FOW – River Assault
A couple of weeks ago, Battlefront published a report of a game on the Flames of War website covering a river crossing scenario. The scenario interested me, so we decided to take the information provided in the web article and do a river crossing game. We kept with our recent Operation Bagration theme for the setting of the game.
In order to provide an opportunity for maneuver and such, we set the game up with the river running along the length of the table (6′). The Germans defended this line with a company of grenadiers supported by a platoon of HMGs from the battalion weapons company, a couple of PaK40s, and a battery of 10.5cm artillery. A platoon of StuGs and a Tiger formed the mobile reserve. The Soviets attacked with three understrength companies of infantry, a company of mortars, a company of T-34/76 and a small company of ISU-152 for bunker busting.
Bob and I played the Germans and deployed a line of wire along the river’s edge, except for the extreme left, where a fairly large area of woods ran up to the river. Rather than isolate a unit in those woods we refused that flank and bent our trench lines back and strung some wire along the edge of the woods. There were three fordable spots, which we mined. Our fortifications were completed with an MG bunker in the center. We placed a full strength unit on our far right covering one of the fords and formed a kampfgruppe with a few teams of infantry, two HMGs, and a Pak40, to cover the center. A rump platoon covered our bent back left flank. The gap between the right ann center was covered by a pair of HMGs, but one was lost in the preliminary bombardment. The Soviets attacked with two companies of infantry across from the German right and sent the other across into the woods on our left. A sapper company moved up toward the left most ford, supported by the company of T-34s. The assault guns moved up in the center to provide supporting fire. The Soviets got to choose the time of their attack, so started the game at night with the die rolls for dawn starting on turn 5.
The Soviets opened the attack with a broad advance toward the river. The Germans mostly held their fire, but in the center right a company of Soviet infantry angled toward the gap held only by the HMG and platoon commander, so the HMG opened fire hoping to whittle them down. Scott began pounding away at the platoon with mortar fire, but they were charmed. The trenches protected them from all of the shell splinters and the platoon repeatedly unpinned to continue to pound away at the approaching Soviets. We thinned out the German line in the center to shift a few teams down to aid the HMG section. Andy brought his troops on and began fording the river . The Germans opened up on thevulneable Soviets crossing the river and casualties began to mount. However some Soviets successfully reached the bank and began working their way through the wire. On the extreme right they also had to contend with a belt of mines and the added delay proved costly. Opposite the HMGs though things were looking grim and we diverted a platoon of infantry reinforcements that way. Andy launched his attack against the HMG section, but the few teams from our center platoon were able to contribut to the fight and he lacked the firepower to pin down both. The two companies were eventually gunned down and routed, but Andy’s sacrifice was not in vain, as critical German troops had been diverted to the right side.
On the left, Ken brought up the T-34’s and began pounding away at the Soviet trenches. Andy’s ISU-152s joined in as well and although they had miserable dice luck through most of the game, they did contribute by destroying the forward PaK40 and the HMG bunker. The T-34’s destroyed the two HMGs in the center. The Pak40 deployed forward bagged a T-34 or two and when the second Pak40 arrived and deployed into the woodline to the rear, it also knocked out a couple. However, the unit passed their morale tests and hung around. Not so for the unfortunate sappers tasked with clearing the minefields for the T-34s. The sapper platoon was devastated and evetually routed. But on the extreme left of the German position, the Soviets had infiltrated the woods and removed enough of the wire to come boiling out. The rump grenadier platoon on that flank had been beaten up by the T-34’s and was down to only a couple of teams. We had been frantically trying to shift Germans down the trenches to cover this new threat, but were a turn or two too late. The Soviets piled into the German trenches and gutted the remainders of the two platoons defending them, capturing one of the objectives. The Germans would have to retake the objective by counterattack. Our last reserve (the Tiger) had arrived and Bob flung the tank against the Soviets, who fell back from the beast. The Soviets were still within range to control the objective, but at least the Tiger was contesting it. I sent in my understrength grenadier platoon to root the Ivans out, but despite being pinned, the got the hits to pin my assault with defensive fire and 3 of 5 teams failed saves and were lost.
Finally, Andy’s ISU-152 made their presence felt in a big way. The big 152mm guns thundered out and hit the Tiger three times, blowing it to tiny pieces and securing a Soviet victory!
Another fun game with plenty of twists and turns. I was really worried at first that Andy’s attack would go right through the weak spot in the line held by the single HMG. I got pretty lucky in keeping that gun alive and unpinned. Then I thought the game might swing for the Germans, but Ken was able to get out of the woods and into the German flank just ahead of our reorganization (and the Tiger).