The Storming of Berlin Part 2

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T34/85s belonging to a Hero Tankovy take up firing positions.

Welcome to part deux of my Tank Factory after action report. This will cover the two last games, the overall results and a short unit evaluation. Well, short by my standards. To catch up with the standings, I’ve got one win (6-1) so far and a draw (3-2).

Game 3 – Panzer Ausbildungsverband (Trained Division) – Hasty Attack

The force was a horde of German tanks.

HQ
2 Panther

Combat
2 Panther
3 StuGs
4 Hetzers
3 Panzer IV G

Support
3 15cm Heavy Artillery guns with Staff team and command.
3 Aufklarungs Panzer 38t
1 Panzergrenadier Ausbildungs platoon – Pioneer Training – Supply Wagon – Panzershreck
1 Panzergrenadier Ausbildungs platoon – Rifles – Panzershreck

A well rounded list that is strong in direct fire but can also throw in infantry for assaults. I really like it, but would probably use veteran support.

Deployment

I put my middle objective around the bombed out church. The walls and Gods favor make it a good defensive position. I placed the other objective, in his quarter on the rather open left flank. If the heavy artillery ends up there, the SU-100s can duel them from my deployment. I end up with ZiS-2 and small Strelkovy around the middle objective. The big Strelkovy is set in immediate ambush, ready to respond to any feints. They can also sneak in a minefield with the attached supply wagon. My opponent places his objective on each flank. The German commander deploys all the Panthers, Pioneers and Hetzers. And the heavy artillery battery. My grand plan was to hold fire and wait for the SU-100s to arrive. Behind a secure wall of infantry, they can avenge oppressed workers everywhere with the AT16 cannon. 

 

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Overview of the battle just after the ambush is revealed The Germans are about to deploy their HQ Panthers and press the attack. Pioneers are in the middle flanked by the Panthers and Hetzers.


Early Turns

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Soviet infantry and guns grimly await the incoming onslaught. A lone Panther lurks in the town.
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The Panzers disperse from aerial attacks. That does not stop the terror of the skies, Ruslana the Rocketeer, from claiming her first and only victim. Will the 2 remaining Panthers fight off of 5 SU-100s?
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The German Pioneers launch an assault, fighting gloriously until they are eliminated.

On the right flank the Germans advance with some infantry and Recce tanks. The Recce tanks get too close to my ZiS-2s and become casualties.

Late turns

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The SU-100s arrive but on the wrong damn flank! The train track proves to be a tough obstacle for their suspensions. I can’t take risks with enemy infantry so close in the woods.

The German riflemen fire off a few rounds into my Heavy Mortars out of sheer boredom. Because the Mortars haven’t dug in yet, they take horrendous casualties.

 

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The Germans close ranks and empty their ammo racks into my Strelkovy. The Soviets can only pray as support is too far away to help them. The clock is ticking for the Germans. Most of their shooting has been ineffective and time is running out.
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In the final turn the Germans launch an desperate assault. They take out a Strelkovy team, but both Panthers bog down! The Strelkovy, hanging on by their last teeth have to make a morale check. Which they… pass! The Battalion Commissar, brimming with rage of all the socialists in one country, swoops forward to cast his ultimate spell on the bailed Panthers- the dreaded Super Double Gulag.

 

Conclusions
I fought a good humored opponent and a fun battle. But pity his tanks had worse shell quality than the actual Germans did in 1945. My opponent shot me up with a dozen tanks, firing almost every turn but failed to clear the Strelki of the objectives. Why? Because his firepower checks were cursed. When was the latest time heavy artillery didn’t kill a single team during a game? Probably never.

My opponent did many things right, like skillfully denying my Air force. Not easy to do with 14 tanks on a city ruins table. He also picked the right flank to attack. But I think assaulting with the Pioneer squad to death was a mistake. By holding them off in the woods, he could throw them in later on where 7 teams could make a big difference.

I got mightily frustrated by the SU-100s choice of arrival. Overloaded combined with the train tacks resulted in what professionals call “self-pwn”. This game also confirms the ancient Chinese wisdom that against infantry, Hasty Attack is a Defensive Mission that masquerades as a mobile one.

Results: A totally undeserved 6-1.

Game 4 – Panzerkampfgruppe (Veteran Division) – Counter Attack

Being up late at night and painting models before a tournament has perks. Platoons get finished and can be fielded on the gaming table without shame. One can take pictures of them that end up on a blog. But it also has downsides, like ending up a total train wreck the last game. I did the my best of my ability to remedy the situation, chugging a pint of coffee only to shit out my intestines just before the battle started. That’s me doing some LARPing, the Eastern Front should be miserable. On to the German tank company, it had:

HQ
2 Hetzers

Combat
4 T-34/76
4 Panthers
4 Hetzers

Support
3 Maultier Rocket Launchers with extra crew

A powerful core of confident/veterans with some artillery but lacking recon. It is a scary army to face in mobile missions because it is fast and has good offensive power. Luckily the table we played on diluted most of its strength with all kinds of terrain. Because of reasons mentioned in the introduction,  few pictures ended up usable.

