It´s 07:59hs on july 2nd, 1941.
Task force Lukin had set up a nice pincer attack on the Germans defenders of Ostrog North. A determined Soviet attack combined forces from both Ostrog Centre and Rozrazh. The red sledgehammer would also receive support from partisan forces hidden in the cellars of Ostrog North.
However, the Germans had received early warning of the attack and had set up a proper defense. A combined force of pioneers, panzers & schutzen stand ready waiting and ready for the incoming battle.
In our campaign, the germans had accepted battle against a superior soviet force. So, it would be 650 points of Soviets vs 500 points of Germans. Each counter on the spot is worth 250 points. And counters coming as reserves are worth 150 points of troops.
For the whole campaign information (including a map without the counters) see: http://www.thewargamespot.com/new-bg-barbarossa-campaign-detailed-log/
Base scenario: is “Strongpoint Assault” (page 132 from BGKursk). It is a very hard scenario for the defender. Not only the attacker deploys all his attacking force at once from turn one, but also has the option to deploy a flanking force of 6 units.
Background: the Germans have refurbished an old soviet bunker as an ad-hoc warehouse for engineering materials. Those materials are needed to start construction of a pontoon bridge over the Horyn River. A special convoy of 4x pioneer sdkfz 251´s has been prepared and loaded to the top with engineering supplies. The battle starts just when the convoy is about to finish it´s loading tasks. The operation is being led by famous pioneer officer Hasso Plattner.
The terrain: the German pioneers have demolished all the buildings accessing into Ostrog North to give a proper defense. The only natural feature helping the soviets is a large Balka at the western edge of the table. A large Bunker is located in the crossroad at the center of the table. There are several houses at the center of the table, representing Ostrog North. The most prominent of them is an Orthodox Church in the northern side of town. At the southern edge of town there is a wood and a T-shape crossroad. We played over a 8’ x 6’ table.
The Objectives: There are three fixed objectives:
- The bunker, located at the center of the table
- The Orthodox Church, in the northern side of the table
- The southern crossroads.
- There is also a moving objective in the form of 4x sdkfz 251´s, who would, at predetermined turns, show up beside the bunker. Each side has special rules regarding the convoy.
- Flanking force: Up to 6 units from the force coming from Rozrazh must be designated as flanking force. They must deploy up to 10” from the center of the Northern table edge. From turn 3 onwards, roll for the arrival of the flanking force. Roll a D6 and add the turn number. If the result is 8 or more, then the flanking force arrives.
- Main Force: All the troops coming from the Ostrog Centre can deploy in turn 1, up to 20’ from the western edge and at least 12` from both south and north edges.
- Reserves: the rest of the force coming from Khoriv not present as a flanking force can deploy from turn 3 on the western edge.
Soviet victory conditions: There are several ways of winning the game:
- Total Victory: Destroy the whole enemy engineering convoy. If the soviet player manages to destroy all 4 sdkfz 251´s then there is an automatic victory
- Standard victory: Destroy at least 2x sdkfz 251´s AND break the enemy´s BR total.
- Attrition victory: Break the enemy´s BR total +18
Soviet special rules and troops:
- The partisans: the partisan squad has the “behind enemy lines” skill. In addition, they are equipped with improvised AT cocktails. They can use them as AT grenades but with a random penetration power (1D6) if successful. They start hidden and in ambush.
- Destroy the convoy!: for each sdkfz 251 that is eliminated the German player must draw 2BR counters.
- All Defenses and the troops occupying them can deploy in turn 1 in the eastern half of the table.
- Up to half of the remaining units plus 4 can deploy also in turn 1. The +4 is a special campaign rule bonus given to engineering units helping enrenched troops.
- The remaining units are the reserves and would arrive at the eastern edge of the table in turn 4.
German victory conditions: There are several ways of winning the game:
- Total Victory: Successful escape of the whole pioneer convoy through the eastern table edge.
