Overlordy: Turn 19

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Of all the German units involved in this turn’s tussling, none makes a more valuable contribution to our questionable cause than the PSW armoured car.

Which is a trifle odd considering the PSW was slain by a Stuart back in Turn 6.

(Overlordy is a 20-turn open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here).

But first things first…

The Allied assault might be stalling in the centre, but in the west it’s as lively as ever. Their strength slashed by concentrated rifle, SMG, and LMG fire (The weapons filling f20 with muzzle smoke include a bipod-supported MG 42) the squad of Tommies leading the bakery bid finally run out of courage and momentum when one of their number is felled by a close-range Walther P38 shot at T+8 seconds.

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A pell-mell diversion into the stone house at e21 only delays the British unit’s disintegration by half a minute or so. Just one of the retreaters makes it as far as the bocage to the south, and he’s cut down as he struggles to forge a path through the green wall.

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Nerbul uses the lull to tend and reassure a nearby German casualty who, beyond medical help, slips away at roughly the same moment the Hawker Typhoon sideslips into its third pass.

Clearly unaware that the pair of Axis AFVs loitering near the mill are hors de combat, this time the Allied air warrior decides to point his Hispanos at the wreck of our PSW armoured car. As cannon shells hammer irrelevant steel…

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…two hundred metres away to the west, Brenner surveys the devastation around the hotel with his customary nonchalance, totally unaware that he has just cheated death-from-above for a third time…

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At T+51 seconds, Fate contemplates shifting her favour to a more deserving/appreciative mortal, but ultimately decides to stick with the devil she knows. Bold-as-brass Brenner gets to descend into the interior of his Hetzer when the repositioned TD starts drawing fire from k19.

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Other Turn 19 events of note:

Wodtke expended the last of his ammunition firing at targets in West Wood. It was impossible to tell what effect the shots had.

Both the peripatetic Panzerschreck team and Bulau’s FJ squad (who still carry two Panzerfausts) came under fire whilest moving during this action phase, but took no casualties.

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Schulmeister’s FJ squad was less fortunate. A Green Devil crumpled during the room shift at q21. True, the death was quickly avenged. From its new safer (?) position, our most easterly combat unit spotted US paratroopers sneaking into the mill and opened up, inflicting two casualties almost immediately.

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At the start of Overlordy’s final turn the victory percentages stand at AXIS 63%, ALLIED 33%, and the battlefield looks like this:

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1) Panzerschreck team (weary).
2) The Hetzer will need to reverse in order to execute its smoke shell order.
3) Bulau’s squad has been harassing a PIAT team since arriving at l24.
4) The PSW crew was spotted and engaged  by the northerly US squad during the turn.
5) Eight US paratroops now occupy the mill.

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37 Comments

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 20 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 7 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter).

    *Rifle platoon – 2 squads + HQ (e23=3, f20=7, + f21=3)

    *Hetzer (i22, buttoned)

    *Sniper (j27, no ammo)

    *Pak crew (d21, 3 men, pistols)

    *PSW crew (s25, 1 man, pistol, low ammo, hiding)

    *Fallschirmjäger platoon – 3 squads, all out of command (l24=10, k22=9, q21=4, shaken)

    *Panzerschreck team (k25, ammo 3, weary)

    • latedave says:

      Sorry realised I had left clarification to Brenner, smoke shell sounds a good plan from the hetzer as per the request from yesterday and thanks for the move to the crossroads Tim, whether or not he fancies executing it given his intricate relationship with lady fate is another question…

    • Cederic says:

      Order : Fallschirmjäger squads at L24 and K22 to hold position. Squad at Q21 to go upstairs and hide for a minute.

      I think we’ll need them to stop the troops in the east from flanking the centre. They wont be able to hold them but they’ll slow them enough for the win.

      • g948ng says:

        Can I convince you to advance with the L24 squad? I shifted them east for the purpose of a last minute effort to hoist our flag atop the church. They are complete, in good spirits and the enemies at M20 seem to me sufficiently surpressed not to interfere.

        • Crimson_Pig says:

          I agree with you on that. Please, take back the church!

        • DoomyDoom says:

          M20 will cease to be sufficiently supressed in case k22 opts to fire back at q19, which is now targeting them instead of q22. That’s not even mentioning potentially walking into k19 LOS or the possibility of any of the 2 squads at j17 shifting east with good view on the road.
          They’re also busy harassing PIAT team at l/m 18 making room for Hetzer to maybe finally fire at something (I know, I know, it’s a ridiculous proposition to expect anything from Brenner).

          We don’t need the church. They do. Let them come and fall. Why break strong positions that make a lot of sense for points we don’t even require?

          • Cederic says:

            By not moving, not dying and thus not losing further ground, we stop them taking the church.

