Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Soviet Assault on Erfurt

A Headless Body production.

Location: Showcase Comics, Granite Run Mall, Pennsylvania
Tournament: Whiteout!
Game: Flames of War Late War 1780 points
Mission: Fighting Withdrawal
Players: Phil Gardocki, Legkiy Samokhodno-Artillyeriyskiy Polk (attacker)
                 Miles, Panzerspah (defender)

First, an apology:
Apology redacted as inaccurate and unnecessary.

The Forces:
2nd Tank Army's 1st Battalion, 1441st SU Regiment, 1/307th Tank Company, 208th Flak Company, 5/1441 Reconnaissance Company (Confident, Trained), 89th Guards Mortar Battalion (Fearless Trained).

A total of 15 SU-122's in 4 Batteries, 10 T-34's (5 76's, 5 85's), 8 Katyushas, 2 DShk AA trucks in 1 battery, 3 ZSU 17's, and 5 Recon Rifle/MG teams.

German (Confident, Veteran) CiC, 2iC each with panzerfaust, SMG in a half-track.
One Full Aufklärungs Platoon with panzerfaust and full half-tracks.  One Reduced Aufklärungs Platoon with panzerfuast and full half-tracks.  Two Platoons of 3 Pumas, one Platoon of 3 pak38's,
one Platoon of 4 StuH42s, one battery of 4 15cm sFH18 howitzers.  The company had limited Air Support from a squadron of Hs 129B's.

Mission: Fighting Withdrawal. Prepared Positions.  Each side Attacker places two objectives.  The defender, one.  Attacker wins if he controls any objective by turn 6.

The Board:
4 by 6 feet. 
Early 1945, the Town of Erfurt, Germany.  Snow is still on the ground, and muddy conditions exist.  All hills and fords are bog checks, all streams are skill checks.

A rail station near the town of Erfurt.  Germans will be deploying on the left, Soviets on the right.

A closer view of the Soviet right side of the board.

The Soviet left side of the board after deployment.  I am going to try to rush the nearby objective, while screening the German forces on the center and right.

Visible in the distance are a German Puma Patrol, an Infantry Platoon, a Kampfgruppe of one Puma and the 2IC, and the objective.  The visible Soviet forces are 3 Batteries of SU's, an Infantry Recon Company, and the Katyushas.
The Soviet right consists of another Battery of SU's, and the 1/307th Tank Battalion.

German deployment on the Soviet right.  Two Platoons of Infantry, 2 Pumas, 4 155's and 2 objectives.
"Muddy Hell!", thought Kapitan Petrov, "Yes, the ground looks like it was iced over, but that ice was only a centimeter thick, and his tanks broke right through it. A frontal assault was pointless in this situation. This operation was insane."

But Kommisar Ivan Inanovitch Ivanovsky had assured him the enemy was pulling out, to redeploy elsewhere, and so there wouldn't be much of a fight.  But Petrov wasn't so sure, the Bosch constantly did unexpected things.

Turn 1:
My strategy was simple. On the right I would keep his forces focused on the 1/307 Tank Company, and on the left I would assault the objective.  The only problem was the terrain.  The rail line was all the way across the board, and the terrain severely limited any shooting lanes.

I pushed my recon as far as it could go.  Trying to reach the far woods in my 8" no ambush zone, but Miles would have none of it, and popped the ambush of 4 4 Stu42's on his turn.  I had a piece of luck, getting 3 shots on a Puma Platoon, and even with "Hens and Chicks", managed to burned one. 

The Germans had 2 Puma's on my side of the tracks, but when they saw they were facing 9 T-34s's retreated behind a hill.  His two remaining Pumas on the left flank rolled well and killed 2 of my SU's.  The 155's battery ranged in on the 1/307 Tank Company, but to no effect, while his Flying Tanks tried to take advantage of my condensed formation.  I have taken this into account with my Regiment design and brought the 208th Flak Company with me, while the 89th Guards Mortar Battalion also has another 2 dedicated AA teams. 20 dice later and is 2 HS-129's went down in flames.

Nothing to look at here.
3 SU Batteries advance, with the scouts in front.
In the town, another SU Battery advances.  On the hill, a nervous spotter squats, and off in the distance, a single Puma sets it sites.

Air action South!
Turn 2:
Losing the ability to negate the ambush, my recon headed for the near by buildings, waiting for an opportunity to do "Eyes and Ears".  My spotter also perched on a high top, waiting to bring down the hurt from the Katyusha's

His 155's found their range and managed to pin a T-34, while another airstrike avoided the Flak Batteries and killed a tank.  While his 2 lost Puma's tried to run around to board edge to get flank shots on the 89th Guards Mortar Battalion.

Now the hard decision.  Move forward and suffer "Hens and Chicks" and hit him on a 6 only, or stay at long range and double fire.

Air action North!  No AA here.

2 Pumas trying to sneak around the flank.
Turn 3:

Now I was getting distracted.  There was that 155 spotter on the hill, and all I needed to do was assault it.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the movement to reach him.  I did have the the 4/1441st Battery kill the Puma that was part of the Kampfgruuppe.  But that was pointless, as he was set to remove that platoon anyway as part of the conditions for "Fighting Withdrawal".

The Katyusha's rain down upon the Germans.  This was a case where the wrong part of the devastation template did matter.  Sorry Miles.  I was targeting the Stu42's and including the 7 stands of infantry in the barrage.  Eventually I would crack the Infantry using this tactic. 

4/1441st kills another Puma.

But lose a battery in return.

Turn 4:
To avoid the 155 Barrage,  I started stretching out the 1/307 Tanks Company.  9 tanks at 6 inch intervals stretches a long way.  Two tanks covered the flanks should the 2 Pumas return, all the way to where I can get a shot on the Spotter, eventually killing him on turn 5.  Almost the entire Company within two inches of a building or wood, so that the next air strike failed to range in.

But my SU Batteries were spent.  One battery fled, another was down to one gun.  An air strike braved the AA and picked up the third.

The HS-129's pick up a battery.  In the background there is a lot less infantry covering the objective.
Turns 5 and 6:
     The situation is really not tenable anymore.  I managed to kill the spotter, but his CIC was able to fill the void, and call in more artillery on my remaining battery of SU's.  I may be able to contest the objective, but he will pick it up next turn and then I will not be able to switch to another one.

His Stu42's were totally intact. and with that his AT ability was almost untouched.  So even though I manage to wipe out his infantry platoon, and on turn 6 his CIC, there was no chance at a win.

Still running down the Spotter, off to the right, and managed to MG him down as he fled.  But the guns were ranged in right on the center of town.

Final.  The wreck of the 1441st "STAVKA", "Red Banner", SU regiment.  a 2-5 loss.


  1. Very attractive looking game.

    Perhaps you were a little timid in going forward?
    With 3 platoons of SUs, you could have forced his StuHs to turn and/or expose a flank?
    Also his air could have been forced to wave off if you were nearer his own troops?

    Time is a killer in this mission!

    But don't listen to me , I lose most of my games!

  2. Trouble with charging is "Hens and Chicks" +1 to hit while moving. I was going to move up in stages, but the Germans got lucky on turn one, almost wiping out one battery, while a second battery was somewhat bogged on the rail line. I was going to turn the flank with the 4th Battery, but the artillery took it out.