- Standard victory: Successful escape of at least 2x sdkfz 251´s AND break the enemy´s BR total.
- Attrition victory: Break the enemy´s BR total +18
German special rules and troops:
- The supply bunker: The German player must deploy a special, ad-hoc bunker. It is free of charge and has an attached tripod MG34 in a sandbag pit. It can also harbor an AT gun if the German player wishes.
- Hasso Plattner, pioneer supreme: Hasso Plattner, a very famous pioneer officer, is in charge of the engineer supply operation. It is free of charge, counts as an officer, and brings with him a fearsome flamethrower. It is part of the assault pioneer squad.
- Al Germans troops start “hidden”. They are physically deployed on the table, but with a “hidden marker” (a white counter in our case). That means that they cannot be targeted with aimed fire (area fire is ok) from more than 10 inches (20 inches for scout units) away until discovered. Also, they are treated as if were 1 level of cover more than they are until discovered. The hidden marker is removed when the hidden troops move or fire or when successfully observed by the enemy (at 10/20 inches).
- The German player can buy “dummy” defenses at half the price of real ones.
- Defend the convoy!: for each sdkfz 251 that exits the eastern table edge the soviet player must draw 1BR counter AND the German player can return a random chit to the BR bag (similar rule to recovery vehicles)
Special rules in use applying to both sides:
- The convoy: 1x sdkfz 251 will appear on the road beside the bunker on turns 3, 4, 6 and 8 (the soviet player does not know the exact turn). They must receive an order to move like anyone else. However, they cannot shoot or embark any troops.
- Hidden: all hidden troops gain a +1 save modifier AND -1 observation until discovered.
- Re-scoring: all objectives will be re-scored in turn 6 and 12.
- No timed barrages or timed air strikes could be positioned on deployment zones
- All platoons come with a light mortar as support free of charge (it´s the only way I can make them hit the table. The players would never pay for them)
- Only infantry or deployed guns can control objectives
- No unit entering the table can be given an “open fire” order
- sustained fire HMG’s: HMG’s can reroll one failed supression fire per turn
- gun shiekds grant their crew one more level of cover up to hard cover.
THE OPPOSING FORCES:
Two counters of soviet troops (the main force) are attacking from the south west (from Ostrog Centre). That´s 500 points from the rifle division list.
Another force consistent of a single counter is coming from the North (from the route to Rozrazh). As all reserves in our campaign, these are worth another 150 points from the rifle division list. As a platoon level scenario, the soviets would have 2D6+D3 (command chaos) orders.
The soviets went for the usual tank horde supported by a throng of scouts (mainly foot patrols). Also, they took advantage of timed barrages, which can be bought as artillery assets (and not as additional fire support). The reserve platoon is there as compulsory buy a per our campaign rules.
The already hefty 56 BR total were complemented by a very disciplined NKVD roll, adding 6 more to the BR total. So 62BR total for the soviets.
The Soviet players:
Two counters of German troops are defending in prepared positions. That´s 500 points. As per special campaign rules, the Germans must choose their army from the Panzer Division list. However, due to the presence of an engineer counter, they can buy defenses from the infantry division list and can deploy 4 more units from the start.
i would be the gamemaster.
The German players:
As a platoon level scenario, the Germans would have 2D6+4 (4 officers) orders.
At a much lower BR total of 36, the Germans would have a very tough battle ahead.
The soviets deployed on a broad front, with no schwerpunkt. Two groups were assembled divided by the main road.
South of the road (Soviet Right flank): 1x BA-10, 3x T-26, 2x foot patrols, 1x smg-armed NKVD squad, 2x snipers and the foward signals truck
North of the road (Soviet Left Flank): 1x BA-10, 2x T-26, 2x foot patrols, 1 smg-armed NKVD squad, 1 rifle-armed NKVD squad, 1 NKVD hq, 1 light mortar.
