I completed my Soviet Armoured Car Company, bringing it to the recommended strength of five vehicles thanks to finishing the final three earlier this week. The final three are a BA-I (БА-И), BA-6 (БА-6) and BA-10 (БА-10). You’ll recall the first two vehicles of this company, finished back in February, were a BA-9 (БА-9) and a BA-6M. Here’s the whole company:  and from the air:  .

Here are the three recently completed vehicles together:   .

Here’s the  BA-I (БА-И) by itself:  . Now the BA-10 (БА-10):  . Lastly the funky-looking BA-6 (БА-6), first from the side  and then three quarter profile:  …great idea, just to whack the tank turret from the T-26 onto the armoured car body…

I really like this camouflage (камуфляж) scheme, that I got from this link: “BA-6 from the Separate Recon Battalion /1st Tank Division/1st Mechcorps, The North-western Front, Krasnogvardeysk (Gatchina) region, August 1941″ – it’s lots of fun to paint.

If you look closely at those trees in the background, you might recognise some of them from this earlier post of mine.

So, in the space of a few months I’ve added two more companies to my Soviet forces. That’s enough for now, as they are not my primary army. It’d be good to pick up a couple of Airfix T-34s (as kits or assembled) so I could complete my company of T-34/76s, but I’ve not seen any at the swap & sells this year…funny, as there were plenty of them around in the previous few years.

Now, strictly speaking the rules state that all vehicles in a company must look the same so they cannot be confused as others. I’m going to argue that they all have the same basic body and will play all as the same type, even if they actually are different models that I have. A whole company for $50 as opposed to having to pay full price for the same UM kit new…$225 for a company?! Sorry. I’m on a budget,these trainees aren’t cheap to train.

I’ll reiterate what I said about rubber tyres from the SU-85 kits (those were UM kits; these BA’s are UM kits too and they have real rubber tyres) – great if you can do them perfectly, but I cannot and so I have to paint over them, sometimes numerous times…and the effort to get them onto the hubcabs is a nuisance too. I’m happy with plastic tyres.

 

 

 

The scenario was Breakthrough, where the attacker attempts to break through the defender’s defenses and exit via one part of the board. So, Peter and I decided to recreate the breakouts the pockets of Russians tried to make after Operation Barbarossa and before the end of 1941. Here’s the board for the night:   and from the other end:  .

TURN 1: A Russian armoured car company (BA-6’s, from memory) comes onto the table:   . Two Russian152mm artillery batteries rain down fire on two map references,  indicating where the Russians were hoping to exit from. Platoon 1 of the defending German infantry company were in the radius of the explosions, and a Section was lost straight away. Morale held, though. Having seen the armoured cars, a PaK 38 got a shot off at them  but missed.

TURN 2: The armoured cars advance. All three PaKs open up on them  and one is knocked out. The Russians pass their Morale test, so they keep coming. German artillery doesn’t kill any of my entrenched infantry. TURN 3: The PaK platoon claim two more kills and a Stun result: . The cowardly armoured car commander flees!  (Poor Morale test result). My infantry keep their heads down as the artillery continues to rain down.

TURN 4: Russian FAOs try to shift one battery’s artillery fire down onto the PaKs – but fail. The cowardly Ivan armoured car reaches the edge of the board and is removed from the game. The other artillery battery now kills Section 3 of Platoon 1. I test Morale – I roll 7, which is modified down to 2.We are are shaken for…I roll a 1…one turn and must withdraw if any Russians come too close.

TURN 5: The FAOs can’t get the fire to kill my PaKs  . My infantry suffer no losses to artillery. Russian tanks are on the move   but the Germans can’t see them.

TURN 6: 2 companies of BT-7s burst out of the woods, moving at full speed!  The PaK 38s swivel so they can fire at them.

TURN 7: 152mm artillery shells begin to fall onto the German anti-tank gun positions as the anti-tank guns fire on the BT-7s. One BT-7 is hit and brews up. The artillery kills the middle PaK, the platoon commander, so it’s time for a Morale test. I roll a 5 but then a -8 modifier is applied, the outcome being that the remaining gun crews flee. I now have to test the whole Company’s Morale. This is where I normally lose games. I roll a 7…that gets modified to 4 – that’s fine. I thought I’d break and run, with the game ending then and there. Now I felt that battle was really joined – I was in with a chance to win. After all, the Ivans only have a few more Turns to get 50% of their stuff off the board…

Some BT-7s are close enough to my infantry to use their anti-tank rifle grenades against them  . The two teams in the white hut fire and both hit the same tank. One grenade penetrates but only produces a Stun result…the other hits the tracks and the tank is Tracked. This is too much for the crew who test their Morale, fail, and bail out.

