This game featured a Soviet Infantry Battalion with 4 Companies of 2 platoons along with a T-34 platoon in support as well as a SU-76 2 x gun section for infantry support.
|The main Soviet thrust would come from this tank platoon and 2 infantry companies.|
|Soviet Right flank - this attack was a supporting attack and no the main effort|
|Soviet objective is the village in the background. There is a German infantry Battalion in their way|
The Germans field a large Infantry Battalion of 3 Infantry Companies and 2 x PAK 40 sections in support (as well as their organic battalion mortars).
Stands are equal to squads.
No sexy panzers or slick half tracks here. The infantry alone would have to hold out against the Soviet hordes!
|Meanwhile on the Soviet right, the "deception" company slowly occupies the first hill.|
|Germans await the assault behind their defences|
|Gerry waiting for Ivan.|
|The Soviets on the right enter the valley and the livestock pen. Within LMG and HMG range now! Casualties start to mount.|
|BOOM! 1 T-34 brews up - ambush fire from a PAK-40 dug-in.|
|And another! 2 AFVs in the same turn. Great shooting Gerry!|
|pouring fire into Ivan!|
|German AT gun promptly dispatched by a SU-76 assault gun! Should have known these would be priority targets for Ivan!|
|The Soviets are starting to make good progress on the right - until they enter rifle range.|
|Soviet tanks make their way towards the German positions - knocking out units left and right with devastating HE fire!|
|Morale Failure! Ivan's right attack stalls and routs. They would continue retreating for 4 turns before turning around!|
|Meanwhile the infantry attack on the right fans out. The lead company starts taking casualties and loses their HMG from accurate mortar fire. Gerry's maintain radio contact with the battalion HQs since about turn 3!|
|All that remain of the German right company - this can't be all of us! Somehow they continue to pass their Morale Checks?!?|
|Getting nervous, the Battalion commander orders the reserve company to start moving infantry elements to the front. This brave decision couldn't come fast enough as the single remaining PAK-40 is knocked out. Panzerfausts vorwarts!|
|German reserve platoon in positions outside the town, awaiting the eventual Russian breakthrough.|
|As the first half ends, Ivan is approaching the German positions!|
|The medic gives squads around him a saving throw but all of the medical knowledge in the world couldn't save a wrecked PAK-40...|
|The lone remaining Russian T-34 fails a morale check after the platoon leader's tank is KO and he leaves the battle.|
|The Soviet left, quiet for a few turns heats back up as the company rallies and begins the assault again.|
|The German commander, feeling the situation on the hill is stable, moves a platoon off to reinforce his right.|
If you've made it this far then congratulations! I applaud your tenacity. You have to love "Battle" for its sheer simplicity and flexibility. As such it's one of my favorite games and one where I do much more rolling and moving than looking things up in a rules book.
This game is turning out to be a real nail biter as the Soviets still have 2 fresh companies to throw in on the German right flank which is just about done. The German reserves will have to hold out if they break through and as I stated before, there is no armor to save the day! The Germans must rely on the terrain, their own firepower, and the luck of the dice.
The Soviets I feel are in a decent position starting out. Their "maskirovka" on their own right flank, if its morale can hold, can pin down those German units that are so necessary to reinforcing the German right but as turn 10 draws to a close, their morale has once again failed as the German LMG and HMG are working hard to keep them back.
Some thoughts on "Battle"
Some of my modifications have worked well in conjunction with the rules. The indirect fire mods using the GW direction die and the FO proximity rule (every 15 inches distance from the observing stand or firing stand is an additional D6 added to the "scatter") work very well. Artillery and mortars are sufficiently deadly if you can score a hit on your target.
After re-reading Mr Fraser's BATTLE supplements, I found there are HE rules using AFVs and those are basically the same as the rules mods I introduced in my own BATTLE games. His are slightly more generous when firing at infantry in any kind of cover. I require a 5 or a 6 depending on the cover to achieve a kill.
I also want to add a rate of fire for both LMG and HMG stands. So a LMG would get to roll 2 x dice and HMG get to roll 3 or 4 and I dispensed with the range cone, instead opting to select and declare targets you would like to allocate dice to, provided they're within the beaten zone of the firing weapon. (ok a template would work better for determining the beaten zone I suppose).
Morale. Morale is a problem I find. Not because there is anything wrong with the rules themselves, but platoons of 4 squads will take casualties very quickly. 1 squad loss is already 25% losses so what to do? Check morale by Company? I started the game out that way and it's certainly much simpler however the results are much more severe. This will take some additional brainpower to solve. My thoughts go back to the morale from Flames of War where you simply take morale if you have more KO'd units than "alive" units so that's always a possibility here. Simplicity and satisfying results are the objectives here.
Keep your eyes peeled to this blog for more BATTLE action, and a Volley & Bayonet ACW battle fought this past weekend.