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  • #127454
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Thanks man, hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

    V/R,
    Jack

    #127455
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    German Counterattack on Shirokoye Bulotev

    It’s dawn on 10 July 1943 in western Russia, where the German II Battalion, 507th Infantry Regiment of the 292nd Infanterie Division, with support from II Battalion, 18th Panzer Regiment, 18th Panzer Division, is on the attack, looking to evict the Soviet 1019th Rifle Regiment, which has been whittled down to less than company strength!  Shirokoye Bulotev itself is a bit shell-shocked, having changed hands several times, this is the sixth battle for this very ground in less than a week.  It’s tough to gauge who has the advantage in this fight; the Germans are veteran troops, and though they’re understrength, they still have plenty of heavy weapons, and are buttressed by a platoon of Panzer Mk IIIs.  Additionally, they’re commander has commandeered three armored halftracks to give his infantry some added mobility.  The Soviets are worn down conscripts, vastly understrength, but they’ve got quite a few heavy weapons themselves, and they recently took in three T-34 refugees from the fight in Kastenwald, plus the Germans have a lot of open ground to cover in order to take the ultimate objective, the Collective Farm.

    I am playing this game because I have the good fortune of being buddies with Steve of the “Sound Officer’s Call” blog (https://soundofficerscall.blogspot.com/2019/10/firestorm-ponyri-station-campaign-first.html), and he is running a “Firestorm Ponyri” campaign. He is playing some games with his local buddies, but was unable to play all of the games himself; rather than simply ‘dice off’ for results of campaign fights they were unable to play on the table top, Steve asked if anyone in the blogosphere wanted to help, so here I am.


    Overview, north is up.  Running north-south in the center of the table is a significant piece of terrain in this fight, a railway on a raised embankment, which is high enough to mask the movement of tanks.  The overall objective for each side is the Collective Farm, which is at bottom right.  There are patches of woods in the northwest (top left) and southwest (bottom left), which will feature prominently in the upcoming fight.  There are a couple dirt roads running up to the railway embankment, the eastern of which also branches in/around the Collective Farm, though they’re pretty much here for decoration as pretty much the entire map consists of crop fields, i.e., drivable terrain.  I’ve done what I can with craters and ‘rough ground’ patches I’m using to try and show burnt fields in order to reflect the fact this patch of ground has seen more than its fair share of fighting.

    The orders of battle for this fight:

    German
    Commanding Officer
    5 x Rifle Platoon
    1 x MG Platoon (4 x MG-42)
    1 x Mortar Platoon (4 x 8.0cm tube)
    1 x Infantry Gun Platoon (2 x 7.5cm howitzer)
    1 x Anti-Tank Gun Platoon (2 x PaK-38 5.0cm ATG, with prime mover)
    1 x Armored Carrier Platoon (3 x Sdkfz 251 halftrack)
    1 x Truck Platoon (3 x Opel Blitz)
    1 x Panzer Platoon (5 x Pz Mk IIIJ)

    Soviet
    Commanding Officer
    3 x Rifle Platoon
    1 x Machine Gun Platoon (3 x Maxim .30-cal MG)
    1 x Mortar Platoon (3 x 82mm tube)
    1 x Anti-Tank Rifle Platoon (3 x PTRD)
    1 x Anti-Tank Gun Platoon (2 x 45mm ATG)
    1 x Tank Platoon (3 x T-34/76)

    The railway embankment terrain feature essentially turns the fight for Shirokoye Bulotev into two separate fights.  I actually deliberated long and hard on how best to reflect this, based what the Soviet defense would/should look like.  The Germans are attacking from the northwest, so the patch of trees at top left will serve as both their base of fire for support elements, and their line of departure for assault elements.  My initial inclination was to put the railway embankment at the far left edge of the table, and let that be the German start line, with the Germans having to skyline themselves, then cross an entire table consisting of crop fields, devoid of cover, with the Soviets dug-in at far right, even not occupying the Collective Farm (which would have been in about the same location as it is now, maybe a little further left), but prepared to counterattack it with their tank platoon, maybe even carrying a platoon of tank riders, should the German assault make it that far.

