Stalingrad Day 1 – Finchley Wargaming Club – Crossfire Battle Report

Chris Harrod, Jamie Wish, Adam Landa and I played Day 1 of the 2019 World Wide Stalingrad Campaign based on Steve Phenow’s Briefing. Crossfire of course.


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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 460 Table after deployment

Stalingrad-Day-1 460 Table after deployment

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 468 German Pioneers in the Railway Station face a Soviet horde

Stalingrad-Day-1 468 German Pioneers in the Railway Station face a Soviet horde

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 469 Big open space in front of the Railway Station

Stalingrad-Day-1 469 Big open space in front of the Railway Station

I put T-34s at the back of the station amongst the railway lines.

Stalingrad-Day-1 463 T-34 lurk behind railway station

Stalingrad-Day-1 463 T-34 lurk behind railway station

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 464 Soviets look for long lines of fire

Stalingrad-Day-1 464 Soviets look for long lines of fire

Jamie was facing me near the station. Not surprisingly he had troops massed in support.

Stalingrad-Day-1 467 Germans near Railway Station

Stalingrad-Day-1 467 Germans near Railway Station

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 465 Soviets concentrate for spoiling attack

Stalingrad-Day-1 465 Soviets concentrate for spoiling attack

Chris has the German flank guards facing Adam.

Stalingrad-Day-1 466 Germans flank guards

Stalingrad-Day-1 466 Germans flank guards


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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 473 Soviet heavy guns stonk German positions

Stalingrad-Day-1 473 Soviet heavy guns stonk German positions

Stalingrad-Day-1 475 German fire destroys Russian gun

Stalingrad-Day-1 475 German fire destroys Russian gun

Stalingrad-Day-1 476 German fire destroys Russian squad

Stalingrad-Day-1 476 German fire destroys Russian squad

Stalingrad-Day-1 477 German artillery pounds Soviet positions

Stalingrad-Day-1 477 German artillery pounds Soviet positions

Stalingrad-Day-1 478 Soviet mortars hammer Germans

Stalingrad-Day-1 478 Soviet mortars hammer Germans


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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 474 Soviet spoiling attack kicks off

Stalingrad-Day-1 474 Soviet spoiling attack kicks off

Stalingrad-Day-1 479 Spoiling attack continues

Stalingrad-Day-1 479 Spoiling attack continues

Stalingrad-Day-1 481 Soviet spoiling attack gains traction

Stalingrad-Day-1 481 Soviet spoiling attack gains traction

Stalingrad-Day-1 482 Brutal close combat as spoiling attack continues

Stalingrad-Day-1 482 Brutal close combat as spoiling attack continues

Stalingrad-Day-1 483 Soviet attack grinds on

Stalingrad-Day-1 483 Soviet attack grinds on

Stalingrad-Day-1 484 More Soviets join the fray

Stalingrad-Day-1 484 More Soviets join the fray

Stalingrad-Day-1 485 End of the line starts badly for the Soviets

Stalingrad-Day-1 485 End of the line starts badly for the Soviets

Stalingrad-Day-1 486 Soviet win

Stalingrad-Day-1 486 Soviet win

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 487 Soviets push into the rubble

Stalingrad-Day-1 487 Soviets push into the rubble

Stalingrad-Day-1 494 Germans hold the spoiling attack

Stalingrad-Day-1 494 Germans hold the spoiling attack

Stalingrad-Day-1 496 Soviets push into rubble regardless of casualties

Stalingrad-Day-1 496 Soviets push into rubble regardless of casualties

Stalingrad-Day-1 499 German No Fire opens opportunity for close assault

Stalingrad-Day-1 499 German No Fire opens opportunity for close assault

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 511 Yet another natural kill - this time German

Stalingrad-Day-1 511 Yet another natural kill – this time German


Flamethrowers and SMG in the Railway Station

Back at the Railway Station the long distance fire fight continued.

Stalingrad-Day-1 488 Soviets shoot across the open plaza

Stalingrad-Day-1 488 Soviets shoot across the open plaza

Stalingrad-Day-1 492 Soviets mortars still dishing it out

Stalingrad-Day-1 492 Soviets mortars still dishing it out

Stalingrad-Day-1 493 Natural kill and kill effects

Stalingrad-Day-1 493 Natural kill and kill effects

Stalingrad-Day-1 501 Tank fire into German positions

Stalingrad-Day-1 501 Tank fire into German positions

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 500 German fire weakens a Soviet SMG platoon in the station

Stalingrad-Day-1 500 German fire weakens a Soviet SMG platoon 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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 502 Soviet SMG counter attack in Railway Station

Stalingrad-Day-1 502 Soviet SMG counter attack in Railway Station

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 504 T-34 prowls forward to further isolate the station

Stalingrad-Day-1 504 T-34 prowls forward to further isolate the station

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.]

Stalingrad-Day-1 505 Moving Clock reaches 40 min - German reinforcements will arrive

Stalingrad-Day-1 505 Moving Clock reaches 40 min – German reinforcements will arrive

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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 506 German pioneers take out SMG platoon

Stalingrad-Day-1 506 German pioneers take out SMG platoon

Next on the menu was a rifle platoon.

Stalingrad-Day-1 507 German pioneers wipe out rifle platoon

Stalingrad-Day-1 507 German pioneers wipe out rifle platoon

The SMG company commander fared no better.

Stalingrad-Day-1 508 German pioneers destroy SMG company commander

Stalingrad-Day-1 508 German pioneers destroy SMG company commander

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!

Stalingrad-Day-1 509 Soviet commissar with SMG platoon halts pioneer rampage

Stalingrad-Day-1 509 Soviet commissar with SMG platoon halts pioneer rampage

Then the commissar personally dispatched the German battalion commander.

Stalingrad-Day-1 512 Soviet commissar kills German battalion commander

Stalingrad-Day-1 512 Soviet commissar kills 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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 514 Soviet battalion commander leads reinforcements into station

Stalingrad-Day-1 514 Soviet battalion commander leads reinforcements into station

German No Fires meant other Soviets reinforcements made it into the station.

Stalingrad-Day-1 515 Soviet reinforcements taking up position in station

Stalingrad-Day-1 515 Soviet reinforcements taking up position in station

Stalingrad-Day-1 516 lots of reinforcements

Stalingrad-Day-1 516 lots of reinforcements

Just outside the station one of my 45mm ATG guns knocked out a Panzer IV.

Stalingrad-Day-1 518 Soviet 45mm ATG burns a Pz IV

Stalingrad-Day-1 518 Soviet 45mm ATG burns a Pz 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.

Stalingrad-Day-1 519 German reinforcement arrive on table

Stalingrad-Day-1 519 German reinforcement arrive on table

The Germans conceded.

Stalingrad-Day-1 520 End game

Stalingrad-Day-1 520 End game


Results

Steve P. asked us to record casualties and this is what I sent him …

Soviet Victory

== 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

SMG Company

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”

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