Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Christmas Offensive: ENDGAME

Another Christmas over, another battle completed.  I was able to get in a few turns in the wee hours of the morning while the rest of the family snoozed and to good effect!  This battle was a nail biter up until the final turn (not even sure there was a "final turn" but the action kind of settled down.  I'll explain).

 The beginning of turn 4 saw the Germans catastrophically lose one of their battalions of the 184th IR who basically had had enough and withdrew (rolled a 1 for the infantry morale check).  Basically there were 13 figures left in that battalion and their fighting shape as an outfit was questionable.  While I wouldn't have necessarily left a huge, gaping hole in the line in front of a big Soviet infantry battalion, war is hell and I'm left to make due with what I have.

In other news, the Soviet Battalion at the 1st May collective farm turns and runs for the safety of the rear (probably safer at the front!) and the battalion evaporates as they too roll a "1" for their morale check.  The Germans walk into the farm complex without firing an additional shot.

Meanwhile the remaining battalion must reorganize itself on the objective, the 1st May Collective Farm and await new orders or a Soviet counterattack.  Whichever comes first!
 I'm noting that aggressive action mostly pays off in Rapid Fire and this German battalion had a much more aggressive posture than their sister battalion on the left.

The Soviets decide that they can't just remove one of their battalions guarding 253 so they dispatch 2 full strength companies to counterattack the 1st May Collective.  It's an optimistic gesture, but they cant just sit there and do nothing!

Soviet companies move forward towards the Collective Farm.

The Germans pass around ammo and await the next wave of Ivans.
 a frantic push to realign the left flank to meet this new threat from their east.  Both sides' mortars are thumping non stop trying to beat the other side into submission.

We must hold!

The soviet force looms as German mortars and machine gun rounds crash around them.

shooting starts to take its toll on the Germans

The unsung heroes of the battle - the Forward Observer teams!  Dealing whole sale destruction on the enemy!

German troops await Ivan's next attack.

Battalion command team, directing the defense.

The soviet counter attack "probe" has been defeated and a lull settles over the battlefield east of Ponyri village...
You might say something of an impasse happened at this point (turn 7) as a strong Soviet Battalion and a strong German battalion still occupied the table, but at opposite ends.  German progress is marked by a failure to reach Point 253 but a successful capture of the collective farm.  While another unit is sure to take their place, this was a setback that General Model had not anticipated.

The Germans are preparing to commit a panzer division to seize Ponyri, as well as the famed 656 Schwere PanzerJaeger with their Ferdinand tank destroyers!

The Soviets lost their MMG but make up for it with numbers and lack of casualties!
The battle pretty much ended there and then as I had alot to do to get ready for the festivities today but fear not!  This next battle will feature fighting for Ponyri itself as the Germans get stuck in.
So that's it.
I cannot imagine the soviets would have left their positions in front of Hill 253 and the Germans definitely would not leave the collective farm, so until reinforcements show up the fighting in the vicinity of the farm and the hill dies down for a little.

Still liking RAPID FIRE very much as a rules set.  It has a distinct "toy soldier" feel to it, but is very elegant and models all the things you want to see in a WW2 battle.

I am thinking of limiting ammo for mortars to 1D6 shots but allowing a resupply (now you can USE the battalion resupply convoys!)

Playing has so far showed me some of the questions I need to answer and has been not only great fun but enlightening as well.

Anyways, I hope everyone had a great day!  Looking forward to more RAPID FIRE action in the future.

Also a sneak preview of what's coming up - I got 2 BP supplements from Santa this year - "Last Argument of Kings" which should supplement my massive SYW commission nicely, and "Rebellion" which will be fun to play around with my 15mm AWI troops.  Most likely play Lobositz using Black Powder rules and possibly a bigger AWI battle allowing me to put all my troops on the table like Freeman's Farm with 4 stand Regiments.


  1. Great narrative in that battle - really entertaining to read.
    I always tinkered with the idea of having morale checks at a lower level for some more flexible troops rather than the full battalion morale check; that way, a bad roll might mean the removal of a company in combat rather than the whole battalion. Though as you say, the toy soldier feel is making 30 guys 'represent' a battalion, though enabling them to be handled like a platoon, but I think the rules allow for a little hacking where necessary.
    You're definitely making me take a long look at RF again. :)

    1. Cheers Darren, thats a great idea and i think the able archer rules have morale checks occurring at company level.
      So for me, RF is a good set for "big" battles that isnt too granular or overly complex but allows me fight battles and garner relatively historical results.
      I like making decisions as a brigade or division commander and also seeing the results of my decisions play out for better or worse.
      Just like with black powder, theyre not the best rules out there, but a good compromise on what im looking for if i want to play an entire battle or big campaign.

      Im also going to look at iron cross this week as well.

  2. Yes. Thinking of a couple of mods . The company morale rules for US while keeping the battalion checks for Soviet. Also, I think restricting the Soviets to fire-move only, while US can do fire-move or move-fire by platoon. Should be representative of better command and control flexibility , I think.