FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Victory Conditions

The Marines started dispersed across the rice paddies and had to take at least 2 out of 3 HDP (“Hilltop Defensive Perimeters”) in 8.5 turns.  In retrospect I might have thought about HDP’s wrongly.  You don’t have to take all the HDP hexes to control a HDP.  You only have to take most of a HDP’s hexes to take the whole thing down.  

The Marines had a 81mm mortar and 2 HMGs (6-12) with a 9-2 posted on the hill on the top, giving 2 flat shots in most cases to the Korean positions.  They also had a 60mm OBA which would be useful later in the game.  The North Koreans had 2x82mm mortars, a 45L gun and a 76L gun.  They also had 2 HMGs, 1 MMG and 6 LMGs covering their digs.  The North Koreans win when they take 13 CVPs on KMC personnel or 40 CVP on UN personnel.  

After Action Report (AAR)

There was a group of South Korea Marines (1st Battalion, 1st Regiment) retreating at the start of the turn.  The Marines were all deployed into fireteams and started moving towards the North Koreans. The going was brutal.  Four fire teams and an 8-1 bought the farm early on.  I should have the South Koreans withdraw slower and put their firepower in use a bit more.  As it went, the North Koreans didn’t bother with the KMC at all.   

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The North Koreans malfunctioned both of their 82 mm mortars!  The Marines kept their heads down and tried to move as quickly as possible through the rice paddies.  Regrettably, they drew a red chit on their first call to Artillery, and then they broke their radio!  Our 1-time OBA hit the 2nd HDF from the left but failed to do much.  

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

During US Turn 3, the Marines on the right were almost at the village.  You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief.  That was of course, if you could ignore the bloody curling scream from one of the fireteam that went berserk!  Folks on the left were in the open and running into 2 murderous HMGs.  Good thing both guns were down and one of the 82mm mortars went dead.  Not getting much cover from the HMGs, the fireteams spread out further to not be in the same CAs.  Anyone carrying an MMG was hit particularly hard.  Fireteams from both flanks were doing massive “amoeba” style Advance Fire groups as they move closer.  The big old US mortar on the hill first went out of WP and then out of action.  

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

US Turn 4 saw the pair of Pershings on.  There being 5 antitank mine factors, the Pershings decided to go down the same path.  The railroad takes 2 MP out of every hex, so the road got the vote.  Marines in the village were bringing their firepower to bear.  The Koreans tried to move forward to interdict them.  Some of the Korean units were moving right, so we hoped we could get the tank machine guns in place to hinder the use of that road.  The Marines on the left continued to get decimated in both our turn and the opponents.  The good news was that they were in fireteams, but the bad news was that they were getting taken out at an alarming speed.  

But hey, the 60mm OBA was back in play. 

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The 60mm OBA failed to suppress 1 of the 2 HMGs in US Turn 5.  Fireteams on the left desperately tried to move to the houses on the far left corner, from which it might turn the Korean flank.  One of the Pershings malfunctioned its gun on the first shot and was now trying to move as close as it dared to so as the other Pershing could get a better shot.  The Marines on the right decided that it’s better to hit the HDP on the far right and shifted their people over.  The Koreans moved back up their hills.  The Korean mortar came to life and laid a smoke round on the path in front of the right most HDP to cover their retreat.  

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

When we reached North Korean Turn 7, one of the Pershings is already gone because of a broken main gun.  The remaining one popped off round after round and yet failed to make it’s 90L presence felt!  It did, however, cut off the 2 HDPs on the right from the left.  The 60mm OBA managed to bring down WP which helped a lot.  The wind picked up and made things even better!  The survivors on the left finally managed to get to the buildings on the far left and started to put up a more effective firefight.  At least now the Korean HMG fire was halved as one of them was blocked.  The Korean smoke round on the right that was now billowing down the road proved to be quite helpful.  Marines pushed towards the right most HDP, just in time to greet the Korean reinforcements.  

Two more US Movement phases to go.  We might well be out of time.

