Briansk Front September 6 1943
Wehrmacht and SS take on the Commies in a daring move
Both the Germans and the Russians are eager to a bridge over the river Sudost near the village of Zapovednik. The scenario was done by Henrik Jensen. We were playing the game with two players on each side. This takes a bit longer but is also good fun. Henrik and Frede had command over the Red Army, while Roar and I were carrying out Hitlers befehle.
We actually deployed our blinds with a bit of thought thinking that the Panther, Wehrmacht platoon 2 and SS could take on our left flank as it had plenty of good terrain features for them to defend. In the center we placed the MG42's,
The Germans had four Big Men - one in a panzer - three wehrmacht platoons, one SS platoon, one panzer IV F2 platoon (five tanks in all), two 8cm mortars, four MG42, and one Panther Ausf D.
Five Big Men, three rifle platoons, three SMG platoons, two off board 12cm mortars, four MMG sections, three T-34/76s, and three SU-76s.
As our first action we got the panther going through the village and soon the 2nd wehrmacht zug followed. Our plan was to get the panther just round the corner of the hill and shoot down anything trying to make it to the bridge. The infantry would take the hill and use their big man to lay down mortar fire near the bridge. Our SS platoon was the first to actually reach the hill where it stayed put.
Our PzKfv zug rampaged up the middle of the battlefield into a forest next to the river. Here they laid down a hail of fire against the Soviet White Rifles who were hiding in the wood opposite the river. While 5 panzers are an impressive sight to behold for most soldiers it didn't seem to shake the ruskys. They only caused a couple of wounds to the rifles and didn't pin them as the tanks had moved on the turn they fired.
At the end of the first turn things were looking good. We'd spotted an approaching SMG platoon on the left flank but our SS's were more than eager to take on the task of killing every last one. The SS hadn't been spotted yet but somehow the enemy were expecting their presence. Wehrmacht zug 3 had moved to a fallen tree trunk in the middle of the field and next to them was the MG42 teams in the woods. Wehrmacht zug 1 were hiding next to the panzer on the far right just before the river. Only our panzer and Wehrmacht zug 2 had been spotted so far.
I must admit that my memory lets things and bits escape from time to time. And as such I can't really tell what happened during what turn from this point on. I can however recreate some of the major points:
After the SS had reached the hill they were soon spotted by the oncoming horde of russians. As a matter of fact a fierce fight broke out with SS on the side and plenty of SMG soviets on the other. Both sides took considerable losses but it's fair to say that the SS lived to fight another... time that day.
More Russians charged the hill and the SS was inevetably wiped off the planet. Quality troops my arse!
Wehrmacht Zug II had crowned days when they were standing safely behind the SS. But now as they found themselves in the front line things began looking serious. On the other side of the hill yet more Russian troopers were storming forward. Finally as the climbed the hill the Russians chose to charge the German soldiers. The Germans were cut down and only the big man survived!
Wehrmacht Zug III had arrived from their hideout in the middle of the table just in time to see their brothers in arms being cut down. This of course enraged them and at the next tea break (who knows which!) they gunned the evil communists down. Or at least part of the way down.
After WZII had been wiped a long attrition battle occurred between the remaining WZIII and the Russian reserves. It proved hopeless. The Russians had too much manpower to back up the assault and eventually the hills would fall into Russian hands. However it would be at a great cost no doubt.
The left flank was in an even worse condition - strategically speaking. Our panzers had done nothing but stir the vodka bottles of the camping Russians and three T34 had revealed them selves. Three SU-76 had also been revealed but until now they'd been occupied by the Panther.
The panzer went a bit back and forth in the woods. No really good firing positions could be obtained. The leader of the panzer zug took action into his own hands when he learned that the russians were crossing the bridge. He went down and started shooting.. .there were some casualties but all in all it didn't matter. As didn't the T34 or the SU76 that exploded at the will of Panzer IV and Panther. The battle was lost - the Germans couldn't claim the bridge and they couldn't even set foot on the other side of the river. They had nothing but tanks left while the Russians had both manpower and vehicles left. Hitler won't be pleased.
It was a good game. It obviously took a bit longer to play as we were four participants. Ruleswise I think it flowed as it should. As usual both sides tried to call down some arty but in the case of the Germans we never got past the ranging shot. Perhaps this is not a bad thing - it isn't that easy to call down artillery here and now just when you want to. But then again - what's the point of having bloody mortar models then? Perhaps playing a few games where the artillery had already locked on the target area could be interesting. Well enough about the arty.
The late war Russians are a seriously tough nut to crack - especially so when you make a complete fool of yourself as we did! Our panzer should have been working with our infantry,... that had probably been devastating. But in total ignorance of real life tactics we thought they were our one-unit-wonder.
The fight at the hill is a good example - had we used our panther to pin the enemy or perhaps deployed our panzers there instead we'd been much better of against the evil russian SMG's (that's 5 dice per section within 16'' right?! bloody hell!) .
My premiering SS sure didn't do much either... I think I'll paint up another zug so they won't feel as alone as in this battle. Maybe it'll help. I'm looking forward to the next game anyway.