Sunday, June 01, 2014

New Panzer Grenadier Deluxe first try

Played a game of newly published Panzer Grenadier Deluxe rules (by Dave Brown) with my Dad yesterday (just as well as my Broadband is down at present - doing this post via other means).
A lovely new hardback book this (about same thickness and style as the Black Powder tomes and similarly expensive) with several new twists to an already excellent rule system.
Used a scenario from web covering an attack by 10th SS Panzer Division against the village of Gavrus held by units of 15th Scottish Division during Epsom 'Scottish Corridor' Operation in Normandy June 1944.
The scenario had been designed for early version of rules but worked perfectly fine.
I as ever took the British force and my Dad the Nazis.
This turned out to be a most excellent game.
Scottish troops set up hidden up to half-way to include the sunken road (acts as a sort of Bocage lined trench) Initial SS force of a strong Company of Pz Grenadiers on foot appear from southern (tabletop right) edge with 2 81mm mortatr in off-board support.
Also an FOO with access to 2 medium Batteries (this was determined pre-battle)  SS get another PzGr Coy in Sd251 plus a Panther, two PzIVH and a Sd233 (a Sd250/9 in scn but no difference in game function) after four game turns.
SS are all classed as Veterans
Brits get five Infantry Platoons and a Support Plt (MMG, Piat and 2" Mortar) at start with a 6pdr in support with an FOO with on-call 25 pdrs (Medium Battery again pre-rolled before game) and a single 'Jabo' sortie (of which more later.....).
These initial troops set up hidden with one unit allowed to be in Ambush (gets to fire once without being seen).
Two Platoons cover the sunken road area the others the orchards.
On turn 6 another two Infantry Plts and a 6pdr appear in Gavrus and on turn 7 a Tank Squadron troop of 3 Shermans and a Firefly appear on left flank road.
British all classed as Regulars
Scenario aim is for SS to take majority of Gavrus built up sectors (of which there were 5 on table) with Scots to deny such possession.

Game saw SS advance caught in front of sunken road initially suffering casualties.
They covered their left flank with a single Plt.
However 2 Plts did manage to push forward quickly on my right as I had on my support Plt covering here which was soon overrun.
This game them direct access to Gavrus.
The Panzers appeared on road to SS right getting ready to await the British Tanks.
My 6 pdrs proved totally ineffective against the Panther.
The SS Gepanzert Coy advanced along the other road, de- and assaulted one of my Plts holding the sunken road forcing their retreat.
Thankfully my Inf reserves arrived just as SS massed on my right but not before they had taken first BUA.
A tough slog then developed in next couple of BUAs which the SS eventually won taking the required 3 BUA sections !
In the centre the sunken road was lost but redeployments from the orchard stopped Grenadiers around the copse area.
On right the arrival of the British Tank Squadron a gunnery duel ensued with the Panzers.
This saw the Firefly brew the two PzIVs before Panther destroyed it.
The remaining Shermans gamely engaged the Panther at so-called effective range but either failed to activate of saw shots bounce of harmlessly.
Only poor gunnery by Panther crew allowed Shermans to survive a few turns but by game end only 2 remained and one was damaged (2 damage = KO).
But the SS assault had cost them a lot of casualties and indeed they exceeded their Breakpoint of 50% casualties just as they took third BUA.
We therefore declared game a draw which seemed a fair result.

As to new stuff in the edition of rules there is a fair amount.
Essentially it is the same basic system it has always been but a lot of stuff now streamlined and quicker to play. For instance rather than counting factors for firing small arms, tank MGs, MMG/HMGs etc they now fire a 'Section Equivalents'.
So a basic Plt of 2 Rifle Sections and an LMG fires as 4 Sections (2 for LMG 1 each for Rifles) and MMG fires as 4 section equivalent and Tank fire as 3 sections (this counts MGs and Main Guns). 4 Sections is the most one can roll for so if 6 section equivalents firing this would be split as 2 rolls on 4 and 2 columns.
Also one can target enemy stands individually or picks a primary target with others within 4" possibly effected.
As an example one could target an LMG stand alone or target it as primary target with outcomes effecting it mates, shooting results can generate multiple outcomes such as Disperse Test x 1 Disengage x 3 or Diengage x 1 Suppression x 2 and suchlike.
So as per above a single target could suffer all these outcomes or the primary take the first (and usually worst) outcome then other results effect rest of target unit including possibly primary target again.
All very neat and playable.
Indirect Artillery/Mortars works same for calling-in, accuracy as in previous versions but again roll for effect is amended with a new Fire For Effect chart that streamlines results.
All very quick and playable.

Units still activate as groups (standard maximum of 6 stands) needing a basic 7 on 2d6.
Failed rolls can be supplemented by HQ Impetus (established at start of each turn).
Initiative won allows the player to choose to activate his units first or second with the same range of order types as previously.
However a new twist is that the initiative winner also retains an ability (based on number of HQs) to utilize a new 'Exploit' phase.
This essentially allows some limited extra movement (even if unit failed to or acted in Actions Phase), Infantry reserves to deploy beside an HQ on table rather than having to advance from table edge.
To be honest we both forgot about this new phase but certainly noted afterwards where it could have been effective.
There are a couple of twists based on nationality traits but again all very playable.
The double 1 'blunders' and double 6 'super events' remain and boy did we see these both a lot !!
I had several units with 'low ammo' and a few 'battle hardened' whilst both PzIVs had 'low ammo' and several SS Plts managed to get 'double moves' and 'extra action' type results, however Dad rolled several double ones when taking Morale Tests or Rallying and saw several units 'Rout' ie removed from game !
Ref my afore mentioned 'Jabos' I did manage to call them in (without an dedicated FAC) and had them lined up to blast the Panther......but........they completely missed the target (Ie the dread double 1 on accuracy roll !!) and whacked one of my decimated Plts in nearby orchard wiping them out (must have been USAAF !?).
I have always like the BGPZGR system and this 3rd edition is a rather good update playing quicker than 2nd edition but with same overall system and level of fun vs simulation for a 'Battalion Level' game.

The basic scenario map

My version with North (British) edge to left (sunken road denoted by 'earthen banks')

A plethora of in game 'action' shots (we used poker chips to denote units which had rolled for activation as it could get confusing)

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