Monday, November 14, 2011

In the Ukraine, 1943

The gang gathered Sunday for some Flames of War, set in Russia, mid-war.  We decided from the terrain rolls that it must be in the Ukraine because so little was generated.  The Germans were attacking the Soviets, points somewhere over 2000 per side.  Being a "good" German facing the Godless Communists (just rhetoric fellows) I know that we had a panzer company with seven MkIV tanks, five StuGIIIg and five MkIIIj, with a company of panzer grenadiers, four tubes of 8cm mortars and four tubes of 12 cm mortars, all rated Confident/Veteran.  The Soviets had a pair of KV1 tanks, six T-70 light tanks and something like five T-34s.  Masses of infantry supported them along with six 45mm ATGs, four Katyushas and six tubes of 12 cm mortars.  Neither side could start the game dug in nor gone to ground.  The Germans had to spend the first turn setting up mortars.

Soviet starting, end run facing you

German start, infantry and mortars
behind a railway embankment
Turn one the Germans advanced their armor all or nearly all of their move.  Only the main guns could reach the infantry though to our shock and the Soviet dismay, one KV1 was killed and the other forced to bail.  A few stands of Soviet infantry were eliminated while the mortar crews rushed to get set up.  The Soviet turn saw them engage their anti-tank guns, advance the T-34s and begin an end run on the Soviet left by the T-70s.  (Don't worry about the model on the table, we "knew" what they were.)  One Panzer was brewed up.  The Soviet infantry all tried to dig in and most succeeded with their Confident/Trained rating.

Soviet right, German left

Turn two the other KV was finished and a major engagement began between the German Mk IVs and StuGs versus the T-34s.  In short order three of the T-34s were burning and the other two decided to bug out.  The German mortars started counter battery fire with no initial success.  On the German right the MkIIIj tanks advanced to chew up some infantry that hadn't been able to dig in yet.  On the Soviet half of the turn they started to execute damaging fire against the German panzer grenadiers by heavy machine gun fire.  Rockets and mortars rained down on the Nazis as well.  The remnants of the scout platoon dug in. 

Burning StuG

Turn three the MkIII group pulled back out of range, anticipating the T-70s coming through a narrow gap on their turn.  It was hoped to get the drop on the larger Soviet force next turn.  With no other Soviet tanks the Germans concentrated on eliminating the enemy anti-tank guns and two of the Katyushas and mortars.  In return the Soviets killed more infantry, making it a tank vs. dug in infantry game for most of the table.  As expected the T-70s showed themselves but were out of range.  Mortar fire rattled the interior of the MkIII tanks but didn't go more... yet. 

End run starts to round the turn while infantry waits dug in marshes and woods

Turn four the German Mk IIIs raced in to engage the T-70s, fully expecting to kill two or three of them.  Alas, their armor was better than expected and the 50mm German gun less so.  They managed to force a bail out.  In their "Stormtrooper" move the tanks pulled back.  Elsewhere, facing dug in infantry the Germans stopped to shoot and shoot and shoot and mortar the Soviets.  The Soviets retaliated by advancing and killing one of the Mk IIIs with the T-70s and another with mortar fire.  Suddenly all that stood in the way of the T-70s and their objective was three Panzer Mk IIIj and a dug in platoon of panzer grenadiers.

Bad odds

Turn five the fire against the main Soviet line was getting their company close to half strength.  The Mk IIIs held their ground and forced a bailout of a T-70.  The first bailout never did regain their tank.  The remaining two bravely/foolishly continued the advance but missed.  The Soviet rockets were eliminated this turn.  Looking very bad for Uncle Joe's troops.

Situation before the Germans fire

Turn six the T-70s were hit again and failed their morale test, with the remaining crews abandoning their tanks.  The company facing the German left hit the half-strength level, took their morale test, failed it, shot their commissar and routed away.  Nothing was standing between the Panzers and their objective now except a few Cossacks.  The remaining Soviet infantry could only wonder their fate.  On the Soviet half another MkIII bought the farm and the resulting morale test meant a pick up, but the issue was decided.

"Tovarich, sword not good against armor..."

Even though we started very late due to figuring the Soviet points, we were still done on schedule.  Thanks to everyone who brought toys, yummy snacks and a positive attitude.  It's just Flames of War after all.  :-)
Last scene with remnant of German infantry cowering

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