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I put the SU-100s in ambush and the big Strelkovy poised to secure the far away objective. Those green hedges were high enough to block line of sight and were difficult to drive trough. That helped my infantry advance immensely.
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With all the fields, bushes and houses, could the terrain represent Bavaria maybe?
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The Panzers avoids the guns and advance slowly concealed by fields. T-34s stay back to prevent attacks on the vulnerable rocket launchers. The Sturmovik roars into view, hitting about 7 tanks but kills only one. Blyat!
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The German commanders continues to ignore my plane, it takes out a couple of Hetzers. The Maultiers bombard my advancing Strelkovy but fail to cause casualties.
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The Sturmovik swoops in and knocks out the two closest Panthers. The airstrike ensures that the Strelkovy win the race to the far objective. Of course nothing of that is seen in this picture.

On my left flank, I moved my 45mm guns towards the Maultiers, hopefully to lure out the T-34s. It worked and the SU-100 ambush wiped them out to the last tank.

With that flank secure, I start to move most of my army around to the right. The Hetzers catch my ZiS-2s off guard and knock them all out. After getting a point, my opponent conceded the game.

This was a really tough one. I was way too fatigued to push around 50+ teams of infantry. Not that didn’t prevent me to participate in some rules arguing. My argument consisted of slowly pointing at the rule book then, the table. All while making tired, incoherent grunts and moans. On the more embarrassing note, I moved the SU-100s a lot longer than is allowed for a slow tank. Only a few of the fuck ups I did that stuck in memory. There were probably many more. Good thing no sportsmanship scores were involved, don’t you think?

As for analysis, the terrain helped my army and I could properly mask my movements. With some luck, I got into the objective first and secured it. But my opponent was giving me tough game. He was maybe one Stormtrooper roll from securing the objective before I did. Not much more of an analysis I can offer from this epic endurance contest.

Result: 5-2 to me.

Final Standings
1. Guards Strelkovy (Yaaayy me!)
2. MacDes Schwere Panzerjäger Ruhr Pocket (Bridge at Remagen)
3. Panzerkampfgruppe (Desperate Measures)
4. British Rifle Company (NachtJäger – means night hunter, don’t forget)
5. Fallshirmjäger  (NachtJäger)
..
10.

The German team earned more points in total, however. Swedes claim all the top spots at the event, partly trough nastier armies but also partly trough our inherent superiority over Danes.

Plakat-z-okresu-II-wojny-światowej.-Autor-800x600
Once again, German techwankery is defeated by the smug soldiers of the RKKA.

Army evaluation and closing thoughts
I need to keep this short sermon short, the event wasn’t that competitive and had few players. But by winning it, I righteously deserve to gloat about it on my blog.

My army pulled it off by doing little actual fighting. Certain Flames of War scenarios hand the win over to the defender who has a simple job. Place teams on the objective and don’t die with them until game time runs out. Simple. That really advances the socialist cause in tournament settings. In friendly games that are more likely to be played to conclusion, the Strelkovy lose this advantage and suffer big time. Like we’ve seen in my earlier reports.

The Strelkovy themselves are tough but only when dug in and gone to ground. As soon as they leave the trenches, they’re easy prey to vehicle machine guns and templates. Fearless is worth it because they get pinned.. a lot. Next up is the guns, shooting volley fire is the most fun one can have with this army, next to rolling for platoon morale. They smaller 45mm guns discourage tank assaults except against very heavy tanks. They can also blast away dug in infantry. The ZiS-2s, rarely shoot and worked as a gone to ground bullet magnet.

As for Heavy Mortars, I got little value out of these. Problem was because of my army had 6 platoons, something had to end up in reserves. I will probably reduce the battery to 4 guns. The double width templates is nice. But if one gun catches a stray shell, fun times are over.

SU-100s turned out to be reliable and durable unlike any other vehicle I’ve used in the Soviet arsenal (except the KV-1, the Soviet God Emperor of Mid-War). They will definitely open up exclusive safe spaces for marginalized, oppressed groups on the gaming table. Such as the infantry. A keeper in other words.

Finally we have the Sturmovik, it gets exponentially effective against tanks that don’t spread out. The big question is if that is worth 200 points. Even if air support won me game 2 almost alone, it still suffers from unreliability and I have mixed feelings about it.

That would be all feces Flames of War of knowledge I will drop on you, my readers today. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing and until next time!

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