Friday, January 4, 2013

WW2 East Front 1941 battle report - outside Yelna

Introduction
This is the forth game (game 1 link, game 2 link, game 3 link) in the mini-campaign taken from the IABSM Vzyama or Bust scenario book (available at the Too Fat Lardies site). For the first three games I used the rules Take Cover!! (see here for a review) that are similar in play and scale to Rapid Fire.  But for this one I am trying out my 2-page rules, still in draft, that are derived from Take Cover!!. I am using 6mm with one base = 1 squad.

Scenario
Germans hold the outskirts of Yelna that contains an important railway yard.  Russians need to dislodge the Germans from the railway yard, and breakthrough to the main part of Yelna (off board).

Normally I would use a 2'x2' board but I shrunk the board size down to around 16"x18", mainly as I don't have enough buildings, and building combat tends to happen at close ranges.  I did build about 12 paper building models for this scenario.  I grabbed a timber board from downstairs and used that for the battlefield.  Sprinkled some dirt over it as the whole board is supposed to be debris and rubble ridden.  This also meant I counted anyone on the table as being in at least soft cover and partially concealed for spotting.

The small battlefield. And most of the pics are in daylight, normally I am playing at night.

Troops
German

Germans in the box. Not the best shot but gives you an idea of what they have.
Battalion HQ
  2 Rifle Squads (one is the battalion commander)
  1 PzB39 ATR base
  1 Sniper

2 x Companies
  6 Rifle squads
  1 50mm mortar

Support
  1 MMG
  1 75mm infantry gun
  1 81mm mortar
  2 37mm AT guns

Tanks
  1 x Panzerjager 1
  1 x Panzer IV D
  1 x SiG 33 B

Russian

Russians
Battalion HQ
  1 Rifle Squad

3 x Rifle Companies
  6 Rifle Squads

1 x SMG Company
  6 SMG Squads

Support
  1 x MMG
  2 x 50mm mortar
  1 x 82mm mortar

Tanks
  3 x KV-1

Recon
  2 x BA-10 armoured cars
  1 x Scout squad

Deployment
German deploy one company in the woods, one company around the row houses and spread out the support.  It should be sufficient to support each other and cover any major advance by the Russians.
The Russians decide to concentrate on coming down the southern flank.

Map showing German deployment and planned Russian advance.
Game
The 2 pre-game stonks manage to destroy an anti-tank gun, pin the other and inflict two casualties on the support unit around the railway house.  Not a good start for the Germans.

Building 1 defenders before the stonk.
The 75mm gun takes out a BA-10 on the first turn, and then the SMG recon squad. All without being spotted. Eventually the 75mm gun is taken out by a KV-1 about midway through the game.

Centre shows the 75mm infantry gun. The destroyed armoured car can be made out up the road.
The German infantry in the eastern woods fire at the advancing infantry, cause some casualties and are subsequently pinned.  They then cause more casualties, as does the 82mm mortar. The pinned Russian company later takes a casualty from the sniper - this tips them over the edge and they rout.  The sniper is eventually taken out by the KV1s.  When the KV1s come on they get lucky and spot the German units in the woods.

German defenders in the northern wood.
The unit in the woods is cut down by the tank MMGs.  The remainder of the company redeploys to cover the railway yard, it is obvious the Russians are not going to attack down the flank they are protecting.

The lone remaining recon BA-10 actually spots a German infantry squad hiding in the terraces and destroys them.

Armoured car recon scouts out the hidden Germans.
The infantry following up the BA-10 manage to clear the terraces but the company that did so is reduced to one squad that then fails the morale roll and routs.  The third Russian company follows the path of the second company into the terraces and surprisingly takes no casualties from two turns of mortar fire they got under.  This Russians company attack the the last remaining German defenders in front of building 1.

Last of the Building 1 defenders about to be run over by the Russians that can be seen to the right.
They move into building 1 and the light woods next to them. The SiG 33 opens fire, as does the other infantry left in the wood.  The Russian 3rd Company loses some squads, is suppressed and a morale checks sees the unit pull back to the terraces.

Furthest advance of the Russians.  Building 1 objective is at the right.
The KV1 opens fire on the German infantry in the woods and suppresses them.  Together the KV1s manage to miss the SiG 33. The SiG 33 pulls back to be out of line of sight of the KV1 but where it can still cover the railway buildings.  When trying to rally from pulling back, the Russian 3rd company routs.  The Russians have Only the SMG company, an MG base and the KV1s left.
The KV1s move up to cover the railway buildings, and give a perfect flank shot the to Panzer IVD that has been waiting patiently for such an opportunity.  First shot: nothing.  And same with the next shot.

The patient Panzer IV
 Meanwhile, the Russian MMG is destroyed.  A subsequent high morale check (for the battalion as a whole) fails and the the Russians withdraw.  So close for the Russians! They actually held one of the building for a turn.

Verdict
I know the Take Cover rules very well and the two page rules are a derivative of them so the game went smoothly and was lots of fun. I have increased the ranges slightly from my previous 6mm games as converting inches to cm for the 2'x2' I believe made the game to slow.  So I have halved the original 20mm ranges.  This worked a lot better and gave a faster game. They also go back to a IGOYGO format similar to Take Cover, rather than the card system I have used for the last few games.  I do like card activation as it does capture the chaos of WW2 battles, but the IGOYGO, coupled with a morale check that may see the a unit do nothing for the turn, is an excellent substitute and fits better with the rules.  The rules need more playtesting but work well right now. I can see I will be using the two page rules for at least my next few 6mm WW2 outings.