The Ilkley Lads played the Izdeshkovo scenario from Roberts excellent Vyzama or Bust supplement last night. Our group has only played 3 games in all so we are still at the early learning stage with the rules but we are happy with the pace and the way the game plays.

The German commander – Peter – decided that his plan was to drive down the main Smolensk road clearing resistance as he went. He deployed the bulk of his forces on his left with the Hanomag Infantry only in the centre. The Russians – commanded by Tim and Dr (commissar) Ken – deployed their tanks on their right with the infantry in the central woods. The ATG guns were distributed across their front. The village on their left was only garrisoned by an MMG and the sniper.

The early Blind moves see only 2 German blinds entering the table with the first heading through the woods towards the west hill and the second reaching a small farm in the centre. The Russian player, buoyed up no doubt with a good helping of Vodka and whipped on by Commissar Ken declares a blind and move across the west hill towards the approaching Germans. The Germans are stunned as the tea break card is quickly followed by the Russian Blind (drunk) card and a Kv1 and 3 t26 spot fully loaded hanomags by the farm. They open fire and the first hanomag and goes up in flames. Hapless Germans can be seen jumping from the burning wreck. The remaining Germans, covered by the smoke of the destroyed hanomag, are llucky as wayward Russian shotting allow them to get out of sight behind the farm.

The German commander, incensed by this incident, moves on a further two blinds as a Stuka unsuccessfully targets the KV1. The Russian player spots the German blinds and the dark grey forms of tanks, well supported by Infantry, are seen looming towards the west hill. The Russian tank commander orders his tanks to fire and retire in face of the German attack. Peter orders his Panzers forward and taking up a hull down position at the top of the hill sends round after round in the fleeing Russian tanks. A Stuka again attacks the KV1 which this time erupts into flames. Within minutes all 4 Russian AFV are destroyed and the hill overrun by German Infantry who easily take out a hidden Russian AT gun. Commissar Ken seeing the writing on the wall decides that he has an urgent appointment with a female NKVD telephone operator and leaves the field.

With the Russian right destroyed the battle shifts to the centre. The 2 remaining Hanomags have been supported by 2 further blinds and now advance towards the central woods. The bark of a Russian AT gun can be heard as it fires ineffectively at the leading hanomag which slews around in the mud as its passengers quickly jump out and hit the mud. The Second Hanomag, with its engine racing, darts forward to the shelter of the small central hill before its passengers, with alacrity, go to ground.

A German captain scans the central woods with his binoculars looking for movement and quickly spots what looks like a full platoon of Ivans in the woods. He orders his troops to open fire supported by the hanomags MGs. Using the rapid deployment card he orders forward his supporting blind, containing the support weapons, to occupy the hill. On the next Blind card he drops his 3 MMGs and they rake the central wood with a hail of bullets bringing death and destruction on the hapless Soviet Infantry. The Russian Platoon CO decides that with 3 of his 4 sections already taking hits that its shit or bust time and yelling, with a Yorkshire accent, `Death to the Fascist scum' launches a desperate charge on the MMG line. Although outnumbered the Russian Section reaches the mgs but in the ensuing fight they are forced back as the Russian Leader dies of his wounds.

With the failure of this attack the remaining Russian infantry in the wood quickly melt away as German Panzers advance down the road towards the river crossing and victory.

A good game with the early rounds going to the Russian but with the quality of the German troops finally telling. So unlike Kevs game the German win the opening game so its off to Urk next week.

Ilkley Mark