Soviet Counter-Attack

Having exceeded their own objectives in the first battle the German HQ paused for a few brief hours to re-supply and allow their flanking units to close up. That was the chance the Soviets needed. Comrade Neilov requested the opportunity to launch a counter-attack from Lieutenant General Lopatin and was quickly granted permission (rolled 3+ on a d6).

Wall-to-wall Russians!

Wall-to-wall Russians!

The Germans had placed picket units to their front and so were not totally surprised by this bold manoeuvre. What they were not expecting was a wall of infantry coming storming towards their positions.

I didn't bring all of my Soviet Blinds so there are several white Blinds in this picture but this is the sight that greeted the German defenders. Indeed a single advance squad of Germans has just been slaughtered in close assault by 2nd platoon (deployed to the left) in the ruined house.

1st Platoon (Conscripts) now deployed in the foreground. Company HQ leading from the front.

1st Platoon (Conscripts) now deployed in the foreground. Company HQ leading from the front.

The Soviets pushed on quickly all across the table. One Blind in particular rolled very high for movement and popped out into the main crossroads at the table centre. Unfortunately when it was spotted the Blind turned out to be the Soviet Company HQ. The German commander sent out a snatch squad from the department store building and a furious close combat ensued in which was won by the Big Man with him killing two of attackers and driving off the rest. However he then succumbed to wounds.

The Soviet commander fights off a German squad but is killed in the process

The Soviet commander fights off a German squad but is killed in the process

This heroic effort seemed to spur the Soviets on. Next card the centre platoon launched an assault on the department store and a vicious close-range firefight took place over two rounds. The Germans, more of the veteran 21st PanzerGrenadiers, had two squads plus a MMG team in the building and should have made short work of the attack but their forty-six dice managed to kill five Soviets whilst the Russians'  twenty-two dice killed the same number of Germans and a second round of close combat was fought. This was eventually won by the defenders and the remains of the Soviet platoon retreated back into cover and would play no further part in the battle. 

German survivors hold the department store after the mega-close combat (Soviet platoon pinned in building to left) 

German survivors hold the department store after the mega-close combat (Soviet platoon pinned in building to left) 

On the right flank the fourth Soviet platoon worked its way through a ruined three story row of town houses but were stopped in it's tracks by a second German MMG and another squad of PzrGrenadiers placed to have great fields of fire into the central crossroads.

2nd German MMG in crossfire position 

2nd German MMG in crossfire position 

The Soviets were not quite done. A shout of Hurrah! and 2nd platoon attempted to storm the department store again on an Allied Human Wave card. Unfortunately the heavily rubble-strewn terrain prevented most of the squads from reaching the combat and the Germans held on although they were almost spent as a fighting force in the centre as a result of shock and casualties after this. At this point though the attackers were hit with more crossfire from flank MMG and an uncommon success for the German snipers present had them actually kill a Russian from 2nd squad and the Soviet player began to despair.

2nd platoon recoil back to the trenches in a flattened row of houses

2nd platoon recoil back to the trenches in a flattened row of houses

On the right the 4th platoon inch their way through the town houses but they are repeatedly hammered by MMG fire and can make no headway.

 4th Platoon are stopped dead.

 4th Platoon are stopped dead.

The last hope for the Soviets lay with the conscripts over on the left. The Germans in the department store are too few to bring much fire to bear and the MMG team in there had just retreated from their position so the way lay open. Unfortunately the conscripts, despite not taking any casualties so far, still only roll two dice for movement and the best any of their squads got in the densely-rubbled cityscape was four inches.

THE GAME CONSCRIPTS CANNOT OVERCOME THE RUBBLE

THE GAME CONSCRIPTS CANNOT OVERCOME THE RUBBLE

With this event the time ran out on the game. The Soviets had spent all of their initial twelve resource points on the infantry and two snipers (who were rubbish again). They gained two points from occupying a row 1 building early on but that was all. They did manage to have sixty-seven men still on the table and these (divided by twelve and rounded down) gave them seven dice total in the post-game follow-on phase. The Germans spent seven points on troops leaving them with five remaining. They earned 4.4 points for controlling streets 2 and 3 for all the game rounded down to four. They had only twenty-three men remaining on the table (divided by twelve rounded down to one!) which meant that they had twn dice for the post-game phase.

The Soviets were three dice down. If all went badly then, even though they were the attackers in this battle, there was a chance that they would lose more campaign sectors. As it turned out the Soviets rolled well the Germans less so. The Germans won the phase by one clear dice but this wasn't enough to allow them to advance on the campaign map. The Soviets didn't advance either and they did use up some of their strategic reserve with this assault so they will be weaker in the next two battles but what they did do, with odds and sods troops scraped together into an assault group, was kill another eighteen of the Panzer Grenadiers who are now down to fifty men in their company from a starting total of eighty-two. They are beginning to feel the strain of this urban warfare, a type of combat for which they are not thoroughly trained.

Grah