This scenario for Too Fat Lardies "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum" was fought recently in our gaming group using my newly painted winter warfare German and Soviet forces. This being the first time we'd played a game set in Winter, everyone was keen to see how it all looked, played and felt. The scenario is set in the advance on Moscow in November 1941. It is a real challenge for the normally superior Germans of Barabarossa. Clive and Nigel played the Germans with Max and Paul T the Soviets. I wrote the scenario and provided the set up and acted as umpire. Table set up below. Table size is 6' x 4'.
The Germans were tasked with capturing a village intact to provide a warm bed for the night against the chilly icy wind, in sub zero temperatures. You can pretty much do what you like with the village. Perhaps a dozen or so buildings, plenty of fences, earth banks to act as wind breaks...you get the picture. There was quite a bit of scenery on table with fir woods, sparse deciduous woods, numerous 'thickets', a couple of low rises. You can pretty much add whatever is in your own collection. The idea is to provide a fair bit of light cover to affect line of sight.
The Germans had scraped together the remnants of a battered Schutzen Kompanie of only five Gruppen (out of 13!), plus a weapons Gruppe of two tripod mounted MG34 and two 81mm mortars. Off table artillery was available, but they needed to preserve those buildings to provide shelter against 'General Winter'.
One Gruppe was an HQ one, in an SdKfz 251/10 with 3.7cm AT Kanone, and an attached SdKfz 10/5 with 2cm FlaK gun. They also had an attached leIG18, 7.5cm Infantry gun, and a Panzer Platoon of a three tanks; a PzKpfw IV D, PzKpfw IV F1 and a PzKpfw III G. Whatever Panzers were still running in the conditions. You can add whatever you wish.
Fuel shortage, breakdown and ammo shortage cards meant they had a stiff task though the Schutzen were equipped with an extra MG per Gruppe. The German force had six Big Men available to it.
The Soviets had a full Rifle Company of nine ten man sections, but only one AT rifle, a sniper, a tank killer section, and three Maxims, one in an MG nest, plus a Platoon of three T-34s. The Soviets had two Big Men and a Political Officer.
The Germans advanced in two columns of blinds, one in the fir woods and one on the extreme right flank adjacent to the sparse deciduous woods. The Soviet sniper, deployed in the water tower, and Soviet blinds hidden in and around the village spotted the German blinds advancing towards the Soviet left as infantry, with Nigel's Panzer Platoon, and those exiting the woods as dummy blinds. One fake remained on the edge of the fir wood, convincing the Soviets this was more infantry.
Unfortunately for the Germans, their infantry early on didn't get the cards coming up right to allow a much called for speedy advance, even though blessed with a plethora of Big Men. This wasn't helped by the fact that Clive kept rolling some really poor rolls for movement and spotting. The Soviet sniper pinged off a couple of shots slowing the advance still further, with the AT rifle located nearby tackling Nigel's German tanks, but with a noticeable lack of success.
A Soviet section was spotted deployed behind a line of thickets adjacent to some ploughed fields. These brave souls launched an impromptu attack with grenades on the Panzers, on the Tank Killers card, but were shot to a red ruin by the tanks MGs.
When the Soviets realised that the main Schwerpunkt was against their left, Max wisely sent the T-34s round the open right flank and one hit the Panzer IV D side on, wrecking its main gun. Fortunately the others missed their targets. Talk about T-34 terror though. The chaps know I have a load of them but this was the first time they'd actually met any in our recent IABSM version 3 games. There were some very worried looking Germans at this point.
It looked like impending doom, but then Clive stepped up to the plate. Clive managed to knock out a T-34, mod 1940, from over 18" with a 37mm Kanone mounted on the SdKfz 251/10. Class act. I shall never pour scorn on the humble 3.7mm 'Door Knocker' again.
The German infantry gun did very little though as once spotted the Soviet Maxims opened up and concentrated on it, quickly killing its Big Man and crew.
Unlike the Soviets who had split their Maxims amongst their Platoons, the Germans had kept their weapons Platoon together and deployed on a low rise began to shoot back at the Soviets, plopping the odd mortar round too in an effort to provide a base of fire to manoeuvre forward their leg infantry. The 2cm Flak gun on the SdKfz 10 also started to open up on the village too, though with one eye on the two T-34s, which were still unable to hit anything. The Soviet AT rifle was forced back along with a section occupying a house, and a Maxim was silenced.
With the situation in the village looking confused, but realising they had stirred up a hornets nest, the German CO was on the RTO requesting off table artillery support. This didn't actually arrive however. Obviously an ammo shortage in the rear too. By now, the German Schtuzen leg infantry had finally got into the western edge of the village. As Soviet infantry vacated a barn a Schutzen Gruppe thankfully occupied it. Seconds later an entire Soviet Platoon and attached Maxim peppered the barn at close range from adjacent buildings, killing all the Germans. Their desire to warm themselves would mean they would be cold forever now. Wary of the lack of protection offered the Germans now hid behind the barn jumping out to fire briefly before ducking back behind it.
The Soviets had taken a fair amount of casualties but were still holding onto 75% of the buildings, though under much pressure. Paul T did a good job on contesting his side of the village with a tenacious defence. Concerned for the village Max switched the last two T-34s to the centre. Clive popped a double six hit on one with the 3.7cm SdKfz 251/10, at under 18" range, knocking out its main gun. Give that gunner the Iron Cross!
With the end of the game approaching, everyone suddenly got brave. Doesn't everyone always in the last turn of a game? Clive sent his Schutzen across the village in an effort to take some more buildings, with Soviets everywhere carrying numerous points of shock and clinging to the village. It was a long distance but Clive went for it and failed to get into close combat.
With the Human Wave card being drawn Paul T launched an assault of his own upon the Schutzen. Max tried to get in on the act too with an entire nearby Platoon, still on blinds, but failed to obtain the necessary dice score to get close enough. Paul's desperately audacious nine men therefore piled into Clive's sixteen plus a Big Man, unsupported. Amazingly they tied on only one casualty each. Roll again Mein Kameraden. Guess what? Paul T won by one. The Germans recoiled amidst cat calls and insults, looking decidedly ashamed for themselves. Tea Break followed shortly ending the game.
In the end the German had got into the village but as night was falling they would probably have had to withdraw and lick their wounds, with the Soviets still outnumbering them at least 2:1. Both sides had a round 25% casualties, as one might expect of such hard fighting. I had perhaps given the Germans too stiff a task but on paper they were much stronger. Interestingly all the negative cards; Ammunition Shortage, Fuel Shortage and Vehicle Breakdown played no part whatsoever.
Played in the best of spirit as is usual. Why not have a go yourself, and see how you manage it? I'm sure this one is re-playable many times. If you don't want to fight it in 1941 on the Eastern Front, or don't have the exact figures and vehicles we used, use whatever you have.
Kev (aka Fat Wally)