The PRT (pre-registered target point) is placed just in front of the bunker.
The soviet scout horde would allow the soviet commander to place the timed barrages after the defender has placed their defenses (but not the occupants). So, a lot of faith was placed on the artillerymen.
Main idea is to stal ahead and clean what has been left after the timed artillery barrages. Then, when the flanking force arrives, to concentrate on the convoy. All the way supported by fire from the 3x82mm mortars.
And last, the partisans: they have been hiding in cellars and can deploy after all enemy troops have been deployed (behind enemy lines rule). They choose the house near the eastern edge, besides the security checkpoint. They have dispatched the felgendarmerie with painful deaths and wait in ambush with the red flag flying.
The germans had devised a “Heinrici tactic”. That is, leaving no one in the trenches and wait until the ubiquitous soviet timed barrages have passed. For that reason, they only bought dummy defences, just to lure the soviet commander into planning the timed barrages over them.
So, all defences except for the bunker were deployed well up-front (they are dummy after all!). A roadblock was also placed in the road leading north, near the north table edge.
The germans knew that a flanking force would arrive from the north, but do not know when or where exactly at the northern edge would arrive. They also know of the presence of partisans.
The german defence line would be composed of (from North to south):
- In the Orthodox Church: On the ground floor, a schutzen squad (rifle+lmg team) facing north. In the first floor, an AT rifle team also facing north. In the bell tower, almost cinematic, Hans the sniper with his spotter, facing to the west.
- A light mortar team in the low wall beside the church entrance, facing west
- Schutzen Platoon HQ squad in the northern white clay house
- a Pz IVE #32 behind the small wooden house
- Bunker: a Pak 38 with loader team inside the bunker (the bunker has 180 degree vision) in ambush.
- HMG pit beside the bunker
- The assault pioneer squad (with Hasso Plattner) in the wooden house with walled orchard
- A limbered pak36 w/ loader team is inside the orchard
- a PzIVE #33 behind a destroyed PzII wreck, in the fields beside the bunker
- a Schutzen squad (rifle + LMG team) in the southern white clay house. LMG team is in ambush.
- a Schutzen squad (rifle+ LMG team) loaded in an Opel Blitz waiting just behind the southern wood
- a Pak 38 with loader team deployed on the edge of the wood, facing west (in ambush)
- closing the setup, a sdkfz 222 (in the open!) hold the southerrn crossroads
The scenario allows for an initial bombardment. Three german units were pinned by it: the rifle team in the church, the limbered pak36 in the orchard, and the light mortar in the wall at the church.
Then the three soviet timed barrages arrive. A deluge of 122mm & 76mm shells land on dummy positions. The soviets learn now that they were lured into empty defenses. However, the southern white clay house received a direct hit and the LMG team there lost a man and were pinned.
Soviet Turn 1:
With a good number of orders rolled (i think 10), the turn starts with the soviets firing their off-table 82mm mortars over their PRT (firing at PRT´s needs no observer nor comms roll). Mortar bombs start falling over the bunker, but the hardened cover save (2+) is difficult to overcome. Nevertheless, the white clay house again receives some shells and a lucky pinning hit on the LMG team. A failed save on a roll of 1 meant the LMG is eliminated by “last man standing” rule. First BR counter taken by the germans.
All five T-26 on table Stal ahead. All their HE shot miss or meet some solid cover saves.
The pak 38 in the bunker uses its ambush order and with two shots destroys the T-26 coming straight down the road.
The BA-10´s and the infantry who can, also move ahead.
All deployed soviet infantry up to now is either NKVD or scouts, so no ura, ura, ura to help them move. The soviets start to realize they would be very hard pressed by lack of orders.
The germans now take a BR counter for being outscouted.
German Turn 1:
Boldened by the ambushing shots, both Pak 38´s prepare to wreak havoc onto the incoming T-26. However luck does not favor the fascists. Both Pak´s fail their loader team rolls, and all four shots went wide.
