Greetings and Merry Christmas everyone!
Last night while my wife finished up some odds and ends for Christmas I pulled out the Soviet and German infantry and those "shiny" new BT-7s for a Battlegroup: Barbarossa game and was able to get through half of it with the result still in question.
Last year I played a Flames of War eastern front "Christmas Offensive" on Christmas Eve and I thought I would do the same this year, albeit with different rules.
I played the "Breakout" scenario from the Battlegroup Barbarossa book. This features a Soviet force attempting a breakout from a German Kessel
. It's nice in early war Barbarossa games to see the Soviets as the attacker.
Also - the claims you have all made about the BT-7 turned out to be....absolutely true.
|From the Soviet (attacker) side. Object is to pass as many units off the far side of the table as I can.|
Just because things couldn't be "easy" I rolled double 1s for the German player's starting forces. 2 units would start on the board and no reinforcements due to arrive until turn 3 on a 6 x 4 table!! I went with the PAK 36 and the HMG stand. A wise decision as I would later find out.
|clank! clank! clank! Soviet rust-buckets.|
|Urrah! Urrrah! Soviets surge forward to escape the Kessel|
|A Soviet infantry platoon in Battlegroup Barbarossa. |
|Yes yes yes this is actually a PAK 38. Don't tell anyone!|
My German AT gun (the Germans set up first) starts in 10" of trench line along the road. So naturally the Soviets set up opposite corner of the trench line and are determined not to use the road. The HMG is also covering the road from the woods nearby.
|MG34 on a tripod ready for anything Ivan throws at them|
|Lonely for the Germans.|
Thanks to the terrain generator, this game would also have Ivan crossing lots of open ground to get off the board.
|A Soviet infantry platoon in the lower left and a small Armor force in the upper left. |
The Soviets roll low for the first few turns, thank God for the Germans as all of that infantry stays behind the hill. The BT-7s stumble ahead towards the objective.
|Nearing the Soviet objective. |
|Meanwhile, the Germans made good use of manhandling the gun to cover the Soviet objective. The next turn they place it on Ambush orders!|
Now is when things start to get....interesting. The BT-7 is unreliable so when the Germans draw a "1" from the BR counter pile, they can play it against the Soviets as a "Breakdown." The next Soviet turn they race like hell to get to the objective. That PAK 36 scores a long range hit on the first BT-7 in the clunker's flank. This gets it a pinned
result. The second BT-7 claims the objective but when the German player pulls his BR counter out, guess what he draws? A "1". So he plays it against the remaining BT-7 which promptly breaks down on the objective...
This is going to be hard work for the infantry. Capturing the objective isn't the boon i thought it would be. The Soviet TC was seen kicking the tracks of his BT-7 when the Germans captured him.
|Soviet infantry jumps into action|
|The German HMG punishes the Soviet infantry for moving forward.|
|German reinforcements begin to arrive|
|German platoon command team.|
The rest of the night's game action centered on Soviet squads attempting to get close to the Germans to use their light mortars and prepare to over run them. The Germans focused on banging away at any squads they could see, attempting to keep Ivan at bay. I dont think I've ever had so many infantry squads "pinned" on the table at one time.
Both force break points are 16. The Germans are currently at "3" and the Soviets "7." I don't know when I'll get the time, but I would really like to finish this game. I feel like I need some more buildings and closer terrain but this game had a decidedly "early war" feel to it. Just need to field the NKVD "Blocking Detachment"!
|Soviets attempt to pin German reinforcements as they enter the board. THe MG fire earns nothing and the next turn the PAK 36 KO's him...not an auspicious start for my early war Soviets or the stupid BT-7s. Maybe that's why the BT-7 companies are so large.|
|Ivan needs to do something about that German HMG fast!|
|Bring up the mortar, comrade!|
|This squad continuously failed its rally rolls.|
I like playing with infantry units in Battlegroup because they have such interesting capabilities and large rates of fire. This game saw some experimentation with Area Fire attacks as well as Aimed Fire attacks. I have to admit I like the Aimed Fire attacks better (buckets of dice) but if you can roll well, the Area Fire attacks pay off well.
|More Germans man the trenchline - the right flank is sealed off Herr Hauptmann!|
|How the game ended prior to me hearing hooves and boots on my roof. Needed to get to bed before Santa came down the chimney!!!|
I would like to do some more work on the unofficial modern BG supplement we've played in the past. I have a large amount of 15mm Vietnam troops so I think "Battlegroup: Tet" is also in the works! Good opportunity to try out all that jungle terrain. I've also been finishing up my Soviet T-55 (T-62 stand in) force so a nice, fast-moving "Battlegroup: REFORGER" game could be in the cards for early 2015. I'd like to paint up some more M-48 and M113 units for my Americans but that could be a very fun game. Where can I find MI-8 models in 1/100 scale???
Lastly, I'd like to take an opportunity to wish all of my readers a very, Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope your day is cheerful and bright regardless!
Thanks to everyone for reading and supporting this blog.
YOUR blogs, gaming, hobby work, and good humor have been a constant source of inspiration for me and my absolute favorite part of the hobby has been interacting with fellow toy soldier/gaming/history enthusiasts from around the world.