The Soviet gambit into the Kastenwald was wildly successful with no loss of Firestorm resources. The Germans will have to consider this developing attack into the shoulder of their breakthrough and now with only 2 attack options per turn. The Soviets also successfully defended Karpunevka from the Germans onslaught!
The Germans captured Shirokoye Bulotev from Ivan, which will also open up attacking options for taking Hill 253 and 1st May.
Today's game was fought using Alex's "UP THE BLUE" rules, themselves a modification of Mr Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames rules. Each sabot is an infantry platoon.
|Ponyri outskirts in the upper right. Train station up-center. Alex needed to clear German forces and capture Ponyri|
|German I Battalion / 508th Infantry Regiment (stands are platoons)|
|Soviet company in the train station|
|We put UP THE BLUE through its paces today with a big urban fight. Ponyri Village is divided into 3 large sectors, each able to hold a set number of bases (platoons).|
|KV-1 platoon in a marshalling area. Mortars are to their right.|
|Heavy Corps Guns, elite tank killer units, await the German beasts.|
|Meanwhile Soviet infantry is also awaiting their opportunity to counterattack.|
|German artillery starts splashing into Ponyri!|
|The Panzers start to creep up and lob shells into the light anti tank platoon|
|Germans advancing into the center woods. Note the Soviets in lower left. 2 x platoons, a company, are holding onto the town's edge|
|Another Panzer III platoon enters Ponyri via the road!|
|Germans swarming through the woods!|
|Meanwhile, the Soviets call out on the radio from Corps HQs "Stal! Stal! Stal!" The counterattack begins! KV-1s in Ponyri head out to challenge the Panzer IIIs.|
|Note the German infantry in the background, massing to take Ponyri.|
|Yellow dice are "order" markers. Green dice are hits.|
|Infantry score a permanent hit (hit dice becomes yellow) against the KV-1 platoon along the roadway. Alex's figure looks on, approvingly at his Landsers' handiwork!|
|Yellow dice is a permanent hit. It means they will always shoot at -1 dice for firing and represents significant casualties and disruption. My scenario was they were caught reloading the ammunition in 2 of their tanks and the crews were mowed down!|
|Note the corners touching the boundaries. That's how Alex figures line of sight into and out of sectors. These guys can see, and be seen.|
|KV-1 duel not going so well now, and he's taking fire from multiple platoons and from infantry. I need to move an infantry platoon over to reinforce but there arent many left!|
|Coold shot. Note the KV-1 and the 4 x German platoons to the north.|
|The fight in the center. Alex would eventually lose both of those infantry units in the woods. Assaulting Ponyri is proving much harder than he thought!|
|Reinforcements coming in! Moving up to reinforce the KV-1 platoon who is holding on in the town sector. Note the Germans straight ahead. There is a dug-in Soviet platoon to the right holding that town sector. They never did give it up!|
|German panzergrenadiers flanking the KV-1 platoon. Extra firing dice!|
|Germans break through with another panzer platoon. Note the Soviets fighting it out along the road to the left. The Germans are firing|
|KV-1 comes up to counter attack but it's too little, too late. The Germans hold 2 out of 3 town sectors in Ponyri and the Soviets have only 1 platoon left!|
Remember, next week the Soviets get 2 x attack arrows, and the Germans are reduced to 2 x attack arrows. Also, 2 more major developments. The Soviets get a bunch more FIRESTORM assets they can draw on now, and I will roll for initiative at the start of the week. So while the Germans have a toe-hold in Ponyri, they'll have to hold it!
After some slowing down of momentum, it's great to see the campaign back on!