I wanted our first game of the year to be something a little different. We haven’t really played any city-based scenarios, so I emptied my terrain cupboard of all buildings of a vaguely Russian flavour and set up my version of a suburb of Stalingrad.

Centrepiece of the Soviet side of the table was the immense Stalingrad Flour Mill from Precision Miniatures. The Germans (played by Neil) would attack, with their objective being to take the mill within a set time limit. As the game would begin at 8pm and I had to do a Dad-taxi-service at 11pm, the Germans had three hours in which to drive across the rest of the city and take the mill.

The German side of the terrain began with a rather nice suburb containing a very modern church. The route forward to the left consisted of an area of rather downmarket wooden houses leading up to another, slightly more battered, church made of wood, next to the flour mill. In the centre was the city proper: several large, ruined apartment buildings surrounded by smaller but equally ruined factories. To the right was a very ordered wood that ran the entire length of the table, and would give good cover but not impede movement very much.

The table was criss-crossed by roads in a grid formation, and the Soviets had a line of barricades flanked by minefields across the roads, wooden hut area and woods approximately half way towards the mill. As the Germans had the disadvantage of attacking across a defended city with a time limit, their force would be much larger than that of the Soviets.

The Soviets

Company HQ

  • Big Man 1 (Level III)
  • 1 x Commissar

1st Platoon

  • Big Man 2 (Level III)
  • 3 x Rifle Squad (10 men)
  • 1 x PTRD/S (2 crew)

2nd Platoon

  • Big Man 3 (Level III)
  • 3 x Rifle Squad (10 men)
  • 1 x PTRD/S (2 crew)

MG Platoon

  • 3 x MMG (5 crew each)

Heavy Mortar Platoon

  • 3 x 120mm Mortar (3 crew each)

Anti-Tank Gun Platoon

  • Big Man 4 (Level II)
  • 2 x 45mm AT Gun (5 crew each)

Field Gun

  • 1 x 122mm Field Gun

Attached Armour

  • Big Man (Level I)
  • 1 x T-34 (with the Big Man
  • 1 x KV-1

The Germans

Company HQ

  • Big Man 1 (Level IV)
  • 2 x Rifle Squad (8 men each)
  • 1 x Forward Observer

1st Platoon

  • Big Man 2 (Level III)
  • 4 x Rifle Squad (8 men each)

2nd Platoon

  • Big Man 3 (Level III)
  • 4 x Rifle Squad (8 men each)

3rd Platoon

  • Big Man 4 (Level III)
  • 4 x Rifle Squad (8 men each)

MG Platoon

  • Big Man 5 (Level II)
  • 3 x MMG (5 crew each)

Attached Engineers

  • Big Man 6 (Level III)
  • 3 x Engineer Squad (10 men each)
  • 1 x Flammenwerfer Team (2 crew)

Self-Propelled Artillery

  • 2 x StuG III E
  • 1 x StulG 33B

Attached Armour

  • 2 x Panzer IV F2

Off-Table Artillery

  • 4 x 105mm Guns (4 fire missions available)

Special Rules

The Germans could only bring on their Panzer IV F2s if enemy tanks were encountered. They were too valuable to risk in standard street fighting.

The Soviets had an extra card in the pack: “Fade”. This allowed any deployed unit not currently visible to the enemy to go back onto a Blind, with another Dummy Blind appearing in the same place at the same time. In the event, we quickly discarded this card, as the fighting was almost immediately too intense to make it worthwhile using.

The Soviets had three 120mm heavy mortars deployed on the table on the left of the mill. Although these should have been off-table (minimum range and all that), we decided that they would ignore their minimum range limitations but, as they were on table, be vulnerable to being overrun by the advancing Germans. As they were right at the back of my position, I felt fairly confident that they would be safe, which just goes to show you how much I know about things…!

The Soviet Defence

All Soviet units would start the game on table under Blinds. This represented the fact that the Germans had spent some time preparing their assault and knew where their enemy was hiding. The Soviets would, however, have six Dummy Blinds along with their eight real ones, representing the fact that they were well aware of what the Germans were doing, so were used to moving their positions around under cover of darkness.

The Russians placed their two infantry platoons in approximately the centre of the table: one slightly to the left in one of the ruined apartment buildings, one in the red tiled building slightly to the right. Their MMGs were split: one to the left dug in on the top floor of a ruined factory, one to the right dug in to a shell hole, one on one of the upper floors of the mill. One anti-tank gun guarded the right hand side, one was in one of the lower floors of the mill pointing down the main central road. Just in front of the mill lurked the T-34 (to the left) and the KV-1 (to the right). The field gun was near the mortars.

As you might be able to tell, the Soviets had problems covering their entire frontage with the small numbers of troops available.

The Game: Opening Moves

Neil decided to concentrate his forces in a schwerpunkt on his right (i.e. towards the Soviet left). First onto the table were his engineers, one squad of which de-cloaked from a Blind and began trying to clear the minefield blocking the way through the woods.

After the game had ended, Neil confessed that using only one squad to try and clear the minefield had been a mistake. In the event, so intense and quick was the fighting that it took this single squad most of the game to clear a path: which meant it took the Germans much longer than it should have to get forward through the woods enough to threaten my heavy mortars and howitzer.

As the engineers were trying to do their thing, the German Company HQ squads and 1st Platoon moved quickly forward and occupied two buildings just to the (German) right of the centre. This put them just across the road from the large ruined apartment building occupied by one of the Soviet platoons, which immediately opened fire on them…along with that side’s machinegun, the machine gun on the roof of the mill, and the howitzer. The lead German squad effectively disintegrated, the others going to ground.