    However, the Gamemaster informed me there needed to be a definite differentiation between the Veteran German force and the Conscript Soviet force.  So, that made me consider not only how the German and Soviet forces would perform on the tabletop (in the event, the Germans had some real problems keeping their troops moving and getting their ample support weapons to perform effectively, despite this, and I probably let the Soviets get away with some actions that were probably a bit too crafty for beat-up conscripts), but also how they would deploy on the tabletop.  So I decided that the ‘skyline the Germans with the railway embankment’ defense was too tactically advantageous for the beat-up Soviet conscripts, so I put them on this table and started them with the classic rookie mistake (and one I regularly make in wargames, anyway, just look what the Germans do!) of splitting their forces, no unity of effort, no concentration.

    All the Germans are in the northwest (top left), either set up and ready to support, or sitting tight, ready to advance.  The Soviets are scattered across the table, trying to defend everything: the Soviet 1st Platoon is at bottom left, in the woods, with their Machine Gun Platoon and Anti-Tank Gun Platoon.  The Soviet 2nd Platoon is dug in on the embankment (center) with their Anti-Tank Rifle Platoon.  The Soviet 3rd Platoon is dug-in to the ruins of the Collective Farm (bottom right), and the Soviet Tank Platoon is dug-in at right/top right.  That’s right, another aspect of the ‘conscript’ classification is that the Soviets are not keeping their tanks for a mobile reserve, but are using them in static defensive positions.  In their defense, the hull-down emplacements will make them very hard to detect and hit, and the German armor and infantry will have to skyline itself coming over the railway embankment, but the problems are that 1) once over, the Germans will be practically on top of them, and 2) the T-34s will not be a factor in the fighting west of the railway embankment.

    I didn’t get a separate picture of it, so I’ll address it here: the Soviet Mortar Platoon is at bottom center, just right of the railway embankment, with their Platoon Commander sitting atop the railway embankment, acting as their forward observer.

    So, the German plan, in order to make things easy for the Russkies, the Germans will split their efforts.  The German 1st Rifle Company will clear the woods in the southwest (bottom left), then wheel left and push east for the objective, the Collective Farm.  1st Company has three rifle platoons: 1st Platoon is in the assault, 2nd Platoon is supporting from the wood, and 3rd Platoon is the reserve, loaded up in the halftracks.  In the halftracks, yes, but not as battalion reserve, they are 1st Company’s reserve; the German battalion commander knows he should probably just bypass the southwestern woods and sweep around to the north in order to reach the objective, but he is very much concerned with not leaving a Soviet force of unknown size and composition in his rear.  Therefore, he has 1st Company’s 3rd Platoon loaded up in the halftracks, ready to dive into the woods, and they’ll be moving out on a hair trigger, he really wants those southwest woods as soon as possible.  He then intends for the halftracks to double back to the woods to pick up the 1st Company’s 2nd Platoon and rush them forward.

    The German heavy weapons (MG Plt, Mortar Plt, and IG Plt) are all set in in the northwest woods (with 1st Company’s 2nd  Plt), looking to shoot in 1st Platoon’s attack into the southwest woods.  Once the southwest woods are secure, the MG and IG platoons will load up in the trucks and push up to the railway embankment to support the assault on the Collective Farm.

    The two rifle platoons of 2nd Company and the Panzer Company will push straight east; the Germans have already spotted Soviet defensive positions atop the railway embankment, so one rifle platoon will handle those, while the other rifle platoon and the panzers will push straight over the railway embankment and look to envelop the Collective Farm from the east, isolating the objective.

    The Germans don’t have a reserve force to speak of; owing to 1) a necessity to press this attack home as quickly as possible, and 2) being severely understrength, all forces are committed either to the attack on the southwest woods or the railway embankment envelopment.  Everybody but the German ATG Platoon, which is starting the game limbered up and will be waiting to see if and when any Soviet armor appears (the Germans are not aware of any Soviet armor in the area).


    The German commander fires a green flare from his Very Pistol, signaling the start of the attack, with his Mortar Platoon commander in front of him in the craters, tanks and riflemen of 2nd Company behind him.


    Soviet ATGs in the southwest woods (bottom right) spot German armor through a gap in the northwest woods (top center left) and engage.


    Busting open a pair of panzers!


    German infantry assault the Soviet trenchline in the southwest woods.


    And the Soviet trenchline at the railway embankment.


    This allows German infantry to move down the east slope of the embankment and the panzers to move up into hull-down positions atop it, where they engage the dug-in Soviet T-34s.


    Fighting rages further north (top) as Soviet troops from the southwest woods fall back, over the railway embankment.


    The lead German halftrack is sky-lined as it crests the railway embankment.