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Last US turn!  The Koreans on the HDP on the left were broken but we didn’t have enough time to walk up.  The Koreans on the rightmost HDP were taking a beating but put up a “human wall” that’s going to take a couple more turns to kill.  The US conceded.  My opponent revealed all his mine placements in this last picture.  

FT SmR4 Passage of Lines After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Marines needed more smoke rounds (than HE rounds) in order to be successful in this scenario.  I did the right thing by moving everyone in fireteams.  Some of the chaps on the right of course, recombined into squads when they reached the village.  I was hoping the Pershings with the malfunctioned gun could navigate through the road (trail break through the AT mines) and get on the hill where we would promptly turn left and get around the back between the 2 HDPs on the right.  That was not to be when the leading Pershing X’d out its repair.  My opponent is a very tough one but I feel I am finally getting a glimpse into the proper way to play the Marines in this LFT Fight for Seoul package (we already played through all the Fight for Seoul scenarios, and are now doing the Smith’s Ridge ones.) 

Why you should go to an ASL tournament

I notice there’s been quite a number of “new” players who are really “returnees” from Squad Leader or ASL decades ago. Invariably we talk about how they should join a tournament at least once, since tournaments are great places to learn and to meet the community that accelerates your learning and your enjoyment of the game exponentially. These folks do worry about their level of ASL knowledge and whether they will fit into an ASL community with characters who’s been around for decades. Before joining my first tournaments in 2014, I worried about putting up the expense only to suffer some form of hostility because I was (am) not up to par.

“The Malaya Madman” – Perry Cocke

This is Von Marwitz’s perspective, carried with his permission:

Whether new or coming back to the hobby, I would not be worried about not being good enough.

Back in the days, before I attended my first tournament, I had played exactly one single, very small 4.5 Turn scenario of ASL against an opponent. Besides that, all I had done was playing solitaire and teaching the game to myself – with all that entails.

I believe that even very fast players acknowledge, that under such circumstances nothing else than slow play can be expected. My personal experience regarding my treatment back then and by observation later is, that almost all experienced guys (fast or slow) are willing and open to treat such a game more as a tutorial than a competitive game. Needless to say, I did not win a single scenario during my first tournament but yet I had so much fun, that I am still sticking to ASL 25 years later.

So, this goes out to any newbies out here, to those returning to the hobby, and to those who have never attended a tournament:

Don’t worry about not being good enough or not fast enough. Take the dive and give attending a tournament a try. Altogether, the vast majority of players (of all playing styles) I have met, are a jolly bunch and welcoming.

von Marwitz

(von Marwitz is associated with Grenadier 2023, which is going to be held in Gelsenkirchen Germany, 2 Nov-5 Nov)

Related Article: “Journey to a Tourney, Part 1: Decisions”

DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Victory Conditions

I am not sure why but it feels like it’s been a while since I last played a tournament sized scenario.  This 4.5 turn scenario designed by Jeffrey D Myers is real nice one.  The Americans win if there are no Good Order German MMC left below the red line on the map, unless the Germans amassed 8 CVPs.  

After Action Report (AAR)


DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Germans setup in fox holes where they please along with 8 dummies. We started off in the middle of the field and decided to rush up to the hedge immediately.  The potato field was strangely quiet.  The plan was to hit the mass on the left, not let the Germans congregate and to not play house to house down the column of buildings on the right.  Nothing moved.  Surely there must be a real unit in the house in the middle, right?  If there was one, they would find it hard to leave.  

DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Turn 2 – we rushed his positions on the left, guns or no guns.  The fact that most of his guys were at the dirt level behind hedges helped.  Our hero stepped forth looking to start a fight and was promptly vaporised.  Heros never get to grow old!  In the middle we cleared the hedges for us to mount a final assault from.  On the right, we came at the FH from its flank and sure enough, guys started shooting from it.  There’s a concealed stack that was advancing down the side, it’s probably not real, we would ignore it for now.

DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

On Turn 3 we were all over the left flank of the German position and were looking behind the group of FH’s on the right.  I failed to shoot at a broken German stack who then managed to rally!  A squad in the center popped over the hedge and got shot at by folks in FHs.  I was hoping the Germans on the right would unconceal and play as well but no.  The Baz team on the right fired off a lucky shot that vaporised a squad of Germans.  The other para squad broke off and headed towards the graveyard in front of the right-side FH’s.  

DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

It’s Turn 4, this was the turn to setup up for the last MPh.  Whichever squad could be deployed were deployed.  We forced the German brokies on the left into the woods.  In the middle, we put that MMG squad and the 9-1 to OpFire and bum rushed the FHs, forcing them to unconceal.  Some of my HS broke and two of them would be taken prisoners, pushing my CVP to 7 at the end of this turn.  On the far right, the Baz team took out the creeping concealed stack while the para squad ran off towards the FHs! DB172 Not Digging Potatos After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

There were only 2 Good Order German HS’s in those FHs but yet I was 1 CVP away from losing!  We opened with some Prep Fire.  We hoped to break the HS at the back and tie the other one in CC.  That didn’t work unfortunately, the HS at the back was only pinned.  Hope’s not lost though since we planned to run two units out from the Woods on the left and jump into CC (grey dotted lines).  A HS advanced into the open to the other German HS.  The Germans fired and KIA’d that para HS.  The Germans got their 8 CVPs and the American paras lost!  

This is a very fast paced scenario that offers multiple venues to both sides.  I quite like the design (by Jeffrey D Meyers) and I suspect my opponent, someone’s who’s under 100 games enjoyed it too.  

Going over 8300 hexes, one by one …

Credit: MMPGamers.com, “Sword & Fire: Manila”

Re-reading Mark [Pitcavage’s] post while also going through the final rounds of quality-checking the [MMP Sword & Fire] Manila map.

One map-related quality thing that I don’t think Mark mentioned is the sheer amount of attention to detail that goes into making a map that doesn’t hinder play. Simply put, there are many ways that map artwork can get in the way of play, either by being hard to visually discern or by being confusing to interpret, rules-wise.

I thought I was good at this, just from my years of doing dozens of VASL maps, where every pixel has to be right, or at least not-wrong. But these last few months have shown me that Perry, Klas, and Chas are just impressive this way. Sure, the Manila map has over 8300 hexes, but I’ve strolled through that map dozens of times just looking for things to clarify or fix. And yet these MMP guys have caught a bunch of things I’d missed or never even thought of. And without those fixes, people would have questions about how to play what’s on the map. And that’s not good ASL.

Visual things like making sure hex IDs are easy to read and not obscured by the underlying terrain. Making sure Bypass Movement is obviously NA by having terrain touch the hexside (but not go over!) if possible. Making sure LOS is not messed up by having edges of LOS obstacles being obscured in some way. Even just making sure the text characteristics are consistent throughout the map – all water bodies are labeled in the same way, all buildings, all roads, etc.

And then the subtle things like making it obvious whether units can move from one hex to another of the same building while staying entirely within the building outline itself – not so easy when you’re trying to mimic historical buildings or buildings that are partially destroyed, like we have in Manila.

All of this painstaking effort means that people will spend less time fighting the map and more time playing ASL. And that attention to quality is what makes MMP a pleasure to work with and buy from.

– By Tuomo Repetti and posted with his permission, first posted on Gamesquad, 29 December 2021

Winners : Great Games Giveaway 2021

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com

Worldwide Prize #1Bear Flag Republic and ALEA 35 Magazine (with Italia 44 & The Masters of Horizons).  Quarterdeck gives a Shipping Allowance of $30, the winner will pay the difference to Quarterdeck before shipping.
Prize #1 Winner : Cole Mills (USA)

Worldwide Prize #2: From Salerno to Rome (ziplock).  Quarterdeck gives a Shipping Allowance of $30, the winner will pay the difference to Quarterdeck before shipping.
Prize #2 Winner : Ray Newbert (USA)

Hong Kong Prize: Bear Flag Republic, shipped FREE
HK Prize Winner : Michael Chan (HK)

A huge thanks to everyone for the overwhelming response! Thanks also to Jack Greene at Quarterdeck International for his generosity. Congratulations to the prize winners. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 to everyone, all the very best to you and yours.

