Wednesday 4 November 2020

Tank Battle at River Cottage

Last week I posted a Batrep for a Chain of Command game set in Normandy 1944 which kept me happily occupied in the early part of the Half Term holiday. I had a few days off work but we weren't going anywhere so I decided to keep myself busy getting in some Solo games. It took me a couple of days to set up the terrain (I'm very fussy!) and I completed a full game of Chain of Command which saw my American Riflemen beat a German Infantry Platoon who were ensconced in a Normandy Farmhouse. When I'd finished the game I packed away the figures but decided I didn't want to break down the terrain set up I'd built instead reusing it for another Too Fat Lardies game, What a Tanker!

The Setup

The action in this game is set earlier in the day before the infantry arrives and sees a Tiger I face off against a Sherman M4 and a Firefly. I've played a few games with the Tiger before and I knew from experience that it's a tough nut to crack so although the Allied tanks came in at more points I didn't feel that this was an unbalanced game. 

The Action

As with my earlier Batrep, here's a picture of the setup, this time showing the Tiger coming in from the left and the M4 and Firefly coming down the lane from the right. 

You may notice that this layout differs only slightly from the Chain of Command game I posted last week. The shell craters at the main road junction are missing...but I'll come to this a bit later! 

As with my previous Batrep, I'll be listing the dice rolls for Command Dice for each tank so you can see how I decided to use the dice. I'll list the dice in order, from one to five. Any 6's are at the end where they belong but I'll try to show what I converted them to by striking them through and listing the conversions afterwards in italics (where I remembered to write it down!). Later in the game, as temporary damage is taken, you'll notice the number of command dice being reduced or increased as the damage is inflicted and repaired. 

You'll also notice that the order in which the tanks go varies because I'm rolling for initiative each turn which occasionally made for some interesting moments! 

Turn 1

Tiger 111345 - The tiger is unbuttoned and remains so throughout the game... partly because that's how I did the model but also to improve its vision and therefore targeting opportunities. The Tiger moves towards the junction but poor movement dice means it doesn't get all the way there. 

Firefly 112345 - The Firefly is in front of the M4 so moves out of its way by driving to the bottom of the hump-backed bridge. Its a tall tank so can still see over the bridge, giving it a 'hull down' position. The commander can't see the Tiger yet so doesn't acquire the target this turn. 

Sherman M4 11136611 - The perfect set of dice to be honest. The Sherman's engine roars to life and the tank surges forward. It makes it to the stream, crosses, and still has enough movement (using the wildcard dice for movement) to get to the field gates in a bold flanking move. If it can get behind the Tiger it can get a rear shot while the Firefly keeps it busy to the front.

Turn 2

Tiger 11256623 - The Tiger moves up to the junction and Acquires the Firefly (converting wildcards to Acquisition dice) but doesn't have enough dice to aim and fire. None the less the Firefly command must be having palpitations as he looks directly down the barrel of that 88!

Sherman  M4 1224461 - The Sherman using its wild dice to get more movement in and is now almost behind the Tiger in a hope to force it to shift position. 

Firefly 2234563 - The Firefly commander is able to Acquire the Tiger (it is VERY visible right now!), orders the gunner to aim and fire. The shot is on target but rather disconcertingly the AP shell impacts uselessly on the Tigers frontal armour. 

Turn 3

Tiger 335666111 - The Tiger goes first again and now the commander has a decision to make. He has the dice to shot at the Firefly but he's about to be flanked by the M4, so instead he decides to shift position. The Tigers engine belches black smoke and it lurches forward down the road to the farmhouse. A 90° turn puts it in front of the Farmhouse with a close-range side view of the Firefly. He's unable to fire this turn but it will force the Firefly to move. 

Sherman M4 1135561 - The Sherman moved across the Wheatfield into the road but can't acquire this turn.

Firefly 1122361 - The Firefly commander is a little perturbed to have the Tiger pointing its huge gun at his side armour to decides to reverse 90° into the field and use the Bridge to obscure itself from the Tiger. Both tanks loose acquisition in this careful games of chess. 

Turn 4

Tiger 2555661 - With the Firefly temporarily retreated the Tiger reverses out of the farmyard back on the road, shielding himself from the Firefly with the building, but now facing the M4 down the main road. The Target is acquired and the gunner is aimed but there are not enough command dice to fire the gun... maybe the mechanism jammed or the gunner wasn't quick enough. The Sherman Commander's life flashes before his eyes! 

Firefly 11246622 - The Firefly commander decides that he needs to change position again. He gets out onto the road and over the bridge and while he can acquire the target again he's not in a position to fire just yet. 

Sherman M4 334562 - The commander has a moment of rash bravery and decided to fire at the Tiger rather than trying to reverse out of trouble. The shot hits but once again the round bounces of the Tigers armour. The commander's heart sinks little knowing that inside the Tiger the German crew are more than a little alarmed at the second resounding strike on them. No one likes being shot at, no matter how thick the armour! 

Turn 5

Sherman M4 1224463 - The Sherman commanders luck holds as he gets to go first. Another round of AP streaks towards the Tiger tank scoring three hits. The Tigers armour should have shrugged this off but with just two saves it takes a point of temporary damage! The Tiger will operate with one fewer command dice until repaired. Having hit its target the Sherman reverses back into the wheatfield and out of view. 

Firefly 23456633 - Now the firefly gets to shoot, converting wild dice to aim dice to improve the shot. It scores three hits on the tiger but with 5 saves the shot impacts harmlessly on German armour. 

