20 May 2012

Flames of War

July 1942, somewhere west of Moscow...

Zig came over Saturday for a game of FoW - he hadn't played in a while and neither had I, since the Gnomecon tournament anyway. I lobbied for a Mid War game and we ended up doing a 1500 pointer. I put together a Soviet tank column - two platoons of five T-34s, a company of lend-lease Stuarts, some BA-64 armored cars, heavy mortars and 76mm ATGs. Ambushing this column would be a Kampfgruppe of Panzers - four MkIII specials, three more MkIII specials, three MkIV-Es and four MkII-Fs led by Oberst Zeigler in his MkIV special and his lieutenant in a III-N. We rolled a "Roadblock" mission out of Das Book and I was to be the "attacker" meaning I was to get victimized by the ambush. One of my favorite moments of the battle was when my wife walked by and saw my setup - we've been watching "Greatest Tank Battles" the last couple of days - and she remarked "Why are you lined up like that, isn't that a bad thing for tanks?" Yes honey, its a bad thing...

The tank column makes its way down the road. Whomever was performing security for this detail is in HUGE trouble. 
The ambush is revealed! Panzer IIIs nail the trailing platoon of T-34s but Papa's armor is strong and only two brew up! Glorious Soviet armor is strong! The crew bails out of another.

The next platoon in the column was the anti-tank platoon who quickly unlimbered their guns and fired off a quick volley at the attackers, bailing out one but causing no losses. 
The large group of Stuarts was at the other end of the column and quickly made their way back to help out. The lead group of T-34s also threw it in reverse and headed back to the problem.

The ambushing platoon was not amused by the antics of the anti-tank crews and unleashes a brutal volley upon them. 

The tanks on both sides form-up, the battle for the bridge is on!
 The German reserve units arrive and the Stuarts along with the column commander form a gun line to deal with them.
The battalion commander shows 'em how it's done and nails a Hun Mark III at extreme range.
Having just seen how it's done, a glorious hero of the Soviet Union nails a Mark IV!

But the Fascist dogs get a few of our tanks in the process. Keep your eye on the T-34 with the red flag hanging off his tank, a moment later he blasts the Mark III through the gap.
And the battalion commander bags a second wiping out that unit! 

The battle at the bridge is really starting to devolve - that Mark IV special HAS to go!

A few minutes later, the platoon of tanks that was so successful in the center, redeploys to the bridge and does just that! This picture was taken after the Huns had a chance to shoot back - you can see they performed some rather inspired shooting.

But a few more rounds from the Panzers and a failed morale check means that the Germans have secured the bridge and won the battle.  
The view from the other direction. 
Now that's my kinda game - only one smoke marker left in the box!

That game was a complete joy. Ten-plus turns of tooth and nail. Somewhere around turn eight, as we were talking Ziggy said that before the game started he thought I was just going to roll over him and I remarked that I thought he was going to roll over me! The long range on the T-34s main guns made a big impact, especially in the center where there were some long lines of sight, but in the end, classic German Panzer tactics of shoot-and-scoot made the difference where it mattered. Z was able to keep popping his Panzer IIIs up on the ridge, taking a few shots, the Stormtroopering back behind the ridge before I could hit him. I had my fingers crossed that he's dork up a Stormtrooper roll but it wasn't to be.

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