@Prize Winners: I will be in touch today by email and will hook you up with Jack Greene for the prizes. If you don’t see an email from me within 6 hours of this post, please let me know.

Great Games Giveaway 2021 : Jack Greene

Great Games Giveaway 2021: Jack Greene

quarterdeck international

Since none of us have enough quality games on our shelves, Jack Greene of Quarterdeck International is giving a few great games away to usher in 2021!

Three Great Prizes: Two Worldwide & One to Hong Kong

Worldwide Prize #1: One winner worldwide gets Bear Flag Republic and ALEA 35 Magazine (with Italia 44 & The Masters of Horizons).  Quarterdeck will give a Shipping Allowance of $30, the winner will pay the difference to Quarterdeck before shipping.

Worldwide Prize #2: One winner worldwide gets From Salerno to Rome (ziplock).  Quarterdeck will give a Shipping Allowance of $30, the winner will pay the difference to Quarterdeck before shipping.

Hong Kong Prize 🇭🇰 : One winner with a Hong Kong shipping address gets Bear Flag Republic, shipped FREE (note below for special instructions when entering)

How To Enter:

Between Now and Jan 15 2021 Eastern Standard Time…

Leave a Comment under this Post, you are then eligible for the Worldwide Prizes

Got a Hong Kong shipping address?  You are also eligible for the Hong Kong Prize, add “HK” in your Comment.

Results Announcement: 

HongKongWargamer will draw and announce the winners on the Jan 16 2021 weekend.

Don’t Miss Out.  Leave a Comment.

Fine Print : When you enter this games giveaway, you agree that HongKongWargamer has the final say on all disputes.  Just sayin’

AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

On August 29 1944, the “Pathfinders” of the 8th Infantry Division, the first infantry division to have broke through into the Brest area, was counterattacked by elements of the Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 7 near Kergroas!

(Images: Fallschirmjägers, 8th Infantry division, 8th Infantry insignia (“Golden Arrow”/“Pathfinder”), 28th Regiment insignia)

Tactical Considerations

A dozen German 5-4-8’s with 4 leaders enter the map from the bottom (south) and they were to either exit through the top (north) and/or occupy 4 designated buildings with at least 8 VP’s in 6.5 turns.  They would be met with 8 US squads deployed in 2 groups on the bottom map.  3 other squads with a 9-1 (and a 6+1) would enter through the top in Turn 3.  The Americans have higher firepower, a longer range and a lower morale.  The Germans have lower firepower, shorter range and much better morale, plus their ELR is slightly higher.  The wide open space where the Germans entered would no doubt give the Americans the advantage.  The American in most cases could blast away with 6 FP and get 2 FP coming back, plus they had 2 MMGs and a M2 mortar in play.  The strategy for the Germans seemed to be to run through the gauntlet with their higher morale and shoot back when they could (if in range, they shoot at 4 FP regardless of they were running or standing still).  To be caught in a firefight here would be a bad idea.  Once they got through to the bocage, their difference in range would even out but yet they had to keep moving before the Americans could solidify their defences.  It’s best, of course, to cross as few bocage hexsides as possible.  

Run through the open, dive into the bocage and keep the parade running through 6.5 turns to the top!  