    Where it runs right into those Soviet refugees from the southwest woods!

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2019/12/on-northern-shoulder-of-kursk-with.html

    In any case, here’s looking forward to my next East Front game, which will probably be the last one for awhile.  I hope you’ve enjoyed these, and let me know what you think of my ramblings on tactics and tactical decision making.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #127458
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I think you should let the Soviets have some trained troops and not just all conscripts. The tank crews especially.  In fact, from what I’ve read the tankers should be too aggressive and would outrun their infantry support. Overall I’ve enjoyed these AAR’s Thank’s Jack.

    #127506
    Thomaston
    Participant

    I’m just glad the panzers didn’t all get killed rushing into the open against T-34 like that.

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #127511
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Great AAR, lots of interesting little vignettes.  And as you say, definitely the poor shooting of the Sov tanks crews which did for them, the infantry seemed to fight quite well, all things considered.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #127513
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Kyote John – The quality of the troops was not up to me, I’m playing a campaign and the campaign master told me the Commies are conscripts and the Germans are veterans, and that I needed to make sure that fact was emphasized.  The other piece is that the Soviets were in the defense, so at best “too aggressive” would amount to being held off table in reserve and being committed too early, but what were they going to do, run up the rail embankment and skyline themselves?

    Thomaston – Yeah, it was all or nothing time, and the Reds had their chance to thrash the German tanks, they simply failed to do so.

    Whirlwind John – Thanks man, I’m glad you liked it.  Yep, as discussed above, the Soviet tankers really let them down; on the one hand, I figured they’d have killed at least one German tank,  maybe two, when the panzers were hull down at the railway embankment; yes, they were hull down, but I was giving the Soviets a positive modifier for being in prepared positions (which was basically just catching them back up from being poorly trained conscripts, anyway, but they could have and should have scored).  On the other hand, they failed to capitalize once the Germans broke cover.

    Regarding the Soviet infantry, I was rather unimpressed with the troops in the railway embankment position, and the 3rd Platoon, at the Collective Farm, never really got into the fight (which didn’t bother me; I really wanted to have them dig in behind the farm, for an immediate counterattack, should the Germans reach it, rather than sit there and get pounded from long distance), but the southwest woods position really did well, despite losing one of their two 45mm ATGs right at the outset of the fight.

    I keep thinking about what would have happened if the Soviets would have had another infantry platoon with which to reinforce the southwest woods.   Of course, if the Soviets hadn’t been conscript and I’d have put the German start line as the railway embankment itself, and put it all the way on the west (left) side of the table, I don’t see how the Germans would have had a prayer crossing all that open ground.  Certainly with no supporting fires from regiment/division/corps.

    Thanks guys!

    V/R,
    Jack

    #127519
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Bummer that you can’t tinker with the OOB but I get it.  Will you be going back to Midway next or play the last battle in this campaign?

    #127520
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Jack:

    I very much enjoyed this Bat. Rep. So much going on! By mid-1943 Soviet infantry and armour were getting quite proficient at fighting with combined arms tactics and the quality and quantity of German forces was waning due to losses and less well trained replacements. I know you are constrained by the campaign parameters which are out of your hands but the Red Army was rapidly improving at this point in the war. So give the Soviets some love, comrade?

    Thanks for preparing and posting this and taking the time to put it all together. You’re a gaming dynamo Jack, powered by a perpetual motion machine and a reactionless motor.

    Cheers and good gaming Jack.

    Rod Robertson.

    #127548
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Kyote – Not really a bummer to me, I don’t even think in those terms.  To borrow a phrase that I absolutely hate: it just is what it is.  I should be playing one more of these fights this coming weekend, but I’m still in Midway.  I’ve played the first five games, but I just realized I didn’t post game #2 last week, got too caught up in all the Turkey Day happenings!  Coming right up.

    Rod – My pleasure man, glad you enjoyed it, and I absolutely agree about the Soviets having gotten much more capable, but the scenario/campaign master had laid them out as ‘conscripts,’ which spoke not only to their level of training and experience, but also their morale, so they weren’t much for moving about in the face of the enemy.  As I mentioned in the batrep, even the sneaking out of the southwest woods to pull a pseudo-ambush at the railway embankment was probably more than I should have allowed.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #127647
    Brasidas19004
    Participant

    As the Field Marshal in command of this force, I wish to extend my personal congratulations to Just Jack for his victory over the reds!