The hidden tripod MG34 in their reinforced pit opens fire onto the incoming soviet infantry and pins two units.
On the soviet left flank, Hans the sniper, start picking targets in the soviet infantry. The casualties cause a squad to be pinned. This single sniper would pin most of the soviet infantry on this sector for almost the whole battle.
In the church, the Panzerbüsche 39 team changes position fast. They descend to the ground floor, and from behind the main door put a round of AT rifle against the the very close soviet BA-10.
With penetration 2 it´s a very hard roll to penetrate the “N” frontal armour of the BA-10, and with a loud “clank!” the BA-10 remains unharmed.
With the rest of the orders available, all german forces get ambush orders.
To end the turn, the germans unpin their units, including their limbered Pak36 in the orchard.
Also, the Soviets take three BR counters for all objectives being in German hands.
Soviet Turn 2:
The soviets roll a meager six orders total. That would totally ban the use of the off-table mortars (they would consume three orders). So the soviets concentrate on what they could move efficiently.
With a single order all four T-26 Stal, Stal, Stal!. The tanks in the right soviet flank negotiate the stream and the field ahead while their own supporting infantry stay pinned to the ground. All HE shots again do nothing against well entrenched defenders.
In the Church, the BA-10 crew aim its MG against the door. Where are those pesky germans? They try two aimed fire shots. Being scouts, and having seen the AT rifle fire last turn, they need only a 3+ to spot. They spot once. A single MG is only 3 dice, but it´s enough to kill the Panzerbüsche team outright.
Not much left to do on the soviet side. Lack of orders start to hurt.
To end the turn, the Soviets leverage their massive BR advantage and take two BR counters in order to unpin all units.
German Turn 2:
A renewed opportunity for the Pak 38’s. Both guns take open fire orders. Again they fail their loader team rolls. They pick 4 different targets to maximize effect, but only one hit is achieved. The farthest T-26 is hit by a non penetrating hit. Spalling armour pins the crew.
The Pak 36 deploys and also join the fray with a distant shot, but fails. The opel Blitz behind the wood disembark its squad. The LMG team moves to the wood´s edge.
In a suicidal move, the sdkfz 222 sped ahead and takes a point blank shot at the nearest T-26, pinning it.
The tripod MG34 opens fire and with supression fire pins a sniper and a foot patrol.
PzIVE #33 takes position behind a house and misses a shot against the advancing T-26.
On the left soviet flank, Hans the Sniper is cherry picking its targets. He chooses and kills a DP machinegunner. The light mortar team open fire on the BA-10 and pins it with a direct hit! Never understimate the power of the light mortar.
Soviet Turn 3:
With a lucky roll of “5”, the soviet flanking force arrives at the northern edge. They have even brought a NKVD dog with them!
But orders are scarce again
All 4 T-26´s Stal, Stal, Stal! with guns blazing. T-26 #2 gets lucky and his HE shot pins the german light mortar team. The Germans were extremely unlucky and roll a “1” for their cover save. Again, this casualty hurts, as being pinned by the same shot, meant the light mortar unit is eliminated as per “last man standing ” rule.
Also on this turn, the rest of the Khoriv reserve arrives at the table, but from the western edge. the last T-26 (#1) enters the table carrying a reserve squad on top,of it.
The Star-turreted T-26 is given one precious order and told to move&fire. PzIV #32 stops its movement and ambushes. The shot went wide. T-26 (star) completes its movement and then carefully spots and aims its main gun at PzIV#32. Ivan rolls a 6 and a mighty hit is achieved. At 30″ distance a roll of 10 or more is needed to penetrate the PzIVE’s thick frontal armour. The soviets roll an 11! and destroy the german tank. The crew bails out. The german tank commander would surely think again twice before wasting his ambush stance at such a long distance.
