Sunday, June 2, 2013

Delaying action in '43

In a blatant attempt to offer an alternative to Flames of War we had a small session of Command Decision: Test of Battle.  Using a scenario provided in the rules we found ourselves on the Eastern Front in August 1943.  As the Soviets have broken through in multiple places following the Battle of Kursk, a weakened German battalion with a towed 75mm and 50mm anti-tank gun, the regimental command element, engineer company and a company of StuG III faced off against a Soviet tank brigade, SU-76 regiment and a surprise force.  CD is a platoon level game so a stand is 4-6 vehicles or guns, and 40-60 men.  A turn is 30 minutes and an inch = 50 yards.  Table is mostly 6 x6' square.  Click to enlarge pictures.

The view from the German perspective looking at the Soviet deployment.  T-34 battalion on the right, T-70 battalion in the center along with the SU-76 "regiment" and the infantry battalion in trucks on the left.

A reference I made up on a big sheet of foam core board. You learn quickly that most of the modifiers can be ignored, but it is comforting (to me at least) that they are available should a question arise.

The Soviets lay down prep fire on the lead German held town block as the armor advances and the trucks take the road.  Shots are taken but nothing serious results.

The Germans have anti-tank guns deployed forward and the StuGs held back ready to snipe at long range or redeploy as needed.  The regimental assets, short barreled 75 and 150mm along with a mortar are behind the trees with spotters forward.

The Soviets shift from prep fire to bombardment once targets show themselves.  Surprisingly, despite 8 attempts, no hits are scored.  Meanwhile the T-70 battalion pins in place and the T-34s are run off and pinned.  The infantry had quickly gotten out of their trucks and run to cover.

Turn 3, surprise a cavalry regiment appears on the German left.  They immediately come under fire from the German regimental assets either firing over open sights or doing self-spotting.  Unlike the Soviet fire which continues to be totally ineffective, hits and kills are immediately scored against the cavalry.

With the T-34s still recovering from their demoralization the Soviet infantry boldly advances, hoping to pin the Germans between two fires.  Meanwhile 8 more rounds from the SU6s fall without scratching the paint on a German anti-tank gun.  I do not believe they ever made a telling hit in the game.

All the Soviet armor begins to advance again.  The German 75mm gun is taken out quickly.  The 50mm gun, which had been man-handled to face the cavalry was driven off.  Was the tide turning?  On the downside, the Soviet cavalry pinned and remained so for the rest of the game.

The Soviet infantry, probably judging that they were too committed to get out now that the cavalry had stalled, pushed forward.  Prep fire suppressed the defenders but the attackers couldn't quite get to grips with them. 

On the last turn we played the Soviet cavalry made such a bad roll that we didn't even calculate the result.  The remaining T-34s were closing but couldn't win the battle on their own.  The T-70s were almost all gone and the infantry mangled.  So the Germans were able to withdraw later with little molestation. 

It was an odd game in which Soviet self-propelled guns were not a factor.  Whenever they scored a possible hit the result was always no-effect.  The Germans on the other hand were way above average for hits resulting in killed stands.  The Soviets were rated Regular, Morale 8 (on a d10) except for the cavalry which was experienced.  The Germans were all Experienced, Morale 8.

Hopefully people were sufficiently entertained to make for more games where the dice more equal.


1 comment:

  1. Will be interested in more games and your views on CD:TOB. I've played 3-4 games with a local group that is very much into the game.