Cold, ground snow, wintery battlefront, a town of Hatten were divided in half. Germans occupied the North side and Americans prepared for attack on the south. I had the honors to be the attacker in HF8 Fahrenheit 352. Initially I had few things to worry about, namely the two flame Hetzers that were lurking among the reinforcements. That actually worried me more than the rather strong position that the Germans held.
I did not realize it early enough that there were nothing in my arsenal that had a decent chance to kill flame Hetzers from the front. Bazooka? Nope. 76L gun? Nope. APCR – yes, if one has them. The tank on right sector that did have, actually burned way before it could have put in any use. The others, well, did not have any.
Actually, I did not realize that the Hatten map is really restricted – much more so than any in other ASL scenario I’ve played until the date. I don’t mind walls, but the orchards, hmm. A LOT of orchards and plowed fields that do slow down infantry quite a bit. This map is a bit of puzzle.
German defense was covering all avenues of approach quite well. There seem to have been good interior lines that they could use to consolidate the defenses and retreat – and the reinforcement entry points were conveniently located to be used to reinforce any area in need. To counter the wide defense, I set up on a wide front with an idea to tie up the the defenders and hopefully find some way to reinforce success where encountered. A mistake there.
I had a sluggish and confusing start. I wasn’t really focusing on any avenue, but tried to probe the weaknesses and I was definitely not sure how to go about the attack.
This was not helped by the mistake on the concealment counters (defender placed concealment in a same way as if I would have entered, giving far more of them than ordinarily available). I managed to fire a few WP shots with the mortars before running out. Tanks attempted to provide fire support but due to hindrance there were not much hits recorded, and as usual, run out of WP as well.
I lost one of the better Shermans early on to a PF in a foolish push on the far flank. The terrain felt both restrictive and way too open at the same time. Advance was slow but eventually after my additional tanks showed up, I started to have an idea of how to proceed. Sort of.
Unfortunately when I finally found weakness and could set my feet into one of the victory locations, and got my HtH attacks in motion, I encountered the flame Hetzers. My right flank collapsed in seconds under fire. Those buggers were practically invulnerable to the bazooka, and gunfire (I had no APCR). I lost 50% of my leaders and substantial amount of troops in a single flaming instant.
Shortly after I had to concede since there were no practical chances for my three remaining good order squads to capture and keep the two building locations against the fresh German elite squads and two roaming Hetzers for two turns.
Lessons learnt: First, check the weapons that are able to kill enemy armor – and check again. Americans seriously lack on this department – especially when rolling like I do for APCR. Plan accordingly. 9-2 leader with bazooka may be better than 6-6-7 with bazooka. Taking the Hetzers from the side or rear is a way easier said than done.