Sunday 8 January 2023

Barbarossa to Berlin, Game 3 with BG Stalingrad - Red October

The third in our series of Ostfront BG games, a diversion into Stalingrad for a urban fight using all the Stalingrad rules and the Stadtkampf scenario at 650 points per side.

As before, we play straight up pick-up games, select forces, scenario, generate terrain etc and see what we get. My Russian forces here were, in brief, a remnant platoon with support from a 50mm mortar, marksman, anti-tank rifle team and anti-tank gun, a extra remnant squad, a reserve platoon, sapper squad with flamethrower, FHQ, NKVD officer, off-table 122mm howitzers across the Volga, ace sniper and observer, infantry foot patrol, and defences in an arty spotter bunker, a tunnel access for the sapper squad and a reinforced building (which was the main workhall). No tanks, no vehicles at all in fact. An all infantry force.

Having randomly set-up the terrain we had various factory buildings and ruins, some railway tracks etc, which we just rolled to place around the table in remaining spaces, staring with the largest buildings and then filling in gaps with smaller ones, we added rubble and rolled for which buildings were on fire, and got this. The flaming buildings were in right awkward places, blocking two covered routes to get to the enemy. 

Germans on nearest edge, Russians far side, holding the central workhall and marshalling yard (with crane). Admin building on German left.

The Russian chose to hold the factory area with the marshalling yard to their left and workshop and admin building on the right, with the Germans opposite. Both deployed our defences and units, including scouts, set timed strikes and ammo’d up AFVs (not me). Time to let battle commence.

The initial turns were cagey. Neither side came out of their positions as they awaited extra reinforcements which are slow to arrive. Patients was required as both sides flung some artillery to little effect beyond a few pins. My plan was to launch small spoiling attacks forwards, like the sappers in their tunnel, but mostly to hang on to the workhall and the objectives I had (again 5 were present). I had 3 quickly, the Germans 2. They started to get their StuG support onto the table and two squads used tunnels to get into the admin block and seize it. The fighting was sporadic, shot traded here and there, a bit of pinning, the odd sniper round, but as yet no major push from either side and a lot of units waiting on ambush fire for the action to kick-off. My sappers found their own tunnel had been collapsed and so couldn’t deploy forwards.

The German attack moved in steadily, a timed 105 strike on the workhall initiating the advance, StuG fire at the workhall did little (thanks to the reinforced save) and return anti-tank rifle fire pinned one, good shooting. My reinforcements had been slowly deploying, reserve platoon on the right, and the firefight between the workshop and admin building was intense, both sides becoming well pinned, my sniper ace doing good work here too. When a StuG appeared to help, that seemed like it would gain the Germans the upper hand, with no anti-tank weapon to shoot back, instead a veteran squad moved up against it and used anti-tank grenades, twice failing, but the StuG pulled back after its infantry support, an MG team, was wiped out by PPsH fire. Ammo was a consideration here too, StuG running low I guessed.

Artillery fire still fell, my 122s doing useful work in pinning, and killing a German sniper. His 105, on-table and firing at a PRTP on the workhall, was annoying, but I couldn’t stop it. A direct hit wiped out my anti-tank rifle team. We were 6-7 turns in and the counters stack was even(ish), no clear leader as yet.

Things started to move the German’s way as the StuGs opened fire on the workhall and their infantry and MG teams worked into place to try an assault. A flaming building blocked the main route, and an assault over open ground was suicidal, so there was only one way, which was currently covered by a remnant squad’s PPsHs waiting on ambush fire, trying to get them pinned was a task the Germans were finding hard. Meanwhile, the 122 shells pinned a StuG and immobilised the StuH-33, broken track, but that didn’t stop it launching 150mm shells into the workhall, where the casualty count was increasing despite the 3+ cover save. I sent fresh reserve squads in, and the 50mm mortar was keeping Germans heads down until StuG fire did for it too… more counters.

The Germans were on top now, so time for a counter-attack. My Sappers had been waiting on reserve move and now moved up through the marshalling yards’ station. The German trench was no longer on ambush fire, they fired into the workhall to try and get the assault going. My sappers now rushed the open ground and, whoosh! Unleashed their flamethrower attack, wiping out the rifle squad and causing 2 counters for the Germans (I didn’t know it then but they drew a 4 and a 5 - ouch!). The Germans pressed for the workhall, one squad braving PPsH ambush fire to try and assault, that failed and it too was wiped out, another counter. They had support though and the second squad wiped out my sub-machine gunners in turn as the fighting got close and personal. That counter was a 4, with only 3 BR left, the Russians were defeated. But not by much, the late Russian rally had the Germans just 2 from their total BR… so very close. 1 more counter would have done it (or a better roll for my 'Bled White' special rule). Great game, very different from the last 2, and close, so close, again.

It is now 2-1 to the Germans in wins (narrow ones), with our next game a 1943 Kursk tank-fest again. Let’s see if the Reds can even it up. 

Admin building, the German tunneled in and took it.

Marshalling yard and crane, home to a sniper.

Main workhall, the left-front was a reinforced building.

First StuG sneaks on, with some infantry support.

Sniper ace waiting... waiting...

German occupied trench on their left, a blocking position, mostly on ambush fire.

More landsers infiltrate forwards, heading for the workhall.

105 at the back, hitting their PRTP, on the workhall - constant, accurate, harassment.

Reserves for the workhall meatgrinder.

Sneaking up through the marshalling yard's station buildings (and water tower)

Firing down from the admin building, a protracted firefight with the workshop ahead. Smoking T-34 marks an objective. 

StuG arrives to aid the fight here.

Whilst the others line up the workhall.

Inside, NKVD squad (foot patrol) hold the objective marker, as the 50mm mortar returns fire (doesn't really seem fair that).

Urrah! Timed 105 strike hammers the workhall.

Remnant squad hunts the lone StuG with their AT grenades, they fail, but it pulls back anyway.

122 shells falling around the StuGs in the centre.

FAMO arrives to try and fix the immobilised StuH-33B, working under fire.

German infantry sneak up to the workhall, the buildings behind is on fire and cannot be entered.

Inside the workhall again, reserve giving (and taking) fire from the admin building. Stalemate here.

Reserves risk a rush across the marshalling yard for the workhall, and get pinned by incoming. Pinned in the open, not good!

45mm AT gun taking long range pot-shots at the 33B, always an optimist! 2 hits, 2 glances... they tried.


  1. Another hotly contested and close encounter, great table too.

  2. Beautiful looking battlefield, I guess urban Wargames are often a though fight 👍