force advancing towards the village was made up of scouts mounted on halftracks and some Pumas. At this point I only waited for the right moment to retreat with the remaining M3 towards the south side of the river. However, it turned out that the M3 was in a rather lucky position, hid behind some buildings, looking down the main street towards the tracks. Vehicle after vehicle appeared in the M3's sights and got taken out. That little tank must have killed 5-6 AFVs, most of the German recon force.
With the M3 holding the enemy in check, I changed my plan and decided to move the first reinforcements into the small village as fast as possible. Hence, when the company of Shermans arrived, I immediately ordered the biggest platoon of five Shermans to the village on the north side of the river. I moved the other platoons to cover the eastern and western crossings respectively. But for now, it seemed that the German advance towards the village was stalled. At that point, I had each of the three major crossing points covered by a platoon of Shermans and a couple of Scouts. In the following minutes little happened and I waited for further reinforcements to arrive and for more signs on where the German main thrust was going to happen. Somehow, my instincts told me that the western crossing would be relatively save, so I moved the arriving AT guns to the eastern side to cover the approaches from behind some hedgerows. One of the armoured infantry platoons was sent to the west as well, while the other infantry platoon was ordered to the village in the centre.
Soon, the first German units appeared on the hill north of the eastern crossing. An unlucky Sherman was hit immediately by the advancing German armour. The other tanks (3 Shermans) were safely behind cover, while the arriving AT guns and armoured infantry hid as well. The halftracks accompanying the German advance were quite easily destroyed by the Shermans. However, it soon became clear, that there were at least two heavy Panthers as well. After one of those beasts advanced across the river, the infantry and a Sherman attacked it from the side, while the AT guns and another two Shermans engaged from the front. This combined effort brought the tank down. The second Panther was not such an "easy" kill. It stopped on an open field north of the western crossing. I assume it was immobilized since it did not move for the rest of the game. The tanks and AT guns were facing the front and a little of the right side of the Panther tank. Two AT guns and three Shermans fired continually on the Panther and only after ca. 20 minutes did the German crew finally abandon their tank. After the heavy German armour was gone the MG and mortar from the infantry platoon dealt with the remaining German force in the east.
Meanwhile, in the village at the centre of the map my forces clashed with another German advance. Note that this clash took place at the same time as the encounter in the east. So I was constantly switching between the two battles. Since I was initially occupied with the battle in the east I did not move the Shermans and armoured infantry platoon in the village into defensive positions. All of the sudden I noticed a German group consisting of armoured infantry and Stugs! advancing from the north-west. I hurried to move my troops into the centre of the village in order to hide them from the German armour. From this position the US forces managed to hold the German attack at the outskirt of the village. Some of the German infantry tried to infiltrate the village from the north, but I manoeuvred my own infantry to prevent their advance. The Stugs were covering the village from an open field to the north-west of the village. Some of the half-tracks and one Stug tried to advance along the main street into the village but were quickly killed by the Shermans and AT teams, which were hiding inside it. In order to eliminate the remaining Stugs, I decided to commit the third Sherman platoon, which was covering the western crossing. They moved to the north side of the river and came out behind the German advance from the west. Quickly, they killed the two remaining Stugs. With them gone the US force in the village mopped up the remaining German attackers.
All in all, this is a truly great scenario. These kinds of scenario bring out the best in CM gameplay.
It was already quite a tough fight, but I expected a heavier attack by the Germans. I think 1-3 additional heavy tanks and more infantry would create a more challenging but still winnable scenario.