Tally Ho!

Saturday 11 November 2017

Victory is near, WWII campaign - Week 4 game 1

The first battle of round 4 featured the Russians attacking the dug-in Germans defending their last line of tables. The Russians attacked this table in the last turn but were unable to break through, so received an additional 2 points of reinforcements.

The Germans again went with 2 * 75mm AT guns and a Panzer IV. The Russians shifted tactics slightly and went with more infantry using 1 * SU-76, 1 * T34-85, 1 * medium mortar, a scout squad and an engineering squad.     
Table from the Russian left - German bunker visible in the centre

Table from the Russian right
The core of the Russian plan was to overload the right flank, attacking with 5 squads of infantry and both the tanks, preceded by the pre-game artillery bombardment. The centre would be screened by the scouts and a smaller force of infantry would threaten the left.

The battle stared with the Russians deploying both tanks and a sizable infantry force in the fields to the right. Partly this was to ensure a rapid advance and partly it was to try and draw-out the Germans tanks  and AT gun, so they would be vulnerable to the pre-programmed bombardment. This proved highly successful with the Russians making rapid progress through the fields and the German AT gun perishing in the bombardment - advantage Russia.

Russian attack deploys

Germans counter with their Panzer IV

The Pak-40 succumbs to artillery fire  
With the Panzer IV forced to stay on overwatch in case the Russian tanks moved, the Russian infantry pushed forward in two waves. The first was initially pinned but the second was able to launch a successful assault by moving through their comrades. Commissar Boss-ski purred with delight at the successful execution of a "pepper-pot". In the same turn the Soviet engineers snuck through the woods and opened-up with a flamethrower on the unfortunate Germans, pinning them.
Russians attack

Engineers open fire on the Germans
Meanwhile in the centre the Soviet scouts advanced through the fields towards the German squads holding the German centre and right. The scouts are low on firepower but are veterans and count cover one level higher. As a result they proved very tough to shift and were able to distract 2 valuable squads of Germans.
Scouts with a maxim in support
With the infantry assault made the Russian tanks popped-out from behind the hill where they were sheltering and attacked the Panzer IV. The fire fight left the SU-76 damaged but the Panzer IV was destroyed, opening up the right flank to attack. The infantry assault smashed through the isolated Germans, turning the flank of the position.  

Panzer IV brews-up

A desperate struggle
The Russians pressed the advantage and pushed through a further two squads of Germans, thus capturing the whole right side along with its jump-off point and victory objective.

Russians assemble for a second attack

Soviets sweep through

Russians clear the right flank
With darkness falling both sides agreed that the Soviets had achieved a decisive victory - very fitting for the 100th anniversary of the Oktober revolution.

Russians celebrate

This write-up makes it sounds like a straight-forward victory for the Soviets but it was in fact a much more tense affair than that for several reasons:
  • The Germans were unlucky with their AT fire and the Panzer IV could have easily done better. Had it survived the main Russian attack would have bogged-down rapidly.
  • There was a key decision to fire on pinned Russian troops when going on over-watch may have been better to have a better chance of stopping a second team assaulting them.
  • The scouts could have been ignored or at least blocked with a smaller force, freeing up troops for the flanks. 
So probably our bet game so far - genuine tension and historic tactics winning out.

T34-85 rumbles up the flank

German commanders lament

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