            We can’t occupy it, it’s on fire.

            So I’m happy to keep the squads alive, in cover, killing the enemy, holding up their advance. Boring perhaps, but the heroic charge against the enemy isn’t the tactic I want us to use – with mortars flying around, probably an enemy MG around, the AVRE somewhere in the smoke..

            So sorry, squad in L24 will have to earn their medals another day.

          • Crimson_Pig says:

            You have valid points there. It’s not a good tactic.

            Maybe I just wanted to see a heroic reconquest on the final turn. At least it would have had some symbolic value.

          • g948ng says:

            I didn´t say anything about charging into the open. I was advocating getting closer to the church than the enemy. Like M or N 23. That´s 1 tile away diagonally, in cover by the white wall, with only the PIAT team having a clear LoS.
            It´s your call, surely, but it is an exaggeration to paint it in the terms of the Charge of the Light Brigade like you two make it sound like. And worth 100 points.

          • DoomyDoom says:

            Relative proximity to VP won’t help us in any way. These things require ‘no significant enemy presence’ to get the points awarded, which will not be the case unless both squads at m20 are wiped. Conversely, we’re not surrendering this point unless our 9-man squad in k22 gets wiped (they lost 1 man even though they were in firefights 24/7 since turn 12). Frankly, I don’t see either happening.

            We only risk losing points for casualties and stand 0 chance to gain points by advancing towards the church. That’s purely from the ‘game’ perspective, not even delving into the ‘this move can even be on the menu purely because it’s the final turn of a game and makes no sense with a larger scenario in mind’ territory (I’m willing to concede differentiating ‘game’ from ‘meta’ concerns, I’m more of a ‘rules first’ person myself).

          • g948ng says:

            I am also only interested in scenario game mechanics. So, how does this ‘no significant enemy presence’ actually work? No presence in 2 tile distance? 3? I presume routed units and crew are trumped by regular units. But then what was happening at the mill?
            And would actually occupying the VP tile make a difference? (Not that it is an option.)

          • DoomyDoom says:

            Sorry, had some random issues with posting yesterday evening.

            I’m not 100% sure, but believe that contest radius is 2.5 squares (50m?) from center or closest enemy squad withing that radius, whichever is closer.

            Here’s a pic where I’ve compiled all contests except one that happened in this game: link to postimg.cc

            One contest not on picture is during turn 13. We can see british squad contesting church from m19 vs rifle platoon that just left burning church and is in m21.

    • DoomyDoom says:

      Order for PSW crew(man): Hide behind bocage to the south asap and move to occupy the house at r23. Hide inside.

      If the scenario continued further, r23 would probably be the ‘last hope’ exfil point for FJ’s at q21, hence attempting to secure (for the lack of better word) the place.

    • g948ng says:

      Orders for the Rifle Platoon: Hold positions, F21 Squad keeps its one remaining PzFaust ready, in case the AVRE comes charging at them through the southern hedge.

  2. BlacKHeaDSg1 says:

    This would probably be better in video series format with commentary. But i understand that there is much more work with recording and editing videos. It easier just to write and post some screenshots.

    • DoomyDoom says:

      Having played the game in question, I’m inclined to disagree. There’s an immense amount of creative writing, interpretation and picking just the right visual angles and freeze-frames going into this that video is simply unable to replicate (pacing between different mediums does not often translate well).

      • Stugle says:

        The fact that our Brenner is an actual character (probably drunk, certainly defying death, Fate, and of course any order we care to give him) instead of simply a named unit, shows how much creative writing is going on under the hood.

        I have nothing against videos, but I’m very glad this series is written and expertly screenshotted.

        By the way, “Peripatetic” is a great word. Pairing it with “Panzerschreck” makes it even better.

    • Cederic says:

      I wouldn’t watch videos. I like the incomplete reports from the front. I love the way they’re carefully crafted. I admire the skill with which language is used to weave a compelling tale.

      It’s a lot of effort already, but greatly appreciated.

    • phlebas says:

      I’m with DoomyDoom and Cederic – I don’t think the series would be nearly as special in video format, and while I wouldn’t mind the addition of an occasional short video clip as an enhanced screenshot I doubt I’d find time to follow a daily video series.

    • gi_ty says:

      Just chiming in as well to say that I far prefer the written diaries. Tim’s wonderful writing and wordplay would be sorely missed in video format. Also while I’m here, chose not to participate this time round but you chaps have done a fantastic job it looks like! Well done I look forward to reading the glorious victory post tomorrow.

  3. DoomyDoom says:

    1) I expected smoke to be fired before movement, when Hetzer was parked at f23. Now it’s worthless, because the repositioning time toll is too high, feel free to cancel. Rocketmen will cover for Brenner, they’ll make it to their designated location soon enough. Tbh, I just eventually came to think of Brenner as a mascot, rather than a combat unit.

