As the Russians push on for Berlin, they reach the small town of Brunow, held by a scratch force of survivors from the fighting on the Seelow Heights, who must hold on and delay the advance through town for as long as they can. The game was an adaptation of the Fall of Seelow scenario in the Fall of the Reich book, with a few altered forces to better suit my model collections, and get some under-used IS-2s into the game. This is one way of getting a quick game that is bit different to the standard pick-up battle… just adjust the forces a bit and recalculate the BR. Slight tweaks to the tabletop, not much… and viola!
For terrain, we agreed the town pond was impassable to infantry and wheeled vehicles but difficult ground for tracked vehicles, not so deep a tank couldn’t wade it. We would allow the rules for targeting buildings. The road block, here a wrecked StuG, was impassable to all vehicles, unless destroyed by a demo-charge.
|Brunow, Germans in place, Russians from the eastern (far) end. The first timed strike hits the Weisshaus hard. || || |
Here are the final force lists.
FHQ in Kubelwagen
2 Volksgrenadier squads with MG-42s and 1 x Panzerfaust (regs)
2 Volkssturm squads with 1 x Panzerfaust (in foxholes) (inexp)
2 Fallschirmjager squads with MG-42s and 2 x Panzerfausts (vets)
2 Panzercshreck teams
1 HMG-42 team
1 PaK-40 with loader team
1 105mm Flak38 with loader team (at road block)
Panther (with Panzer Ace) ‘Wolfgang’
3 x Timed 105mm strikes
2 x Minefields
1 Booby Trapped building
3 Fortified Buildings (Burghaus, Gasthaus and Weisshaus)
1 Roadblock (impassable)
Backs to Berlin (+5)
To the Last Bullet (+3)
1 Officer, 26+8=34 BR, 0 scouts
3 x IS-2 tanks
3 x tank rider squads (regs)
Assault Pioneer platoon, in 2 medium trucks (vets)
2 x T34/85s
1 x T34/85 with PT-34 mine-roller
IS-152 assault gun
1 Supply Truck
2 x 122mm timed strikes
1 x PE-2 timed airstrike
2 Officers, 38 BR, 0 scouts
Once the Germans had set-up their defences, timed strikes were sorted and tanks ammo’d-up, the Russian took the first turn, leading with the three IS-2s and tank riders. With the fields north of town lined by both minefields, covered by the PaK-40 from the German table edge and dug-in Volkssturm in foxholes along the hedges, Panzerfausts ready, the Russian would have to either wait for the PT-34 mine-roller to lead them across, take a huge risk in crossing, or go through town. They went with that option… but town was dotted with infantry squads, MGs, ‘faust and ‘schrecks, many in fortified buildings. The panzer ace in his panther lurked at the back, ready to move to wherever he was needed. The plan was to keep him moving, shoot and scoot and not allow multiple return tank shots at him, I christen him ‘Wolfgang’… an ost-front veteran. The town would be a tough nut.
Well, so I thought, until the Russian started pounded it. Timed 122 shells rained in with lots of pinning - 6 gun batteries hurt. The tankoviks jumped down and led the way into town, taking the first buildings as my ambush fire did, err, nothing! Wake-up! The town tower was my booby-trapped building though and it killed 3 unwary Russians and pinned the squad. The IS-2s opened up with HE and MG fire and added to the pinning. The fortified Burghaus held-out, FJ squad inside well ensconced in the cellar and these vets would fight it out for the coming turns, gradually losing a few men, but doing the job!
Most of my defenders were on ambush fire awaiting the main assault to come. This was just the first probe, on the heals of another 122 strike that scored 3 direct hits! A squad of Volksgrenadier, their ‘schreck team and then the Flak 38 at the road block took the impacts and all were gone! Oof! The Flak-38 hadn’t fired when the crew bailed out, all those Russians were just too close now! 3 counters though. Their artillery clearing the way, the tankoviks were cautiously pushing forwards, resistance was weak at the moment. Behind them the old Gaz trucks rolled up the road, now safe from 105 flak fire, to unload the assault pioneer platoon. They would clear the buildings, each squad equipped with a Panzerfaust, anti-tank grenades, flame thrower and demo-charge.
In response, the Germans moved up an extra grenadier squad and MG team and Wolfgang rolled up to take aim, his first shot missed an IS-2 through the thick dust and smoke now shrouding town. MG-42s were now buzzing… pinning those Russian infantry and holding the edge of town. The SMG squads had got a foothold, the pioneers were moving up to take-over.
The three T-34/85s arrived and swung north of town, the PT-34 smashed straight through the mine fields but was pinned by a ‘zaust that glanced off the front armour. The other T-34s tried to sneak some shots at Wolfgang’s Panther, and missed. He backed away, to pop-up again and score his first hit, lead IS-2 brewed-up… first kill.
