Soviet Juggernaut Stumbles On
Chuk and I played another game in our Ostfront campaign last night and the Soviets eked out another costly win. The mission for this game was a Breakthrough, which in our campaign set-up allows the attacker to advance two campaign sectors with a victory, so I used some of my VP to add some points to my force to try and get the victory and push into the German Home Sector.
My Motostrelkovy Battalion fielded:
2 Motostrelkovy companies with two platoons each
Motorized Heavy Motor with 6 tubes of 120mm mortars
Light Tank Company with 9 M3s Stuarts
Light Armored Car Platoon with 4 BA-64
Assault Gun Company with 4 SU-122
Limited Air Support with IL-2 Sturmoviks carrying Rockets and flying Close Air Support
Chuk’s panzergrenadiers took the field with
Panzergrenadier platoon with 2 squads
Panzergrenadier platoon with 3 squads
Self-propelled Heavy Infantry Gun Platoon
A rump Panzer platoon (2x PzIII – not officially legal in FOW, but certainly historical for the Germans so we allowed it)
A StuGIIIG platoon of 3 StuGs
Limited Air Support with Me109’s flying Close Support
The map for the game is shown below. Again, the terrain was pretty open but the hedges lining the fields served to break up LOS nicely. The pregame weather roll indicated Intermittent Rain – which would hamper both sidesI was deployed in the SE quadrant and attacking into the NW quadrant. Chuk sent his halftracks packing and deployed two infantry platoons on table, one in the town and another in the fields to cover the approach to the foward objective from my deployment area. The Grille’s were deployed as off-table artillery and thew StuGs were in the rear, leaving only the Panzers off table. I sent the Stuarts and one Motostrelkovy unit into the flank march and set up other to threaten the near objective, with the mortars and assault guns supporting them. The armored cars didn’t have a lot of places to go, so deployed to provide security for the mortar platoon.
As the game unfolded, Chuk moved some Panzergrenadier MG teams into the second story of the buildings in town, allowing him to shoot over some of the hedges. This placed my foward Motostrelkovy unit in a crossfire between two German units and really led to them getting hammered. The observer for the Grille’s also got up there and directed accurate and effective fire on my troops and assault guns all day. My own mortars and the assault guns suffered from pitiful gunnery all day and I was never really able to blast away the pesky Germans, resulting in the eventual loss of that Motostrelkovy unit. The armored cars though had moved up to the hedge and poured MG fire into the houses turn after turn, eventually killing 2 teams and the Grille observer.
The focus soon switched to the flank when the Motostrelkovy unit arrives and took up positions on the objective. I wanted to take advantage of the cover of the hedge, so did not push forward past the objective. This proved to be a costly tactical blunder. As turn 6 approached, I prepared to jump foward from my concealment and set up a cordon that would keep the StuGs from contesting the objective. But Chuk pinned the Motostrelkovy unit and the failed to unpin for two critical turns, during which time they soaked up buckets of MG fire. The Stuarts also took their sweet time getting to the table. Eventually hey showed up and were able to get flank shots on the Panzers and the StuGs. I was finally able to units on both objectives and hold through his fire. I got a Minor Victory, but the extra two turns cost me 2 SU-122, a Stuart, and a platoons worth of dead infantry.
By winning the Breakthrough, I advance to Chuk’s home sector. A win there for me wins the campaign. The next mission is Cauldron. Unfortuneately, my battalion is in pretty sad shape following two costly victories and it will be quite a challenge for me to pull out a win as Chuk can field several full strength infantry platoons and I can only field a pair of one-platoon motostrelkovy companies and an armored transporter unit. Oh well, that’s the point of a campaign…
Game 2 map
Table as seen from the German end
Motostrelkovy flank march gets strafed by an Me109
I have updated the Rosters and Game Logs.
More pictures can be seen at Chuk’s campaign blog.