A cold, rainy Sunday here so I built a fire in the gaming bunker and settled in for some action-packed WWII small unit actions on the tabletop and wanted to refresh a little on Norm's outstanding "Tigers at Minsk" rules. I rolled out the hexmat, grabbed some terrain and got to work.
Settle in and grab a cup of coffee. This is going to be a bumpy ride! By the way, you can read Norm's fight of his excellent scenario here.
You can download Norm's Power Plant scenario here.
|It's 0729 hours. German forces, expecting their own reinforcements, and priming weapons and passing out extra ammunition when the Soviet attack starts.|
The rumble to the northeast signifies the start of the Soviet attack as multiple cannon batteries open fire. The men know what comes next...
|More Soviet shells fall however they miss their intended target and fall amongst the wooded park across from the power station. There is another German squad in shell scrapes there as well. wishing they could crawl inside their helmets now.|
The Soviets step off onto the attack. 2 x SMG platoons pour into the power station to help defend the main complex against further German attacks. The Soviet assault gun watching over the approach and the central square fires on the Panzer III and misses. They do, however, draw the attention of the gunner and tank commander in the Panzer III.
Soviet shooting is generally ineffective on their first move. The Germans referred to it as "Ivan's wake up call" in order to ensure the Germans weren't sleeping.
|Good kill! Panzer III knocks out the SU at the power plant at the intersection of Red October Street and Lenin Street.|
|Schmidt's sewer patrol comes out on the German baseline.|
|view of the powerplant along the railline. Schmidt's patrol is now at the water tower area.|
0738 Hours. Doubles.
Both sides roll "SNIPER" on their random events table. German counter-sniper marksmen are embedded in their squads to deal with the ever-present sniper threat. Tough lessons learned from 4 years of constant warfare. Guess what units both sides use their snipers on?
|German HMG section is pinned down by a Soviet sniper.|
|*THWACK* Soviet HMG section pinned down by a sniper in the power plant office building.|
|blue bead is out of AP ammo. Note the Panzer III exposing its flank to Lenin Street where the T-34s will come on.|
Soviet T-34s and tank riding SMG squads come onto Lenin Street but have difficulty maneuvering around teh burning SU carcass there. THe lead T-34 fires and the men atop the steel beast curse. The round goes wild and misses the Panzer III! Soviets unpin the HMG and their infantry fire is brutally effective, cutting down the landsers in the park as well. The German casualties are piling up and they're about to reach 5! They're morale breakpoint for the game.
The German panzer III turns to face the T-34 down Lenin Street but misses. They can feel their luck running out. Hans curses those drunken bastards who are STILL out of command and STILL milling about Red October street as if there is no battle taking place!
|Panzer III now facing T-34s.|
The Soviets knock out Hans and his Panzer III. The troops on Red October Street are still drunk and milling about, out of command. Meanwhile the Soviets, sensing victory in their grasp, pour out of the power plant in the form of SMG squads. The Germans barely have managed to stay in the game with the arrival of 3 rifle squads back where Schmidt emerged from the sewers.
|drunk Soviets on Red October Street milling about. Still out of command!|
|Reinforcements are in trouble themselves!|
|The second Panzer III, unable to raise their wingman on the radio, decide to throw in the towel. Actually the entire German force must make morale checks because they've reached their morale BP!|
Intense Soviet rifle and MG fire forces more German casualties and the ensuring morale checks on the force are not kind. Most of the German forces fall back, even before they could get up to the fight to make a difference. They throw in the towel before 8am. The men closest to Red October Street surrender. The men along the line of departure are able to sneak back to friendly lines.
|Germans trying to salvage the attack along the relatively "quiet" left flank|
That was a pretty intense, albeit short, engagement. 20/20 hindsight it's obvious now to me that the German deployments are the key to victory in this brutal battle. The Soviets get 2 x barrage fire missions in the beginning and it's probably wise to deploy your Germans out of sight of the Russian observers. Additionally, even though there is much ground to cover, the Germans don't have the benefit of numbers and should deploy together to mutually support the advance.
The Armor is critical here, too and should be employed in direct support of capturing the objective. The Soviet armor coming on can be dealt with using the Pak 40 (assuming you can keep it alive!).
What worries me the most about this battle is the fact that the Soviets have mega-numbers and can sit on the objective with overloaded, target-rich hexes. Assaulting 3 squads in a hex is a daunting task, even if you can get some effects on the hex before assaulting it.
In this instance, i didn't have to worry about it because the Germans didn't even come close to reaching the power plant. Speaking of which, Norm, if you're reading this, is the intent that the Soviets start within the power plant? I assumed from reading the setup instructions that yes, that was the case.
I really enjoyed fighting this battle and I am really enjoying the Tigers at Minsk rules. They are clean, well written and deliver a fun and satisfying game that is full of decisions, and excitement.
Norm - all I ask is that you keep developing these great urban scenarios!