Due to various absences we've decided to delay the start of the Montrose campaign and see if we can cement our understanding of Chain of Command. So the rest of the month will be dedicated to learning and assessing the rules.
This week we tried-out The Probe
scenario, which featured the Soviets trying to penetrate German patrols in search of the MLR. The Soviets win if a single team reaches the German base-edge.
The patrol phase ended with the
Germans positioned in soft cover along the base-edge. The Soviets had two jump-off points in a central position and one on the left flank of the German position in a wood.
The Germans had 3xFallschirmjäger squads, an MG42 MMG, and a 50mm mortar. As the attackers the Soviets had a 3xRifle squads, a maxim MMG, a 50mm mortar, a sniper squad, and an elite scout squad.
The Fallschirmjäger's plan was simplicity itself - they deployed early with one squad covering each jump-off point
and the MG42 in the centre. With seven of Hilter's buzz-saws in the line they intended to rely on firepower to see off the Soviets.
The Russians had an equally simple plan - they hoped to use the scouts to force an early deployment, establish a flanking position, and then attack through the heaviest cover in the centre, using the orchard as an attacking platform.
|Soviets deploy in the centre|
|Germans deploy on the right flank|
The battle opened reasonably well for the Soviets with the scouts pressing forward and the maxim deploying to the flank to begin wearing-down the Germans
|Soviet scouts move forward|
|Maxim and Snipers on the flank|
The Soviets then pushed forward with two of their rifle squads, hoping to move though the centre and into an attacking position. As we entered the middle part of the battle the weakness in the Soviet plan became evident. The scouts and the flanking maxim were able to be defeated in detail and did limited damage to the Germans. It was clear that attacking in column through the middle would simply lead to the Soviet squads being faced with a wall of fire one-by-one.
|Rifle squad follows the scouts|
So the Soviets attempted to refocus the attack, moving two squads to their left flank under cover of the farm and trying to establish a base of fire in the centre with a third squad supported by an LMG.
|Two rifle squads move to the flank|
|Soviets try to establish a base of fire|
With Soviet casualties mounting we concluded that they would be unable to make any serious headway against the entrenched Fallschirmjäger. So the game ended with a clear German victory.
|The view from the German right|
This scenario really suited the Germans - their superior firepower meant they could mow-down the Russians with minimal damage to themselves.
In hindsight the Soviets made a few mistakes that contributed to their downfall:
1. The flanking base of fire proved ineffectual and isolated. It should either have been placed later so it was nt isolated or placed further back on the hill so it was at long-range for the German LMGs.
2. Attacking in waves did nt really get the best from the Soviet numerical superiority, they were defeated in detail and did nt damage the Germans much.
3. The sniper's focus switched too late to the MG42
The general agreement was that we're enjoying the rules - it really feels like you are a platoon commander and tactics are critical to a good performance.
We have noticed that the terrain placement is critical though. There is a difference between what looks neat and what gives a good set of options for jump-off points
. More scattered "lumps" of terrain will likely give a better game than a few large areas.