Table and Deployment
100+ terrain features on a 6 x 4′ (1.8 x 1.2 m) table. Masses of building sectors and some rubble areas. I’d recently modified the rubble features to match the size of my standard terrain template sizes. They aren’t finished, but looked good enough to play.
I was the Soviet defender of the Railway Station. I packed a lot of troops as I could into the Railway Station. The victory conditions meant the Germans could go for broke and take the station in their first initiative. So I had to tip the odds. I couldn’t do it with quality but I could attempt quantity.
I also had to prevent the Germans getting more troops into the Railway Station. The terrain left big open spaces around the station. A big plaza at the front and the railway lines at the back. I tried to cover both with lines of fire.
I put T-34s at the back of the station amongst the railway lines.
When placing my troops I went for long lines of fire. In this case a T-34 can see across a fair length of the Soviet frontage. Assuming the Germans get that far.
Jamie was facing me near the station. Not surprisingly he had troops massed in support.
Adam was the other Soviet player and was in charge of our spoiling attack. Our plan was to draw German attention away from the station to other parts of the table. And we’d try to kill enough Germans to drive them from the table. As it turned out most of the game was fought in this area.
Chris has the German flank guards facing Adam.
Heavy guns boom
The game started with both sides going for low hanging fruit. Basically what ever we could shoot at with the biggest fire power. So the heavy artillery of both sides started in at once. In fact, for most of the game the exchange of fire was the only activity near the Railway Station.
Soviet spoiling attack
Adam launched his spoiling attack immediately. This was a stereotypical Soviet attack which advanced regardless of risk or casualties. At, at a price in Soviet blood, he succeeded. The first stage was to take the building complex directly in front of his positions.
Then Adam pushed his troops towards the next line of buildings, via a rubble sector. Repeatedly he challenged the Germans to stop his troops by fire. Again and again the Soviets moved forward only to be stopped in the rubble. Eventually German No Fires gave Adam the chance of a close assault and another row of buildings fell to him.
This front now became quiet as focus shifted to the station. But there was a big bang as the Germans got a natural kill with fire.
Flamethrowers and SMG in the Railway Station
Back at the Railway Station the long distance fire fight continued.
Some of the German fire was directed as one of my SMG platoons in the Railway Station. This was bad for me because my troops were generally inferior to the German Pioneers in the station.
But it wasn’t all bad news. Jamie moved some battalion guard troops into the Railway Station and I took the opportunity to clear them out with my other SMG platoon.
I didn’t want more Germans getting into the station so cautiously pushed one of my T-34s forward to cover the German approach route.
That was timely as the Moving Clock had advanced 40 minutes and the 3rd Panzer Grenadier Company would arrive on the next German initiative. [Steve P. didn’t specify a start time for the game so we didn’t use my normal camouflaged clock and just wrote down the time since the start of the game.]
Apparently the reinforcements were the trigger for Jamie to attack in the Railway Station. His pioneers started on a rampage through the station. Firstly they made short work of the weakened SMG platoon.
Next on the menu was a rifle platoon.
The SMG company commander fared no better.
My best chance against the German pioneers was an SMG platoon led by the commissar. And that is exactly what the pioneers hit next. The Soviets halted the German attack and destroyed the pioneers. Yay for the Communist Party!
Then the commissar personally dispatched the German battalion commander.
One platoon was not enough to hold the station so I had to find other troops. Like Adam I was willing to risk reactive fire to achieve the goal I wanted. My own battalion command led the way. I figured if he got pinned in the rubble – which he did – then he’d be able to help other stands around him rally.
German No Fires meant other Soviets reinforcements made it into the station.
Just outside the station one of my 45mm ATG guns knocked out a Panzer IV.
The German 3rd Rifle Company arrived on table. They arrived near the Railway Station but couldn’t find a way to get into the station.
The Germans conceded.
Steve P. asked us to record casualties and this is what I sent him …
== Soviet ==
1st Rifle Company …
2nd Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 1 squad; Kill-Fire 1 squad
3rd Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 1 squad
2nd Rifle Company
3rd Platoon: Kill-Fire 2 squads
3rd Rifle Company
1st Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 3 squads
2nd Platoon: Kill-Fire 2 squads
Infantry Gun Battery
76mm Infantry Gun: Kill-Fire 1
Company Commander: Kill-Close-Combat 1
1st Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 2 squads; Kill-Fire 1 squad;
== German ==
HQ 1st Battalion
Battalion Commander G-BC Kill-Close-Combat 1
Signal Platoon G-4-1 Kill-Close-Combat 3 squads
1st Motorised Infantry Company
1st Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 3 squads + Section Mortar
2nd Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 1 squads + Section Mortar
2nd Motorised Infantry company
Company Company G-2-CC Kill-Fire 1
1st Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 1 squad + Section Mortar; Kill-Fire 1 squad;
2nd Platoon: Kill-Fire 1 squad + Section Mortar
4th Company (Schwere)
1st Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 1 HMG
2nd Platoon: Kill-Fire 2 HMG
Engineer Platoon (Vets)
Engineer Platoon: Kill-Close-Combat 3 squads
Battery (off board)
FO for 105mm Kill-Close-Combat 1
Medium Tank 3rd Company
Pz IV F1 Kill-Fire 2 tanks
Then Steve P asked some questions about the result …
Steve P: Did the Germans take any ground?
Steven T: No. They got stopped inside their deployment zone. In fact they had a slight contraction. They almost took the Railway Station but the Soviet counter attack drove them out. They couldn’t get back in.
Steve P: Thank you. What do you believe the Germans need to take the place? And you are no longer in the station?
Steven T: They almost did it so not much. The biggest thing is that the German players would have to change their tactics. Then they’d need some replacement assets. So …
(1) change of tactics i.e. fight the objective not the table (a tactical improvement by the players)
(2) replacement combat engineers, the more replacements, the more certainty (and replacements in general but the combat engineers are the sledge hammer);
(3) covered access to the railway station, which means smoke, which means concentrating existing artillery/mortar assets (another tactical improvement by the players) and/or more artillery/mortar assets; I’m not sure much is “concentrate” and how much is “more”