Returning to some Battlegroup WWII gaming after a few months away, we’ve decided to play a series of Ostfront games, starting in 1941 with BG Barbarossa and play 1 game for each year, using each book (and also early work for the 1944 army lists when we get to that year, a useful tester). The first game for 1941 is coming up soon and I need to prep an army list. The game will be a meeting engagement at 650 points each. I’m the Russians (I have no ‘grey’ panzer forces - I did once, a very nice one, but I sold it as I got so fed-up fighting the French and getting repeatedly hammered - this was way back using the RF rules, the German panzers seeming stood no hope of winning in 1940!). I sat down to write my army list (pen and notepad, no Apps required), and, given the models I have to fight this battle, christened it ‘Sukharlov’s Tin-Foil Army’.
Here is my force, and why I picked it, and the plan for Game 1 of ‘Barbarossa to Berlin’. The AAR for the actual game will follow soon.
First, the motivation behind these games, as it will inform decision-making. The reason we agreed to do this was get some under-used models out to play with. When we wanted to play a WWII game, the first question was, which army (we have multiple) haven’t you used for longest, which needs some tabletop time? The answer was ‘grey’ panzers, so we went with early war. In that spirit, my first choices would be use models that haven’t seen much gaming of late, or that I finished painting and still haven’t seen in action… which for my Russians is mostly new trucks (whoa!, easy on the power-gaming there!).
First choice then, fulfilling two criteria (minimum infantry and new models) is a Motorised Rifle Platoon all in trucks. Add to this are a full four support choices; a Maxim MG team, AT Rifle team, Infantry gun and truck tow (gets another one on the tabletop) and DshK AA HMG team, also given a truck (to keep up). That AA MG will be handy, because let’s face it – Stukas will be coming.
Next is simple, for armour, and for 1941 I have my two BT-7 platoons, so both are in. It’s what I have, no other option (no KVs or even early T-34s here). Just lots of light tanks.
Now for some more tactical considerations (I am trying to win here, I’m not super competitive about it and I’m not honing a tournament army force to maximise the chance of victory, but I don’t play to lose either, I’d like to give the Nazi’s a kicking!).
So, infantry and armour sorted, on to the artillery. As a mechanised corps the options are limited, but one unit I have and have never actually used is a full 3 tube battery of 82mm mortars and loaders teams. That is mucho IDF firepower, so I included it, time to see some action for the medium mortar battery (my 120’s though have seen much). The battery needs a dedicated spotter so a FOO team is add as well. His job is to keep those mortars hammering away. But, as he can’t be solely relied upon, and a stray shell could cause his sudden demise at any moment (too much of a risk), I add a Pre-Registered Target Point. That will go up the German end and mean I can always fire the mortars, even for harassing fire, even if I do lose the spotter.
Artillery sorted, how about HQ? A comms team is going to be needed to aid the FOO, so a radio truck, because the ‘communications breakdown’ at 4+ comms tests is going to need re-rolls. The forward HQ too, Sukharlov in his staff car, a useful (if needed) second mortar spotter, and his other benefits too, but mostly a re-roll for reserves arrival. As a meeting engagement (which exact scenario will be randomly generated on the day), and with the ‘Panzer Marsch’ rule opposite me, I don’t want to be rapidly outgunned by the faster arriving panzers. This gives me a chance of matching(ish) the Germans in getting my forces into the game. He’ll be an early priority to have on the table just for that re-roll (I must remember that, Sukharlov leads the way!).
Ok, that all the main force assets, on to the support stuff.
Recce. I go with 3 armoured cars, 2 BA-10s and my new BA-27 (stats of a BA-6 but with a French 37mmL17 pop-gun). First run out for that model. That is 3 scouts, I might add a sniper later, to try and out-scout the Germans, we’ll see, points allowing. 3 armoured cars should be enough, even if we roll a recce screen scenario.
Give the unreliable nature of the BT-7s, I add a repair truck from Engineers (another new truck model). This might be busy. From Specialist Support, an SU-12, I made (converted it) and it needs some game-time, and it looks cool. It is defo in, as extra infantry HE support (on a vulnerable soft-skin, so best try and hide at the back and lob out some suppressing HE fire).
Final few points to spend, and it won’t buy me much. I decide to drop the loader teams from the mortars and used the saved points to get a big hitter, a timed Katyusha strike. I want to disrupt the mass German arrival and slow them down. I might use it early doors and as a harassing barrage to just get many pins. That’ll help buy time to get my forces in place and get to objectives etc, before the Germans do. My big fear (as you can tell) is half my army isn’t here as the panzers roll over me.
Ok, in all, that is 646 points, 43 BR, 3 scouts and 0 officers, with ‘command chaos’ providing the extra D3… let’s hope it is enough. Game AAR will follow soon(ish).