TURN 8: The BT-7s grind on to their Breakthrough point, which is behind the little village  . 2 T-26s run into a minefield my troops had laid earlier  – this is the first time I’ve used landmines and I’m keen to see what they can do, since Peter has used them against me a few times with deadly results. I need to roll a 7 on 3d6 for each tank (I have chosen a medium density minefield only) – I roll a 10 and a 13 – no good, the tanks are safe. Back at the village, a BT-7 drives right over my entrenched troops! 2 anti-tank rifle grenades hit it, one of them Stunning the vehicle for two turns (hence the blue die showing “2” next to it, in this German aerial photo:  ). The Tank Desant (Ivan tank-riders) on the back are shot up by the German platoon HQ  – one of two Ivan teams are killed, the other surrenders to the Germans.

TURN 9: More BT-7s move, some getting safely off the board at their Breakthrough point. The Russian FAOs attempt to shift artillery fire again, but fail. The Stunned BT-7 is finished off by the nearby German infantry (their prisoners having been made secure)  but that doesn’t affect Russian Morale at all.

TURN 10: One artillery battery now brings down fire on Platoon 2 and in the process, finishes off the remaining non-HQ teams of Platoon 1. Platoon 1’s Morale roll of 6 is modified to 0, so Platoon 1 (now just comprised of the HQ team and the HQ Rifle support team) begin to flee  .

Now Peter and I stop to assess where the game is at. It’s a 12 turn game (Breakthroughs normally an’t be achieved in a 10 turn game). Peter can see the rest of his stuff can’t get to the Breakthrough point in time  , being all T-26s with lousy Cross-Country speeds. Peter has 1499 PV of Armour to get off the board (we excluded the BA armoured cars as we were uncertain as to whether they would count or not). Peter managed to get 736 PV off the board – he needed to get 749.5 PV off the board to win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By gum, I WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

A rare occasion for me.

The lesson learned in this game for me – landmines are AWESOME, but remember, you are rolling 3d6 for them to hit, not 2d6. I bought medium density minefields because I thought I only needed to roll a 7 on 2d6 to hit with them. Peter’s advice was to buy dense density, because then you need to roll 9 on 3d6 to hit, which is a 50% chance.

 

Aren’t Peter’s tanks great? Some are his father’s work, some are his own. The T-26’s have great-looking mud splattering and weathering on them.

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In real life, I don’t think land mines are awesome at all. I am a supporter of MAG, the Mines Advisory Group, who do fantastic work getting rid of landmines, bombs, cluster bombs, other unexploded ordinances and live ammunition so that ordinary people can try to live ordinary lives once battles and wars have gone.

This is a report of a game of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist played between myself and Peter on Friday night.

The game type was decided before we met, as Attack/Defence, with Peter’s Russians as the Attackers. Point values for this scenario weren’t strictly followed – my Germans were worth about 2000 PV and Peter had approximately 3000 PV. Although we had decided to base the game in 1943, this was revised to 1942.

Upon meeting, the “map”/game board was laid out. A medium-sized village at a T-intersection inside the Soviet border was going to re-taken by the Reds, reaching the town centre being their only objective (not having to hold it). There were some good stands of trees surrounding the village, but also some open areas too – making both attack and defence a challenge. The main road ran North-South, with the intersecting road going East. It was determined by dice-roll that there was a Light, Southerly breeze.

Three companies of Soviet troops were to face one supported German company whom were already dug in. This supported company were trialling a new addendum, that all German forces post-1941 could receive regiment support units even if they were an ad-hoc battlegroup (the regiment support units were my recently-completed PaK 38s).

Once secret maps were drawn and troop movements decided by the players, the game began.

Turn One T-34s came on directly opposite my PaK 38s, who were concealed in the big Oak trees to the northwest of the village. A mixed force of T-26s and BT-7s came on next to the East road. The Panzer III J (early) platoon hidden in the orchard behind the village immediately moved out to try to intercept the T-26’s.