Tiger 22345 - No drive dice to move, not enough acquisition dice to see the Sherman through the Bocage and no wildcards to repair the damage. There is little the Tiger can do this turn. 

Turn 6

Tiger ????? - For some reason, I didn't write down the dice roll this turn (sorry) but again little happened and the Tiger is still in the sights of the Firefly. 

Sherman M4 ?????? - Yep still didn't make a note of the dice but with no drive dice amongst them the Sherman can do little this turn. 

Firefly 4566661333 - With some wild dice the Firefly takes very careful aim... scoring 5 hits on the Tiger. Three saves mean the Tiger survives for now but as most of the hits were criticals the damage is permanent so the Tiger lose one command dice which cannot be repaired. The hull is hit damaging the running gear so the tiger will move a little slower in future. 

Turn 7

Firefly 344455 - Perfect timing for the Firefly to win initiative. It takes aim, fires, reloads, fires a second time and reloads again. The first shot impacts harmlessly on the Tigers armour but the second hit does more temporary damage to the already beleaguered Panzer. 

Tiger 16Repair - The Tiger repairs a point of temporary damage but that returned command dice will only be available next turn so, for now, all the Tiger can do it try to get out of the Firefly's view. The Panzer reverses (slowly) behind the farmhouse. 

Sherman M4 14556623- The Sherman commander senses the wounded Tiger and decides to continue shooting at it. The M4 pulls into the road again and fires, but once again its shell impacts harmlessly on the Tigers impressive frontal armour. 

Turn 8

Tiger 336Repair - All the Tiger can do now is repair the temporary damage and hope its armour holds out long enough to give it a chance.

Firefly 1222461 - Having lost acquisition of its target the Firefly decides to change position and box the Tiger into its current position. The Firefly moves up to the junction with ample move to take up a partially concealed position behind the farm's pigsty where it reacquires the Tiger. 

Sherman 12246631 - Once again the Sherman nips out into the lane, acquires its target down the road, aims and fires. However, this time in its haste to shoot it misses its target entirely. Using the last wild dice it reverses back into the field and relative safety. 

Turn 9

Sherman M4 34456611 - Once again it nips out into the road, aims, reloads another AP and fires before darting back into cover. This time the shot is on target but predictably the hit is saved by the Tigers armour. 

Firefly 1244563 - Shifting position slightly the Firefly hits the Tiger once again with its 17pounder gun. The shot is on target but once again the Tigers formidable armour shrugs off the impact. 

Tiger 1344 - The Tiger commander has some wounded (possibly dead) crew, damage to the running gear of his tank, the inter-com is on the blink so he having to shout orders and all the remaining crew are being deafened by the gong-like clang of AP rounds hitting their armour. 

Turn 10

Sherman 1133465 - Another move into the road, aim and shoot again on target but with little effect. The Sherman commander curses orders the gun reloaded and reverses the tank back into the field again to take some concealment from the hedgerow. The fact that the Tiger hasn't fired in a while suggests the enemy is having some trouble. 

Tiger 366Repair x2 - One of the unconscious crewmen is revived and the intercom is fixed (two wild dice used for repair) so the Tiger regains two temporary damage and will be back up to 5 command dice next turn...if it lasts that long! 

Firefly 1122463 - The Firefly moves again but is able to aim and fire once more inflicting two temporary damage on the Tiger once again!! The Tiger crew are now sooner repairing the damage that they are receiving more. If they don't fire back soon this fight will end only one way. 

Turn 11

Tiger 226Repair - The Tiger does the only thing it can, repair some damage and hope to survive long enough to hot back. 

Sherman M4 1133465 - Convinced now that the Tiger is critically damaged in some way the Sherman commander hoves out onto the road and rolls down to stop next to the Firefly. Taking careful aim its shot is on target but once again ineffectual. 

Firefly 1134565 - Aims while reloading from the last turn then fires and reloads again. This shot is critical and deals another point of permanent damage and cripples the Tigers running gear even more.

Turn 12

Tiger 445 -Again the Tiger can do nothing and the crew are too shaken even to make any repairs. 

Firefly 135666445 - The Firefly gunner aims carefully, and prepares to out two rounds into the crippled Tiger. The first hit slices into the Panzers weakened armour, hits some of the rounds inside and with a muffled WHUMP the commanders hatch blows open and flames shoot skyward. 


Well, that was a very satisfying game which went on longer than I expected. The Tigers armour is formidable, shrugging off multiple hits from both the Sherman and the Firefly. In the end, it was the 17pdr gun in the Firefly which did the job. Once the Tiger started to take damage and was unable to move out of sight of the Allied tanks it couldn't repair damage as quickly as it was taking it. 

Shortly after this encounter German artillery bombarded the road junction in response to a request from the Tiger commander, radioed in just before he was killed. The Allied tanks skedaddled and German infantry took possession of the Farm as a forward command post. The burning Tiger was recovered and hauled away from the road just before some American infantry arrived to try and take this important position back from the Germans. 


  1. A tense and exciting action. Great photos of the tanks making their way down the streets as they manoeuvred for best position.
    Regards, James

    1. It was a tense game. That Tiger took some serious punishment and for the most part just shrugged it off.

  2. Much more satisfying than The River Cottage Cook Book. And much more filling!

    1. Definitely. Old Farmer Hugh would shocked!

  3. Replies
    1. Thankyou. I enjoyed it....and getting to reuse the terrain was a bonus!


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