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We entered from the bottom and we didn’t stop for the broken or wounded.  We kept an LMG on our left flank to keep the Americans away.  The Americans on our right were out of range and got ahead of us.  They had a total of 8 squads and 8 OB given concealment but we didn’t wait to find out who’s which.  Good thing was that CX’d Americans didn’t shoot very well (apart from that mortar, that mortar’s evil, knocked around my forward leading 9-1 with a CH in the Woods).  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We made it into the bocage!!  My broken HS escaped (bottom right), even my wounded 8-0 hopped along and joined the boys.  The Americans started to swamp in from both sides.  When the American reinforcements join in from the north they would complete the fire sack. We could win a standing firefight in the bocage but we didn’t want to give the game away to my (often atrocious) die rolls.  So we stuck with the strategy and kept flowing through the gaps.  The American reinforcements had our range and firepower (5-4-6), yes, but we didn’t want to let the defence gel up around us.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We leaned right and gather behind one bocage wall and called up our rear guard.  It was time to go and the way not to get hit was to not be there when they got there!  A squad sneaked behind the Americans on the far right so they couldn’t conceal.  Each turn was a frantic rebalance between how much to stick around to keep the bad guys from shooting us in the back versus hauling ass northwards.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We busted through to the right!  The Americans routed back and we scrambled behind the bocage wall as far north as our legs would take us.  It appeared that we got 7 VP’s in personnel up front and they were within range to get off.  A hero took point and kept the Americans from getting Wall Advantage at key points.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

The Americans did a fine job solidifying regardless!  They had a couple of leaders who made sure they snatched an MMG away from some brokies and handed it off to a squad for the last turn.  They laid down a beautiful Firelane-from-Hell.  We needed 1 additional VP to get through and we got 2 HS 2 Squads and 1 Leader making the bid.  At the end, I got 1.5 squads KIA’d and the rest broken/pinned.  No one got through!

At the end, the Germans lost by 1 VP.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

Close games are often the signature of great scenario designs!  (It’s 15:19 against the Germans on ROAR.)  It’s one of these rarer games where both sides have to constantly trade off between moving and shooting.  Of course they were hardly enough time to Prep so both sides largely took turns lining up hasty defences and hoped to throw enough friction into the other guy’s movement with Defensive First Fire.  The hide and seek in the bocage while constantly on the go is simply fantastic!  I rather enjoyed this scenario.  

Other Links

The 8th in Brittany by Jonathan Gawne

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP142 The Closer After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP142 The Closer After Action Report 

Scenario Background

This is the second part of AP141 Currie’s Favor.  Major Currie’s Canadian unit captured the town of St Lambert-sur-Dives, one of the last points where Germans units fleeing the Falaise Pocket could cross the Dives river.  However, a lot of fleeing German units were not aware of it and continued to stream to the point.  

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

Twenty German squads, a Tiger, a Panther, two Panzer IVH and an armored car in three waves are pitted against 7.5 Canadian squads, 4 Shermans and a Firefly.  The Germans can win by either exiting units or killing Canadian tanks at 2 VPs a piece in 5.5 turns.  One of the challenges for the Canadians was that only the Firefly had enough punch (TK23) to kill a Panther (AF18) / Tiger (AF11) frontally.  The other challenge was of course having to defend the board length where Germans could  pop up anywhere in three waves.  The good news was that Stream-Brush costs Infantry 5MF and Stream-Orchard costs them 4MF.  The Grain fields would cost them as well so I weighted heavier on defending the Roads / Town Center.  

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader AP142 The Closer After Action Report (AAR)

German armor entered on Turn 3.  Frankly I was surprised that most of the armor came in on the west (top of the map) where they might need to cross (and bog) in the gully.  The Panther (probably because they expected my Firefly at the bridge) went with a lot of infantry to the east.  The two Shermans to the west backed off a turn earlier as the Canadian infantry started to get overwhelmed.  Unfortunately, the one on the extreme West didn’t get on the right side of the gully.  Another Sherman got nailed when it tried to “speed” across in front of the Panther!  (Note to self : it’s hard to flash large size tanks pass enemy guns.)

