This MNW group game supposed an encounter between 22nd Panzer’s recce squadron and outlying fragments of the Soviet 63rd Tank Brigade (LVI Army) …
The table is standard PBI, 8 squares x 8 squares (so each ‘square’ is a quarter of the full size tiles evident in the pictures: I use a mix of big and small tiles which players seem to get the hang of and which doesn’t look too artificial – by wargame standards).
The Germans drove up the road in two armoured cars supported by a ‘jeep’ platoon (actually in a light truck and a couple of Kubelwagens). They were later able to get support from a Pioneer heavy platoon in half tracks.
The Russians were defending this sector with a Motor Rifle company … with a platoon on table around the church, plus a dug in 45mm AT gun and a dug in Maxim team. They had some piecemeal allocated armour available, and another full platoon of riflemen in the vicinity (i.e. available as reinforcements)
All the troops were rated average.
(end of turn one (from the Russian player’s view): the Russian positions are marked in red, the German in black … the Russian platoon commander is in the rear square; the nearer ring is the AT gun, the farther is the Maxim … the Germans have swung their jeep platoon out onto the flank and dismounted but one of the armoured cars has already been hit and taken major damage)
At this stage of the war 63rd had just over 50 tanks, but only 9 KVs and 2 T34s … the rest was a hotchpotch of light tanks including a number of OT26 Chemical tanks (i.e. flamethrowers) … in the game they managed to get a light tank, a BA20 and an OT26 into action …
(some tanks arrive and take long range shots at the Germans)
While the BT and BA hung back, supporting the 45mm gun’s suppression of the road, the OT moved around the flank to bring the German infantry within the much shorter range of its flame projector.
Now everyone knows that flamethrowers never work in PBI and that fortune never favours the brave … so imagine our surpise when the little OT successfully set fire to the buildings, killed most of the occupants and got away with the piratical attack scot free.
(only one German survived the flame attack but went down under small arms fire before testing morale)
At the same time, a Russian section by the road made a successful, if costly, close assault on the approaching German infantry, taking the platoon to breaking point.
It all seemed to be going Ivan’s way when, just as the heavy platoon arrived, the jeep platoon failed its test (and headed for the rear) and a couple of lucky shots finished off the immobilised armoured cars …
(confident in their mix of MG42s, demolition charges and flamethrowers, the German Pioneers drive right up to the Russian lines)
… and then the flow of the game ebbed …
Pausing only to get out of their Hanomags, the Pioneers piled into the Russians from the adjacent squares (2 extra dice per base in PBI) and made a mess of the position. With some losses, the Russians were all killed, and the cut down platoon broke at the start of its own turn. A text book assault.
(No survivors … the German Pioneers punch their way through the Russian defence)
Neither side had used all its resources at this point, but the departure, first, of the Russian infantry gave us a pause in the action which was a convenient point to finish for the evening (a Russian counterattack would be a new game should we want to play through it) …
Even so, we rolled the potential German break test (on the now battered Pioneers) – and they failed too (so this action really would have petered out without our intervention)
Actually, the local Soviet commander will decide that this slowing action has done its job and he will pull back to another hidden roadblock. The German thrust presses on but this Spring, the Russians are being more slippery …
PBI (figures by Peter Pig; vehicles by PP, Battlefront, QRF and Quality Castings; Russian Orthodox church (10mm) by Timecast)
22PD Aufklarungs vs 63TB MR, Donbass, 1942
Wednesday Night (GE and RLi) … costly German win (GE)