Monday, February 27, 2017

WW2 6mm Vzyama or Bust Scenario 3B Vyazma East Front 1941 battle report

Introduction
I played five games in a  the mini-campaign in the IABSM Vzyama or Bust scenario book (available at the Too Fat Lardies site).   I want to test out some company level rules, rather than the variations on my battalion level rules I used for the 5 games. So I am playing the games in the Vzyama or Bust book that I did not play as part of the mini campaign.  This is game 2 of the playtesting but I have modified the rules quite a bit since game 1.  For some detail on why I changed the rules see this blog post.

Note that this game follows on from some slight changes to the rules and so it an important playtest to see if the modified mechanisms work.  Hence there may be a little more rules-speak in the AAR than normal.  This scenario has infantry, armour and artillery so the new rules should get a workout

I am using 6mm with one base = 1 squad.   While the previous games also used 1 base - 1 squad, it was 1:3 ratio for vehicles and distance scale was around 1:2000.  The company level rules use a distance scale of 1:900 and 1:1 for vehicles.  What I did for the previous games was change inches to centimetres, For the company level rules, I make no changes - inches are inches. 

Games 1 through 5 are here:  game 1 linkgame 2 linkgame 3 linkgame 4 link, game 5 link)
Game 6, using FiveCore Company Command is here: game 6 link

Scenario
German minor victory if they take the farm complex (it is supposed to be a railway yard but I do not have anything that looks like that).. Major victory is no Russian unit may fire on the railway (don't have one of these either so it is hedgeline) or farm complex (railway yard). Meeting neither of these ends in a Soviet victory.

The table - Germans enter anywhere form the top. Russians deploy anywhere below the centre road. 
Troops

Germans

The German attackers.
Company HQ
  1 leader
  2 rifle squads
  ATR attachment
  
Zug 1 
  3 rifle squads
  50mm mortar attachment

Zug 2
  3 rifle squads
  50mm mortar attachment

Support Zug
  1 MMG
  1 81mm
  2 trucks

Engineer platoon
   2 Pioneer squads
   2 flame attachments
   2 Sdkfz 251/1

Artillery
  2 75mm Infantry guns
  2 Horse drawn limbers

Support armour
Company HQ
   1 Panzer IVF

1st Platoon
  4 Panzer IIIF

2nd Platoon
  4 Panzer IVD

All units arrive on the western table edge – a maximum of 4 units per turn.

Air Support (leader calls)
  Call of a maximum 2 bombing missions but not on the railway yard.

All Germans are veteran.

Soviets
Soviet defenders.  While there are four AT guns in the picture they only get two and I only used two.
Company HQ
  1 Leader
  1 Commissar
  1 NKVD squad
  1 sniper
  AT rifle attachment

Support Platoon
   1 MMG
   2 45mm AT guns

1st Platoon
  3 rifle squads
  Optional: One squad may be nominated as Tank Killers.

2nd Platoon
  3 rifle squads
  Optional: One squad may be nominated as Tank Killers.

3rd Platoon
  3 rifle squads
  Optional: One squad may be nominated as Tank Killers.

4th Platoon
  3 rifle squads with no ammunition – close combat only

1st Armoured platoon
   2 KV1

2nd Armoured platoon
   1 T34
   2 BT-7s (Scenario is for T35s but I have none)

Artillery
4 missions of 2 x 76mm field guns

All Russians are green except for the NKVD

The MMG, on-board mortars and artillery have been halved as each weapon base represents two.

Terrain

  • No digging in.
  • Hedges are low and provide some cover.
  • Woods are light woods.
  • Hills only climbed by infantry and tracked vehicles.
Deployment
Soviet force anywhere on the table east of the main north south road and may be dug in.

The Soviet deployment - defending the farm complex and possible approaches.
The Russian plan
The railway splitting the board makes it hard for the Russians. for the scenario, the Russians are not supposed to know the victory conditions so from a deployment view is is either control of the railways years, or opening up a corridor/getting units off the north edge of the board.  So the setup reflects opposing an approach across the board with enough concentration that can be brought on at least the centre and right flank.  Most of the armour is in reserve.  The squads with no rifles, i.e. hand to hand combat only,  are in the woods on the left flank to slow down the advance there.  They should only be discovered by running into them.

The German plan  
The Germans have 9 units and can bring on up to 4 units a turn. With no time limit it will be useful to start by probing for where the defenses are with the infantry squads and a unit of armour.  Once some of the defenses are known, I can bring on the rest where suitable.  The right flank is open and so might never make it across it.  The left flank is more closed with woods along the way and offers a better chance of approach.  Although it also offers more chance of hidden defenders.

Game
Turn Sequence (unchanged): I use card activation where on your side's colour you may activate a unit that has not yet activated that turn.A joker ends a turn. Being veteran, the Germans get 3 extra cards that, if all units have already activated that turn, allow a single support weapon or AFV or infantry unit to activate for a second turn.  For German entry, I will add one extra card per full 3 units that enter the table.  

