Friday 3 November 2023


This game was pre-set at 900 points per side, a meeting engagement with the exact scenario randomly rolled. It turned out to be a straight Attack/Counter-Attack game. So, we deployed our scouts, 3 each, so no advantage there, and the Germans would take the first turn. 

Here's my army list for the action –

The scenario grows as forces arrive, so the start saw some minor moving of the scouts into positions, the Russian long range patrol in woods getting their radio set-up to spot for mortars when needed, my recce HQ doing likewise from the cottage on the hill (goo spot), only with a battery of Hummels on call with their 150mm guns, serious hitting power. Meanwhile, their little half-track scooted off to claim an early objective. By the end of turn 1 we both had 2 objectives each. The first Germans arrived were foot pounding grenadiers on my right, making for the road, to secure the objective and threatened the one in the big woods ahead, currently with three well camouflaged red army scouts in it, with big binoculars. They called in teh first mortar fire and added some pinning, but as yet, no losses.

The Russian began somewhat more dramatically, speeding in three T-34s and tank riders in a top-speed drive straight at my forming lines, aimed at the hillock my recce troops were holding, it came on at full speed in ‘Crazy Ivan’ frontal charge. This provoked some ambush fire from my lurking SdKfz 250/9’s 20mm cannon, the only AT weapon I currently had to stop 3 tanks (if it even counts)!

This forced my hand, so next turn, in rolled my Panther tanks, to counter the T-34 rush, and the first radio check got through to the Hummel battery, which dropped in their first rounds, pinning 1 tank at least. The other two rushed on for the hill though. Behind, ever more Russian arrived: infantry, two SU-76s, their HQ, trucks or various type and sizes and then their big hitters, two SU-152 – oh zverboi!

The race to reinforce was on, and we both rolled well, the smaller German force was soon ‘all-in’, with two supply trucks the last to arrive and lurk at the back, awaiting need. My radio van and forward aid post also took cover behind a rearward copse, and got busy doing their thing. Up front, the fight was on, my Panthers taking aiming and missing with the first AP rounds to rip through the air today. Stopping that charge would be the focus of the first turns of combat. Meanwhile, at the road, my infantry had deployed, including their HMG-42 tripod and loader team that was soon on ambush fire and could rake along the wood line facing them. 1 Panther pulled up behind them, awaiting those SU-152s to appear… come to papa! Then, a IL-2 Sturmovik dived in on a (well) timed bombing run and hit the road junction, right on the Panther. Bombs away, one was a direct hit and kaboom, I had lost my command tank without firing a shot… a burning wreck. Damn those VVS Jabos! (and I forget to include any AA weapon, dumb!).

Firing was building up, my artillery did some good work on pinning and destroyed a truck, then killed his sniper in an (un)lucky, rolled a 1, cover save. The charging Russian tank riders had leapt down off their tanks and into the woods on the hill, where a ferocious fire-fight started, one grenadier squad and their MG team pinning them all down. Now for the tanks. One of which was hit and destroyed by my panzer ace Panther, score 1 kill for the day, he’ll need many more!  The ‘crazy ivan’ attack was stalling, and next turn, more heavy MG and 20mm cannon (250/9) fire would cut down the Russian infantry, leaving a few survivors only. The second T-34 was hit by more Panther fire and burned… crazy ivan attack over! Phew, back the rest of the fight.

The Russians were pushing into the big woods in numbers and a heavy exchange of small arms fire began, German MGs (4 of them) hammering the tree line and causing pinning, and more pinning, all heads down in there. Behind, 3 more T-34s were coming up through the trees with more tank riders on them. The SU-152 were lurking behind waiting on reserve move. To counter this (after loosing the Panther) I moved my Jagdpanzer-IV up and then onto ambush fire, when they came, they’d at least risk some AP fire. Now, it seemed the Germans were on top… the counters favoured them anyway, but all was about the change.

From his hill top vantage point the Russian HQ urgently called for fire support, and got through, using his wire team them got a ‘Front’ battery of 4 152mm guns. It open fire at the road (lots of my infantry down there) but deviate on a wild shot, by 20” woah! Miles out, except it landed right between my two panthers back by the hill. The rolls to-hit saw multiple direct hits scored and, kaboom, kaboom, both my panzers went up in smoke… one big stonk, and my armour was gone – trouble!

Still, I had my Jagdpanzer-IV (last armour), lots of panzerfausts and the Hummel fire, we’d give it go, but the enemy still had 4 tanks and 4 assault guns… I was confident I would hold or see-off his infantry, with so many MGs and that HMG, his two rifle platoons were already looking low on manpower. He’d send the armour instead… of course!

