After two successful Germans attacks the Russians are reeling back on Vyazma and have taken up position around a Railway Station. It's now October and the weather is getting cold.
Another solo game of IABSM to play through. This was planned to be ftf but Steve had a change of plans and I decided to go alone again. Please excuse the lack of tracks, station or T35; the terrain is easy to explain as no need for this for my Napoleonics; and does anyone make any T35s?
The area of the battle is shown below. The railtrack is the thin road leading into the two large buildings which count as the Station. The Station is the German objective and they enter from the left. The Russian were dug in all across the board with the tanks and guns all around the Station.
The Germans didn't waste time and had soon cleared the two central buildings of the Russian section in each of them. The Germans tanks quickly moved through the gap towards the Station with the better gunned and armoured Panzer IIIs (I find this odd), leading the Panzer IVs.
Ed's Note: The Panzer III H had been up-armed to the 5cm Kwk38 L42 gun based on the Pak38 ATG but the Panzer IV D was still armed only with the short, low velocity Kwk 37 L24 HE gun i.e. the III H was a tank killer, the IV H designed for infantry support. As for armour, the III D had an extra 30mm of plate steel bolted to its original 30mm armour, but the IV D still only had its original 30mm of front armour (although the sides and turret had additional protection). Looks like you were using them correctly!
This charge of the Germans to clear the second building can be seen here. Oddly it wasn't even a fight as the combination of Level IV officers leading and green defenders meant 4:1 odds so a surrender. Never seen that before.
The Germans tanks continued their charge into the centre of the area. Just as they had encountered the KV1 which kept them to their front the T34 and T35 countercharged out of the Station. The early results can be seen be seen here as the deadly Russian flank fire hits the Pz IIIs. The KV1s can be seen in the earlier picture.
The German infantry had by now cleared all the front row of houses and the Machines Guns and 75mm Infantry had started hitting the trenches in front of the Station.
The fight for the centre in all it brutality can be seen here. Smoke and wrecked tanks were blocking the sight of both sides, MMG were shooting around at anything moving and tanks were manoeuvring into position. The Panzer IVF finally found some room and started making itself felt. By now the Pz IIIs had all been destroyed or left the field, with the last Russian KV1 about to do the same.
The way to the station was now just about clear for the Germans and this climatic fight not far off.
Whilst all this had been going on the German left had slowly advanced without seemingly much urgency. They did though keep two Russian Platoons out of the main fight.
The T34 was causing the Germans problems, but then luckily their frantic calls for support were heard and a Stuka shot out of the skies to finish it off. In the next shot the last T35 was dispatched as well.
A fearful fight had gone on with MMGs but in the end despite casualties the Germans had finished off the Russians machines guns. The only troops in the Station was the unarmed ones and the other Russians were not in a position to help them. The game was up.
The idea of putting the unarmed men in the last area was for the front units to slow the Germans down so that the end was a rush for the Germans. In the end despite an early rush the turn marker was only on 8.
The picture shows the position when I decided that the Germans had won. In fact I then realised that the campaign was over and the Germans had won it and gained their objectives.
All in all another great game of IABSM. Again the firepower of the Germans was key, and combined with the opposing Russian being very weak made this all a bit one sided. Normally a mad Russian countercharge is key but with the disadvantages of being green this doesn't work too well.
One thing as well in this one is that I played it on the normal 6' x 4' area. This was a bit too close and next time I would probably use my full 10' by 6' table to play this one. There are a lot of troops in this one and they tended to get in each others way, and then once the Germans had broken through the Station was quickly in range.
The campaign was a great experience and one I will certainly try yet again. Next though will be the new Soviet one with a far different Russian force on view.
Thanks must go to Robert for these excellent packs.