Lots of news on the hobby front as of today with the arrival of my Game Models reinforcements (Ferdinands and SU122s) but I know everyone is just on the edge of their seats waiting to see how the Hill 235 game ended...
The Germans put up quite a struggle but in the end there were just too many Soviets still in the fight and the position on Hill 235 was lost, even as both the Soviets and the Germans approached their morale breakpoints. Some truly amazing reversals of fortune occurred as well, with the Soviets losing a tank to a mine strike in almost the exact same location as they did in the first part of the game and the Germans wiping out all of their own friendlies on Hill 235 with a "lucky" heavy bomb strike from a Stuka that arrived.
|falling bombs are indiscriminate and knock out Tigers and T-70s and T-34s alike!|
|Soviet objective marker surrounded by Soviet troops!|
|Both tanks lost to mine strike in almost the exact same location but at different ends of the game. Weird.|
The Soviet infantry finally swarmed up Hill 235 with barely any resistance after the airstrike occurred and firmly surrounded the objective. Ivan holds the hill! The Germans failed twice to call in their own Artillery on the hilltop position and resistance on the German left flank broke down completely. Gerry pulled back to the safety of the right flank and the objective south of the "First of May Collective" where they still had an operational StuG and a Tiger-I along with a good-sized grouping of infantry all on ambush orders.
|lower right hand corner, the last objective held by the Germans. Lower left hand corner you can see the Tiger I holding the First of May collective. There is a significant grouping of Soviet infantry in the cornfields and Hill235 is just one big mess. If you look at the far back of the board, that is the casualty pile. This was a real meatgrinder!|
The Soviet command elements remained in the cornfields along with infantry reinforcements, gathering for a counter-attack against the "First of May Collective". The German airstrike against the position on Hill 235 was the final straw that broke the German's morale, and they reached breakpoint only holding 1 of the objectives. Still, given the victory conditions, this battle was a draw.
The Germans are still postured to push onto Ponyri but with less forces than before now.
It's been awhile since I posted any lessons learned from a battle but given that this scale of a game with these rules are still relatively new for me, I thought I'd write down my thoughts.
Prepare the Objective. If you're going to launch an infantry assault, destroy as many of the troops you're assaulting prior to moving in to actually begin the assault because if you don't, you'll most likely end up bleeding your own assaulting force white in the process. The Germans lost more squads this way than to actual enemy fire.
Plan your Fire Support. Some turns you will not get all of the orders you need to get everything accomplished. Given the awesome firepower of your fire support assets, you need to come up with a real plan to incorporate them, and use them in the fight. Direct fire accounted for way more casualties than it should have in this game, especially with the German guns sitting there silent for most of the game. An entire battery of 105s just sitting around during a major infantry assault is a great sin and likely to get you banned from Valhalla...
A word about specialty troops. Nothing hurts worse than a wasted order. In this case, the use of a signals team to help with artillery fire mission requests would have been helpful, albeit expensive, for both sides.
Give Ground if you can afford to. For the Germans, the smartest thing they could have done would have been to withdraw off Hill 235 after causing a few casualties, then launched a swift counterattack. There was just too much Soviet pressure for them to successfully hold onto the hill.
Thanks for reading - next up will be showcasing the Game Model 15mm reinforcements that arrived yesterday in the mail, ironically to serve in the Ponyri game...ooops. Also I ordered a Cigar Box Heroes game mat for my table, much like you saw in the Teugen-Hausen battle at Ken's house. While this was a direct violation of the "Lisbon Treaty" with my wife (who is Portuguese) I have to say the mat is well worth both the price I paid for it, and the beatings I will surely receive later. It's enough to say my hobby purchases through January and February are done!
Tune in tomorrow for the Game Model Reinforcements, then Sunday for a highlight of the Cigar Box Mat (which is perfect if you game on your dining room table or have limited space - looking at you Mr David F!). I also have a Napoleonic surprise for you plastic fiends out there. My Neil Thomas' rules have breathed new life into my 1/72 escapades.