Monday, February 4, 2013

1944, Encounter With the Wiking SS

A Headless Body production.

Location: Ed Bernhard's Basement 
Players: Phil Gardocki, Legkiy Samokhodno-Artillyeriyskiy Polk (attacker)
                 Ed Bernhard, Wiking SS (defender)
Game: Flames of War Late War 1780 points
Mission: Pincer

The Forces:

1st Battalion, 1441st “STAVKA”, SU Regiment (Confident, Trained) 15 SU-122’s in 4 batteries, 9 T34’s (76’s and 85’s), 8 Katyushas, 5 AA Teams in trucks and halftracks. 1 Reconnaissance company of 5 teams.

SS Wiking (Fearless, Trained) 2 Platoons of Foot, 1 Platoon of 3 PaK 43’s, 1 Platoon of 3 Panzer IV’s, 1 Platoon of 2 StuHs, 1 Kampfgruppe of 2 Panzer IV’s, and 1 Reconnaissance platoon of 3 armored cars.

The Mission: Pincer, Germans defending.  Game is played on the narrow (4 foot) sides instead of the long (6 foot) sides.  2 objectives are placed in the defenders area.  Both sides start in prepared positions.  Defender has 4 platoons in delayed reserves, 1 platoon in ambush.  Attacker wins if he controls an objective.  Defender wins if there are no attackers on his half of the board after turn 6.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. 
A minor village along the dirt road near Vyazma.

The Board:
A steppes region littered with rises and woods.  Bisected by an S shaped stream in the middle.  A walled built over area northern area of the map.  A muddy road runs from southeast to northwest.
From the board's "North" edge.  The 1441st deploys.  This was a different camera, and I didn't get the hang of it.  From left to light, A Battery of SU's, The Katyushas, another Battery of SU's, the T-34 Battalion.  Off the right edge, "East" is yet another Battery of SU's.

Same deployment shot from the "East" edge.

German Deployment on the "South" edge of the board.  One Gren Platoon in the wheat field "East", the other in the woods by the ford.

“Ah, a task worthy of our guns.” Thought Kapitan Petrov, “And a way to erase the humiliation of our last encounter with the Bosch.”

“The task looked easy, too easy.  He couldn’t see them, but he knew they were there.  Just over the stream.  They saw his force, and pulled out their mobile assets.  Their plan was to lure him in and then surround him.  But all he had to do was take and hold one point, and their plan would fall apart.”

“He would approach the ford with his reconnaissance company to spy out any large guns.  Then force the ford with 2 of his SU batteries.  One of his SU batteries had already crossed the stream in the east and was awaiting orders to move out.  Another would cover the western approaches against any pincer movements.  Two batteries up the middle to cross at the ford.  Badanoff’s T-34’s would force a crossing, risking their tracks, and be in a good position to shoot up any flankers”

Turn 1:
The recon company disembarked from their trucks and approached the stream.  The dug in Germans offered no shooting and no targets.  Badanoff’s T34 Company approached the stream for their crossing.

The Luftwaffe made a show and got 8 tanks under the template.  But two Dhk’s and one ZSU managed threw 14 dice of AA fire and shot them down.
Eight under the template!, but 14 50cals managed to shoot them down.  The Recon Company closes in on the ford, backed by an SU Battery.

Turn 2:
One battery of SU’s lined up within site of the SS Grenadiers dug in the woods.  Even with Hens and Chicks.  I can hit trained units on a 6 and do.  With breakthrough guns, there is no 3+ save for the infantry, and I only need a 2+ firepower to kill a dug in team.  And of course, I roll a 1.   Badanoff’s T34 76’s, with their wide tracks, forded the stream with only one bogging.  However, the 85’s all bogged in the attempt.  The Luftwaffe made another show and got 5 tanks under the template.  This time only the two Dshk’s were in range, but they still shot down one HS-129, causing the air strike to reroll hits.  The end result was one just one bailed T-34.

All Soviet units are ready to make the crossing.  The Germans remain quiet.