The Soviets are all on over-watch and hidden.  The Germans enter two platoons of infantry.  Soviets decide to fire with the 1st platoon while the units are in the open and to see how the rules work out.  3 hits - one Gruppe destroyed.

Soviet 1st platoon scores first blood and KOs an advancing German Gruppe.
The Panzer IIIs come on, spread out.  Both AT guns can fire and there is no benefit to letting them get closer (other than waiting to see what else the Germans have).  At this range (less than 500m), penetration is not going to get better if closer.  Each 45mm will roll 4d6 (3d6 +2 penetration -1 for PzIII armour). Two Panzer IIIs are damaged.  A BT-7 opens up and also damages an already damaged Panzer III and it is KO'd.

On the Russian right flank, a AT-Gun and a BT7 KO one Panzer III, and damage another.

On the Russian left flank, the ATgun damages a Panzer III.
For the next turn, the German decide to bring on two more units (I just need to put the cards in the deck for them so make sure they get a turn!).

Russian 1st platoon destroys another German squad.  At gun fires and damages another Panzer III.

Russian 1st platoon destroys another Gruppe.
The nearby Panzer IIIs retailiates and fires at the 1st platoon squads and suppresses them.

PanzerIII retaliation suppresses the Russian 1st platoon.
The Germans are concentrating on the right flank - they advance the other Zug, bring on the support platoon (in trucks) and the pioneer Zug  in half-tracks.  But the BT-7s fire on the half-tracks and KO them; the engineer passengers dismount and suppresses.

BT7s (off camera) destroying the engineer halftracks.  The German support platoon dismounts into the houses at centre right.  The German 2nd Zug can be seen in the woods lower right.

So it is the next turn, and a Panzer III wants to fire at the annoying Russian platoon in the centre.  It suppressed them last turn.  Normally it would get 2d6 to hit infantry, but only has 1d6 as they are in hard cover.  1d6 at the most will cause a suppression, which has no effect as they are already suppressed.  The only way to get to 3 hits is to roll 2d6.  The only way to gain that extra die it to move to within 3" (in my rules you get one extra die for being so close).  I like this - the only way tanks have a chance to get infantry out of hard cover is to get close, or have big guns!

Both Panzer IIIs move to within 3"

In the centre, two PanzerIIIs move in close to the suppressed Russian 1st platoon (the green 'bush' is the suppression marker).
On the left flank, a Russian AT takes out another Panzer III on that flank..

A PanzerIII is taken out on the Russian left flank. 
Panzer IVs come on down the road, continuing the pressure on the their left flank.

The Panzer IVs  come one - the grey tanks at top and on the road.
The Russian 1st platoon in the centre attempts to recover from suppression.  They roll only 1d6 (compared to 2d6 for regulars) and need a 4+.  They roll a 1 (a 1 is a rout).  Oops, they rout.  It is not easy being green.

The suppressed Russian 1st platoon in the centre, just before they fail morale and rout. 
A German Gruppe, the rest of the platoon, was walking through the woods and comes across the Russian 4th platoon (the Russians without rifles).  Close combat!  Germans roll 2 hits, Defenders roll none and so lose 2.

Single German Gruppe encounters two Russian sections in the woods and the Russians lose.  
On the Russian right flank,  BT-7s fire at the Panzer IVs coming down the road and it is destroyed.

BT-7 fires at the leading Panzer IV and destroys it.
Panzer IVs retaliate and KO one BT-7 and damage another.  The Russian AT guns also open up on the advancing Panzer IVs and damage one, and pin another.

A PanzerIV further down the road retaliates and  destroys the BT-7
German Zug in the woods runs up the hill to attack the suppressed tank and the MG.

This is the hill on the Russian lower right flank.  The BT-7 is suppressed (the green bush marker) and the Germans have raced over the hill and one Gruppe is engaging the Russian MG team.
The tank is destroyed and the MG is routed. T34 at the bottom of the hill activates and moves out of the way

German Pioneer Zug move into the woods in the centre.  I was worried that the Germans may not have enough infantry to take the farm complex, but they may actually be able to pull this off!

The same centre woods that the lone German Gruppe defeated the two Russian sections.  This is the German side and the Pioneer Zug has made it to the entry to these woods as reinforcements,
The German MGs advance from their left flank woods to the top of the hill in the Russian lower right flank.  The Russian KV-1 moves to the edge of the train line. The Germans get a lot of extra activations and move up various infantry Gruppe.  Of note though is the stand that melees with the AT gun that subsequently routs.  The Germans are working their way down their right flank and the centre, using the terrain on either side of the road to advance down that flank.

German Gruppe charges the Russian AT Gun on the Russian left flank.
Germans flames the last of the Russian no-rifles section and they are destroyed.

