01 April 2012

Modern Spearhead

So, after much waiting we managed to get in another game of MSH on Saturday evening. The scene was east of Hamburg during the summer of 1987, 0900 hours. I was commanding a Polish tank regiment and Ziggy would be taking the reins of half of a West German Panzergrenadier Brigade. Points-wise, the two forces were pretty even rated as NATO1 Regular and Warsaw1 Regular. I had set the board up so I gave Ziggy the choice of forces and table-side. We devised our cunning plans and began setup with the Germans defending against the Polish breakthrough attempt.

I had three battalions set on attack orders and one battalion of T-72s in reserve. Zig deployed his armored battalion in the center, beefed up with enough attachments to blow them up to an 18" command radius and kept the mechanized Battalion in reserve.

Our forces deployed

Turn 1 was rather uneventful, the only noteworthy activity was the Germans activating their reserves after spotting the Polish advance. On turn 2 the German mechanized brigade arrived on the northwest corner of the battlefield through the woods. The Polish tanks continued forward.

The German B0105s that had been scheduled to arrive at 0930 showed up on time and immediately set to work harassing first battalion. The SA-9 vehicle did manage to pick up the helos and fired a missile at them, enough to force one to take defensive measures. 2nd battalion, in the center lost two platoons to the Leopards, many of which had just received a smoke screen from their own artillery. Blasted thermal imaging!

The Poles continued forward, and the third T-72 battalion was activated, set to move in support of the mechanized battalion. First battalion took up positions on the hill in the center left ready to thin the ranks of the Leopards a bit. 2nd and 4th battalions shifted a bit to achieve better fire positions. The Polish artillery fired barrages at some of the Leopards and managed to suppress two platoons! Nevertheless, the helicopters and Leopards devastated both forward T-72 battalions, again obscured by the smoke screen. Their commanders weren't able to hold the battalions together and both quit the field. Half of my army gone in one fell swoop!

The Leopards, now with no enemy forces to the south slowly shifted north to deal with the remainder of the Polish regiment. The helicopters also relocated to more target-rich areas.

The Polish artillery again rained down on the German tanks and managed to suppress another. The first Frogfoot appeared on the horizon and loosed its ordnance upon the Leopards below, wiping out a platoon. The Gepards below fired but were ineffective. The 105s appeared above the tree-line to nip at the flanks of 3rd battalion but the nearby Shilka turned one of the whirlybirds into confetti.

Mug du jour and my orders map

The BMPs and tanks took up positions on and in front of the hill to get some revenge and cause some damage. The Leopards shifted for the most part, with some staying put on overwatch. 

Ziggy brought some of his homemade beer. It was very good.

Zig's dice cooled off and had a miserable round of shooting for a change. The Su-25 returned but was run off by a hail of fire from a Gepard. Bah! I attempted a change order on both battalions but only the mechanized succeeded in part because the regimental HQ was with them. Their new axis of advance took them far to south, well away from the German mechanized battalion lurking in the trees. 

Turn seven and the Polish tanks advanced toward the Leopards, very close now while many of the BMPs remained still to fire missile at the German tanks. The Frogfoot swept in and brewed up another tank. At least it was killing things since the rest of the force was taking a bit of a break. Anti-tank missiles streaked across the battlefield, hitting many German tanks but causing few casualties. Meanwhile, the Leopards blasted away at the nearby T-72s, thinning their numbers further. A platoon of Jaguars, hidden in the treeline on my right fired HOT missiles into a platoon of T-72s turning them into flaming hulks in moments. Note to self - Jaguars should never be allowed to get flank shots on ANYTHING. The T-72s again failed to change orders, gah!

The Leopards fell back, milking the situation as long as possible whilst the BMPs pushed forward into their position. The Marders and Jaguars took up positions along the treeline, completing the envelopment and creating a nasty situation for the Polish forces. 

At the end of turn eight, 3rd battalion, the T-72s routed, while the Leopards had passed their morale test and stayed in the fight. I was left with one mechanized battalion. With not much chance of breaking though the German lines, the Regimental commander called for a breakoff and the battle ended.

I was pretty soundly thrashed by one battalion of Leopards and a couple helicopters. The mechanized battalion caused a few casualties towards the end of the game but it was nearly decided by that point anyway. I failed every morale test I took (three) while Zig's one test was successful. If he had failed it, I could have exited 90% of my mech battalion off his edge and earned a bucket of victory points, but as it was, it wasn't even worth tallying a score. Next time, I'll attach the mechanized forces to the tank battalions to beef up their resiliency. It was fun and we both had a good time. Can't wait for next time!

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