As he did, the T-34s appeared through the trees, firing HE and MGs and the pinning mounted. The SU-152s came too and my aiming Jagdpanzer hit, only to glance off! Drat… their big HE shells also missed though. The pressure was on, the fight intense, and the Russians were going for the jugular now. My panzer grenadiers had to just hang on, and keep those Hummels firing. They did, and got one T-34, but then the radios failed and the guns fell silent for a turn, not good timing. Time for heroics, of the panzerfaust-kind. Out leapt a bold grenadier to loose at a SU-152, hit, and glanced off again… then a mine strike counter also bounced off… mein gott! Beasts these things… another ‘fuast squarely hit a T-34 and wrecked in. Still, I paid for that as HE fire returned all along the road, pinning just about everything, from his SU-76s and T-34s. Along the road, and sneaky flank move came a suspicious truck, it unloaded his assault engineer squad, flamethower at the ready. I responded I used tactical co-ordination to get my HMG back up, and it hammered the wood line and turned the truck into a smoking colander. Both sides stacks of counters at raced up in heavy fighting… it was close. The counter taken for the tac co-ordination was, woop!, an Air Attack, and the Luftwaffe appeared. A bomb-armed Stuka (old school in ’44) dropped in next turn… perhaps it could turn the day?

Into the end game, as the fight along the road continued. My Jagdpazner was hit by more 152mm arty fire and KO’d… several MG teams and squads were lost to HE and MG fire, one to a hit from 152mm HE from a close range Zverboi! - painful. The road was carnage. I dished some damage out too though, another a ’faust claimed a T-34 and the hard working HMG team, still going, cut down the last of another Russian rifle squad… that gun was in danger of melting its barrel. The Russians were feeling the pain of HMG-42 fire (makes a change not to be on the end of it to be honest). The Stuka dived in, though DshK AA fire and bombed the rear hill with his HQ elements, radio truck, etc, on it. High value targets. One rifle platoon platoon HQ was directly hit and wiped out, the rest pinned down in the screaming attack. 2 more counters pulled for that, but still the Reds didn’t break. Next turn the JU-87 came back and strafed a supply truck into flaming wreck as well. But with only 4 BR left, could I survive another turn?

It looked like I may, the SU-152s were out of ammo and retreating to find more. His T-34s gone (bar 1) only the SU-76s in the wood line kept up the HE fusillade, to little effect. His infantry had not much fire power to add, beyond a few 50mm mortars lobbed over at the road. It was his engineers that settled in, moving through the central marshes to attack my (stationary) 250/1 (recce HQ’s transport), its pintle-MG fire had been keeping Russian heads down. But it didn’t move last turn (oops) and the flamethrower attack hit it. Engulfed in flame, it was wrecked… so 2 counters, 1 for the loss, 1 for the flamethrower terror. The first was… a ‘Confusion’, one Russian squad was pinned by it. The next (I might survive), a 5… god-damn it. That was it, my brave defence of the highway was over.

 It had been carnage… to both sides… both my platoons reduced to well under 50% in men, no armour left… but the Hummels were still firing. The Reds lost 5 of 6 T-34s, but the assault guns all survived, some how (the SU-152s were unstoppable today). Great game, 3.5 hours of hammering away. The Russians still had 9 BR left of 61… the Red Horde could not be turned. Maybe with 1 more turn of firing, a good Hummels strike and the Stuka strafing up another soft target (lurking radio truck I’m looking at you) I might have just forced a win… not that it matters, because it was top fun win or lose. The section of the Minsk highway is in Russian hands now.

The action –

The field, paved highway up the centre. Germans from near corner edge, Russians from far.

Red recce team, watching the German deployment.

250/1 heads the road junction objective to claim it early.

Crazy Ivan is on his way... 3 T-34s about to make to top speed charge.

First panzer grenadier platoon deploying on foot... others would tank ride in. Rush to get forwards and get set-up to defend the road.

Jabos! Sturmovik attack run...

Direct hit, command panther lost...

Crazy Ivan, through the 150mm artillery strike, 2 pressed on.

250/9 facing them from the hillock (also an objective). Pop-gun fire won't stop them.

But these guys will... Panthers, panzer ace 351, and tank riders.

The reach the hill, and the infantry dismount.

Hummels doing good work, pounding the road and getting a truck, pinning, and later getting that T-34 as well... it bottled the charge when the Panthers appeared...

The big zerboi's...

On the hunt for reckless T-34s

They almost have the hillock, but the German fight back would be swift and lethal. A bold effort early doors and very distruptive (and very Russian).

The inferno of mortar and direct HE fire on the road, much pinning.

Hummels  finishes them off... recce HQ earn their keep.

Carnage at the end of the 'crazy ivan' charge...

MG team face down the last T-34, err, where is the squad panzerfaust? (it fired and missed)

Meanwhile, in relative safety, aid post and radio van are busy. The Air Attack didn't show this time.

Panzer Ace on his way to deal with that T-34, and he did.

More armour and riding infantry moves up behind.

And suddenly, the queen of the battlefield speaks, a big 152mm stonk, two burning Panthers, and big trouble for the Germans. Boom, boom, boom!

The Russian second attack starts, armour first. Here they come!

Jagdpanzer IV aims, hits, glances off... prepare the panzerfausts...

The road under intense pressure as the SU-152s get up close and it gets messy. That squad took a direct hit and was wiped out. Thank god they only have 3 shots...

Heroics with a panzerfaust... eat this!

Assault engineers get across the road into the marsh, and then move up to toast a 250/1... end game.