    #128202
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    German Assault on the 1 May Collective Farm

    It’s 1800 on 11 July 1943 in western Russia, where the German I Battalion, 195th Infantry Regiment of the 78th Sturm Division, is on the attack, looking to evict the Soviet 1023rd Rifle Regiment, augmented by the remnants of the 1019th Rifle Regiment, themselves refugees from the defeat at Shirokoye Bulotev.  The goal of the fight is possession of the 1 May Collective Farm; the Soviets are defending prepared positions while the Germans are conducting hasty attack supported by Corps artillery (rockets) and armor.

    I am playing this game because I have the good fortune of being buddies with Steve of the “Sound Officer’s Call” blog (https://soundofficerscall.blogspot.com/2019/10/firestorm-ponyri-station-campaign-first.html), and he is running a “Firestorm Ponyri” campaign. He is playing some games with his local buddies, but was unable to play all of the games himself; rather than simply ‘dice off’ for results of campaign fights they were unable to play on the table top, Steve asked if anyone in the blogosphere wanted to help, so here I am.


    Overview, north is up.  The 1 May Collective Farm is the series of buildings at bottom left, while “Yuri’s Hovel” is at top right.  Other than that it’s all cultivated farmlands, uncultivated grassland, and stands of trees bisected by a southwest-northeast running road with several branches coming off it.  Highly significant to the military terrain on the battlefield are the stands of trees that line almost every single road on the map; the various hedges you see spread across the table (mostly lining the cultivated crop fields) do not block line of sight, but the stands of trees absolutely do, so the battlefield isn’t nearly as open as it may appear at first glance.

    Once again I’m using the Too Fat Lardie’s excellent “I Ain’t Been Shot Mum” rules, which I find work great for solo play.  I’m playing on a 6′ x 4′ mat (from The Wargames Company) using 10mm troops that are a mix of Pendraken, Minifigs UK, and Takara.  The buildings, trees, and hedges are from Crescent Root Studios, the fields are from Hotz Mats, and the beautiful roads are from Fat Frank in the UK.

    Orders of battle:

    German
    Commanding Officer
    2 x Rifle Company
    -Each with three Platoon Commanders and nine rifle squads
    1 x Schwere Company
    -MG Platoon (PC and 3 x MG-42
    -Mortar Platoon (PC and 4 x 8.0cm tube)
    -Infantry Gun Platoon (PC and 2 x 7.5cm howitzer)
    -Truck Platoon (2 x Opel truck)
    1 x Panzer Company
    -2 x Panzer Platoon (3 x Pz Mk IIIJ w/long 5.0cm gun)
    -1 x ersatz Panzer Platoon (2 x Stug III w/long 7.5cm gun, 1 x Marder w/76.2mm gun)
    1 x Armored Carrier Platoon (3 x Sdkfz 251 halftrack)
    1 x Rocket Artillery Battery (2 x Nebelwerfer)
    *The Germans are rated as average capability and average morale; yes, they are very experienced and grasp the importance of this attack, but they have suffered heavy losses and are worn out from six straight days of ferocious fighting.

    Soviet
    Commanding Officer
    1 x Rifle Company (three Platoon Commanders, three 50mm mortars, and nine rifle squads)
    1 x MG Company (PC, 2 x SG-43, and 3 x Maxim 7.62mm MG)
    1 x “Tank Killer” Company consisting of:
    -1 x Anti-Tank Rifle (ATR) Platoon (PC and 4 x PTRD ATR)
    -1 x Field Gun Platoon (3 x 76.2mm ‘crash-boom’ guns)
    -1 x Anti-Tank Gun (ATG) Platoon (PC and 4 x Zis-3 57mm ATGs)
    1 x Mortar Platoon (PC and 3 x 82mm mortars)

    *The Soviet Rifle Company is comprised of the scraps of two beat-to-hell Rifle Regiments that mostly weren’t particularly well-trained or experienced and are pretty much shattered at this point, but they’ve been stiffened by the additional automatic weapons of an understrength Machine Gun Company and a specialized “Tank Killer” company.  The Tank Killers are an elite force comprised of savvy veterans with very high morale.  They are specially trained to avoid target indicators by dispersing their guns and digging them in in open areas, almost flush with the ground, where they allow the Germans to advance to point blank range.  They use their field guns to separate the panzers from their supporting infantry, their ATRs to harass tank commanders and force them to button up, and their long-barreled 57mm guns to engage the enemy’s flanks.

