Monday, January 14, 2013

The 1441st Red Banner, STAVKA, Kutuzov, SU Regiment

Boy, Soviets get lots of toys.  This doesn't even include the 10 T-34's that come with the list.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Battle for the Knonlop Passages

A Headless Body production.

Location: Showcase Comics, Granite Run Mall, Pennsylvania
Players: Phil Gardocki, Legkiy Samokhodno-Artillyeriyskiy Polk (attacker)
                 Michael, Sperrverband (defender)
Game: Flames of War Late War 1780 points
Mission: Counterattack

The Forces:
2nd Tank Army's 1441st SU Regiment, 307th Tank Company, 208th Flak Company(Confident, Trained), 89th Guards Mortar Battalion (Fearless Trained)
16 SU-122's in 4 Batteries, 10 T-34's (5 76's, 5 85's) 8 Katyushas in 1 battery, 2 DShk AA trucks, 3 ZSU 17's.

German (Reluctant, Veteran) One Sperr mortar platoon, One Sperr Pionier Platoon, one Sperr Platoon, 4 PAK40's, 10 STG's in two Platoons.  The Sperr Pionier teams have a tank assault value of 5.  They also count as fearless when assaulting tank teams.

Mission: Counterattack. Mobile Reserves, Prepared Positions.  Each side places one objective.  Attacker wins if he holds either objective after turn 6.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. 
A minor village along the dirt road approaches to Knonlop.

Germans will be setting up on the left, Soviets to the right.  One objective will be near the left Y in the road.  The other will be in the wood in the upper left.

The Soviets start with their full force on the board in the upper right hand corner.  The Germans have mobile reserves, and so have one STG Platoon off board, which will appear in the lower right corner.
German Deployment.  3 Platoons of Infantry, backed by a STG Platoon.  The bit of plastic is a mine field.

“And so it begins”, thought Kapitan Koning, Battalion Commander of the 1st Battalion, 1441st SU Regiment.

“After months of training and waiting, we have been committed to attacking the enemy.  All this equipment is so new, the paint hasn’t had a chance to chip off yet.  Let’s hope the Bosch is surprised by the T-34/85's and the SU-122’s as well.  I am sure the paint job will be the least of our worries in a few hours.”

He was also pleased with the other army assets he was issued.  The Flak Company should go a long way to keeping the enemy infantry's heads down, while the Guards Mortar Battalion blows them to hell.  The plan is simple.  We will race to the objective and sit on it.  While pinning the enemy down with artillery and rockets.  If the Bosch moves, we will just kill him faster.

Turn 1:
All the approaches to the German Deployment area were highly restrictive, forcing me to split up the 4 SU Batteries.  But all that terrain means my T-34's can double-time to the objective without fear.  My first Katyusha barrage fell short.  Dug in veterans being very difficult to target.

3 Batteries of SU-122's move out under cover, but one is lit up by the defending STG's anyway.

Kapitan Badinuff's 307th Tank Battalion moves out on the double.
The Germans were successful on getting their reserves on turn 1.  Due to the 307th Tank Battalion moving double time, the STG's get double fire into the flanks of my T-34's.
Turn 2:
Once again, it's know the mission.  I didn't realize how deep into the board the German reserves could arrive.  And they stopped my T-34's cold.  I turned what was left of the the 307th to face their enemy.  What I should have done, but didn't was vector in 2 of the SU-122 Batteries as well, but instead I went for shooting at the infantry.  Note to self, always kill the flank march when it comes on early.

I made another mistake on Turn 1.  I tried to target my Katyusha on the dug in Veteran German infantry.  3 dice looking for a 6.  Why not target the STG right behind them instead? 3 dice looking for 4's.  With a 1 square foot barrage template, all the infantry was under fire anyway.  The barrage was quite successful, killing the Mortar Platoon Leader, one of the Pioniers, bailing a STG, and pinning the lot.

3 SU-122 Batteries negotiate the narrow approaches towards the dug in German Infantry.  The 4th Battery is sweeping on the far right of the board.  The thought was to keep the infantry in the woods pinned to the objective.
Meanwhile Kapitan Badinuff's 307th fires back, killing one STG, bailing another.
 Turn 3:
Overall I am still confident on this.  The flanking STG's are under control, the Katyushas had continued success with their barrage, the SU-122's, having breakthrough guns, were also beginning to dig out the Sperr Platoon.  But my casualties were beginning to mount from the return fire.

Petrov's and Chukov's Batteries reach their firing points, at long range to the STG's, but short range to the infantry, but because of the Hens and Chicks rule, they'll still need a 7 to hit the dug in infantry, so they fire at the STG's instead.

Meanwhile, Kapitan Badinuff's T-34's manage to kill another flanking STG.

Turn 4:
The Kayusha barrage continues to take its toll, as the Sperr Mortar Platoon fails its motivation and leaves the field.  But the flanking SU-122 Battery on the right side of the board is ambushed by 4 PAK-43's.  Killing 3.  (See photo below) I thought he couldn't ambush me when within 16 inches of the Soviets, but appearently the wheat field reduced that to "cover" and he could place within 8 inches.  I'll have to check the rules on that one.  Still, even if lost, that Battery is accomplishing its mission of keeping the Germans in place on their objective, even more so with the PAK-43 placed in the most out of the way spot.  The other batteries were opening fire, and beginning to take their toll on the German Infantry.  This would have worked out even better if I had remembered the special Soviet rule, "Volley Fire", allowing me to reroll misses. 

The 307th Tank Battalion continued to pass it's motivation checks, and continued to shoot it out with the STG flankers. 

I still have high confidence, as unshown here, my AA Company, mounted on halftracks, is racing for the objective and will be linking up with an SU Battery and the remains of the 307 in time for the objective to go live on turn 6.
The Soviet center is dying rapidly.  But the Germans are only fairing a little better.

While 3 batteries of SU's were getting chewed up, the last battery takes up firing position.  They are already seeing a lot less Germans than there was a while ago.

Turn 5:
3 Batteries of SU's are gone, and the Germans start moving to cover the outside objective.  The Soviet 307th Tank Battalion finnishes off the flanking STG Battery and so is also heading for the objective.  Unfortunately, the Germans manage to kill the last SU Battery, causing a Company Motivation check, which failed, causing a general retreat.  Final Score, 4-2. 

End Game.  The last SU-122 standing is bailed.  The objective is off to the left, the green blob on the road, not the one that is smoking.

Overall, I am pleased with my first outing of this company.  All the pieces performed as theorized.  My strategy had flaws in it.  Basically, my entire force was shooting it out with his entire force.  Even though I had several oppurunities to defeat him in detail.  I didn't need to expose my SU's so early, as I was already targeting the main force with the Katyushas.  I could have turned 3 batterys around and contribute to the defeating the flanking STG's, and then proceeded to the objective.  This would have left one Battery of SU-122's and my AA guns and their 18 dice, to keep his blocking force honest.  He would have redeployed his other STG's to contest the objective, but I think 12 SU's would have won that fight.