The scenario seemed to fit perfectly into a Kursk operation and so the forces were reminiscent of probably the 18th Panzer Division in the North. The Germans (yours truly) have a platoon of armor, 2 assault guns, and a platoon of infantry with some "elite" infantry in halftracks. The Soviets have almost exactly equal forces, except no halftrack.
|Turn 1 The Germans step off to seize the Soviet "Balka" against a reinforced platoon of entrenched, fortified infantry. No easy task!|
On Turn 2, all of Alex's reinforcements arrive in the form of hordes of tanks, assault guns, and more infantry. My armor will have to peel off from softening up the hilltop positions to deal with this new threat. Luckily, Alex's rolling is horrible (at first) and his tanks don't do much damage. This will change....
|Situation - My infantry advance on the hill lower left while Alex's armor fire at my panzers. His tank riders and reinforcing assault guns creep in from the upper right.|
|It's a tough slog up the hill - the assault gun is firing in support|
|I target the lead Russian squad with the attached HMG.|
|A hard day's work for the panzers - rooting out Soviet infantry.|
|One of my "barrages" is a stuka strike! (no different from the barrage, I just wanted to use the Stuka model!)|
|Soviets in their entrenchments|
|Panzers dealing with this new threat to their right - approaching infantry and more armor!|
|HOlding off the enemy with pistols and a single rifle!|
|Reinforcements are enroute but Alex has them suppressed. Meanwhile the Stug continues to pummel the far side of the hill with HE. I can't kill them fast enough.|
|The Soviets counter attack the shrek team and they very nearly hold it off! Alas, it wasn't meant to be. The front trenchline is cleared of Germans again.|
|Alex's tank shooting improves! Mobility kill on the platoon leader's tank, and my 3 Panzer IVs are knocked out. My 2 stugs are my last remaining armor.|
|The men prepare to assault the rear squad on the hilltop. This is it boys!|
Alex's counterattack begins in earnest now. It's turn 9 and this battle is far from over. My Panzergrenadiers still need to assault the final elements atop the hill. Then, if they can take it, they'll have to hold it against a determined Russian counterattack! High drama and excitement!
|German assault gun fire takes a break from killing Russians on the hilltop and focuses on the infantry who burst from the woodline, in an attempt to slow them down.|
|Over the top! we had to pause the game at this point, right before the glorious assault of the Panzergrenadiers!|
|The Germans occupy the lead trenchline again but is it enough? A single squad with a fireteam and the commend element remain in the rear trenchline. And there's tanks, assault guns, and infantry coming from the east. How is this going to end???|
While Alex and I didn't finish the game yet, this game was an absolute BLAST. I love the Neil Thomas World War II rules from Wargaming: An Introduction and I feel like they accurately capture that combined arms feel as well as the drama and excitement of infantry and armored combat.
You have to make smart decisions about resources and effort or you will be punished with these rules. I highly recommend you try them as they have some outstanding and novel mechanisms as well such as:
Morale: If you take a loss, you check morale at the beginning of your next turn.
HE Fire: Variable, which i love. With mortars or field guns (artillery) you roll anywhere from 2 to 10 dice in an HE attack! Love this!
Armor: Simple, elegant mechanisms for tank combat which make the game go much faster. Tanks are tough, but also highly vulnerable to infantry in terrain.
Turn Sequencing: I like how the effects of fire on morale are variable (3 x tiers: good, bad, & ugly) and last a single turn. This enables a close assault (enemy being suppressed really bad at close combat as they should be - so there is incentive to soften up the enemy with fires (mortars, HMG, small arms, tank fire, etc) and then finish them off with a close assault.
Granted these rules, like all of NT's rules, are not without their shortcomings but I imagine once Alex gives them his once-over he'll have some novel solutions for some of the issues we identified during play (those escape me now - ALex was taking the notes!)
Anyways, I am very anxious to finish the game and see how my Panzergrenadiers do, and if Alex's counterattack can take the hill!