Advanced Squad Leader AP142 The Closer After Action Report (AAR)

German Turn 4.  The Tiger stopped by an killed the Sherman in the gully with a Bounding Fire shot!  The PIAT team pulled off from the city center to help towards the west.  It stood where the Bocage converges and withstood German attacks well til now.  Down east the 10-2 PIAT team pulled back along with the Firefly and the Sherman from the eastern board edge.  The Panther did a beautiful loop around the lone Canadian squad defending the road in G15 and got its gun trained on a Sherman.  Unfortunately we couldn’t hit him with a HE shot.  The Sherman spun around to get ready to leave in the next turn.  Meanwhile in the middle one Canadian squad and two stacks of expertly done dummies held the Germans back.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP142 The Closer After Action Report (AAR)

In the Canadian turn that followed, the Firefly went for its sM but couldn’t get a smoke canister off to cover the Sherman.  It went down to the northern edge to cover the exit where the German tanks  to the west seemed to be heading.  Too bad there wouldn’t be a Sherman covering its flank now.  Major Currie’s PIAT team pulled off a “miracle” DI shot at the Panther though (quite understandable, isn’t it?) and Immobilized the monster.  the Currie team then put itself in a positon to get concealed, get more coverage against the Panther’s main guns and a path where it could possibly close combat the vehicle.  Unfortunately the last Sherman to the west got blown up by the Tiger and we were practically haemorrhaging Germans out of the Falaise Gap!  The western PIAT team recovered from earlier German attacks but couldn’t pull off another “miracle shot”.  The end of the scenario would see the German armor pulling back from going beyond the Bocage cover (and into the Firefly’s LOS) in favor of another route further west.  

The Canadians resigned.  

How’s this scenario interesting?

The Germans could either win by exiting enough units or by killing enough Canadian tanks.  However, killing a Canadian tank only get them 2 CVPs vs 8 CVPs (10 with the Armor Leader) for a Panther, so the Germans really need to do a good job with combined arms.  I, on the otherhand, need to play armor better.  Spread out Shermans don’t stand a chance against a Tiger or a Panther.  Perhaps I should focus my armor to one point after Turn 1 so as to converge on where German armor shows up in Turn 3?  

Paul Weir : What types of M4 Shermans did US forces use in Europe?

One of the rockstars in the GameSquad ASL forums is the resident armor super-genius human Chapter H, Mr. Paul M. Weir. Mr. Weir has gratefully allowed the publication of his posts here.

M4M4A1M4: The original design with radial petrol engine, M4A1 had the same engine but a cast hull, so I will deal with them together. Initially the preferred engine, both M4 and M4A1 (75) saw service from Torch to war’s end. They would have been the sole combat models until late ’43, early ’44 and between the two would still just have been the largest percentage of M4’s by VE day. Both later got better front hull armour (thicker at 47° vs older 56° from vertical). From early ’44 the M4A1 got the 76mm while some of the M4 were 105mm armed. From memory of photos the 105mm M4 always had the later 47° hull whilst many of those late 75mm M4 had a cast front (aka composite hull). A composite hull M4 would be a M4A1 in ASL terms. The 76mm M4A1 first saw service in Operation Cobra. Not sure when the 105mm M4 saw combat, but I suspect late French campaign. The British fitted 17lbr to M4 but not to M4A1. What looks like a 17lbr M4A1 is actually a 17lbr M4 (composite hull).

M4A2M4A2: Diesel twin engines. Starting with 75mm and 56° hull, they progressively went to 47° hull and finally 76mm. Used by the US for training, saw US combat service only with the USMC. Most LL to the USSR, Britain and France, in order of priority, indeed one of the USMC batches was “stolen” from a USSR allocation. Only the USSR used the 76mm versions.

M4A3M4A3: Ford petrol twin engine. Had all the variations of the M4A2, but also had a 105mm version. Indeed it is quite difficult to tell the 2 apart, only the different horizontal engine decks are a good guide. Though some may have been used mid-Italy campaign, it was really D-Day onwards when they would have seen much service. 75mm, 47° hulls, I suspect Cobra+ and the 76mm and 105mm versions only becoming common by the end of the French campaign. The USMC eventually switched to the M4A3 from the M4A2. The US switched from considering the M4/M4A1 engine as the preferred one to the M4A3’s Ford.

M4A3E2M4A3E2: Doled out in handfuls to (mainly) M4A3 battalions. I think they were preferentially given to separate tank battalions allocated to infantry divisions, though some saw use in armoured divisions. NW Europe only.

shervaM4A4: 5 car engines fused together!!! US training only, LL to Britain and possibly France. Only 56° and 75mm, though the British fitted their 17lbr.