Over on the right soviet flank, the most advanced T-26 stals ahead and succeeds in pinning PzIV #33
BA-10 #2 now takes an open fire order. Spotting the sdkfz 222 automatically, the two shots miss!! (needing a 3+ to hit). Nothing can beat the power of the snake eyes!.
Before turn ends, the schutzen squad in the church uses its ambush counters and pins both the NKVD blocking detachement and the reserve squad with two rounds of supressing fire.
German Turn 3:
The germans were waiting for this moment. The timed stuka strike arrives perfectly timed to catch a whoke lot of russian armour and infantry in the open. Five bombs were released, but no direct hits were scored (even with the dive bomber reroll).
Nonetheless, all five pinning hits Were effective. Every soviet in 10 inches is pinned by the attack (BA-10, T-26 #2 and three infantry squads. Also the soviets take a BR counter for being under air attack.
The first sdkfz 251/7 of the pioneer convoy appears beside the bunker. The first german order is for the 251/7. A top speed order, and the vehicle dashes 24 inches towards the eastern table edge.
Regretably, that move takes the half-track too close to the ambushing partisans. They unleash two volleys of supressing fire. At ROF 9, they need a 5+ to pin (open topped vehicle at 20 inches). The partisans succeed and The 251/7 comes to a halt and becomes pinned.
222 kills T-26 at point blank range
The Pak 38 in the woods takes out the nearest T-26 with two aimed shots.
The rifle squad in the white clay hose and the LMG in the wood start a withering fire on the incoming smg-armed NKDV squad . Casualties are too much and the squad routs. The tripod MG34 meanwhile concentrates on pinning the sniper. But there are a lot of soviets, and a scout patrol survives unharmed.
The germans take a counter to unpin PzIV #33.
Soviet Turn 4:
The last soviet reserves enter the table via the western table edge. The soviets roll very poorly for orders again. There are a lot of pinned units though, that Stuka has paralized the whole soviet left flank.
Massive Stal movement for the russian tanks. The star-turreted one races down the road to a position dangerously close to the bunker.
The other ones on the northern flank (thin cross and cylindrical turret) stal ahead by the Church Orchard. HE shots from all tanks are innefective.
Then, a very confusing string of events take place on the soviet right flank:
BA-10 #2 destroys the suicide sdkfz 222 at point blank range. Ammo down to 1.
The germans must take a BR counter and draw a BTCOD .
The Germans have their vision blurred by combat and very hot blood. They use their BTCOD on the pinned Pak38 in the woods . The crew passes their experience test, unpins and blew the cylindrical-turreted T-26.
Maybe unnoticed by many, but that CTCOD counter would have been used infinitely better on the convoy half-track in order to exit the table on the soviet turn.
Seeing this, the unpinned soviet scout squad takes an open fire order, and with 18 dice of small arms fire vaporizes the crew of the Pak38 in the wood.
And last, T-26 #1 (loaded with 1 reserve squad) stals ahead up to the smoking 222.
To end the turn, the soviet has no option but to take 2 BR counters to unpin. But they roll high and all soviets units are ok again. That Stuka hurts.
German Turn 4:
As part of the German reinforcements a single PzIV #31 enters the table on the German table edge. It is positioned so as to counter the flanking soviet armor in the northern flank. It moves & fires at a distant T-26 but misses.
As scheduled, the second 251 half track appears besides the bunker. With a top speed order the 251 moves 24 inches away from the sound of the guns and is positioned now side by side with his pinned brother. It seems too easy!
Next, the Pak 36 succeeds in its loader team roll and makes three aimed shots at the Star-turreted T-26. Two hits are scored and the T-26 is destroyed.
Hans the sniper, has a string of bad rolls and cannot score a single hit. The soviet infantry in front of the church breathes and gain some respite.
At the south side of the table, PzIVE #33 takes an ambush order.
Concentrated fire from the tripod MG34, rifle team in the white clay house and the LMG in the woods wreak havoc amongst the soviet infantry in the open. Casualties are taken and all of them are pinned. But, the moarle tests are all successfull. They do not give up and stand their ground.