So far, the Russians had been on top though, on counters it was 6 to 3… not great. But now the Germans started to deal the damage back. MG-42s found the mark and wiped out a tank rider squad. The Volkssturm’s Panzerschreck team took aim at the next JS-2, then bottled it… rolled a 1 to spot. Damn! In the Burghaus strongpoint the Fallschirmjager showed how it should be done, first tactically co-ordinating to get unpinned, a ’faust from the upper window hitting and KO-ing the IS-2 that was ploughing through the pond. It had a watery grave. The last IS-2, out of ammo, pulled back to find the supply truck, which had rolled in along with the menacing ISU-152, which took distant aim at the Burghaus and hammered it, 1 structure point gone - eek! My FJ hunkered in the cellar, knowing what was to come, but it was their MG fire keeping the Russia’s heads-down on the edge of the town. They needed some help. It was on the way, until the moving grenadiers were hit by the dive bombing PE-2 strike, a bomb wiped them out as the bomber climbed away, chased by AA MG fire that was ineffective. 2 counters for that attack.
The pressure was mounting. The Russians made a push into town for the next buildings, the pioneers boldly rushing forwards. The first squad was instantly pinned by ambush MG fire and stalled, the second, up the road with the wall for cover, saved the ambush rifle fire from the dug-in Volkssturm, and then torched them with their flamethrower, messy… and 2 more counters. For that win though, the third squad was hit by double MG aimed fire, MG-42s scything through them and wiping them out as they made their rush around the pond. Hard to rush an unpinned MG-42 on ambush fire. The second FJ team in the school house added to the damage when their Panzerfaust destroyed a T-34/85 as well, the town’s pond was the epicentre of the fighting, three Russian wrecks now around, or in, it. The PT-34 moved up and smashed through the hotel garden wall, for the covering PaK-40, long silent on ambush fire, to sight-in. Loader team aiding, 3 shots, 2 hits, first glanced off, second penetrated, leaving the PT-34 smoking. Ace Wolfgang also scored a lucky (needed a 6) long range shot at the last T34/85, and that high-velocity 75 did its work… second kill for him, and in one turn all the T34s were burning. Suddenly, the Russian counters looked grim… no unpinning I noted. It must be close, because my BR total was now 32.
Turn 10, and the Russian had little left unpinned, 1 JS-II, a pioneer squad, a 4-man tankovik squad and the ISU-152 plus resupply truck combo. The re-armed JS-II fired back but missed the Panther… a charmed life, we counted 7 shots that all missed him. The pioneers set their demo-charge on the roadblock to clear it. The remnants of PPsH squad pinned an MG team with a hail of bullets. No chits taken… then the ISU-152, re-armed took aim at the Burghaus.
Boom! Boom!. Two hits, 2 structure points and down i the house came, taking the brave FJ within with it. Two counters, and was too much for my men and it was time to go. The Russians had Brunow, but with just 2 BR remaining themselves. One step closer to Berlin, but at a high cost.
It was a helluva fight - the Reds just pipped it with the ISU-152 doing its work in the end. Still, I’d score 5 tanks kill to 0, Wolfgang’s Panther, with 1 AP round left would live to fight again tomorrow. He was defo my man of the match (and finally one of my Panther tanks actually was good!).
Here are some shots of the afternoon’s actions.
|Road into town, Russian POV|
|Tankoviks disembark and move to the edge of town. Nice ride! |
|Volkssturm in foxholes watch the minefields north of town|
|Behind them, a PaK-40 and loader team with a long, clear LoS. Waiting on ambush fire should the Reds come this way. The hotel is ahead (another fortified building). |
|Wolfgang's Panther moves into position for a first sniper shot. |
|Russians take the tower, with it's little surprise. IS-2 returns fire, and misses... |
|Volksgrenadiers move up to held the front line FJ, only to be hit in a PE-2 air raid and wiped out. |
|Reinforcements, the assault pioneer's roll in. |
|Wolfgang Panther re-positioned to trade more fire with the IS-2s, scoring his first kill. FHQ lurking, best move that Kubelwagen in case Wolfgang reverses. It sped from the field. |
|T-34/85ss arrive at speed. |
|First IS-2 pushes up into town. |
|Fallschirmjager 'fausts a JS-2 in the side as it wades the pond, and the chit is, an aircraft! Damn. It didn't show though, thankfully. |
|PT-34 charges the minefield|
|The edge of town, pioneers de-bussing to take-over the assault. |
|ISU-152 lines up the Burghaus. |
|Burning Russian armour around the pond. |
|Burn! Assault pioneer bring a messy end to the Volkssturm squad in foxholes. |