M4A5: Not a Sherman, but a type designation for the Canadian Ram tank.

M4A6: Diesel radial engine. Training/development only.

Italy: M4 & M4A1 throughout the campaign. M4A3 starting to appear mid-’44, likely as new battalions fed in.

Northwest Europe: Initially mainly M4 & M4A1 with some M4A3. In the immediate post invasion many separate and armoured division battalions were shipped straight from the US. These seem to be mainly M4A3 variants.

Mixing: M4 and M4A1 were practically interchangeable, so while many units would have started as pure M4 or M4A1, replacements could have been either. Naturally the USA preferred that M4/M4A1 were not mixed with M4A3 but there were times like very late ’44 when the USA was running short due to losses. The British either offered or gave the USA some of their Shermans at that time. So you would see awkward mixes, especially when allocating 76mm and 105mm variants. The US could readily support logistically such less than optimal mixes.

Gun Mixes: From Cobra+ expect to see no more than 20% 76mm, the rest 75mm. By Bulge 40% 76mm and by VE 60%+ 76mm. The problem was that was not uniform. From memory, one of the post D-Day, direct from the US shipped armoured divisions came entirely equipped with M4A3(76) whilst most active M4A3 battalions could only dream of them.

105mm: Initially issued as a 3 tank platoon per tank battalion, later 1 was additionally added to each 17 tank M4-whatever company. So for 54 M4-? (75mm/76mm) tank battalion you could have 3 or 6 105mm M4/M4A3 in addition. They did not replace 75mm/76mm gun tanks. Production of M4A3(105) was roughly twice that of M4(105).

56° vs 47°: The early M4-? had 2″ at 56°, later upgraded (except M4A4) to 2.5″ at 47°. While almost the same effective horizontal line of sight thickness the 47° hull was a single plate without the driver/assistant driver hatch excrescences of the earlier 56° hull multi plate front, thus stronger. The 47° hulls also had bigger hatches allowing easier bail out.

As an addition to the above information I might as well complete the US battalion organisation by mentioning the light tanks and other lesser creatures.

A typical US battalion

The original OoB had a tank regiment with 1×3 company light tank battalion and 2×3 company medium battalions, each with 17 tanks/company and 3 in battalion HQ. The Battalion HQ had a 3 vehicle assault gun platoon and often a 3 vehicular 81mm halftrack MTR platoon. The assault gun platoon started with the likes of the T30 HMC (USVN 35), then the M8 HMC Scott (USVN 43) and finally by mid-late ’44 the M4(105) or M4A3(105) (USVN 17). The MTR platoon used the M4, M4A1 and M21 halftracks. That organisation was in effect until mid-late ’43 and indeed the 2nd, 3rd Armoured continued to use that “heavy” organisation until war’s end. In practice light and medium companies were often swapped to give 3 equal battalions with 1 light and 2 medium companies. A US “heavy” Armoured Division had 6 light and 12 medium companies total in 2 regiments. During ’43 the heavy organisation was replaced by the light version. That abolished the tank regiment and instead had 3 tank battalions. Each battalion had a similar HQ and 1 light and 3 medium tank companies, like before with 17 or 18 tanks for a divisional total of 3 light and 9 medium companies. The upside was the infantry component got beefed up at battalion level.

The light tanks started with M3 and M3A1 but by Sicily they started to or had been replaced by M5 and M5A1. By Wacht am Rhein tiny numbers of M24 had appeared but took some time to displace the M5A1s.

Now be aware that all the above is just an overall broad sweep picture. For designing scenarios always use AARs, TO&E unit details where you can lay your hands on them. You will undoubtedly find exceptions but the above should not lead you too far astray.

Paul M. Weir

(Note: I added the counter art, any error’s all mine.)

PS For more on Shermans, Witchbottles recommends the article “Wheels of Democracy” by Jeff Petraska from Avalon Hill Game Magazine vol 25 issue 3