Band of Heroes: Carentan - The German AAR

Through the miracle of Vassal, I sat down and played LnL's "Band of Heroes"  this afternoon and played through a scenario called "Carentan". The June 12, 1944 battle for Carentan was fought by two fierce opponents, the men of the 101st Airborne 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company E ("Easy Company") which was immortalized in the HBO series' "Band of Brothers" and the German Fallschirmj√§ger Regiment 6.

Due to my affection for the TV series and my admiration of the men in Easy Company (or heck, any veteran of any war, for that matter) I have a special place in my heart for this scenario so I was pretty happy when my regular opponent agreed to play it, despite his stated desire to blow stuff up with tanks. We had a really good run with this scenario and it took some interesting twists and turns, especially in the late game. My opponent has agreed to do a joint AAR for this scenario so I'll post the progress of the battle from my perspective as the Germans now and then his report (as the American player) later. I'll be cross-posting all of this stuff to The Big Board later with his kind permission.

Carentan is an impressive eight-turn scenario, which takes place on a single map board.  The American objective is to control as many buildings east of hex row "H" as possible.  Because of the awesome fighting skill of Easy Company, they are given 9 fate points at the beginning of the scenario.  They can spend these points to do a number of cool things, such as change die rolls, remove "Moved" or "Fired" markers from units, etc.

Both sides start up with only a handful of units on the board and then for the next two turns, they receive reinforcements.  The Americans must enter on the west side of the map while the Germans get to just place units on or east of hex row H.  This makes it a real tough one for the American player.  Here's how it all went down:

Turn 1:
Alright, time to inflict some pain on the Americans!  The American player starts inching his guys forward and Capt. Weiss and his MG-42 squad spit out metal at the US 2-5-4 in C4 but there’s no joy to be had.  That’s okay, there is plenty of time left still.

Easy Company enters Carentan and is in for the fight of its life.

Turn 2:  
Mein gott!  Ze Americans are approaching the big building in F2!  I just wait and let Capt. Weiss and his buddies chill out and enjoy some fine bratwurst and beer while the men of Easy Company advance into certain death.  

The American player is pretty sneaky so I decide to cover the southern approach into the town by planting Lt. Frietag and his men in I6.  They immediately fire on the 1-4-4 squad with the M1919 in C3 but miss.

Capt. Weiss has better luck up north when he spots some American squads low crawling into G2.  The Germans start shooting and end up shaking the US squad pretty badly.  The German squad from J1 rushes in and melees the shaken American squad, eliminating it.  

A German Fallschirmjager squad about to melee some unfortunate Americans.

Turn 3:
Things start looking really good for me this turn.  The Germans get initiative and my squad in G2, which eliminated Maj. Tom and his men last turn, fire on the adjacent Americans in F2, shaking them.  

Then something really weird happened.  The American player decided to send Sgt. Hill towards the large building where all the action has been happening.  I was certain he would move them into F2 to protect Major Tom and his shaken squads but to my horror, he enters into melee with the Germans in G2.  The German squad is eliminated but at least it took down an American 2-5-4 with it.

Alright, if my opponent is gonna play hardball then it’s time to step up to the plate.  I plant a 1-2-4 into H2 and move them in to melee Major Tom and his shaken squads in F2.  

Major Tom and his men in F2 about to meet their fate as a German 1-2-4 closes in for melee.

My opponent has 9 fate points at the beginning of the scenario with which to modify rolls, remove “Fired” and “Moved” markers but so far he hasn’t been spending them.  This makes me nervous.  What is he waiting for?  What does he have up his sleeve?

He starts sending most of his reinforcements to the north side of the board so I decide to make the I2 building a fortress.  Another MG42 squad and Lt. Praun are placed in I2 beside Captain Weiss before I put another squad in J4 to seal the deal.  I have simply decided that no one is getting past this building.

Lt. Frietag and the MG34 fire at the 1-4-4 sitting in C3 again, this time giving the American player a hero with the “Versatile” card.  Ah well, things are going pretty well for me right now so I can’t complain too much.