    I don’t know if any of that is true, but it sounded good, and it’s how I used them in this fight 😉
    There’s another wrinkle, which I’ll cover below.

    The German start line (which is quite crowded) is at top right, around Yuri’s Hovel, while the Soviets are dug-in from top left to bottom left to bottom right, defending the 1 May Collective Farm (bottom left).

    Defensive layout:  All Soviet units except the 82mm Mortar Platoon begin the game dug-in and camouflaged.  The Soviets are, once again, utilizing a ‘hedgehog’ defense of mutually supporting strongpoints, of which there are three.  At top left is Strongpoint Nadia; at center left is Strongpoint Mila; and at bottom right is Strongpoint Sasha.  Each strongpoint consists of the following:

    Platoon Commander
    50mm Mortar
    3 x Rifle Squads
    Maxim 7.62mm MG
    76.2mm Field Gun

    So you’ve got a beat up, worn out rifle platoon bolstered by a machine gun and the 76.2mm field gun.  I thought long and hard about whether to split to break up the Field Gun Platoon and one of the MG Platoons, but in the overall scheme of things, each strongpoint has close defense provided by its three rifle squads, and each strongpoint has a significant long-range capability consisting of the MG, light mortar, and field gun.  I believe the long-range capability and the elan and training of the tank killers provides the low-grade infantry a real boost in confidence, such that breaking up an MG platoon and the Field Gun Platoon was warranted.

    The 82mm Mortar Platoon is at far left bottom, in a field.  The ‘other’ MG Platoon (PC and 2 x MGs) is at bottom center left.  The Anti-Tank Gun Platoon is split: the PC and two guns is at far left top (the “West ATG” position), and the other two guns are at bottom center right (the “South ATG” position).  The Soviet CO is at bottom center, between the MG Plt and the South ATG position.  The ATR Plt is dug-in at center, just below the road, the purpose of which is two-fold: first, engage German armor coming down the road, and second, keep between any German infantry and the ATGs below them.

    My only regret with the Soviet deployment is that I wish I could have even further dispersed the four Zis-3 ATGs (in order to counter German supporting fires sure to be levied against them); I would have but I didn’t have enough sandbagged emplacements, so I had to double up each set of ATGs!

    Offensive scheme of maneuver:
    Okay, this is ugly and not terribly creative, for four reasons:
    1.  The Germans are attacking off the hop, conducting a hasty attack straight off the march, immediately following an attack earlier today.  They’ve barely had time to untangle and reorganize their units following the earlier attack, and no time to rest or replenish.

    2.  The Germans are in a very big hurry as supplies, men, and equipment are all worn out and Intelligence reports strong Soviet forces enroute to reinforce the 1 May Collective Farm garrison.

    3.  The Germans had no time to conduct reconnaissance of the battlefield, so they have no idea the strength or disposition of the enemy facing them.

    4.  In order to get to the Collective Farm, the German infantry have a tremendous amount of ground to cover on foot.  Moving cross-country would be almost as exposed, and would be even slower than heading straight down the middle via the road.

    So this is literally ‘hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle,’ in a hurry to take and consolidate on the Farm before the Soviet reinforcements arrive.  The German CO was at the head of the column coming into the area; he called a halt at Yuri’s Hovel, sent for his senior leaders (some companies are now being led by Sergeants), and climbed atop the roof to get a look at the situation.  He can’t see anything in terms of Soviet troops or activity, but a simple appreciation of the terrain makes a few things clear:

    -the Soviets are sure to be thick in the Collective Farm and its adjacent wooded areas; he’ll sic the the Nebelwerfers (which Corps has placed in direct support) on them.

    -the wooded area to the northwest (in the vicinity of Strongpoint Nadia) is sure to contain a bushel of the Red devils.  He can ignore them/use direct-fire support to keep them at bay.

    -the wooded area to the south (at bottom right, in vicinity of Strongpoint Sasha) is also sure to hold hordes of the Bolsheviks.  They’re too close, they’ll have to be deal with.

