I used Brittany Rangers from Turning Tide - one of my favorite lists with the assortment of "stuff" it has access to, and Z used Fortress Europe Panzers. My list was a little bit of everything, I do like the "kitchen sink" approach to list-building, and Z took two hands-full of Panzer IVH and a single Tiger II. I set up the scenery before Z arrived and we decided to play a Dust-Up since he hadn't played it before.
A blurry picture of my deployment - mortars, two Ranger platoons, a 105mm FAB and Tank Destroyers (security detail only)
Zee Germans. Four Mk IVs and a Bengal Tiger further to his right. His Company Commander would also deploy with the Mk IVs.
Having done this before, I just started scooting around with my TD security group and the FAB's OP. The mortars and Rangers simply tried to dig in. The FAB also missed their big chance to dig in.
Aircraft got much nastier with the rules update - they automatically range in on teams in the open. Z's Hs129's had no trouble locating my artillery battery and strafed them badly, destroying two gun teams. Sadness.
In response, the artillery which surprisingly unpinned and a flight of P-38s both hammered the Panzers which had advanced to the center of the battlefield, destroying one and bailing out two others. I left my P-38s at home so they were played by my airplane die.
His Panzers decided the P-38s were a little too dangerous and since my TD group was in a pretty good spot to open up on them, they backed off the hill.
I eventually got one lousy reserve platoon in, and I selected a Ranger platoon, bringing them in on my back edge. I was hoping for multiple platoons, but it wasn't to be. The TD group huddled together with them to provide some token AA cover which turned out to be timely. The 129s returned and took a run at those Rangers. The .50 cals on the Jeep and M20 actually both hit the plane but didn't damage it. The plane on the other hand, eliminated two Ranger stands. Somewhere in that same timeframe (turn 5 or 6), the blasted 129s also finished off my artillery battery.
The following turn, I got two reserve platoons, and took the other Ranger platoon and my M4s, flanking up the side to deal with the Tiger. The Rangers which had just been strafed unpinned and double-timed forward, I felt same in doing so with the paucity of Germans in the immediate vicinity and the mass of Americans bearing down on the Tiger.
The Shermans got a couple of flank hits but couldn't damage the monster and the Rangers close enough to assault failed their Fearless tank fear test and stayed put. Nice. The Tiger responded by spinning its turret and taking three shots at the Shermans killing two and bailing another. The Panzer IVs started heading that direction seeing their companion in big trouble. Other Panzers had arrive from reserve and also headed towards the cabbage field.
The highlight of the game, and my career using M4 Shermans for that matter, occurred in the next turn when The lone M4 which was not bailed got behind the Tiger II. Two stabilized shots later and the Tiger was no more. I've killed Tiger IIs twice before, in assaults using Bazookas but this is the first time I've taken out Zig's and the first time I've done it in the shooting phase.
The Rangers employed the "shooting was to successful" rule to get up to the objective, the TDs popped out of hiding and the rest of my force on that side moved up. Panzers started to get close enough to be a problem.
The Panzers began mowing down Rangers in the cabbage patch - apparently the ground was much too tough to dig into. The Tank Destroyers took their toll on the Mk IVs, as did the Recon patrol's armored car. Before the game ended, the silly M8 Greyhound accounted for two Panzer IVHs! That's easily a career game for that thing and may be in contention for best ever game for one Greyhound.
The remaining Sherman, TDs, M8 and Panzer IVs traded shots for a couple turns with much destruction and bloodshed. I believe it was the beginning of turn 12 when I had one team from each of those Ranger platoons left within four inches of the objective and his closest Panzer was 4.1 inches away. I failed the first "all alone" test but passed the second one, narrowly giving me the victory, Pyrrhic certainly, but a solid 4-3 regardless.
It has been a very long time since I played a 1500 point Late War game and was pleasantly surprised with it. We normally do 1750 for LW allowing for more gadgets but 1500 really tightens things up. Third edition rules have a lot of badly needed improvements and changes and I'm OK with it, even though I'm still mad as hell about new army books, etc. I think the plane rules are nothing but a ploy to sell more AA vehicles. ;)