Another IABSM3 battle on the Eastern Front in 1941. This was a chance to use a few new vehicles I had finished and we had not played this set of rules in over a year, so we felt it was time to try it again. In this scenario the Germans are trying to push a recon force off the far edge of the board, which was the primary goal. If that was not possible, then they were to attack and seize the town, which was positioned in the middle of the table.
The Germans had a force that consisted of a platoon of four PZ IVDs, a panzer grenadier platoon of three squads, two 50mm AT guns, and a recon platoon with two armored cars and two PZ Is. Because of the strength of the Russian defences the Germans were given extra cards that allowed the panzers and recon unit to move a second time, which in the end proved to be a serious error in judgment on my part as I designed the scenario!
The Russians had a platoon of infantry with four squads, two 47mm AT guns, a light mortar section, a MG section, and a platoon of T-34/76s entered the board on the first turn to strengthen the defence. At first glance the Russians appeared to be in great shape, with the AT guns, MGs, and heavier armor all in defensive positions, but things are not always what they appear to be!
The Germans attempted to run the recon unit around the German left side of the village, hoping that the bonus movement cards would get them past the defences before anyone knew they were there. Unfortunately, one of the T-34s was waiting at the end of the board and knocked out the Sdkfz 222. This forced the rest of the recon platoon to turn down the side streets where they ran into a blind that when revealed was the entire Russian infantry platoon!
Yes, the Russians were in the center of the town, waiting to react to the German movement when they were discovered. This set off a huge firefight where in the end the Russian mortar sections were knocked out, one of the squads got decimated and it had the effect of breaking up the defences, although the Germans lost one of the recon tanks to AT rifle fire.
Meanwhile, the PZIVDs went around the other side of the village and ran into an ambush with the Russian AT guns. Here’s where things went a bit screwy. Because of the card draw and the distances involved, the Russians only drew the AT cards once in the next five turns! The T-34s only got one card in that same time frame and knocked out one of the PZIVDs, but the Germans got card after card after card. Near the end of the game most of the T34s were knocked out and one of the AT guns was down to one crew member.
In the center of the town the MG section that was holding the entrance to the town was finally knocked out by fire from the panzergrenadiers and the way was clear to move into the town. The Russians were committed all across the board and barely hanging on.
When the game was finally called the Germans had the upper hand, but it could be said that the game was still in doubt. The Germans still had a full strength panzer grenadier platoon, three of the four PZIVDs, the two AT guns, and half of the recon force still left, plus a very favourable card deck.
The Russians were reeling, but still not out of it. The AT guns were functional, although a bit under crewed. There was one T-34 still left and most of the infantry platoon in the center of the village, so there was a long, grinding fight still ahead, but we had run out of time.
As with any IABSM3 game as goes the card draw so goes the game. In this case the Germans probably had too many cards and when the Tea Break cards kept coming up frequently (we use two in our decks with the turn ending on the draw of the second one) the Russians never got to act. I’m not sure how to rectify this as it is basically the luck of the draw.
The main issue is that we had not played in awhile and it showed. There were numerous errors with the rules and I always seem to forget that having this much armor in the game seems to ramp up the complexity a notch. IABSM3 is a well put together, fairly simple game, but with all of the anti-tank rules, tanks firing area fire, extra movement cards, etc., it did force us to spend a lot of game time reviewing those sections of the rules. A fun, but not well managed game by us.
Taken from #40 of Warning Order,
With the kind permission of WFHGS