    So, the German Colonel climbed down and quickly sketched out the plan of attack to his subordinates:
    -Direct fire-supports (MG Plt and IG Plt) will emplace in/around Yuri’s Hovel with the mission of protecting the Kampgruppe’s right flank and isolating the objective (keep any Soviet forces north of the Farm away from the Farm). (target acquisition and quick, accurate engagement will be king, might be a bit much to ask of worn out troops)

    -1st and 2nd Platoons of 2nd Company will assault the southeast wood (SP Sasha).  This assault will not be supported; their mission is to tie down the defenders without becoming decisively engaged. (god luck with that!)

    -The Ersatz Panzer Platoon (hereafter referred to as the “Stug Platoon”) will lead the entire 1st Company, in platoon order, down the road, straight into the objective.  Speed is of the essence! (emphasis on speed can get real expensive real quick!)

    -The indirect-fire supports (Mortar Platoon and Nebelwerfer Battery) need to get in where they fit in, i.e., find some space out of LOS to likely enemy positions and set up.  They are tasked directly to the Kampgruppe commander. (terrible idea, a leader’s job is to lead, a commander’s job is to command, a forward observer’s job is to forward observe.  There’s a reason the duties are split!)

    -1st and 2nd Panzer Platoons, and 3rd Platoon, 2nd Company (mounted in the halftracks) are the Kampgruppe’s reserve (begin game off table to east).

    **So, what did he miss?  Well, he’s incorrect in his assumption that the Collective Farm is a bulwark of the defense; you see, the elite Soviet ‘Tank Killers’ are trained to look for target indicators (such as a cluster of buildings and clumps of trees) and stay the hell away, knowing the Germans will target them with copious amounts of artillery and mortars.  This means Nebelwerfer rockets will soon be falling on unoccupied ground, and the KG’s assumption, along with his inability to conduct a real reconnaissance, means he completely missed SP Mila, which his Stug Plt and 1st Company will be waltzing straight down the road to.  And he has completely missed the flanking deployment of the deadly Soviet Zis-3s.


    Ersatz Panzer Platoon and 1st Company moving west down the main road, according to plan.  Ersatz panzers being beat up by Soviet anti-tank weapons and 1st Company being beat up by Soviet mortars, not according to plan.


    So, send in the reserves!  The halftracks and Panzer IIIs arrive.


    Nebelwerfers crash down on SP Sasha.


    But Soviet anti-tank guns are able to engage German armor by the flank (between trees at top center).

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2019/12/on-northern-shoulder-of-kursk-with_17.html

    Well, I hope you enjoyed them; it was my pleasure to be a part of Steve’s campaign, and to share it with you.  But now it is on to some other projects: gotta finish up the Battle of Midway, then back to Kampgruppe Klink for some action in Greece.  Stay tuned!

    V/R,
    Jack

    #128203
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Soviet Mortars never leave home without them!!!!!

    #128286
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Yeah, they sort of stole the show, didn’t they?

    V/R,

    Jack

    #128299
    Nathaniel Weber
    Participant

    Some ferocious fighting again. Love the look of your table, too.

    #128300
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Nebelwerfers crash down on SP Sasha.

      Freaking EPIC photo for an epic battle!  Man, that was a grind on the Germans, amazing what a single 82mm mortar can do.  How long did this game take you to play out?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #128325
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Thanks, Nate, I appreciate it!

    Darby, thanks man.  To be clear, the Soviets had a platoon of three 82mm mortars, although perhaps you’re just referring to the times their platoon commander was calling for one round and dropping right on German heads?  The game was a slog, took about five and a half hours, but some of that was ‘admin’ time of having to deal with the wife and kids 😉

    V/R,
    Jack

    #128356
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    perhaps you’re just referring to the times their platoon commander was calling for one round and dropping right on German heads?

      Ya, that one tube did a LOT of work.  Mortars are a funny thing (in the real world), sometimes one can land a good distance away and wreck a unit, and sometimes one can land right next you and not harm a fly…

    took about five and a half hours

      Man, that is a good stretch.  Quite the epic fight!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #128373
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Great stuff, really enjoyed that one.  I was surprised how effective the Germans were against the dug-in Russian AT guns (not that that did them much good in the end!)

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #128380
    Thomaston
    Participant

    Are the buildings new? I didn’t notice them before, they look really good. I have to admit I didn’t pay too much attention to the battle, too busy enjoying the scenic.

    I like this view the most
    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-N5Gpwn4wo5o/XfbBxxnyxXI/AAAAAAAAwY8/EKu52zrwifsXkVK9ErjQk4rjtV-862YOQCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_0325.JPG

    So German 1st Cmpany didn’t go anywhere all game? Feels like a reverse of the previous game at the end, especially the infantry assaulting tanks. I feel sorry for the Panzers.

