An excellent game of IABSM that Mark Luther put on in 6mm. The game was the defence of a German airfield against a Soviet attack. The Germans were to hold off the attack and allow their aircraft to manoeuver to take off from where they are parked at the start of the game. Update: The scenario was based on Soviet Operation during the Little Saturn Offensive in December 1942 and January 1943. This is similar to the attack at Tatsinskaya Air Field.

We were pleased to be joined by some folks who drove up to Gigabytes from Savannah. In Mark's game, Doug, John and I played the Germans.

Doug is to the left and enjoying one of Gigabytes excellent breakfasts. John is to the right

Doug is to the left and enjoying one of Gigabytes excellent breakfasts. John is to the right

The Soviet players included a contingent from the Savannah area. Sorry for the terrible picture. Mark was so blurry in the original, I cropped him out. 

Here Barclay, Dean and Adam study the board while Dave looks at a different game

Here Barclay, Dean and Adam study the board while Dave looks at a different game

Dave is one of the locals while the others were of the Savannah contingent. The missing member of the Savannah group is Nathan who was hiding from the camera for this picture. John was in command of some of the German infantry while Doug had the remainder. John's forces were on the opposite side of the table (side with the ruined town). Doug's troops were spread out on the bottom half defending the buildings and wooded area. I ran the base defence flak guns with two big men. My force had 4 2cm Flak guns and 3 88mm Flak guns. There was a theoretical air support and the potential of two Marders that never arrived.

You can see the table layout above. The hands at the top of the table were Doug and John trying to figure out their deployment options. I have annotated our deployments. X is the location of some big men who were apart from their men. The two in houses were that flak commanders. The letter A, denotes the 20mm Flak batteries and the B denotes the 88mm Flak batteries. The letter 'I' is infantry deployments. In the fortified position in the bottom right of the picture had two platoons. One platoon was held in reserve in a dugout below ground.

Here is a shot of the ruined town in the top left corner of the map. Mark's excellent 6mm terrain is very well carried out. The large infantry positions were from Leva. It is from here that one of the attacking forces (Barclay's) would arrive.

Here is a shot of the main aerodrome itself. The four aircraft were supposed to taxi and take off during the course of the game. That was part of the German Victory conditions.

Below you can see the layout of the German blinds. We use the cards for the given forces as their blinds. When spotted, these go straight to the discard stack to try to reduce "loosing" cards from the deck. It really does work well. Fake blinds are present but some you can just tell when something is there as you have a stack of cards on a spot.

Next is the spot where most of the action of the day would occur. The Snowy woods look picturesque now but wait till the T-34s come rumbling through. You can see the tacks that Mark used to hold the terrain sheet to the Styrofoam elevations beneath. He went to the added step to color them so they would not stand out like sore thumbs. The terrain was just a joy to play on. The Soviets had a huge attacking force. There was two big groups of 6 T34s and another group of 6 T-70s. Some of the T-34s and all of the T-70s were carrying infantry. The only thing that helped was the weather. Visibility was limited due to intense fog. As the game went on, the fog lifted and visibility increased.

The Soviets were largely handled by the Savannah contingent. Dean sat back and learned the rules by watching. Barclay operated a group of T-34s entering from the top left of the table. Adam commanded both the remaining armoured units. Dave (not from Savannah) commanded the tank riders. The remaining member of the Savannah contingent, Nathan, watched as well. One of the limiters for the Soviets was that each of their commands had to dice for when they would arrive (1d4) which served to delay their entry. Only one of Adam's tank groups (the T-34s of course) entered from the bottom right. However, they also had to die to see how close they arrived to their desired jump off point. All of this was to simulate the units being confused and lost in the fog.

The first Soviet element to arrive were six T-34s. They arrived near the wooded area at the bottom left. The only German assets to engage were a single 20mm Flak gun, an MMG team and a German platoon. The platoon could do little to hurt the tanks. The 20mm gun was a fierce wasp attempting to sting one of the beasts. We managed to keep these beasts at the bottom of the hill for most of the game. When the 20mm opened up on the closest tank, it forced the tank riders to dismount. For several turns, this was just a fire fight between dug in infantry and the tanks. The tank riders were forced to dismount and one platoon was badly mauled over the course of things. What was amazing was how long that fight lasted. I had a 88mm gun that was still on blinds but had no angle on the T-34s. The 20mm gun had concentrated all of its fire on one vehicle. The net result was a couple of points of shock that were removed almost as quickly as they were applied. The four strike dice were just no match for the six armour dice of the T-34.

Here we see the action as it is unfolding. The shocked platoon has taken kills and was forced backwards. They would prove to be very resilient and stay on the table and continue to fight. The next Soviet group to arrive was on the opposite end of the board. Barclay's Soviet tanks arrived and began to bear down on that end of the table.

This attack proved interesting. They bumped into a blind that was flung rather far forward. It seems that there was a mistake in the deployment as suddenly the blind revealed two big men. Being the only target available, the tanks opened fire on the house and one of the big men was killed and the other fled. In the immediate area, there were two MMGs. One of the MMGs happened to be pretty good. It was able to immobilize two of the six T-34s. The T-34s ignored the machineguns and pressed forward toward the rest of the defensive lines. To the bottom right, more trouble arrived in the form of six T-70s. The T-70s made a run down the runway. In addition, the original T-34s finally broke away from their firefight. They had destroyed the platoon in the trenches. That platoon was replaced with a fresh platoon. The T-34s made a charge down the long side of the table. One tank overran the lone 20mm gun that it had been exchanging fire with. The other 20mm gun on that side of the table opened fire and immobilized one of the T-34s.

The game was all but over. The T-70s ran past the 88mm Flak gun. The 88 killed two of the T-70s but the rest proved too quick. The infantry on the backs of the T-70s began to dismount and overran the crew of the 88, killing them to a man including the Big Man in charge of the Heavy Flak guns. The T-70s began to fire upon the aircraft that had only begun to move. Two of the aircraft were destroyed.

The opposite corner, things were not going any better. The 20mm Flak gun on the top side fired on the on rushing T-34s. Nothing penetrated and the T-34s overran the position. Two separate 88mm guns fired on the T-34s but the fight must have been gone from the German gunners who were looking for a way out of this mess. At this point, the game was called as there was no way that the Germans could get any of their aircraft away. The Machine gunners on the top left corner board were to be put up for the Iron Cross for engaging the tanks. The commander of the light flak managed to escape with one of his gun crews and a platoon of infantry. They had a long walk ahead of them. I ended up loosing one of the 88mm guns and two of the four 20mm guns. Lastly, I also lost the Big Man in charge of the heavy flak. A painful loss but a fun game with good company. Doug lost two of the three infantry platoons and one of his MMG teams. John's forces lost a big man early on but the rest of his troops were still mostly in tact.

The game was very tough for the Germans. The Germans ended up stuck in trenches and fixed positions and had great difficulty in attempting to move support elements around. The game was a large one. With so many cards in the deck, the game started to slow and most of the action took place on the tea break since the defensive lines were so close to the edge of the table. Lots of firefights that slowly built up shock on the Germans till they broke.

Chris Stoesen