It is Fall, 1943. The Russians have had quite a summer, pushing the Germans back along a broad front after their failed Kursk offensive. The local situation is fluid. 

A small infantry force of two Russian platoons holds a ford and bridge over a river with the aid of a couple of 76.2mm AT guns. Their job is to push across the other side and pave the way for a platoon of SP guns and two platoons of T-34/76s to push across and exit the far side of the board. The tanks are expected in the not too distant future. 

Unbeknownst to the Russians, a strong German armored reconnaissance force of armored cars, panzergrenadiers, and a couple platoons of tanks are on their way to spoil the anticipated offensive. They're tasked to reach and blow the bridge if possible or at least jam up any attempted Russian crossing.

Brandon and Young Sam commanded the Russians and were soon joined by Juan Carlos as well. The Russian plan was a simple one:  they intended to put one platoon across at the ford to occupy the intersection near the wrecked mill, and the other across the bridge to secure the crossroads. 

Soon, German Blinds (some dummies and some very very real) came probing, under the command of Mike and Will. One German Blind occupied the mill while the Russians were still splashing across the ford, leaving them in an extraordinarily exposed spot. They summoned up their courage and pushed forward, bayonets  fixed, and learned the German Blind was a dummy. Soon they learned the Blind following thereafter was a very potent German 8-wheeled heavy armored car platoon which took them under fire, sending them diving for cover in the cratered street. 

Recce Runs Into Russkies

Before the Germans could swoop down on the Russian platoon in the street, Russian AT guns dug in on the bluff  revealed themselves and took a potshot at the Panzer Grenadiers coming around the other side of the building.  They blew up one loaded half-track and bounced a shot off its mate, causing it to disgorge its  passengers and run for cover. The heavy armored cars took this occasion to inch back behind cover. 

Grenadiers Push Toward the Mill

AT Guns on the Bluff Open Up

Knocked out and Dismounted Grenadiers

Meanwhile near the bridge, Will pressed his platoon of Grenadiers forward. His platoon chit just would not come up thereafter, stalling the attack. Young Sam had deployed his platoon in the pines nearest the bridge, posing a difficult but not insurmountable obstacle  to a run at the bridge. Soon, the Germans learned that Sam's platoon, and perhaps the other one as well, had some captured panzerfausts. The umpire gave each Russian squad a one time 20% chance of having a ready rocket. One hit a heavy armored car, only to cause no damage whatsoever. Still, the Germans seemed to have less stomach to run the gauntlet to the bridge after that!

Russkie Platoon 2 Holds the Center

Panzergrenadiers Press the Bridge

Neither force had any artillery support, which was a severe restriction. The Russians, however, did have the chance of a rocket-armed Sturmovik attack at a random armored target. Twice the storm bird came down and sent it's rockets harmlessly  off target. Still, it was fun for the umpire.

Sturmovik Pitches In Too

As armoured cars armed with 20mm autocannons whittled down the gun crews on the bluff, and were in turn knocked out, the main body of German tanks finally came up the road and deployed. 5 Pz IVs rolled up to hull down positions and begin shelling the AT  guns to good effect. Soon, they knew, two Panthers would roll into line and assist them. At this point, no Russian armour had shown its head. Unbeknownst to the Germans, however, three brand new Su-85s and a ISU-152  had just rolled up under the brow of the hill behind the Russian bridge.

Sdkfz 251s Get Clobbered Too

Panzer IVs Shell the AT guns on the Bluff

The Russian armour soon climbed up the bluff and joined the fight. We called the game after a couple more turns in which those big tank guns failed to get their chips pulled or failed to hit what they were shooting at. The only consistent gunnery success was had by the AT guns. The brave Lieutenant commanding the guns had been killed after he knocked of a good portion of the recce vehicles. The Russian Captain ran up the bluff to assist the one remaining gun. His level 4 skills and  the frequency with which his personal chit was called allowed for some extraordinarily accurate shooting at the exposed turrets of the Pz IVs.

Finally, the Panthers Arrive

Russian SPs to the Rescue

On to Berlin:  Soon Anyway

What Might Have Been:  German Armour at the Bridge

All agreed that neither force had signficant infantry strength left at the end, and without infantry the Germans certainly did not have enough horsepower left to rush the bridge, even if they could win the gun dual, which was looking less and less likely. The Germans did succeed in jamming up the Russians on their side of the river and so, in spite of their frustrations, I think both sides partly achieved their given goals. Great game Brandon, Sam, Juan Carlos, Will, and Mike!

Joe Patchen

Benny the Schnauzer Roots for the Germans