Turn 3:
One battery of SU’s now start to volley fire the woods line, while another crosses the stream.  The SS Grenadiers realize they can’t stay there long and back away from their positions.  The T-34’s still have their company commander bogged along with another 2 T-34/85’s.  A day later I found the rule that allows the commander to take command of an unbogged vehicle and keep moving.  The eastern most battery of SU’s advance and take a position on a knoll and start bombarding the SS in the wheat field.  German reserves fail to show up.
Soviet turn 3.  One battery makes the crossing while the other provides covering fire.  This has to be done right as the SU's do not have MG's, and can easily be assaulted.

While on the "East" side of the board, most of the Badinuff's 307th T-34 Battalion manage the crossing. 

Turn 4:
Soviet Reconnaissance cross the stream and head for the woods. All the SU batteries have crossed the stream.   The eastern battery of SU’s start volley fire on the Grenadiers in the wheat field.  The 6 T-34’s that crossed the stream added their shots to that as well.  If they clear the field then the game is ours. 
German ambush is revealed, 3 Pak-43’s along the woods edge.  Initial shot killed one SU, and bailed another.  German reserves fail to show up.   Grenadiers also form up in the distant woods near one of the objectives.

The south region of the board.  German PaK's are along the woods edge.  The Grenadiers at the top of the board are defending the objective by the wheat there are under pressure there, while the Grenadiers at the bottom of the picture are abandoning their dug in positions.

Turn 5:
With the ambush revealed, the Katyusha’s had a target to shoot at.  They ranged in, but caused no damage.  One SU battery approached the PaK’s as well, but failed to kill any of the guns.

German reserves showed up.  3 Panzer IV’s.  Arrived on the east edge of the board, and started hammering the SU batteries.  Between them and the PaK’s a whole battery of SU’s went up in flames, and most of another.
Top of Turn 5.  The Recon Company follows the retreating Grenadiers into the woods.  One SU is burning, and the others begin to line up on the PaK's.  My thought at this time is to occupy the Germans with this force, even if it means losing them all.  I intended to win with the 307 assaulting the Grenadiers in the wheat field, as soon as Kapitan Badinuff unbogs from the creek.

Bottom of turn 5.  Germans Panzer IV's arrive, just in time to replace the rapidly attriting Gren Platoon in the wheat field.  One of them is a "Kanon" which can move and shoot at a full rate of fire.

Turn 6:
Once again the SU’s and the Katusha’s traded shots with the PaK’s and the Panzer IV’s.  This time with long range shooting from the T-34’s as well.  Between them one PaK and one Panzer IV was killed.  The PaK crews abandoned their guns at that point.  But in the German turn, another SU Battery was destroyed.  The eastern most SU Battery finished picking up the Grenadiers in the wheat field.  This would force the Panzer IV’s to stay exposed, or surrender the objective.

Top of Turn 6.  One SU Battery is gone, but another is driving up to replace it.
Bottom of the 6.  The Grens assault the Recon Company.  The Grens were hit 3 times on the assault, and failed all 3 saves, but still killed two Recon teams, causing a Platoon Morale check, which the Recon failed and fled the board.

Turn 7:
German air arrives and lines up on 8 Katyusha's            
German reserves arrive from the north edge of the board.  2 Panzer IV’s move up and flank the ZSU’s.  Despite only an armor value of 0, the Panzers only bail on half track.  This leaves only 2 AA guns to fire at the HS-129’s, but throwing 12 dice was enough to shoot down the planes. 

Off to the "East", at the top of the picture, the last SU Battery has two guns killed, and the third gun fled.  With four SU Batteries and one Recon Company gone, the 1441st is at it's breaking point.  It failed it's motiviation check, so the SS Wiking held the ground to fight another day.

2 Panzer IV's arrive and first shoot at the ZSU's, but only bail one.  But it is only a matter of time as there is nothing that can stop them from shooting up the Katyushas.  At this point the Soviets failed motivation, but it was a close call, a 4-3 game.

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