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #128526
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Darby – Yeah, in the overall scheme of things, 5 1/2 hours is way too long for me to be playing a game, that should easily get me three or four games.  Regarding mortars, man, I’ve got some stories.  The problem with mortars is that they really play a head game with you.  You can usually hear them go out, and they just hang up there forever, and with that first volley, you don’t know where they’re headed…

    John – Yeah, like I said, there were two issues: 1) the Germans just really had some excellent shooting dice when it came to firing at those guns (once they opened fire and were finally spotted); and 2) I didn’t have enough sandbagged emplacements to split the guns.  So I should have had four emplacements, each containing one gun, which would have allowed them to be dispersed, but I only had two, when there was good shooting, it was affecting two guns rather than one.

    Thomaston – Negative, I’ve had those building for about a year.  I’m glad you enjoyed the scenics, I’ve been working for a number of years now to get them better.  Yes, drink it all in:


    This is ugly, but this is where I started.  Behold, a beautiful HotzMat with hexes, that I destroyed by drawing squares on.  Cake-topper trees spray painted (still use those, actually), latex roads and rivers from JR Miniatures, felt to mark forests, some lichen, carpet for hills and fields, and then craters, telephone poles, walls, and buildings that have simply been spray painted a single color.

    So my tables still aren’t amazing, but they’ve come a long way!

    Another funny aspect to all this is that I’ve been big into 10mm troops for a long time now, but all my terrain is for 15mm.  I’m actually making another effort to get into 15mm gaming, so that I can try to match my terrain to my troops…

    Regarding the German 1st Rifle Company, they moved a little bit, then spent the rest of the game being pounded by the Soviet mortars.  I don’t feel sorry for anyone; the Germans paid for a lack of reconnaissance and a lack of sticking with their plan, both in terms of unit of effort, i.e., where the panzers were sent, and priority of fires, i.e., where the fire support was allotted.  There will be some folks that will say the Germans should have ignored SP Nadia (in the top left/northwest), but that’s unfair as it gives the German player knowledge that the German commander wouldn’t have had (owing to the lack of reconnaissance).  A responsible German commander had to put something at Yuri’s Hovel to counter potential threats to the northwest; hell, a whole Soviet rifle company could have been dug-in only 50m away.  And the responsible German commander had to put his direct-fire supporting weapons (MGs and Infantry Guns) there, as he didn’t have enough infantry to cover the northwest and actually take the target, unless he instead decided to ignore SP Sasha, which posed an immediate threat to 1st Company’s flank.  The case could be made that the direct-fire supports could have simply isolated SP Sasha, rather than using 2nd Company to assault it, and use 2nd Company to try to isolate SP Nadia, but that would likely have fared even worse as the rifle company doesn’t have the range and weight of the MG and IG Platoons.

    Though I will submit maybe that is a better course of action; use the MG and IG Platoons to isolate SP Sasha in the southeast, put one or platoons at Yuri’s Hovel to essentially tie up SP Nadia by getting shot to pieces, but depending on how well the Soviets at SPs Nadia and Mila are able to neutralize Yuri’s Hovel, they would then have an easier time chewing up 1st Company coming down the road.  And even if the German 2nd Company only uses one platoon at Yuri’s Hovel, as we saw, there’s not really more room to add those additional troops into the main axis of attack, they would simply have added to the pile of bodies caused by the Soviet mortars.

    It was going to be a tough ride for the Germans no matter how you cut it.  The one thing that could have changed it, in my humble opinion, is if German armored reconnaissance could have come on ahead of the infantry attacks to locate determine Soviet strength and dispositions, which would at least allow the Germans to make better use  of their supporting fires, as well as use those recon elements to screen off one flank of the attack (either SP Nadia in the northwest or SP Sasha in the southeast).

    V/R,
    Jack

    #128537
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Your terrain is so much better now Jack! Where are you off to now???  I’m hoping you can get some gaming in over the holidays.

    #129721
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Bump, I got part of a Zombie game in for my new Grandkids, but no painting at all.

    #129728
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Great report Jack!

    One day I will get to 1943! My 15mm games are still bogged down in the summer and fall of 1942. Therefore it’s great to live vicariously through your reports. They are much appreciated and very inspirational. Thank you for taking the time to post these outstanding reports.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

     

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