I’m going to keep this brief, because the game was. I deployed as per my pre-battle plan, with the Volkssturm in their foxholes and behind barricades, my Pantherturm was front and centre with a perfect and dominant view across the river and open field (soggy flood plains all counting as difficult ground for all vehicles), it could not have been better sited.
The Russian would lead off their attack with their infantry riding on the ISU-152 heavies, ploughing forwards across the river and wet-fields. Before they set-off, turn 1 for the attackers began with a artillery bombardment, 2 timed strikes from 122 howitzers and a PE-2 dive bombing. Well, rarely has a bombardment worked so well. The first 122s score 4 direct hits (from 8 dice!) and my Volkssturm were blown away (hard covers saves can’t withstand multiple direct hits). One squad gone, the bunker was hit and the MMG team inside were gone, the PE-2 then scored 2 direct hits in the Pantherturm and it was blown up… I had taken 5 counters already. A terrible start (things would not be getting much better). My front line just collapsed under the Russian bombardment and the Russian attack rolled forwards under some harassing mortar fire, which did little to the armoured vehicles. Any last survivors I pulled back to around the mine and awaited my reserves… the Jagdpanther, flak gun (it wasn’t here to shoot at the PE-2 - drat!), my underground counter-attack - come-on!. So, the next turns were quick the Russian simply ploughed across the wet flooded fields, I fired mortars, put some units on reserve move and ambush fire and waited. Russian reinforcements arrived and pressed on as second wave, as his first wave climbed out of the river valley into the woods. Here my timed 105 barrage hit (I judged it right!) and scored a few infantry kills and pins. My artillery priority checks failed… no supporting fire from the FOO on top of the mine’s winding gear tower. Oh well, so far I had take 6 counters (with 4s and 3s) and the Russian had taken just 1, from unpinning… I was being steam rolled.
The Russian moved up again, gathering for the push against the village and mine. The real battle would be on. Just in time my reserves rolled in, the Jadgpanther got into place and onto ambush fire, and the ISU-152s et al paused, awaiting enough orders to all attack together (he'd had a few dicey turns for orders). This gave me some much needed time to get off one artillery request, and, feeling desperate, I went for (and got) some Corps 150mm Nebelwerfers. The shrieking rockets smashed down right on his attack force and caused mass pinning, and blew up a White scout car and its recce team passengers. With over half their attack force pinned the Russians paused again to regroup and unpin for the assault. I was waiting on ambush fire. When the Russian infantry, now all disembarked did come, my Fallschirmjager MGs did good work re-pinning them, and the last Volkssturm rifle fire added a few casualties. One Russian squad broke, finally my defence was doing something. Then, disaster (again), in a deviating 120mm mortar barrage a single direct hit was on the Jagdpanther, still awaiting those ISUs to emerge to open fire. Yep, the penetration roll as an 11… kaboom, my panzer aces’ career came to an end. Now, of course, the ISU-152s emerged, safe from my potent AT fire, and pounded the village. My Hitler Youth squad had just climbed up from the mine tunnels into one village building and they took a direct hit from the 152 shell, destroying them all as the building came down on them! Ouch! A flanking T-34 rushed out, disembarked its tank riders, who immediately assaulted the next building, being assault engineers their merciless assault wiped out the last Volkssturm squad and a flamethrower attack would follow.
Well, that was that, my defenders broke… it has been a one-sided steam-rolling by the Red Army. His dice had been red hot… mine not so, and my chit pulling was so bad, 4s, 5s, 3s… my guys just where not up for this fight - screw the Fuhrer, we’re off!. The last Fallschirmjager pulled back (ran-off) leaving the mine uncontested and Red Army one step closer to Berlin.
It was a Red Army smack down… a total disaster of a game for me. So much for that plan… the Russians had not even reached half their BR total. Hey, it’s 1945… the Red tide seems unstoppable (it was). It was all over in under 2 hours of play… time for a brew, a biccy and a chat…
Pantherturm in waiting... it can see everything from the edge of the slope
Red Army pounding begins with 122mm howitzer shells smashing my front line
On table 120mm mortar battery thickening the bombardment
PE-2 dives in, and destroys the Pantherturm without a shot fired.
Now the Russians get moving to the river and across flooded fields
View from the mine tower to the river
The mine, held by veteran Fallschimjager - perhaps these guys had seen too much fighting, because they were not up for anymore today.
Nebelwerfer impact, the German highlight, it gave the Russian a pause in their relentless march to Berlin.
Heavies climbing up for the assault on the mine and village
My panzer ace killer awaits on ambush fire.
FOO, busy, but with only 80mm mortars to lob.
Oh come on! ... the Jagdpanther is unluckily knocked out, again without a shot fired... sometimes it ain't your day! Let's just forgot this ever happened and never speak of it again!