Panoramic view at the end of german turn 4:
Soviet turn 5:
Again, 5 orders are rolled
Not much to do for the soviets. The flanking force stals ahead but fail to pin anything except for the newly arrived PzIV #31.
The partisans were told not to allow the halftracks to escape. So they repeat a volley of supression fire on the 251. And they pin it!
Also on this flank, the reserve rifle squad passes it´s “auxiliary” test and pour some supressing fire on the church, pinning the rifle team there.
T-26 #2 advances and gets shot by ambushing PzIV #33 who’s looking the other way around. However, having a turret helps solve this. The soviet tank answer the shot. Both miss
Then, BA-10 #1 makes an incredible kennedy-like shot. From almost 50 inches, it spots the escaping sdkfz 251. A 45mm shot is fired, a “6” is rolled, a hit! Penetration 1 is not enough to destroy the half-track. However, a morale test is required. The germans roll a “1”, and as the 251 is already pinned, the pioneers bail out!
The germans must take 2 BR counters and deeply regret not to have used their BTCOD on the pinned (now destroyed) half-track
One of the BR counters is a “1”. The germans use it on T-26 #1 and the unlucky soviet tank is destroyed! by the unreliable rule. The tank riders must disembark, pinned.
German turn 5:
As reinforcements the germans bring the Foward HQ in his Panzerbefelswagen. It is very far from the action. But a move & fire order brings it to a point where it can try supression fire on the partisans. With a puny ROF of 3, it rolls a 6 and succeeds! The partisans are pinned.
The 2nd 251 half-track from the convoy takes the first german order and happily exit the table. A great achievement towards final victory.
As per special scenario rules, now the germans return one BR counter to the BR bag and the soviets take one BR counter.
PzIVE #33 retires to a position beside the bunker to dodge the AP rounds coming from the north.
The main threat to the germans now is that T-26 #2 is dangerously close to the bunker. Something must be done about it. However, the Pak38 in the bunker is worthless, as the tank is coming from it’s blind side.
Desperate times need desperate measures, and the german commander decides to move the Pak38 out of the bunker. Moving 3 inches outside, then it tries a snap shot at the menacing T/26 #2. Being both moving and at more than 20 inches, a “6” is required to hit. Predictably, the pak38 misses.
It is time now for it´s little brother. However, The Pak 36 also misses its target. The soviet NCO aboard T-26 #2 starts to think mother russia has blessed him.
On the southern flank, the Germans took advantage of the pinned soviet squads in the open. More painful casualties are inflicted, but the soviets stand there, like undead infantry, inmune to psichology and german bullets. The tripod MG34, rifle squad & LMG squad cannot believve this human wave is still standing
Soviet Turn 6:
10 orders are rolled, and the russians feel it is moment for another stonk. Aiming again at their PRT, mortar shells saturate the bunker area. After the stonk have passed, the tripod MG34 is pinned.
The most advanced scout patrol moves & fires upon the Pak38 (which is now in the open). But they score no hits.
The other foot patrol decides it´s time to get rid of the pesky sniper in the church tower. They risk two aimed shots. Observing on a 4+ (obscured infantry firing, plus small team, plus sniper scout, minus scout bonus) they spot twice and pour 14 dice of mosin nagant rounds into the church tower (they have lost their DP lightmachinegunner to sniping). Both Hans and his spotter receive wounds and the unit is eliminated. Being a sniper unit, no BR counter is taken.
Still excited from the previous turn success and having reached a good position, the Starshiná NCO commanding T-26 #2 takes a key decision. Having achieved a position with a good LOS to the bunker, Ivan orders the crew to take an ambush position.
Meanwhile on the right soviet flank.. Their only remaining asset; BA-10 #2 makes a full speed move to threaten the german´s southern flank.
