Chris Harrod and I played my SU-152s Up Close and Personal scenario.
Summary: Good game. Forced us both to make explicit tactical choices. I got a Soviet victory before the German reinforcements arrived.
Notice something Stalingrad-y about my 3′ x 2′ city? Chris spotted it the moment he walked through the door … the Barmaley Fountain features on table (first seen in Crossfiregrad). I’m pretty sure Tarnopol did not in fact have a copy of the Barmaley Fountain, but I needed a centre piece for the square and this feature is the only centre piece I have. One day, if I get keen, I might make a more generic statue like the one that featured in Mark Bretherton’s SU-152 battle report.
My SU-152 scenario has close affinities to my original 2 Foot City. Okay, it is a 3′ x 2′ city, but you can see the similarity. These, and all my scenarios like this, are based on an urban grid, i.e. a grid in which my 3″ x 3″ building sectors sit in regular rows.
As a reminder, the objectives are 12 building sectors towards the German edge of the table. The six sectors of the Railway Station to the east of the railway line and all six building sectors to the west of the railway line.
The Germans had a rifle company with some supports. They also had some fortifications: three anti-tank barricades, a minefield, and three bunkers. Chris also had a Stuka – which would feature quite a lot in the game. The Stug III and extra rifle platoon are there as potential reinforcements – a counter attack force of veterans. The game basically played out with Chris trying to delay the Soviets until his reinforcements arrived.
When Chris saw the two forces laid out on the table he thought the odds were stacked in favour of the Germans. The forces look the same size and the Germans have the benefit of being hidden. But looks can be deceiving. From the beginning of the game the Soviets have an extra squad per platoon, the sapper platoon, and, of course, two SU-152s. (Sadly the Tupolev bomber never saw action.) I was pretty sure I could have a good try at the objectives.
Chris placed his three tank barricades well. He blocked road directly into the square and the road to the south. He also blocked the road directly out of the square towards the Railway station. This left the southern approach to the Railway station open. What I didn’t know is that this was deliberate and Chris has a surprise in store for me.
My Soviet troops came onto the table across the entire edge despite my plan to attack in the north. I didn’t want Chris to know my intentions.
I brought my SU-152s on two different roads so it was not clear to Chris where I was going to focus my attack.
I started the attack in the south. Really this was to pin any Germans facing these troops, i.e. prevent Chris moving them to face the real attack. I had to commit enough troops to make the threat convincing although I had no intention to push the attack on this side of the table.
The main thrust began in exactly the same way, infiltrating through the buildings.
Unfortunately, my troops quickly came within sight of German spotters. The mortar rounds started to fall and my troops in the south hunkered down under the barrage.
We were using Clock Ticks which is a variation on the Moving Clock. The game was meant to start at 0600 hours but I set the game clock wrong and we delayed the battle to start at 0800 hours. With Clock Ticks the clock advances 1d6 x 3 minutes at the end of each German initiative. For example on a roll of 2 on 1d6 then 2 x 3 = 6 minutes passes on the clock. Because the clock changes every German initiative you’ll see a lot of photos of the game clock.
Some successful Recon by Fire and I uncovered a German squad. Soviet fire power destroyed it quickly.
Conclusions and observations
We enjoyed the game. It both had to make tactical choices that had a real impact. I got a Soviet victory in the end and before the German reinforcements arrived.