Once the kiddos were put to bed, I sat down to play a game of Norm's "Tigers at Minsk" but since I have neither the energy nor the time to set up the hex-mat and miniatures, I played with a PanzerBlitz map and counters. Pretty cool with a "retro" feel and no trouble at all to set up or put away.
|Hill 109 and 135|
Soviets attack in 2 columns, with the armored column of T-34s taking the covered road towards Hill 135 and the infantry column supported by an SU-152 and SU76 along with the Forward Observer taking the hilly, marshy ground to the east towards Hill 109. All are in command except the forward observer who had better things to do... Soviet tanks pour through the small valleys in between the balkas.
|Soviet armor force on the left, infantry heavy force on the right.|
|First blood scored as a German Panzer IV knocks out a T-34/76. I turned over units who OP-Fired.|
Soviet engines roar and the Germans can hear the sprockets and grinding transmissions of the T-34s as they race down the road. The Pak40 has a fleeting target, shoots and misses! Ivan keeps coming. All except the FO are in command. During the German turn, the Panzer IV on Hill 109 KO's the second T-34 in the valley and they die within sight of each other.
Doubles. HQs suppressed! Both roll an 8 and both HQs are suppressed. Or relocating? Either way, every unit must roll for command check this turn.
|Pak40 earns a kill as it brews a T-34 on the road. Note the reader will forgive the Quad Flak vierling counter - which i substituted for an HMG stand on Hill 135|
Soviets keep coming. FO out of command again... right column is slow to step off. The left column infantry get into the war, move off the road and deploy to advance against the German squad anchoring the left of Hill 135.
|Germans fire OPFIRE at the Soviets and miss. Soviet squads beginning to mass to assault the Germans on the German left.|
|Units cocked within their hex facing left (west) are out of command for the turn.|
|Soviet platoon on the German right fans out to assault hill 109 - their boots are soggy from the swamp!|
Both sides roll air strike. The German stukas hit a T-34 on the road and roll a 6, taking it out. The Soviets target a Tiger on the road with no effect. The Soviets push past their stricken comrade tanks on the road and charge at the Pak40 position, MGs blazing. The T-34/85 is a fierce opponent and they take out the Pak40!
|Multiple hits against the Pak40|
|Are Soviet fortunes turning?|
The Soviets go for broke against Hill 135. Their infantry break from cover to assault the Tiger after taking out a German squad. Flush with success after destroying the Pak40 with a lucky hit, they go for broke. The Squad breaking from cover is mowed down by the Tigers waiting on the roadway. Meanwhile things on the Soviet left/German right facing Hill 109 aren't so good, either as the Germans pin more Soviet infantry. Should have used smoke, Ivan! Germans fire at the SU-76 and miss.
Soviet attempts to unpin are unsuccessful and Germans are having command problems of their own.
The Soviets sense one final opportunity to seize Hill 135 on the left and as their infantry broke from cover, taking the Tigers' attention, the T-34/85s break from the treeline in the covered road to assault the hill. They didn't realize the Panzer IV on Hill 109 had a bee-line to them on their exit. Even with the -1 for turret rotating, the Panzer IV rolls a "1" and knocks out another T-34.
The Soviets also have some heavy firepower on their left in the form of an SU76 and an SU152. If they can rally the infantry, they definitely have a shot at the hill, provided the turn roll is kind to them.
The Turn roll was definitely kind to them! Can they rally the infantry in time? The answer is no... The armor also fails to hit anything and that pretty much sums up the career, and probably life, of the poor Kapitanets commanding this force!
|Note the FO still out of command. X's are pinned units.|
Well the Soviets didn't really have a cohesive plan. By the time I realized there could have been mutual support between the columns, the battle was over. But this goes to show the versatility of Norm's rules. I literally took an OOB from Scenario 4, and selected a map that I thought looked similar to it and fired away.
The Soviets should have made smoke (allowed to start with 3 smoke hexes) and also should have had a fire support plan instead of starting with the FO on the back line! (not that it would have mattered - the FO failed his command roll 2 out of 3 times).
The Soviets should have used tank riders and concentrated their force against a single hill. I'd like to try this battle again.
I hope you enjoyed this small battle! It was fun dusting off Norm's Tigers at Minsk rules. Though I still like playing with miniatures better, this was a great way to blow off steam from what's been a very stressful couple of weeks. No painting, no gaming (since Cold Wars) and nothing but endless, crazy work in sight. I'm envious of all of you in quarantine right now - I'd have a ton painted by this point but duty literally calls.
Also I'm trying to keep my spirits up by reading all of the great blogs out there, and I felt a little gaming and posting on the blog might do just that. I hope all of you have a safe week and that you're avoiding gatherings of people, staying healthy, and getting some painting done.