Monday 23 January 2023

Barbarossa to Berlin Game 5, with BG Bagration - Engagement at Okolovo

For our fifth game in the series, it was another meeting engagement, a Recce Screen scenario, with 4 turns of recce-ing only (which went quick with not much happening, a few mortars fired, and my recce Valentine moved up and captured an objective, whilst a German sniper boldly did the same in the centre of the table. A few counters taken (3-all in scouts, so no counter there), and the game got going with the first reinforcements arriving. The Germans rolled in, with a Grille (!), odd-one, but it just hung back and launched big suppressing HE up the tabletop, supply truck always close by, because, well, that tactic won’t last long without one.

The Russians got their 120mm mortar battery and other support on, comms team, FHQ etc, to get set-up on or behind the hill for the coming fight. Next to arrive were the Zis 3 guns, to get into place, and cover, at the village. All this was to be ready for when the armour and tank-riding infantry showed up. They were the last to show, after the SU-85s had arrived and started their long range (and largely fruitless) duel.

The Germans had rolled-in to, but soon found themselves under galling 120mm mortar fire, spotted by the lurking BA-64. A direct hit KO’d their Pz-IV - good shot. But they also got their rude surprise in place, two Tigers! Eek… well this is unusual, lots of points in those beast, but it made for a different game, as we both rarely go for such ‘big ticket’ items. It was obvious, both sides had long guns and would be happier sitting back and snipe, both had supply vehicles at hand. So, Tigers matching up with the T34/85s and SU-85s, let's see how a 85mm AP shells fares against that good Krupp steel. The first loss to a Tiger was my poor Valentine, which had the audacity (or idiocy) to open its ambush fire on the Tiger with its 2 pdr gun. The return fire (having failed to pin it), was 1 shot, 1 kill, boom! One Valentine in bits… and the German infantry could nip forwards and retake that objective with ease, which they did.  

After about 6 turns of mortaring by both sides, one 80mm shell having hit and wrecked my Zis 3 towing truck, losing the gun crew too, so 2 counters… we both had unpinned from the suppression a few times. I was behind on counters, but everything was now in place to open fire. Both sides had also drawn and rolled for an Air Attack. Mine was a mere fighter (Air Cobra), the Germans got Stuka support (37mm cannon-armed). The first air attacks both missed, then the Air Cobra chased the Stuka and pinned and damaged it. Rare dog-fight action, but fun. The SU-85s, fired away, missed or glanced off, then the last Zis-3 pinned a Tiger with HE - hurrah! The next shot, from a T-34/85 smashed through the Tiger’s armour and killed it, shocker! That is my first ever confirmed Tiger kill in a BG game (I don’t face them much though). The Germans were in trouble, down to just 1 tank left and I had all of mine (5).

Well I did, until the next turn when a mine strike counter saw a T-34/85 brew-up, then an 88 round smashed another one. Mortar fire pinned both SU-85s too, and suddenly I didn’t have much to shoot back with.

By now the counters had built up quickly, so the decision to tactically co-ordinate to get an SU shot at the Tiger’s flank probably wasn’t the best. It failed the BtCoD test anyway (aargh!)… Good grief. From being on top, this game turned fast.

Could I kill that last Tiger? If so, he was in trouble, but as it turned out, no. Its Krupp armour prove strong and ace crew were not for pinning. Mean beast. I had sent my resupply truck rushing round the hill to re-bomb the SU-85s, now low on ammo, and when it was hit by another mortar bomb (for a single German 80mm mortar it never seemed to miss), it was blown up and the final counter broke the Russians. That mortar crew need a medal, 6 direct hits, 4 kills.

Oh well, that didn’t go so well. The Germans were still 10 BR from their total, so a solid win. The Tigers had halted our advance on Minsk at Okolovo.   It is now 3-2 to the Germans with just Fall of the Reich to go. That’s next, very soon… then back to playing something else for a bit. First, to smash my way to Berlin...

The battlefield, Germans enter top right, Russian bottom left, by the village.

Okolovo village and church

Big cat rolls in carrying some infantry support, also 'Panzer Ace'.

Making short work of the recce Valentine, oh well, that fight lasted about 5 seconds...

Mortar bombs wreck a Zis 3 tow and the gun.

They the FHQs scout car wagon... but the chit is an Air Attack.

Mortars pin the German support elements.

Zis 3 battery on tow, arrives to get deployed,

At the back, 120mm mortar battery and forward comms team.

First red armour arrives... long guns to duke it out at range

The VVS flies in, Air Cobra strafing run...

Occupying Okolovo in force.

Timed IL-2 strike, missing wildly... it hit nothing!

Air Cobra distracted by the arrival of an enemy Stuka, he gets on its tail and pins and damages it. Rare air-to-air combat.

German big cat roams the fields, looking for targets.

Here they are waiting, open fire!

120mm mortars wreck at Pz IV...

SU-85s arrive and line up that Tiger, if only they could hit.

Last Zis-3 lurks in woods, opens fire and pins the Tiger... yes!

Then a 85mm tank shell defeats the Krupp steel... Tiger kill... confirmed Tiger kill...

SU sniping away at long range...

whilst one closes in for a flank shot, only to be pinned by 50mm HE fire...

Grille's dedicated ammo truck blows up from a mortar hit - big bang! Grille with 1 ammo left...

Followed by an Tiger's 88 round smashing up its first Russian T-34/85. Lost that duel.

Pak38 keeps pinning my SU-85, and survived a 37mm cannon strafing run untouched... lucky day.








1 comment:

  1. Yet another gripping game, report and splendid photos, Battlegroup never fails to entertain.