Early War · Eastern Front · WWII

11/05/2017

No blog last week as the club was not on last Thursday, so after a 2 week break, it was off to the Eastern Front and the German invasion of Russia.

***SPOILER ALERT***

There is a well known and widely accepted rule that any new army will take a kicking the first time it’s put on a table. The severity of said kicking will increase the longer it has been waiting to go on the table and how good the paint job is. My well painted Russians had waited 3 weeks to make their debut on a table!!!

I had chosen a nice and simple scenario. The Germans had driven deep into Russia and were nearing Smolensk. The Russians were gathering a large force there for a counter offensive. The German objectives were to capture the villages and the bridge, the Russians just had to hold the bridge.

Near Smolensk2017-05-11 19.23.46

Sandy brought along his Germans and I gave command of my Russians to MDF Michael while I refereed. I had also introduced a friend and (prospective) new member, Andy Bracken, who chose to join the Germans.

The game started with both sides acting cautiously, the first 2 turns were very uneventful. Eventually, the Germans advanced into the village on their right and brought on some armour. The Russians reacted to this by advancing to the edge of the woods and firing on the German infantry. Unfortunately, Michael rolled double 1, meaning that platoon were now “low on ammo”. He also attempted a long range effort with an anti-tank gun, but missed.

German armour advances2017-05-11 20.10.55

The German advance moved them close enough to find a platoon of T-26 light tanks. The Russians then moved some of their armour to counter the Panzers. They moved their T-26s out to take on the lead German tanks. They took out a PII, but lost one of their number and Michael, again, rolled snake eyes for one of the others. The Russians also brought out some T-34s and brewed another PII. They also found a German 37mm, which caused 1 of the Russians to “disengage”, which probably saved it from being destroyed.

Russian tanks reveal themselves.2017-05-11 20.15.48

The Germans won the initiative for the next turn and immediately called in an airstrike. Sandy let Andy take charge of the Stuka and he did an exemplary job, bringing it in right on target and rolling double 6 for damage. This was an automatic death test (the rules call it a “disperse test” but at the club, it’s always been known as a death test). The only way to survive a death test is to roll a double 6, which Michael didn’t do. So 2 T-34s were brewed by the Stuka. Sandy then took the opportunity to advance some infantry out of the woods into the other village, where they took some fire from the Russian infantry hidden there.

The Stuka takes out 2 T-34s2017-05-11 20.44.18

The fight in the village2017-05-11 21.10.43

With their right flank seemingly secure, the German armour turned left towards the middle of the table, towards the bridge. The Russians attempted to counter this move by revealing their third tank unit, and it was the ‘big boys’. A T-34, flanked by 2 KV-1s, brewed 2 Panzers and forced a third to disengage. It promised to be a game changer, until Sandy called for his second (and last) airstrike. Newbie Andy once again brought it in bang on target (every pun intended). He then rolled for effect and, yet again, he rolled double 6. 3 death tests were taken and they all failed. This disheartened Michael so much, he immediately offered his surrender.

The Stuka strikes again2017-05-11 21.10.58

So, a severe kicking for my new Soviets! Sandy will no doubt be expecting to receive his Knights Cross soon and Stuka ace Andy will be accompanying him to Berlin to receive his own decoration from Der Fuhrer. Michael, on the other hand, will have been recalled to Moscow to explain his actions to Comrade Stalin and could probably expect a short walk to a wall!

I, however, choose not to count this, as I was not in command!!! (fingers firmly in ears….LALALALALA…can’t hear what you’re saying….LALALALALA….)

Andy with his weapon of choice….the Stuka…..2017-05-11 21.10.54

So, an enjoyable game (for some) and a new recruit for the ranks (hopefully, by getting to him early, I will have him joining the ranks of the civilised scale….15mm….)

Next week, we’re back in the Sudan for some ‘battle practice’ for Sandy’s campaign. In the meantime, some of us are off to Carronade on Saturday to spend more than we should on new toys…..

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