I was never into the recaps, New Year resolutions and other lists of expectations that people go crazy with this time of the year, so here is another battle report. This time my Strelkovy were up against Estonian Waffen SS. I’ve used the same Strelkovy Batalon as the last time. This corner of our gaming area was a bit darker so pictures are extra blurry, sorry for that (I’ll try up my pictures until next time).
My opponent brought Estonians Waffen SS which don’t have Storm Trooper rule but have some quirky ones in defensive battles. Our exact army compositions can be found below.
The Mission: Soviets attack in Breakthrough
A very interesting mission that forces us both to move. This is my favourite among the Mobile Battles because it doesn’t screw defending Tank Companies hard like Counter Attack does (delayed mobile reserves) and it demands active maneuvering from both players unlike Hasty Attack which usually plays out like a Defensive Battle. I made the roll to attack the Estonians. Thematically it could have represented the Red Army trying to flank an Estonian position around Tartu 1944. From a military historical perspective, a very interesting campaign where the Red Army attempted to outflank the Army Detachment Narwa. By attacking Tartu towards the Gulf of Riga, the Soviets attempted to trap German forces and defeat them piecemeal.
Since he had Tigers, I figured that if the Sturmovik could deal with them, my tanks should be able to destroy all infantry and gun teams with their 12.2 cm howitzers. I was a bit worried about the amount of HMGs attached out as they could limit assaults and dominate areas with their high rate of fire. I had big hopes on my outflanking reserves being able to work itself into a good position.
Deployment and early turns
My opponent got to pick sides, I chose which corner to attack from. I decided to have advance across the road to the small woody areas mainly so that my reserve would arrive and be able the threaten objectives while concealed in woods. I can’t remember the exact turn number so I will organize the report in early, mid and late turns. Both objectives went close to the road. My plan was to quickly dispatch the 8.8s and then shift attention to the SS infantry as they move towards the objectives.
My combat power was beyond degraded at this point and we were past 2-3 hours of regular game time, all of my platoons except one were well down below the morale threshold and getting to the objectives was impossible. Both me and my opponent thought the game was becoming a bit of drudge work, so I conceded defeat.
Result: A 3-4 loss for the Strelkovy.
Looking back at my deployment, I made some mistakes that I was unable to correct later on. I should have put the SU-122 and ISU-122 in lines next to each other, and the guns on the road. If I did that I would have probably got off 12 Heavy Breaktrough Gun shots the first turn. That could have wiped out two 88s. Not sure if I could reach them from my deployment now that I think of it (the SU-122 gun has 60 cm range). Hen and Chicks demands very simple moves and to have line of fires planned out not for this turn of shooting but the next one. This is kind of difficult to do.
This is the second game where the Sturmovik does absolutely nothing. I will try it out maybe one more time before throwing it in the garbage bin. It’s partner in in-effectiveness, the ISU-122 accounted for one gun team before they all were annihilated. I have this idea that moving them around is a mistake but then, shouldn’t SU-100 with the Cat Killer rule be much better stationary? What then is the use of the ISU-122? The great mystery remains unresolved.
The MVPs are the 76mm regimental guns. These little things are incredible, they blew up infantry teams and even took out a 10.5 cm Howitzer. I could have rolled them forward as well for some direct fire support. Overall a great performance considering what they cost. The Strelkovy proved to be capable reliable men, as they typically stayed in assaults, could pour enough shots to pin another trained troops and did not break ever. On the right flank they were able to take out a platoon of SS and the artillery, almost unsupported.
The SU-122 did okay, I lost many of them to a Panzerschreck team, but their guns did massive damage to infantry. I could have been much smarter with their movement, moving them less and using their firing lanes better early on. At a glance they are too cheap for 170 points but moving 4 tanks with low armor and hen and chicks around, is not an easy task.
My opponent did well stopping my armored advance. In a couple of turns whatever could hurt his Tiger was annihilated, meaning they could operate freely. I think he could done two things a bit different. First one is he repeatedly assaulted my Strelkovy in the woods. There is no reason to risk assaults as he could have just dug in around the objective. With so many HMGs, I can’t make it past the defensive fire. If my opponents assaults had screwed up (which they could have), I could have safely won the game.
Secondly, in the end game, instead of assaulting my guns with his Tigers, he opted for a shooting match, in which they are far more survivable. There was no way I could hurt his side armor or top armor. Assaults are vicious against gun teams because if they try to break, they are captured and destroyed.
Oh yeah, he forgot to use his sniper. Didn’t know there was one until I got his company composition for this report.
We made an generic East Front table but after I read a bit about the Soviet Estonia Campaign I came to realize the mistake of omitting lakes, marshes and rives on the table. The Red Army considered the Baltics to be an extreme environment to fight in. I will make sure to add proper terrain when fighting against the brave Baltic sons in the future. If you play Strelkovy and got great mileage out of the ISU-122, please sound off in the comments here or on Facebook. Thanks for reading.