The other week my family was away on a skiing vacation, and we took the chance to get a whopping big game in.
Daniel was umpire and stayed close to Berlin, just as last year. As usual based on a real battle, in this case the battle of Wriezen, April 17 1945.
Daniel and I set up the gaming board the night before, and were ready for action in the morning. Small houses, a woods and some fields, a factory complex, a town, railwaystation and a canal with bridge.
First to come was Jonas, and he and I got the German force. We had some limitations as to where we could set up and knew there were Volksturm somewhere, but we would not know where until we had set up. Mostly hastily set up defences with a wide variety of troops. All our troops were set up hidden, mainly a thin line defending the outskirts of the town. We had some mobile reserves in the town square and a depleted battery of 81mm mortars near the bridge. One concern was the limbered 88 that we desperately wanted to move back through the main road and emplace in the town centre.
Roos, Fredrik and Mikael dropped in and were given command of the Russians.
The battle starts slowly with Russian smoke and cautious advance. A short fire fight between recce forces leaves one Italian made Autoblinda 41 in flames and one BA 64 immobilised.
Two SU-76 advances, and one is lost while trying to cross a road. Bad die rolls followed by a Hetzer shot. They really got flimsy armour. The other one meets the same destiny later.
Our mortars get into action placing some well-aimed shots in the middle of the bunched up Russian infantry. We also get requests from units on our flank for mortar support, and we give them the most of our fire missions.
We have two snipers on the board and they manage to take out two of the scarce Russian Big Men, and another falls from a mortar round. With only one Big Man left, they are in big trouble.
A flanking force of scouts suddenly appears behind the German lines, but they are cut down by cross-fire.
We get radio messages from the units on our right flank that it looks really bad there (it later turns out that our mortar support buys us some time on our right flank, something that probably saved our day). We make the decision to immediately draw back all of our troops into the town, to be able to defend the bridge.
That withdrawal works rather smoothly, but we lose some infantry to machineguns and artillery.
We get frantic calls from our flank that the defences there have broken. The Russians are coming!
And they come rushing over the bridge, but as we have redeployed they are cut to pieces. T-34:s materialize on the other side of the river, starting a fire-fight with my hull down Hetzer.
About here most all players have left hours before, only Daniel and I fight it out, just to see what happens. We call it a night. A very late night…
Joakim Strom, pictures by Daniel as my camera and family were on the same vacation.