The Soviets were having a bit of luck at the moment in terms of cards, but no luck in terms of dice. Although the above seems quite good (one squad dead and all that), you have to remember that this was all Close range fire, albeit at targets in good cover. I think the Soviets probably managed to inflict about a third of what the average damage would have been for the situation. The bad dice continued when the heavy mortars scored a direct hit on the engineers and accompanying infantry, but then rolled so badly for damage that they must have accidentally been firing training instead of live rounds!

The T-34 also de-cloaked and moved towards that flank: as the number of German infantry present was somewhat alarming.

Panzer IV Insanity

The deployment of the T-34 gave Neil the excuse to bring on his two Panzer IV F2s, with their lethal-to-armour main gun. These decloaked from a Blind on the right-hand main road, and immediately came under fire from the T-34, doing the Stalingrad shuffle (i.e. using one Action to leave cover, one Action to fire, and then the final Action to return to cover) to inflict just a single point of Shock on one of them.

The Panzer IVs moved forward to a position about half-way up the table, taking an ineffective flank hit from the Soviet infantry platoon’s anti-tank rifle team, and once more the T-34 drove out from cover. This time, however, its first shot added two points of Shock to one Panzer IV so, rather than diving back into cover and then being overwhelmed by the Panzers, I decided to stay where I was and try to at least kill one of them.

My second shot missed.

Well, I thought, that’s that for the T-34: the Panzer IVs will just stay where they were and blow me away.

Neil, had, however, succumbed to some kind of what I can only describe as madness!

Thinking that he could take out both the T-34 and the howitzer about 50 yards behind it (the latter by driving over it), his first Panzer IV shot forward and ended up about two inches from my T-34 and prepared to render it into its component atoms.

Using its final Action, the Panzer IV fired, hit…but unbelievably my tank survived the shell’s impact intact! That’s armour seven versus gun twelve for those who want the stats.

Now the other Panzer also charged forward, this time to within one inch of my T-34, right next to its colleague. It fired, its barrel almost touching the target, hit, and the T-34 exploded.

Unfortunately for the German tanks, they were both within the blast radius of the exploding tank. The nearest Panzer already had two points of Shock, the explosion added two more and immobilised it, causing its crew to abandon. The other received only a point of Shock – it was, after all, two inches away! – but, critically, lost its entire next Activation!


Meanwhile, the three German assault guns had appeared on the edge of the table and blasted the corner of the flour mill at long range with HE. That forced the Soviet troops there to retreat into a non-collapsing part of the building, meaning that fire from the position was temporarily halted.

The Soviet left-hand MMG had also now been forced to retreat, which left the infantry platoon isolated up front and facing two-and-a-half better quality German platoons.

Unfortunately for Neil, one of his platoons had moved forward a bit too far, and lost two of its squads to some pretty devastating Close range fire from the two surviving Soviet squads, but they themselves had each now taken 20% casualties and wouldn’t last very much longer.

Equally grimly, the German engineers had finally managed to clear the minefield, and a fresh platoon of infantry and two engineer squads were just about to reach the edge of the wood right next to flour mill’s undefended side, and also bring the Soviet heavy mortars and howitzer under fire.

I was desperately trying to get the other Soviet infantry squad, anti-tank gun, MMG and KV-1 back to the flour mill from the right hand side of the table, but as they were under Blinds, it was taking a long time. It looked as if I was about to be overwhelmed!


As I said above, it looked as if all was now lost.

All through the game so far, I had been suffering from appalling dice rolls. No excuses: even Neil had sucked in his breath a couple of times as the 1’s and 2’s had come up again and again.

Now, however, the luck changed.

Up came the howitzer’s card. I had two targets: the remaining Panzer IV, or a direct fire HE shot into the six enemy infantry platoons about to charge me.

No contest: shells rained down on the hapless infantry and they took horrible casualties: 5’s and 6’s were seemingly all I could roll.

Next card out was for my heavy mortars!

Again I targeted the approaching enemy infantry. Direct hit, even with a potential 3D6 deviation. Mortar bombs rained down on the six enemy infantry squads, benefiting from the fact that they were so closely packed together and from the splinters of wood from the trees under which they were sheltering.

Time to roll the dice.

And again all I could roll were 5’s and 6’s. The infantry was Pinned, Suppressed, Suppressed again, and just generally worked over in a big way!

The attack was well and truly blunted: half the squads just disintegrated, the others would take a long time to recover and, even then, were now at half strength or under.

Neil called the game at that point (10.10 for those interested in the time) as he felt that although he still had superiority in numbers, that superiority wasn’t enough to take the mill within the next 50 minutes.

Stalingrad would remain in Soviet hands for the foreseeable future!


A great fun game, intense from start to finish. Was Neil right to capitulate? I don’t know. Looking at the table now, in the cold light of day, he still has ten infantry squads, three MMGs, and the three assault guns versus the Soviet platoon and a bit of infantry, two MMGs, two anti-tank guns and the KV-1. Oh, and the howitzer and heavy mortars!

What is certain is that the will behind the German assault had been broken by the devastating howitzer and mortar strikes on his infantry just at the moment of their victory.

As for me…well I think I’ll just mop my brow and say “phew” a few times! I think that if we’d continued it would still have been pretty close…

Robert Avery