Right-o, time for a battle report then . Or 2. Flames of war battle reports, in fact. Mostly what I do these days, but I feel the winds of change even as I write this. We’ll see how it all pans out.
I put together a table in the old basement,
and in honour of the US FoW nationals being 1500 points, put together 1500 points of Soviet assault guns from River of heroes to play “Panzer Dans” 1500 points of Wiking, which I think comes from the same book. My list was something like….
Battalion CO – IS-2
C1- 4 x ISU122 + Tankodesani + V.I Rat
C2 – 3 x ISU152 +Tankodesani
W1- Scout platoon 9 x R/MG
S1- 4 x 76mm Zis-3 + 1/2 Track tows + .50 MG upgrade
This should come to about 1500 points. The only possibly controversial issue here is the sacrifice of an ISU152 for large support platoons. My first instinct was to take the minimal support platoons, but I was increasingly nervous about an important platoon consisting of 5 Fearless Trained R/MG guys. I know from experience how fast these could disappear, even if not used aggressively; and I need them on the board to lift the Gone to Ground of infantry I am shooing at, or my assault guns will never hit the enemy. So I figured 9 was better. The only way to get them was to give up an assault gun, then I realised I could trick out the Tank destruction co. Not expecting huge amounts from it, but the mobility of the 1/2 tracks and the .50 might be useful.
“Panzer” Dans list was something like….
2 Panther HQ
C1 – 3 Panther with Panzer Kannone
C2 – Panzer Grenadier platoon
C3 – 3 Stug with Panzer Kannone
S1 – 2 armoured cars.
This was reasonably scary, but i did think his panthers were going to be less of a threat being Trained.
We started off by rolling up the Cauldron Scenario, not one either of us particularly wanted to play with these forces, but oh well. I rolled to be the attacker, so Dan got stuck in the middle of the table. The objectives were reasonably spread; He placed his infantry around one of them keeping his panthers in ambush. I started both platoons of assault guns on the table, and was fortune enough to roll that the second platoon could be deployed freely, so I stuck it beside the first one.
I spread the Tankodesani off the tanks to remove most of the threat of the immediate ambush.
The platoon of panthers went down near the first objective, then on the first turn 2 of them drove off to shoot at a dug in tankodesani on the right of my platoons. I therefore pushed the ISU122 company out to shoot at the isolated guys. Unfortunately, I did not send the ISU152 after them, getting distracted by their destruction of the German 2nd in command , basically resulting in them being out of the game completely.
The ISU122s and the panthers had a shoot out,
resulting in most of both platoons dying. Added to this mess, the 76mm guns showed up and flanked the panthers as well, leaving oly the Panzer Kannone active, facing my Company Co, and the last remaining ISU122. As I said I’d sent the ISU152 on a grand tour, where they had become embrangled with the Stugs which came on as reserves, and being irrelevant to the battle.
The Panzer Kannone had held driven the 76mm platoon back, and an assault by by recce infantry platoon had resulted in my infantry being removed for no loss to Dan’s armoured cars (which had come on as reserves and were supporting the lone panther) or the solitary panther.
On driving the Battalion CO forward with the last remaining ISU122 to engage the panther) something I should have done a few turns before, I managed to bog both of them in a stream in assault range of Dan’s infantry platoon. Not a good day for the home team.
We did both learn some lessons. The die rolls were …odd. Dan consistently failed to stormtrooper despite having a Trained roll with a reroll. I continually baled rather than destroying his vehicles. And then I managed to bog 2 tanks on the same turn, in basically the same place. But when playing with such small numbers of effective elements, a few blown or made low probability die rolls can swing the battle. It is unwise to rely on the numerical averages saving ones ass, because, by the time they swing back, the battle will be over. This applies to both of us.
I have to learn not to fall asleep and to concentrate my forces. There was no reason for the ISU152 platoon to go off an a swan like that. With so few forces, I need to concentrate them.
On the other hand, I was pleased with the 76mm platoon. It posed a credible threat which could not be ignored.
Dan has been playing with veteran tanks for a long time. Though he is perfectly aware of the difference of these trained ones, he does not feel it intuitively yet. I feel this leads him to do things with his trained vehicles which are fine with veteran ones, but risky for trained. This will doubtless come with time. Certainly much less time than it will take for me to figure out what I am doing.