The centre wood is cleared and the Germans flame the house below the wood to destroy the last of the Russian 4th platoon (that was defending these woods).
The rest of the Zug move from these woods across into the woods adjacent to the farm complex. A steady advance by the Germans down this flank is paying off!

After clearing the woods and the house the Germans advacne to the woods to the right of the farm complex. 
More infantry pour from the hill across into the wood.  The lone section in the woods pins an advancing infantry.
More German infantry come through  the centre woods and into the woods next to the farm complex.  A lone Russian defender can be see in the top left of the woods.
The Russian platoon guarding the left flank moves to wards the farm complex.

On the other side (the left) of the farm complex, the Russian 2nd platoon moves to help defend the farm complex.
The Russian commander calls in some artillery into the German MGs across the hedge but only causes a suppression.

Russian artillery suppresses some units in transit between the woods.
The Germans have managed to find a path down their left flank and thrown as much as they could down this flank.  The Germans are now in the woods next to the farm complex, but it is made up of a number of buildings and will be a tough nut to crack.

Overview of the state of the game - circles are Russian defenders, arrows are the general line of advance performed by the German forces. 
Germans advance into the woods next to the farm complex to attack the lone section.  With really really bad rolling, all they manage to do is force the section to retreat into the farm complex.

The single Russian section on the woods (centre) is suppressed and retreats into the farm.  
Now the woods only have German troops in them, the Russians commander calls the artillery into the woods to the right side of the complex, One Gruppe is KO and the rest are pinned.

The Germans flamethrowers that are with the Engineers in the wood next to the farm complex open up at the nearest farm buildings.  The Russian section in each building is destroyed.

Although pinned, the flamethrowers open up on the nearest farm buildings and clear them of the the defenders.
On the left side of the farm, the KV-1s open up on some German armour in the centre, suppressing one and KO'ing another.  This at least denies the Germans of some valuable armour support for their probable assault on the farm.

KV-1s destroy one PanzerIV and suppress another.
The Russian T34 shoots and destroys a PanzerIV that was coming around the woods.

The T34 has been hiding behind the woods that are full of German infantry.  A PanzerIV attempts to engage but is destroyed  
The Germans race the engineers they can out of the woods and into the farm complex.  It is the victory condition after all and it will be harder to kick them out of buildings.  There are still Russians floating around, particularly the T34 just outside the woods; and not even mentioning the Russians massing on the other side of the farm complex!  Two engineers manage to force themselves into building occupied by the Russians.

Russian defenders circled on the left.  Germans have a foothold in one building (centre right) and their is a lack of defenders in the other buildings on the right of the farm complex.

The Russian platoon behind the hedges on the other side of the farm complex race into t farm complex to try and kick the Germans out.  Repulsed from one building and locked in melee in another.    They continue to attack the Germans foothold with the units in the farm complex.  One Germans routed in one building, but Russians rout from another.  Building fighting is very bloody in these rules.

The Russian 2nd platoon, on the left of the farm, charges from the left and clears the Germans from the right in close combat! 
The Russians have been checking force morale  for a little while now but have always passed.  But now they roll not so good and get the order to pull back - so they retreat 6" and are suppressed.  I am not sure how they will recover.  In fact, they will not recover as 6" takes them off the board.  Even if they pass the morale, the Germans have part of the farm complex and still have enough infantry to shrug off counterattacks from the remaining few Russians.

Alas; while the counterattack was successful, too many losses on the Soviet side see them pullback off the battlefield.  A victory to the Germans.
Verdict
Emotions ran both  ways during this game - I loved the way the rules worked, but felt the table was a bit crowded for the rules, mostly in the number of tanks. Although the scenario is not that large, for me it felt like an epic!    The Germans did not use the air support at all due to being risk adverse with the German commander, but also because the only way to find the Russians was to get into a close firefight with them, and a bomb would effect both sides.  Another great scenario with the only caveat that I was playing it again on such a small restricted table I would reduce the number of tanks by about 30%.

I have also played 3 games with these rules but at 20mm where I doubled the distance measurements.  So I think for future games I will use inches for 20mm and centimetres for 6mm (like I used to) and modify the rules from inches for 6mm so that they reflect 20mm and inches (and then that way it will be easy to then use cm with 6mm figures)  The latter was not helped by the fact that the Germans concentrated down the pass through the woods.  Lastly, after this game and the 3 20mm games I am going to increase the dice rolled for MMGs (back to what I had a few years ago!).  At the moment they are really just like a infantry base that fires a bit further - there in no sense than infantry sections should hold them in a bit of awe and be a bit nervous around them.  I just need to write this all up!

4 comments:

  1. Great report, thanks for posting. What are your roads---wall trim? We took some trim down in our house and it looks similar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nathaniel. The roads are actually wooden window blind slats cut into about thirds. I have not painted them, and keep meaning to paint the sides where the cut was and the white wood is showing!

      Delete
  2. Thanks Shaun, an enjoyable read.

    ReplyDelete