The three T-26 on the northern flank advance and prepare to confront the newly arrived PzIVE
The cylindrical turreted T-26 tries a shot at PzIV and hits. However, the thick frontal armour resist. Spalling steel pins the crew nonetheless.
The soviet turn ends. Curiously, the soviets did not try to unpin their units, although many of his infantry units are pinned.
It is now re-scoring time. And the soviets take 1 BR counter for the suthern crossroads. The other two objectives are not re-scored as the soviets have infantry units within 10 inches of them (the church and the bunker). Luckily, the BR counter is an airplane. The soviets must now wait until turn 7 to see if any help from the VVS materializes.
German Turn 6:
It´s time now for the third sdkfz 251 to appear on the battlefield. (remember the russians does not know the timing)
But the pioneeren have a little green problem. T-26 #2 is waiting in ambsuh.
The germans are seeing all of this. However, instead of trying to escape with their first order, they give an open fire order to the Pak 36 (who has no LOS to T-26 #2). The soviets interrupt and use their ambushing T-26. With a clear LOS to the sdkfz 251, the soviet tank spots easily (2+), and at 20 inches hits on 3+. One hits is scored and penetration 4 makes life difficult for the Pioneeren. The sdkfz 251 is destroyed.
This is a disaster for the germans. They took 2 BR counters and the soviets now have fullfilled their complementary victory conditions. They must now break the germans BR to win decisively.
This fact must have affected the Pak36 crew, who must now complete their open fire action. They aim at the distant T-26 in the Church´s orchard and miss miserably.
Should the germans have ordered the 251 to move first, maybe it would have escaped, as a further -1 to hit would have been applied.
Adding insult to injury, the destroyed sdkfz 251 now blocks the Pak 38´s LOS. A resourceful crew manages to fire three shots on a distant T-26 in the church´s orchard instead. All shots went wide.
On a remote area of the battlefield (i have no photos), the german HQ successfuly pins the partisans with two rounds of supressing fire.
Seizing the moment, Hasso Plattner decides the time is now to go on a partisan-hunting mission. The assault pioneer squad abandon the house and moves trhough the orchard towards the partisan-infested house.
A very undecisive PzIVE #33 comes back to the south and tries a shot at the BA-10. It fails.
The rifle squad who stood waiting in reserve in the middle of the woods, finally advance and take position at the edge of the woods, avoiding the horrible sight of his dead comrades at the previous Pak38 position. Now, that the schutzen squad is complete again, both units continue to fire into the helpless soviet infantry units, causing more casualties. But they still refuse to give in and stand firm (pinned).
The germans unpin their PzIV #31 and HMG and then end their turn.
Soviet Turn 7:
A rather good turn on orders. Nine are rolled.
The VVS says hello! A lone I-16 decides to help task force Lukin with some strafing. (We lack the I-16 model, but this biplane look equally fine)
On the first soviet order the russian plane readies it’s 4 MG’s and strafes the pak38 (which is in the open now). The germans cry in terror as bullets land nearby (they took a BR counter for the air attack) but as they put their shit together noticed that not a single bullet has hit them. ROF 10 mean 10 dice, but only hitting on 6’s (the plane is always at 20-30″ distance and counts as moving). No sixes meant no hits.
However, luck has run out for this bold Pak38. The same soviet scouts that have failed miserably last turn, now pour two devastating volleys on the gun crew. Automatic spotting (obscured deployed gun firing, and being scouts) helps them in the slaughter. 4 crew are killed. The 2 surviving pakmen rout.
The BR counter taken by the germans is another “1”. Which they quickly play on T-26 #2, inmobilizing it.
In the Northern flank, the duel between PzIV #31 (officer) and the two flanking T-26 is settled. With two open fire orders, the soviets make 4x 45mm shots at the panzer. 2 hits are scored, and one of them penetrates the thick armour (a “9” is rolled on the 2D6). The germans curse the soviet good luck on penetrating rolls and take another BR counter.