The American player sends a handful of guys along the southern route so I move my squad from J4 down to J6 to just shore things up a bit down there.

Turn 4: 
The vicious house fighting continues.  Lt. Michaels and his men move toward my 1-2-4 German squad in F2.  A lucky shot with my sniper in J1 shakes up a 2-5-4 squad as the American stack approaches the large building.  My opponent presses on courageously and the American lieutenant and a 1-4-4 American squad with hero melee the German 1-2-4 squad.  The small German squad is eliminated but it takes out the U.S. 1-4-4 squad.  It’s not a bad tradeoff for me.

The F2 building hex becomes a magnet for Americans and German soldiers and casualties mount.

The Germans in I2 and the Americans in G2 trade fire from across the street with little result.

Turn 5: 
The US tries to break the German defense by sending a hero out in H2 adjacent to Lt. Praun.  The German sniper picks him off, wounding him.   The American player sends a half squad out in the street but they’re just target practice for Lt. Praun.  The US seems to be stuck at a standstill, unable to make any effective advance. I wonder when my opponent is going to start using those fate points.  It’s really making me nervous now.  

Turn 6:
My sniper in J1 finishes off the American hero in H2 so he can’t use it to spot the adjacent German units.
The US player sends Lt. Michael and his men out into the street and Lt. Praun mows them down from I2.

Capt. Weiss watches as a small US half squad rushes across the street but holds fire as he knows more Americans are in the building across the street.  “Let the little fish go,” he tells his men.  “The real sharks are still inside.”

Unfortunately, this is where the American started spending his fate points.  He uses all of his remaining FPs to reactivate the US half squad and it move it into J1, taking out my sniper.  Suddenly, things don’t seem so rosy anymore for my Germans.   I pull a 2-3-4 squad from down south back up north to take care of this pesky US 1-4-4 squad!  

US 1-4-4 squad shoots past the defenders and eliminates the German sniper.

I start to feel a bit uncomfortable about the southern approach into town now as the US starts low crawling some guys to the east.  It’s slow progress for my opponent but it’s still a bit unnerving for me.
The only real good news is that Capt. Weiss shakes up Sgt. Hill and his men across the street.  If they fail to rally then I can relax a bit.0

Turn 7:
Unfortunately, the US starts making its rally rolls and things seem to be kind of coming apart.

The American player moves Lt. Michael adjacent to the Germans, which allows his guys to start shooting at my now spotted units.  I quickly put a stop to that by eliminating the leader in melee.

In the south, however, the Americans are a small but persistent group.  The hero moves near Lt. Frietag and is wounded.  The US 2-5-4 follows in from behind and jumps into melee with Frietag and his men.  They both eliminate each other.  Now there are no Germans to cover the southern approach and the US has a hero down there!

In the south of town, the US manages to take out the German's defenses.

Capt. Weiss fires at the hero but misses.  My opponent uses this opportunity to advance two full US squads to the east and into the nearby buildings. 

Turn 8:  Last Turn
The US hero starts rockin’ the south, storming through buildings like crazy and cranking up the VPs for the US player.  I can only try and stop the bleeding at this point and hope that it’s enough.  I send one of my German squads up adjacent to the two US squads in J1.  Both of the American player's suads opportunity fire at the advancing Germans, tying everyone up for the rest of the turn.

The German 2-3-4 moves adjacent to two US squads but the other Americans advance effortlessly.

The American half squad that so bravely pushed past my defenses is activated.  It takes two buildings, which hurts my final VP tally considerably.

The real problem is when the unforeseen happens and my opponent sends in a lonely 1-4-4 squad to melee Lt. Frietag.  Although the US is outnumbered, this effectively wrestles control of the building away from the Germans.  The result is a 4-4 stalemate. 

What started out as a cakewalk for the Germans ended up being a real nail-biter in the last few turns of the game.  Thanks to some good use of FPs for the Americans and just the right amount of pressure, The American player turned out a pretty nice result from what looked like certain defeat.  Nicely played!


Popular Posts