Friday, June 28, 2013

A little Stalingrad action Pt 2

The Germans managed to gain the buildings across from their baseline on their right flank, but could not move forward. The mortars were supporting the left flank operation.

The German had placed their SMG assault units in a large group to expedite the clearing of the left flank (the plan was to use these to flank the factory then join the main assault from that side). Russian reinforcements were concentrated to that side as well (determined randomly). Luckily the StUG IIIG came in on a reinforcement event, adding its weight to the assault on that side.

The assault on the German left flank, from the Russian perspective (click to enlarge).
With the help of the trusty StUG, the assault group cleared the long 2 hex building, forcing the Russians who hadn't already routed or been killed to flee back across the railroad tracks.

With that building secure, and with follow up forces to their right, they managed to clear the other 2 hex building (with the 2 HS on the left in the picture above), despite the Russians activating a KV I M42 that (slowly) crept up from the Russian baseline due to its slow speed and the cratered terrain. The StUG positioned itself to defend against the behemoth should it get across the tracks (its long barreled 75 had a decent chance to deal with it if it got the first shot off).

The Germans were all set to assault the factory, when a series of events occurred that almost upset the whole operation.

First, the mortars started running out of ammunition. Second, the Russians managed to activate a 82mm MTR themselves, which was firing at the assault units massed for the factory attack. Third, the Russians pulled 3 turn activation cards in a row, allowing them to inflict some casualties on the Germans, including getting the slow KV I in position to spoil the assault !

With the KV I in place to spoil the assault, the German took a gamble- he moved his StUG out Line of Sight of the KV I. However, since it was out of the direct covered arc of the KV I, it had to pivot its turret in order to fire, reducing its chance to hit. He missed. The German didn't.

The shot hit the KV I in the turret, destroying the gun before burrowing into the tank to kill it. No crew escaped the inferno. The assault could go on !

The assault went in, and the Russians fought hard, inflicting some casualties (a couple HS) as well as supporting mortar fire ravaging some of the attack groups (pinning them down).

Slowly, the factory was taken hex by hex.

While the Russians tried to reinforce the factory, the StUG positioned itself to be able to interdict them by moving up to the wrecked KV. However in the process, a T-34 was activated across the tracks.

Fortunately for the German, it was immobilized. Unfortunately for them, it hit the StUG and destroyed it. The crew survived and bailed out from the blazing wreck
The StUG Crew bails from their stricken vehicle while the assault for the factory goes  on (click to enlarge)
The factory assault goes in despite heavy defensive fire.

The final assault went in, with the Germans clearing the factory at the 27 minute mark.

Desultory fighting occurred elsewhere on either flank of the factory with an advantage applying to either side.

Russian casualties were approx. 110 Russian KIA, and 1 KV.

German casualties were approx. 30 KIA, 1 StUG (although the crew lived).

The rules worked well, as did the shellhole templates and buildings. I had a few LOS issues to clear up (as well as stacking in partial hex buildings etc) but I think I cleared them up.

I have half a mind to continue for another 30 minutes to attempt to get to the next factory (the corner is visible just on the far right in the last picture above) across the tracks. But first the Germans would have to deal with that pesky immobilized T-34.

A little Stalingrad-like action Pt1

Re-reading Mark's Island of Fire (for the umpteenth time)  has re-kindled my wargaming interest in the titanic struggle of Stalingrad. So I go from the dense hedgerows of NW France to the heavily rubbled craters of that vast city on the Volga.....

Testing (and re-testing) my 15mm rules in a dense, city-like environment would be a good excersise to tighten up certain rules,  with Line of Sight and movement in particular with some of the odd (half-hex) buildings.

A little background is necessary, however. The vehicle scale is 1:1. The infantry scale is Half-Squads (HS 4 fig),  Crews (3 fig) and Partial Squads (PS 2 fig).

The hex scale is about 10 yards per hex, and fire distances etc have been reduced by a factor of 4 (to make the game playable on the size table I have available).

This allows a decent battle on a 4x6 table (6 geo-morphic hex maps in a 2x3 configuration).

The scenario is a two German Companies (for the 5 months of fighting previously had reduced many units to 50% or below combat strength) of about 120 men total, backed by 2x81mm MTR and 1 50mm MTR and 2 MG42s (in the MMG mode, not HMG (3 man crew) mode due to ammo constraints). Also, for support a StUG IIIG should make an appearance at sometime.

With this they are to attempt to capture as many factories (the two 6+ hex size buildings) against a randomly assigned Russian defense in 30 minutes.

Positions 8 minutes in to the attack. German baseline was at the bottom (click to enlarge)
The plan was to isolate the central factory by advancing on the German left  with a support thrust on the right could be exploited if successful.

The initial attack went slow, with scattered resistance from the outlying buildings. The Russians opted for an "indirect defense" (e.g. staying out of direct Line of Sight of the powerful groups of MGs and mortars) in an attempt to get the Germans to close into melee (where the Russians have the advantage).

This slowed the initial jump from the German base-line (The buildings under the road at the bottom of the picture) as they had to winkle out the tenacious defenders one at a time in order to position themselves for a thrust into the factory proper.

Overall Casaulties were light (1 PS) for the Germans, heavier for the Russians (4 HS) but at the cost of time. The defenders in the factory withdrew into its inner recesses, daring the Germans to attempt to root them out.

Russian Resistance begins to coalesce (click to enlarge)
And then things hit a snag on the German right flank.

The weak resistance over there encouraged the German to take the 2 buildings across from its baseline on that flank. Instead they wound up in a wild melee with a Russian SMG HS that lasted for 5 minutes and devolved into a head butting standoff. Neither side could finish the other off. The Germans forced another 2 HS into the melee and finally brought the house under control, but at the cost of  2 HS and of course, time.
The donnybrook on the right flank (click to enlarge)

The German left flank was held up by a MMG and Rifle HS (with LMG) from crossing the gully and pressing the flank. Belatedly, Russian reinforcements started to trickle forward, promising a hard fight to get clear the land on that side of the factory.

13 minutes into a 30 minute scenario and not one factory had been taken. The Germans were in a good position (at least on their left flank) to enter the factory, but the clock was ticking. And more Russian reinforcements trickled forward.....