The PaK 38s took aim at what was hoped to be platoon or company command tanks and fired. A spigot grenade destroyed one T-34 and an APCR shell immobilised another.

German Platoon 1’s mortars dropped smoke in front of the T-26s. This action ended up disadvantaging both sides…

The T-34s avenged their fallen comrade by opening up with all their machineguns, killing one PaK crew. Morale was tested for the other PaK crews – they held firm, determined to make the most of their advantageous position.

Soviet 152mm artillery began to fall onto the village, its centre of effect being close to a platoon of Infantry and the Company HQ. The Beaten Zone Radius (BZR) of this artillery was quite large, and meant that while that platoon remained dug in, they were always going to be affected by it – but if they moved out of it, they were likely to be killed by it!

Turn Two This turn, the PaK 3’s missed their targets and one was in turn destroyed by concentrated machinegun fire from four T-34s. The German mortars now began dropping shells onto the T-34s, whom happened to have “tank desant” – tank-riding infantry – onboard. A number of them were killed by shrapnel.

The T-26s and BT-7s had scooted out of the sight of the Panzers, whom were now left looking at a big smoke cloud dropped by their own troops. They split up and continued to move, hoping to stop the Reds reaching the town centre.

The heavy Soviet artillery now destroyed the small shed were the German Company HQ was commanding defence of the village. This meant an immediate Morale Test for the whole company. It passed, but now the defenders were going to be at a permanent disadvantage. The Panzers became the new company HQ.

Turn Three The remaining PaK 38 stunned a T-34 crew but then died at their gun as the remaining T-34s recommenced their advance.

Both German and Soviet infantry exchanged heavy fire.

Each side inflicted losses, but the infantry platoon, suffering a Shaken morale due to a poor Morale check, saw some troops begin to flee.

Turn Four This was a defining turn for the Germans. The infantry platoon fighting the advancing Red Infantry lost their Platoon HQ to T-26 machineguns. The T-26s had been cautiously advancing along the East Road and had now reached the outlying buildings. Their proximity to the German infantry caused those Germans near to the T-26s to surrender whilst others fled.

On the other side of the village, tank crews had sighted each other and an armoured battle had commenced. Four BT-7s destroyed a Panzer III whilst another Panzer was immobilised by the continued 152mm artillery barrage.

Turn Five More Germans surrendered to the T-26s and the T-34s whom were sweeping in quickly, trying to reach the village centre. One was a bit too quick, getting caught in his own side’s barrage (but unluckily for the Germans, not suffering enough penalties from it).

The two still-functional Panzers over on the southeast earned some credibility by knocking out a BT-7.

Turn Six Two more BT-7s were knocked out and there was a momentary glimmer of hope for the Germans – both were HQ vehicles. Soviet morale held and the BT-7s continued to move slowly advance, firing as they came.

The T-26s, close to their objective, knocked out the active Panzer III they found in their path.

From behind the buildings, the T-34s raced forward and took the objective. The remaining Germans, including a complete second infantry platoon whose only action had been to fire a few anti-tank grenades at the T-26s, surrendered. The game was over.

* * *

The German side expected to lose, but as the game unfolded, thought all was effectively lost by the start of Turn Three. As other games played have usually gone for ten to twelve rounds, this was shorter in rounds but the same three-hour duration due to intensity of fighting…other games have involved a lot of troop movement by both sides, where turns can be quickly resolved.

Lessons learned from this game?

  • Keep my mortars at the back or rear.
  • Keep my tanks in the middle or front – at the rear they are too late in arriving to do anything, especially since the Russian player will usually always have twice the number of tanks I do.
  • Don’t bunch my guys up too much – that heavy artillery has a big BZR.
  • Spigot grenades are a risky proposition – they fire after the T-34s, due to reloading slowness. On the other hand, APCR is awesome!
  • All tanks suffer Morale penalties when they enter built-up areas. Try not to do this unless it’s an objective. To steal an observation from “Kelly’s heroes”, “The Tiger is an open-country tank…”
  • In Peter’s own words – “In an attack/defence game, if you are defending you must think ‘ambush with everything’!” My tanks were not going to ambush anything. In fact, they were hiding. They should have been in the trees on the right flank.