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The Troina Road, 1943


The Second World War, Battlegroup Panzergrenadier, 20mm

We hadn’t played a 20mm Second World War game for a while (not since last September), so we decided it was time to give our lead and plastic another outing. Besides, as a club debate about membership rates was scheduled, we thought a small fast-playing game was the way to go. The scenario was slightly dictated by the terrain, as we had the use of some of Colin Jack’s superb mountains. After scouring the history books we decided to base the game rather loosely on the events surrounding the US 1st Infantry Division’s advance on the Sicilian town of Troina, high in the Nebrodi Mountains, to the west of Mount Etna. This small action took place after the breakout from the American bridgehead, and was fought between a German blocking force and an American spearhead.ww2-march10-003The battle centred around a bridge, which the retreating Germans wanted to blow up to delay the American advance. The trouble was, a Pz. IV had broken down on the far side, and a team of engineers were trying to get it running again. Meanwhile the German rearguard had to keep the Americans at bay. Some of these German defenders holed up in a small village, while the rest deployed in a riverside olive grove between the buildings and the bridge. They had two platoons available, supported by a Marder III, and a reserve platoon on the far side of the river.ww2-march10-024The Americans began by driving straight into the village, where the defenders blew up a building to block the road. This forced the infantry to disembark from their trucks. They came under fire from German infantry, but the Americans winkled out the defenders by  using an M7 Priest, operating in a direct fire role. Two M3 GMC’s (halftracks with 75mm guns on them) tried to cover the infantry by skirting round the village, but they were spotted by the Marder, which quickly knocked both of them out. The Americans had cleared the Germans from the village, but they’d paid a price for it. They also needed to do something about that Marder.ww2-march10-011The solution was to call in an airstrike, and after one failed attempt a P-40 Kittyhawk arrived. It missed the Marder completely, but it returned for a second strike, and this time it dropped its bomb squarely on top of the stranded Pz. IV. Not only was the tank destroyed, but the blast also killed several stands of German infantry, lurking in a nearby olive grove. The American infantry pressed on into the trees, heading for the bridge.ww2-march10-046While the infantry picked their way forward, an American reconnaissance force arrived on the hill overlooking the bridge. Reaching the hill was easy – coming down from it was a bit more tricky, and while one jeep raced down the track, the second one and the M8 armoured car kept bogging down. It was probably just as well – the speeding jeep was promptly overrun by  German infantry, as its machine gun ran out of ammunition at the crucial moment. The M8 was knocked out too, easy prey for that pesky Marder.ww2-march10-017By that time the American infantry was approaching the bridge, and this time the remaining Germans decided to withdraw, racing over it to safety. The last to cross was the German battalion commander, who fell as the survivors of his rearguard reached the far side. Sensing their big chance the Americans ran for the bridge, catching the German engineers unawares, who failed to blow it at the critical moment. Seconds later the Americans were among them, and the bridge was secured at the point of the bayonet. At that point the remaining Germans withdrew off the table, leaving the battered but victorious Americans tin charge of the bridge.ww2-march10-045All in all it was a fast-moving and well-balanced game, and it flowed nicely – just what you’d expect from Battlegroup Panzergrenadier.  I’ve said it  before – great rules – shame about the title! Brian from Mutineer Miniatures commanded the Americans, and for his first game he did pretty darned we

By tha

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