... a little after action report of a game played between myself, Tim Brown, and Mr. Tim Miller...
We hooked up for a little "ostfront" Flames of War action. I played some German Grenadiers and Mr. Millerov played his ubiquitous Russians.
Rolling randomly for a scenario we got "The Cauldron". Now in the previous version of FoW the Cauldron scenario was nice for forces like Germans and Brisith in the Desert... but didn't quite work out for anyone that had to play against Russians. So Mr. Miller was a bit hesitant, but we had a look at the sceanrio and how it has changed and decided to give it a go. I was still obliterated, but that had as much to do with terrible dice rolling as the scenario.
Rolling to see who would be attacker and who would be the defender we tied, re-rolled, tied again, re-rolled, tied again... five times we tied before it was finally settled that I would be attacking... attacking a Russian BATTALION which had two entrenched rifle companies and an armoured company.... with my single Infantry company... was there any doubt how this would turn out...
We set up some terrain with a town at a crossroads in roughly the center of the table. The Russians had infintrated a battalion throught the lines and took this vital crossroads on the was to Lenningrad. The Germans would have to crush this force and regain the crossroads before the Russians could reinforce the position.
So "Comerade Millerov" set up his two Infantry Companies encircling the town and kept the Tank Company in "immediate ambush"
(click on the pictures to see a bigger version)
Look daunting, don't they...?
Then I set up my stuff. I got to roll randomly for the initial dispositions of my troops. I decided to take two Grenadier platoons an Infantry gun platoon and a mortar platoon. The two Grenadier platoons were in the to southern quarters of the table and the Infantry gun and Mortar platoons ended up on the Northwest quarter of the table. The quarter nearest the Russian base line.... handy...
So I set up the mortars as far from the town (but in range) and as far from the Russian table edge as possible. In the end their doom didn't come on from arriving Russian reinforcements,but rather the Russian armour sallying out of their defensive pocket....
Here's what it looked like when we were all done...
The picture is taken from the North end of the table. At the bottom of the picture are my Infantry gun and Mortar platoons. In the middle of the table is the town and the two Russian Infantry and single Russian Armoured companies. Off to the left of the picture (east of town) is a single mortar platoon observer. In the two stands of woods furthest south was where my two Grenadier platoons were hiding. That's Comerade Millerov looking on.
Here's that Mortar platoon observer and what he was looking at....
There's one of my Grenadier platoons.
Here's how it played out:
Russians - the tanks moved out throwing thirty dice of machine-gun fire at my mortar observer east of the town. My mortar observer tried to look like a shrub. Must have worked because when the dust settled they were alive and well in their little hole.
Germans - No reserves, One plane. I voluntarily withdrew the mortar observer off the table (wouldn't you have wanted to leave?!) also his presence in that particular location would have made it diffeicult for my Stuka to bomb those tanks. As it turned out my Stukas did bomb the tanks and destroyed one and bailed another. The mortars and infantry guns bombarded the Russian infantry in the town, they pinned them but failed to cause any casualties.
Russians - the tanks move, heading for my guns!
Germans - no reserves, no planes.... Realizing they have only one or two more turns to bombard the town (keeping he russians heads down) before the tanks overrun their guns, I started moving my Grenadiers into a position where they could assault from. fired my mortars into town and actually kill one stand of Russians! I pivoted my Infantry guns to face the on coming tanks. Not sure why as they were obsiously going to tear out from behind cover and destroy them before I got a shot off.
Tanks tear out from behind cover and destroy my infantry guns before I got a shot off.
In other exciting news one of the Russian infantry company failed(!) it's motivation check to recover from being pinned by my mortars last turn?!
Germans - NO reserves, no planes... If things weren't looking grim enough at the start of the game, they're looking pretty hopeless now. I can't think of any commander that would try to make such an attack. Oh well. The mortars killed one more stand of Russians before they die. Infantry continue to move up for an assault.
Russians - Reserves (yeah the guy with the "delayed reserves", who really doesn't need anything else on the table, gets reserves before me...).
... and there they are a Recce Company of armoured cars. Here they are lining up firing squad style to kill my platoon of Grenadiers caught out in the open. they shoot them up but only manage to kill the light mortar, a stand of infantry and the platoon commander (who is replaced by the feldwebel).
The Tanks assault the mortars but somehow manage to not kill any. The mortars try to run away. So they died tired the next turn....
Germans - 2 Reserves and 2 planes... I brought on the MGs and the third Grenadier platoon double timing to try and get them someplace useful. The planes blew up a single tank. The Grenadiers in the woods, now somewhat reduced and facing an unpinned, entrenched Russian rifle company to their front and a company of Russian armoured cars to their rear, went to ground and hoped some support might get up and pin the russians in time to launch and assault.
Russians - More reserves; a platoon of towed AT guns. The tanks just shot up the running mortarmen. They died tired. Actually the commander and a single team survived the MGs. Rolling motivation to see if they wanted to stick around... they decided "...Siberia, I hear it's nice this time of year..."
Germans - the last two (completely useless) platoons in reserve showed up. AA(20mm) and AT(pak 36s). Yay. I did get two stukas and they did blow up two more tanks... but I'm still not giving as good as I'm getting.
Russians - Tanks double time back toward the village. the AT platoon makes it into the defensive pocket of the town. The Armoured Cars shoot up the rest of the grenadiers hiding in the woods near the village.
Germans - I get three planes. They blow up the AT platoon and pin the russian infantry company. Yay, now it's only a major defeat instead of a stunning one. The MGs also give the Russians a bit of Dakka-dakka, with little effect.
It's now or never; the remaining two Grenadier platoons move up a bit to prepare for an assault next turn.
Russians - HMGs kill one of my HMGs. Armoured cars kill one stand of Germans. Infantry kill another two.
Germans - One stuka arrives, it is shot down by the Armoured cars it was going to bomb, but this will keep them for shooting any more of MY ground forces next turn... I move out to assault with two platoons, forgetting only one can actually assault at a time one kills a bunchof Russians in one company before it is wiped out the second one charges in and the russians retire out of range. Conveniently I am within 4" of the other russian company and some woods they occupy - the only cover I could possibly hope to get to so I do a "breakthrough" assault on them. they also retire to take up better positions.
Here's my remaining German Grenadiers at the end of the assault phase.
Making it to turn eight in this scenario against russians is a victory, of sorts, in itself.
Surround and wipe out my remaining Grenadiers. End of game.