Saturday, May 24, 2014

Huzzar! - Round 2

This post is a continuation of my post about the Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy scenario Huzzar!  started here.

We left off last time with German and American recon forces sparring over the bridgehead objectives. One of my Greyhounds and a jeep had just run head on into a German halftrack on the eastern bridgehead.

I pull my M8 around to cover the street through the village, thinking the halftrack is backing up to a position in the village. I'm taken under fire from the flank, disabling the armored car and sending the crew running for cover. My crew didn't see another SdKfz 250/9 moving north along the road.

As the smoke covering the bridge thins one of my Stuarts reacquires the German halftrack spotted earlier. A couple of 37mm rounds puts an end to that.

The bailed out crew of the M8 spots a Puma lurking up the street toward the center of Coutances.

The smoke masking the eastern bridge clears and an M5 and M8 have sight the recon halftrack that shot up the other M8 and open fire.

Again, a few 37mm rounds turn the halftrack into scrap and the crew bails out.

On the other side of the map, just north of the west bridge this Puma sees my advancing Stuart before I see him. A flank shot from the armored car costs me my second armored vehicle in as many turns. The German recon forces are much more numerous than my cavalry, it seems.

The Puma probes forward and runs into my second Stuart with that cavalry group. After a brief exchange of fire the SdKfz 234 catched fire. The crew bails out but is shot up by the crew of the M5 they killed earlier.

There are German recon vehicles everywhere! While the M5 is engaging the Puma, yet another SdKfz 250/9 emerges from the bocage on the flank of the cavalry group at the western bridge and trades fire with the single Greyhound I have there. Fortunately this crew was more aware. Their cannon fire causes the German crew to bail out.

That canister is mean stuff. A round from the M8 cuts down the crew of the recon halftrack.

Reinforcements arrive in the form of a reduced company of Shermans. I need to get them into action to replace the cavalry as soon as I can. I have a feeling that the recon fight is nearly over and the German main effort is about to arrive.

I'm going to send 1st Platoon across the river and move them to a position to defend the western bridge. 2nd Platoon will do the same for the eastern bridge. I'm sending 3rd Platoon far to the left, where I've discovered a ford across the Souleuvre. I want that secured to prevent a German flanking move. If I'm exceptionally lucky, I'll be able to use it to bring at least a tank platoon in on their flank at a critical moment.
 I'm concerned about spreading out my tanks this much, but I don't see much choice. All three crossing need coverage. If my cavalry can successfully locate the enemy armor I'll try and concentrate D Company for an attack.

Back in Coutances, two of my M5s account for a pair of Pumas and another SdKfz 250 across a pair of turns. At this point I think I've destroyed most of a German recon company at the cost of one M5 and one M8.
I've had things mostly my way so far. I'm pretty sure that's about to change as my cavalry encounters the German main body. The cavalry's task now is to locate the German main effort and maintain contact until I can  attack with elements of D Company. I think I've won the recon fight, but that's just the beginning.

This really is an exciting and well constructed scenario. Very few CM scenarios make any attempt to present the recon part of an engagement. This one does a great job.

An image of a cavalry troop moving through Coutances in July 1944 that I found on Wikipedia while doing some research for this post. It looks like my tanks need some foliage.