Eastern Front · WWII

06/07/2017

So, this week we were back in Eastern Poland and Operation Barbarossa. Sandy’s Germans once again tried to overcome my Red Army heroes. A slight difference this time, as I took command of the Russians and Sandy was umpiring, leaving Neil and Derek Hodge to command the invaders. We used the Panzergrenadier rules, which are fairly easy to use, Sandy drew up a scenario and we were ready to go.

The road to Moscow….2017-07-06 19.25.03

The Germans won the initiative in turn 1 (unsurprisingly, as they receive a +1 to initiative rolls and win any draws) but passed and went second. This was fine with me, as I wasn’t doing anything anyway. The German infantry advanced and pushed forward to the river. I had 3 rifle platoons, a T-26 and a 45mm anti tank gun in hidden deployment, but didn’t want to give away their position yet, so I let them move across the river in the next turn, during which they brought on some armour.

The Germans reach the river….2017-07-06 19.31.48

…and cross, while bringing up some tanks….2017-07-06 19.51.18

It was then that I unveiled 2 of my rifle platoons, 1 in the trees by the bridge and another in the ravine. Opening fire on the German infantry, the Russians suppressed some stands. It was the anti tank rifle with the platoon in the trees that excelled, forcing a veteran PIII to disengage and retreat off the table (it would later return, but there was rejoicing all round, well me and Sandy, when it left). The German infantry, possibly in a fit of pique, then charged the same platoon. However, one stand of riflemen killed the first 2 German stands to charge, and the rest then changed their minds. Over in the ravine, the Germans had a better time of it, pushing the Russians back and killing some of them.

The Russians beat back the German infantry….2017-07-06 20.15.10

….and drive off a veteran Panzer….2017-07-06 19.54.56

The Germans brought more tanks on and attempted a classic pincer move, storming over both bridges. It should be stated that the ‘road’ on the German left is actually a railway track. This required a ‘bog down test’ every time somebody moved along it, which the Germans annoyingly passed each time! On the German right, the 45mm AT gun opened up at the approaching German armour, but with little success. The infantry in the ravine obeyed Comrade Stalin’s orders to fight to the last man and died bravely for the Motherland. Except for their officer, who would have beaten Valeriy Borzov back to the Russian table edge! Confidence was high with the invaders, their infantry had control of the ravine and their armour was crossing both bridges. However, they had taken so long probing forward slowly, and the Russian infantry had delayed them long enough, that some Russian armour arrived in the shape of a KV-1 and some T-34s. On the down side, the Germans brought on an 88. For those who don’t know, these are the ultimate tank killers! A range of 48″ and an anti tank value of 8, if they hit, they’re going to kill.

German infantry secure the ravine….2017-07-06 20.51.19

…while German tanks cross the bridges…Russian tanks approach from top of picture…88 at the bottom….2017-07-06 20.51.11

The Germans had advanced far enough tat I revealed the T-26 that was dug in at the base of the hill between the 2 villages. There was much sniggering on the German side when it was placed on the table, which stopped when it brewed a PII…the first tank to end up smoking! The T-34s also opened up on the panzers, damaging and suppressing some, but no more were destroyed. In response to this, the Germans called in an air strike. which was bang on target, 2 pairs of T-34s. The Stuka must have been loaded with dummy bombs, as absolutely no damage was done. much to the relief of the Russian tank crews. However, the PIIIs had swung in from the railway line and brewed a KV-1.

The Stuka scratches some paint….2017-07-06 21.07.49

…while German tanks are smoking…2017-07-06 21.22.17

…along with Russian ones….2017-07-06 21.22.23

There then followed a couple of very frustrating rounds for the Russians. Firstly a suppressed T-34 was charged by a German rifle platoon and was cooked, then the German tanks inflicted more kills on the Russian armour. In return, the Russians were hitting the German panzers, but Neil’s outstanding dice rolling meant they passed every one! The 1 highlight in this was when the Russians called in their own air strike. It proved far more effective than the German strike and 2 panzers were left smoking.

Russian air strike takes out 2 Panzers while German infantry cook a T-34…2017-07-06 22.04.12

Russian tanks burning everywhere, but German ones are untouched (jammy gits)….2017-07-06 22.16.15

With time getting on, Sandy called a halt and declared a draw. This was greeted with relief on both sides. The Russians were fearing the total annihilation of their armour, while the Germans seemed to realise they had ridden their luck long enough! Both sides accepted a draw, but, much as the Italians last week, a draw is as good as a win for the Russians in early 1941. It was an enjoyable game, which swung back and forward the outcome was never certain.

Next week we are having a ‘Baroque’ game with Neil’s French army of Louis XIV against the British, for a change, probably under Marlborough.

Watch this space….

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