    2) Current Hetzer position should be fine both if AVRE pops up at j19 and for lobbing HE at k19 if it doesn’t. l/m 18 PIAT should be pinned by FJ’s, though reversing to i23 should put a nail in British AT efforts (yet another bombing run nonwithstanding). Then again,

    3) Too bad the mill didn’t pan out. Oh well.

    4) The PAK ambush, on the other hand, sure did.

    Overall, given the “meta” scenario of holding out until counterattack forces arrive, I’d say the defense is an overwhelming success. It can probably hold for another 5-6 turns (the fate of q21 FJ’s is probably not bright though), attackers’ losses are high and half-aflame Caent is in no shape to be used as a stronghold for further advance.

    • Cederic says:

      I’m not happy with the hetzer sitting 50m from and side-on to a PIAT. Do we know exactly where that PIAT crew are? While our Fallschirmjäger squad are likely to kill them I’ve grown quite fond of the insane man in his Czech SPG.

      • DoomyDoom says:

        PIAT is at l/m18, prone, looking south, presumably pinned when hiding from FJ fire. Visible and even handily labeled on top-down image above the map.
        Been tracking them ever since we lost contact 6-ish turns ago.

        • Cederic says:

          Doh, of course. That explains why I23 would be safe from them. I was wondering why you wouldn’t go that extra map square north and get cover from the building too, but with the hotel blocking the PIAT, I23 gives the hetzer better shooting angles if enemy vehicles pop up again.

          I don’t think there is actually a hetzer order given yet – mostly discussion going on so far.

  4. tigerfort says:

    A non-playing reader here, popping out of cover to thank Tim and the comment-commanders for this annual feast of entertainment!

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      phuzz says:

      Seconded!

    • teije says:

      Thirded. I look forward to reading this each day. Full commendations for the consistently cracking commentaries by Mr. Stone and the courage of the comment commanders.

    • Cederic says:

      My thanks to Tim too.

      But please, join in! Make suggestions, give orders. Several units still with no commands, and although Tim kindly makes sure they don’t get bored, it’d be nicer if they all had orders in the comments (even if the order is – as I’ve given to most of our Fallschirmjägers this turn – to sit tight).

    • ItAintNecessarilySo says:

      As a first time commenter I would just like to say how much fun it was to get involved. It is a captivating little distraction puzzle for the day. Thanks to Tim and the commanders not only for the tactical insights but also for the inspiring war report-poetry and flavoring.

      And to give another final order: Pak Crew to sit where they are, close the curtains, grab a beer from the cellar, and wait for this whole thing to blow over.

    • Tim Stone says:

      It was a pleasure. Hopefully a few of this year’s spectators will be next year’s players.*

      *Not that this year’s players weren’t a lovely, tactically astute bunch.

  5. Pharaoh Nanjulian says:

    And yet more encomiums for Mr Stone. It’s like The Eagle for the 21st Century!

    As someone who thoroughly enjoys reading these but has yet to comment-command, perhaps an experienced player could let me know what Wodtke can do with no ammunition. Is he still a ‘spotter’ and can tell us where things are despite not having a radio or other communication device? Is it worth him remaining where he is, or can he resupply from a dump somewhere in order to continue fighting the good fight of non-faith?

    • g948ng says:

      I don´t own the game but I am under the assumption that units never run out of ammunition completely. When their counter hits zero the game just reduces their rate of fire considerably and almost exclusively restricts them to self-defense. It is meant to simulate making do with the last reserve ammo clip or scavenging on the battlefield.

      • DoomyDoom says:

        ‘0’ and ‘low ammo’ are 2 distinct cases. Tanks and special units (like Panzershrecks/Bazookas, snipers, mortars) run out of ammo for good. Squads can run out of equipment (detpacks, Panzerfausts and the like) but not out of bullets – they enter ‘low ammo’ state which works the way you described.

        Visually ‘low ammo’ is, in fact, represented by text ‘low ammo’ rather than ‘0’.

    • Crimson_Pig says:

      It’s a great idea to use Wodtke as a spotter. I’d also like to know if this is possible. If it is, then my next question would be, is the hill near the farm higher than a two-story building? Maybe you could see over the bocages from there.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Thanks, Pharaoh. Old British comics – The Eagle, Lion, Victor, Hotspur, War Picture Library etc. – were an important part of my childhood. I’d love to think some of their verve, colour, and quirk rubbed off on me.

      • Pharaoh Nanjulian says:

        I trust you also had a sagging shelf of Biggles, Gimlet and Bulldog Drummond? Perhaps with a side plate of Just William.

        “Witness the fact that a Hun was also a pupil at an RFC flying school”

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