Friday, June 28, 2013

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.....

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