IABSM: Action at Anzio
After a long lull, we recently got in another game of IABSM 3 using a scenario from the “Anzio, From Wildcat to Whale” book by Robert Avery. This game was set during the German counterattacks that took place once the allies had exhausted themselves trying to break the German perimeter. Apologies for the few and crappy pictures – I forgot the camera and just had my phone… plus the game was a good one and I forgot to take many pictures.
I was set to play the Germans for this one and the ref had sent out the map and briefings, so I was able to organize my two reinforced companies for the attack and make a thorough plan. My objective was to drive the length of the table, cut the Via Anziate, and isolate the British force to the north. The map showed British entrenchments immediately in front and minimal cover between those and the road. A ditch paralleled the road and made a useful jumping off position fro my final push if I could reach it in force. So I made my plans to pin the right side of the British trenches, assault the left side with overwhelming force, including armor, then push down the left and leave some blocking positions to protect the flank of my drive. That was the plan…
After we set up the table and minis and after a fair amount of British teeth gnashing over the pre-attack artillery stonk, the Brits got their blind card first and much to my surprise jumped out their entrenchments and started hauling ass to the rear, making for the safety of the ditch. Well, that was a bold move on the part of their CO and a great opportunity to mow down a bunch of them in the open Except that these were the fastest moving highlanders on record! A combination of great movement rolls and favorable card sequence meant the highlanders scurried back to the safety of the ditch (which was apparently deep enough to completely hide in). Oh well, the plan would still work, I would just be putting in my attack further down the table. However, as the troops began moving up, the units on the left (the leading elements of the main force) outpaced the units on the right (the pinning force). The British commander then used the safety of the ditch to move troops to my left – exactly what the pinning force was supposed to prevent!
With the original plan looking bleak, I decided to switch the axis of attack and started sending new arrivals to the right while initiating a strong pinning attack on my left with two platoons and a couple of StuGs. This had the desired effect – the Brits continued to put reinforcements into that side of the table and I started moving troops to my right. The 75mm infantry guns under personal direction of the first company CO made the top of the hill and began to shell the British positions in the trench. The 81mm mortars came in and dropped a couple of rounds on the same positions as well. The British armor arrived and rolled up to engage the StuGs. However, they needed more gunnery practice as they mostly missed the assault guns and the shells that hit simply bounced off. Shortly thereafter two Panthers came off blinds on the other side of the table and smashed all four Shermans in a matter of seconds.
With the British armor out of the way and any PIAT that stuck their head up drawing a mass of MG fire, I was able to use the guns of my armor (along with the 75mm infantry guns) to whittle away at the right side. Then I started sending in the assault sections. The first couple were thrown back, but they inflicted losses and the highlander’s line was getting really thin. While the British were occupied with my on table troops, I was able to move up on blinds and concentrate three relatively fresh platoons against the remnants of a single platoon of highlanders. When it got late and we called it, I had pushed into the ditch and was in excellent position to push across and take the road. Some British reinforcements were on the way, but they were not going to be in time to clear out my strength on the right. The lead platoon on the right and both platoons on the left were pretty badly chewed up, but the Germans had a narrow win.
Another really great game that felt just right. We have now had a handful of games using the IABSM 3 rules and this one went very smoothly with a minimum of rules reference. Considering the size of the scenario and the variety of troops, it also played along quite quickly. Definitely looking forward to the next one.