|3 Objectives here - the town, the gardens (hopefully that is obvious) and the cocked field north of the town.|
3 Tank Rider Rifle Squads
4 T-34/76 AFV
4 Infantry Squads Dismounted
1 HMG Section
2 x Barrages
2 Panzer IV
3 Rifle Squads w/ MG42s (4 attack dice vrs 3 attack dice)
1 HMG Section
1 AT Gun
2 x Barrages*
*I didn't count either of the barrages as units in this case and I counted the German AT gun and HMG section as 1 combined unit. Also, German squads have Panzerfausts - super deadly for tanks.
|Soviet armor platoon on the right w/tank riders. Soviet infantry platoon on the left with HMG and a tank in support.|
The Soviets start 30cm into the table at start, and the Germans may start up to 60cm into the table. In true solo wargaming fashion, I came up with the Soviet plan and the German plan looking at a map of the terrain. The Soviets decided on a broad advance, using the open valley between the woods for their armor and tank riders. The goal is to assault and capture the gardens. Their infantry will slog through the woods and take the bordered fields. This will give them more cover on their way in. Pretty obvious plan. If you're the defender though, it's not so easy to plan against.
|Panzer IV in the gardens with an infantry squad. I opted to take all "regulars" instead of the second rate infantry. Damned HJ and Volksturm!!!|
|Peering through his fieldglasses, Hauptman Wetzel sees the telltale black puffs of diesel exhaust and the green blobs of T-34s. "We had better win this one. If the Russians don't kill us, the SS might."|
I decide to defend up front using their good fields of fire on the left and using firepower and constricted terrain on the right. They opt to cover the road with the AT gun and an infantry squad. On the left in the gardens, they'll place the Panzer IVs covering the open fields of fire, along with an infantry squad.
In the town there is the tripod mounted MG42 section and a reserve infantry squad to reinforce and/or counter attack.
The Soviets split into their assault columns and step off, using the speed of the T-34 to close quickly. The Soviets use all 24cm of their movement to cross the field and there is no one to call in the waiting 122mm guns from division.
|crudely based 6mm tank riding infantry and tanks from a long time ago. I had planned on rebasing these guys this year!|
|German AT gun and infantry squad holding the cocked field. There is a platoon of Soviet infantry and heavy weapons bearing down on them.|
|Speaking of which...|
The German tankers are all experienced and know exactly when to open fire against the Russians. They've seen it all before. Peering through their gunsights, they can make out patterns of rust and dust on the glacis of the T-34s. It's time! "Achtung, all ghost elements, open fire!" Wetzel calls for artillery on the lead tank and it lands with devastating accuracy all around the lead T-34, scattering bodies of tank riders all over the place. The Panzers shoot and one hits the middle T-34, knocking it out. The Soviet return fire is nasty. The Germans have given their position away. "Hauptman, shall we displace?" "Nein. Keep shooting. Don't displace until you've killed those tanks." Wetzel got greedy. It was a critical decision...Uncharacteristic of the Soviets, the T-34 platoon stops, turrets seeking out their German enemies...
|Panzer 212 on the left is knocked out. The Soviets cannot call in artillery yet but begin shooting up the garden. The fire is coming dreadfully close to Panzer 213. Still, Hauptman Wetzel has them remain in position.|
German nerves run out. Panzer 213 fires and misses its target, unbelievably rolling a 1. The infantry attempt to inflict as much punishment on the tank riding Soviets as they can. The Soviets reach the road in front of the gardens. The Germans can hear them barking orders in Russian even above the staccatto chatter of the DPs and MG42s. The men prime grenades and ready their entrenching tools, fixing bayonets as well...
The Soviets surge forward, dropping the tank riders as they go. A fresh squad moves into contact with the Germans who bolt after unleashing a handful of grenades.
|Soviets walking into the gardens between 2 x burning panzer IVs.|
|The Germans beat a hasty retreat out of the garden, and with a -2 on their morale, roll below 1. They'll be stuck for a turn in the open!|
Stick to the plan. The Russians boil out of the woods on the German's right. The German Pak 40 AT gun opens fire at the T-34 and completely misses every shot, rolling 1 after 1 while the infantry open fire at the squad supporting the AT gun. Their HMG never even gets into position the entire battle.
|Soviet platoon fans out into the fields on the German right. They open fire as best they can, punishing the lead Russian squad.|
|Soviets massing to assault.|
|5 out of 7 casualties on this squad. It's only a matter of time now.|
|T-34 burning from a panzerschrek hit.|
|The Germans have bought themselves another turn or 2!|
|Soviets counterattacking from the garden. Cut them down!|
|Russians already in the village|
|The Germans surrender in the field. Note there is almost an entire Soviet platoon gunning for the cocked field. In the end, taking out the MG42 in the beige house in the village was what won them the game.|
The modifications worked well and I think sped the game up quite a bit. Infantry units have fixed shooting, regardless of casualties which moves the game along nicely and is less fiddly.
Talking about the rules themselves and play style, the German plan definitely did not work out as anticipated. In these rules, tank guns are decidedly lethal among similar classes of tanks (medium tanks) and timing is everything. These rules really reward aggressive and proper use of combined arms and infantry. Getting tanks too close to infantry is asking for tanks to be knocked out. Softening up an infantry position before assaulting it is also critical, as it should be.
I ran into some weirdness with tank riders but I think I figured out how to play with them and target them while they're riding on the tanks.
I think the home grown "special" rules worked well with giving the Germans 4 fire dice instead of 3. I think having a command stand or FO stand would be nice as well. There should be command and control rules for the russians a la Crossfire where LOS is necessary to a leader stand to act for centralized armies and I might play with that a bit.
I thought I would enjoy this game in 6mm alot more and my final opinion is, it's much better in 15mm. I can't explain why that is, but the troops come to life so much more with 15mm stands or bigger on the table for these rules. I will save the 6mm stuff for Flames of War.
There are some things the rules don't address and i will need to come up with fixes for:
what happens to transported infantry in APCs/halftracks when the APC is knocked out? What happens to tank riders when the tank is knocked out? What about trucks?
How many hits does an HMG stand take? (personally I like Alex's home rule here and will co locate HMGs with an infantry squad as that is much more doctrinally sound)
Am I doing close combat correctly? That could be a blog post in itself. also - what happens to an attacking infantry squad that assaults an AFV, rolls all its dice, and doesnt roll a "6". Does it fall back?
The answers to these and more hopefully coming soon.
I have to admit, it was fun to have a "proper" wargame for the first time in awhile. I'm trying to continue this Neil Thomas trend and will have another surprise for you all hopefully soon with a fav, home-modified set of rules I haven't played in awhile. No idea when I'll be able to post this, but stay tuned and stay healthy!