First game was on friday. Somewhere on the Eastern Front, early 1945 – probably March. Clear and no wind. Here’s the map: – the Objective was to reach the crossroads in the centre of the map  and hold it, with at least undamaged vehicle, until the end of Turn 10. The map was not too complicated – fields, orchards, treelines, low hills – and on one side, a small power plant: . I had an anit-tank SP company, two platoons of StuG IIIG and one platoon of JagdPanzer IV L70.

TURN 1: Movement. My StuGs race to reach optimal firing positions: while the JgPz stay concealed behind a treeline. The two Soviet tank companies do the same: . After all this movement, there was combat! At the time, I said this was a first, having combat in the first turn…but it may well have happened before, so I’m not too sure. Anyway, T-34/85s on the left flank shoot at the StuGs over there – 2 shots resulting in one kill and one StuG being Tracked  – it’s tracks are hit and it now can’t move. I roll Morale for the Tracked StuG and the crew bail out. I now have to test the Morale of that Platoon – the final result is a 2, and so that Platoon will Flee the battle . I now test for the whole Company – I roll a 10 – that’s fine, they pass.

TURN 2: It is possible for me to try to stop the panicked StuG platoon fleeing the table…I need to get my Company HQ StuGs over to them (to talk some sense to them face to face). Sadly this is impossible – that Platoon is already very close to the edge of the map and my HQ can’t get there in time – so I lose them off the map and out of the game. The PJgPzs stay put. I move my remaining StuGs up to a treeline. The Russians consolidate their positions on the map  and prepare to race to the Objective. A keen T-34/85 tries to shoot a StuG but fails to hit. The Stugs see the muzzleflash (I rolled for it and passed) so now they know roughly where the enemy is on the left flank.

TURN 3: My StuGs lay down a Smokescreen by firing smoke shells with their main guns. While doing so, the enemy opens up on them and one is knocked out of action and a second one damaged so badly that the crew decided to bail out and flee  . I have to test the Morale of this central platoon – they are Shaken for 2 Turns. I test my Company’s Morale – a 5 – low, but OK.

TURN 4: The StuGs have to reverse to try to safely get to a better position. The JgPz IV L70s hold. The Russians race to new positions and also closer to the Objective , also laying smokescreens to shield them from unwanted attention by my boys.

TURN 5: The StuGs continue reversing. The first Russian tank reaches the Objective whilst others try to lay down more smoke.

TURN 6: MY StuG platoon is no longer Shaken. They lay down a small smokescreen that allows a JgPz to move onto the road and the others to break cover . The Russians lay down smoke in front of them so they cannot shoot at the T-34/85s racing in from the right flank to help bolster defence of the Objective.

TURN 7: More movement by everyone. Some jockeying to be in firing positions by the end of the Movement phase.

TURN 8: Lots of movement. A StuG hits a T-34/85 but the shot bounces off.

TURN 9: My Company Commander hits a T-34/85 and Stuns it. The Russians try to knock out the JgPz on the roadside but miss. They now have a good hold of the Objective .

TURN 10: My StuGs haven’t completed their shift to new positions so it’s all down to the JgPz IV L70 on the road to try to shift the Soviet tanks out of position. It fires and wipes out a T-34/76 – sadly not a Company Commander, so the Russians are staying put. That was how the Turn ended and the game too, as the Russians have the Objective and outnumber us 4:1.

Peter had brought along two mates of his whom each took a side and got involved in the game. Both enjoyed themselves.

AFTER ACTION REVIEW: This wasn’t much of a slugfest. It showed the importance of good Movement and positioning. It also showed the value of smokescreens. An interesting game.

Now for some wargamer eye candy! Here’s some detail of one of Peter’s T-34/85 commanders: , here are my haystacks being used as terrain: and here’s another shot of those JgPz IV L70s: . Those JgPz IV L70s are mine, but I didn’t paint them…they were a win on eBay. The StuGs you see early in the post with the two-tone camouflage scheme, full schürzen and loads of stowage are Peter’s mate Scott’s. They are the quality and level that I aspire to in my wargame modelling.