Battle report Guards Strelkovy versus Estonian Waffen SS (LW)

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.

Skärmklipp
Quick overview of our mission. My Soviets were the attacker.

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.

tysk deployment 1
My opponent set up everything except the Tigers who end up in mobile reserves. He put his half strength  artillery battery in the lower right corner and the famous 8.8 cm guns in the village. Infantry was set up to quickly move on objectives
deployment
I deployed my units in a classic böghög formation. It is a Swedish word that would translate into something like “a pile of gay people”. I put a platoon of Strelkovy in outflanking reserves.
turn1
I start the battle by rolling for aircraft. They don’t show up and I decide that it is wiser to save them for the Tigers.
turn 1 advance
I try to sort out my mess of a deployment. I set the infantry down towards his platoon in the woods. Putting my tanks in a certain pile mentioned above, meant SU-122 got stuck in traffic and couldn’t get shots off. The ISU-122 and the 45mm guns moved forward. The shooting phase could be summarized with the ISU-122 not hitting anything.
turn 2
My opponents turn. The 8.8s introduce themselves by blowing up an ISU-122 and I lose some infantry teams to artillery fire. His infantry platoon with all the HMGs attached moves towards the objective, the remaining SS men stay in their dug outs.
turn 2 closeup
I move the infantry into the woods and all the tanks except one to get better shots. The combined fire from 1 volleyfiring ISU-122, 3 moving ones, 4 moving SU-122s and the 45mm guns kill a single 8.8. My Battalion Commander mingles with the tanks to motivate them if necessary.

 

bombardment turn 2
The regimental guns bombard the SS platoon heading towards the objectives. They score a lot of hits but unfortunately, my opponents passes all his saves.
2015-12-13 12.54.42.jpg
The remaining 8.8 destroy two ISU-122. A single Panzershreck team from the house destroys two SU-122. The surviving ISU-122 is too far away from the battalion commander and the ISU company fails the motivation check.

 

 

2015-12-13 12.59.19
Two teams worth about 100 points make things go very bad very quickly. My armored thrust collapses. The north eastern SS platoon keeps moving towards the objective, unfazed by bombardments. I won’t be able to support my reserves coming in. I decide that going for platoon kills is a good idea.

Mid Turns

2015-12-13 13.04.36
I get my reserves in and the game is still on if they can secure the objective. In my shooting phase it is time to take vengeance. Volleyfiring 45mm guns take out the remaining 8.8 platoon . The  SU-122s blow upp some SS teams in the village. 76mm guns keep bombarding the moving infantry.
2015-12-13 13.13.52
I put my reserves in close order and they get hit twice by 2 gun artillery bombardments. But I pass all my saves and since my troops are Fearless, they pin up each time. I won’t be charging out towards those HMGs on the left. My opponent lacks squeamishness and sends his Estonians to assault my men in the woods. A bunch of teams die on both sides before someone fails morale.
2015-12-13 13.13.59
The Tigers come in from reserve. They destroy a 45mm gun, my SU-122 kill more SS teams, forcing a morale check which they pass. The Tigers could easily clear up that area because nothing can hurt them in assaults.
2015-12-13 13.22.17
The VVS shows up and gets two nasty tanks under the template. But the sortie results in two very painful misses. The Tiger platoon learns their mistake quickly  and spread out consequent turns.
2015-12-13 13.25.40
The Strelkovy get out of the wood, fix bayonets and charge the SS close by. Since my battalion commander was mingling with the tanks, he could not offer morale support meaning, I fail morale early on and end up pinned down. I think I kill one SS team. Notice the 3 man Maxim team. They shoot one of the mortar teams to death instilling some hope that the Dice Gods aren’t oblivious to my suffering.
2015-12-13 13.37.07
The Tigers target the Su-122, blow up one but their morale holds. I move the remaining assault gun back towards easier prey on the right flank. The 45mm guns fail to dig in, but I avoid shooting with them to remain gone to ground.
2015-12-13 13.37.19
In this area, assaults are bouncing back and forth. Trained infantry don’t kill each other fast enough. I think my opponent is in a very good position to close the game up. By taking out the last SU-122 and the gun teams, he will win on company morale. I can do nothing about the damn Tigers because the jocks of the VVS party too hard to aim properly.
2015-12-13 13.45.23
That SMG team in the middle is very annoying as long it is unpinned and there are HMGs outside. I go in anyway but 7 shots of defensive fire, pins my platoon.
2015-12-13 13.45.31
These guys refuse to pin up make until I move my battalion commander over. The airplanes still refuse to impact the battle whatsoever. The 76mm regimental guns take out a Waffen SS 10.5 cm howitzer.

Late Turns

2015-12-13 14.07.42
A very blurry photo but it demonstrates what happened the last two turns. The remaining SU-122 doubled up, survived getting shot at from the last 10.5 howitzer. In the next turn it took the entire platoon out. The Tigers kept shooting at the 45mm guns, who took losses but stood their ground. My infantry platoons unpin and we maul each other, on the right flank I wipe out an entire SS platoon but on the left I am left with 3 teams against what is practically a HMG platoon.

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.

Analysis

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.

 

2945103_original
“Hey, remember that road you told us to secure no matter what? Hypothetically, what would happen if we didn’t clear it? No, no, no, I’m just curious.”

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.

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