22 January 2012

Flames of War

Got in a game on Saturday - I used SS Armored Pioneers from Earth and Steel and Zig used Engineer Sappers from River of Heroes. We used 1750 point forces and rolled for a mission which came up "Hasty Assault." I would defend since the ES are an "always attack" list against prepared positions. I placed one platoon of infantry in the center covering that objective, along with my 1ic and 2ic and the two company command HMGs. Zig's only units to start the game would be both his infantry companies, heavy to my right. My Immediate Ambush unit was my three Panthers - I figured he was going to start his IS-2s on the board. I had them cover the right objective, looking awfully lonely facing down 40+ stands of Engineer Sappers.
On turn 1 I loaded my company commander and the 2ic into their halftracks and moved them off towards the right objective figuring I'd need a few extra machineguns over there to stop the inevitable horde. My Panthers took a few pot-shots at the horde and managed to kill two stands! The Soviet horde slowly oozed forwards, trying to get better cover to mask its advance.

Turn 2 was uneventful; the command halftracks got in position and the Soviets continued their advance.

On turn 3 I got a reserve unit in - I chose the other platoon of Pioneers with their Stuka zu Fuss rocket launchers. I had them head straight towards the right objective to shore it up. I also moved the halftracks at the center objective to get better lines of fire. The pioneers that I'd just moved in on the right managed to pass their Stormtrooper test and dismounted from their halftracks.
The Center:
And the right, after the halftracks and pioneers were in position. All of those frosty Reds are cowering inside woods.
The Soviets completely commit to the right flank. Up until this point, they could have attacked either objective, now there was really no chance of going back.

Turn 4 I got my last reserve unit in - four Nebelwerfer rocket launchers. I placed them just behind and to the left of my center platoon. The only shooting I conducted was letting loose with one of the half-track rocket launchers. They ranged-in immediately and I managed to get 13 targets under the template but only killed two stands. I'm going to need to kill lots more and soon! The Soviets' tanks finally managed to get through to the battlefield and four mighty IS-2s rolled in on the right side. They took a few shots at the pioneers who had just dug in but only managed to bail a halftrack. ( ha )

With his tanks committed and way out of position to defend the objective on the Soviet side of the board, I loaded my central platoon up into their halftracks and began rolling out on turn 5. Between the woods and my own barbed wire, it wouldn't be a quick drive, but that was fine since I could still use them to smack the side of the red infantry if necessary. I fired off another halftracked rocket launcher and this time hit ten enemy stands and killed three. Not too bad.

The last of the Russian reserves showed up, a 76mm Artillery battery and much to my delight, were not plunked down right on top of his objective. The IS-2s put it in third gear and moved quickly up the side of the field.

Turn 6 - I bounce a few 75mm rounds off the ridiculously armored hulls of the IS-2s and fire off a barrage from the Nebelerfers but cause no real damage. The halftracks continue their drive across the field. The Soviet artillery ranges in on a halftrack carrying three stands but fortunately fails to hit it. Losing that halftrack and its passengers would have forced a morale test for that platoon. The IS-2s brewed up one of my tanks and blasted my last Stuka zu Fuss and a Pioneer stand. Not enough hits to cause a pin though.

On turn 7, I got one halftrack close enough to his objective to claim it. If it could survive the turn I'd win. My terrifically expensive SS Panthers managed to kill two of the IS-2s. Some tank duel. The Pioneers near the Soviet objective failed their Stormtrooper test and couldn't dismount. I cross my fingers and hope that the Red artillery can't find its mark.

The Soviets break cover and storm up the hill on the right although their supporting fire was absolutely miserable and failed to pin the German defenders. The Soviets had no choice but the attempt the assault. 14 of 15 defensive fire shots hit, pinning the attackers, essentially ending the game. The one final set of rolls was for the artillery to take its shot at my halftrack. They ranged in early but again failed to find a target. Game over - Germans win!

Afterthoughts...
Mobility is king! Although the heavy flank push was a sound tactic I like to employ, having the IS-2s on the far edge was a killer. If they'd been centered more, I wouldn't have been able to drive right across the field and snatch his objective. We also discussed attacking down the other side of the board where there was a bit more cover. This was good revenge for our last game where my Panzerkompanie took a sound thrashing.

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