The BA-10 #2, with only one ammo left, tries a deep flanking move on the extreme southhern edge, by passing the german defenders of the wood.
The soviets continue to ignore their pinned infantry units, trusting on their proven bravery for survival. No unpinning this turn.
German turn 7::
As a first order, Hasso Plattner launches a jet of flame from his flamethrower. Deciding to go all or nothing, the pioneers try aimed fire against the Partisans. Spotting on a 4+ on two tries, they spot once. Such evil weapon a flamethower….. 10 dice, hitting on 2+, open cover saves. The partisans die in a very horrible way, torched to death. That’s 2 BR counters for the soviets (one fot the unit lost, the other for flamethrower attack)
The pak 36 opens fire on the very distant T-26.
It´s more than 40 inches away…….With a display of accurate gunnery, the T-26 is hit twice and explodes. PzIV #31 is avenged!!!. The soviets take another BR counter.
On the southern front, the rifle squad in the white clay house finally obliterates the last remains of two tough russian squads. Helped by concentrated fire from the schutzen squad in the southern wood and the tripod MG34, the germans finally destroy the soviet infantry attack completely. A lonely soviet sniper, pinned, is the only remaining thing of a bold, massed, infantry attack. The soviets take two more BR counters for this.
With those BR counters, the soviets reach 64 and break their BR limit of 62. Panoramic view at the end of german turn 7.
The soviets are beaten. But, are the German victorious? NOPE!
Victory conditions establish that in order to win the germans must break the Soviets BR AND have at least managed to successfully evacuate two of the sdkfz 251´s from the pioneer convoy. With only one of those successfully evacuated trhough the eastern edge, there is still job to do. The last 251 must escape! However, It is scheduled to appear on german turn 8. The Germans must resist another soviet turn. That, or break the soviet´s BR +18.
The germans are at 34 BR, and on the verge of collapse. Obviously they do not attempt to unpin any unit. Could they stand?
Soviet Turn 8
As the first move of the turn, the soviets move & fire with the I-16 plane. Now the plane chooses the pak 36 as it´s target. Being easy to spot (on 2+), a rain of bullets (10 dice) spurt from it´s 4 MG´s. Scoring only on 6´s, and with 4+ cover saves, a single german crewmember is killed. On the subsequent morale test, a roll of “2” meant the crew run for their lives. The air attack has been too much and the gun crew routs.
The germans take a counter, and is a “4”. With this, their BR limit is reached. The Soviets, having already destroyed two vehicles from the convoy WIN the game! Lukin owes the VVS a big favor.
Some panoramics at game´s end.
Almost there! The soviets were bled white attacking the outnumbered german defenders. They even breaked their BR limit! However, a critical mistake was made on a key decision by using a BTCOD on a pak38 instead of focusing on the main objectives of the scenario. Using that BTCOD on a sdkfz 251 would have been a lot more useful, making a vital 251 escape the table and help fulfill the victory conditions. Nevertheless, sometimes the heat of battle (or Khorne) calls for blood and the urge to destroy enemy units is far greater than to fulfill your mission.
Soviet sledgehammer tactics were tested to the limit. Massed infantry attacks without ura, ura ura! would be going nowhere without enough orders (a very soviet occurence). All soviet foot patrols and NKVD (without the ura, ura, ura! special rule) were decimated by a tiny, but well-fortified german defense. A single HMG, a sniper and a rifle squad stopped and almost routed two whole platoons of soviet infantry. Off-table mortars were also plagued by low orders rolls. They were used just 3 times, and with negligible effect.
What saved the soviets from almost certain defeat was FOCUS. They focused on their main objective: destroying the enemy convoy. And by clever use of ambush orders were able to destroy the 2x sdkfz 251´s needed to achieve victory.
A very intense an hard fought battle. The Campaing now continues, with the Germans in a very compromised situation.