A68 - Acts of Defiance

This was first published in May 2013 and was another game versus FargoGamer that unfortunately is missing all the pictures. The highlight for me was the factory collapsing which took ages to work out what to do but was a blast when it was done..

Col Kasmar was not happy. Before him stood his two leading subordinates – Major Tzneetch and Captain Essou . They had had the misfortune to bring word of a strong German counterattack. Didn’t the Nazi idiots know when they were beaten?  Not only that the Germans were using bloody pigeons or soldiers with wings (paratroopers even) and these were even more square headed and obstinate than the normal German soldiers.  To make his day even worse his cook had over seasoned the large Russian sausage he had eaten for breakfast.He sneezed.
Bless you”, said his equerry
“Yes?” said Essou, who was slightly deaf from driving round in tanks all day.
“No, bless you”, responded the equerry he turned to Tzneetch, ” Tzneetch – “
“Bless you”, replied Essou
“FOR F**KS SAKE” roared Kasmar – “YOU ” he pointed a large meaty finger at Tzneetch, ” you will now be known as weeble One and YOU” he pointed at Essou, ” will be weeble two “
“I don’t think that is appropriate for a Soviet officer”, said Essou
“Do I give a german for what you think? Plus, since when have Russian officers been stuck up about manners. Anyone would think you were British.”
He paused to allow his subordinates time to consider. They needed it and he could see the confusion on both faces. In the end though basic Russian passiveness took over and both faces cleared.
“Good – weeble two set up you tanks in a central location. Your job is to provide fire support and avoid getting killed”
“Don’t worry Sir my men won’t wobble or fall over”
“weeble one. Infantry in a loose defensive position out of sight of the enemy please. Leave the left flank – it provides too much cover for the Nazi scum buckets to utilize”
“What’s a scum bucket?”, Essou whispered to Tzneetch
“A collection receptacle for German waste products I think” responded Tzneetch.
Kasmar started drumming his fingers on the table whilst he laid the other on a large pistol to provide positive, friendly reinforcement to his unstated message. It worked and they quieted.
“I shall lead in a relief force from the South and we shall crush the Germans like those round orange coloured things that the party commissars eat”
“That would be Oranges Sir”, said his equerry
“Remember Comrade Stalin has said this fortress must be crushed and crushed it shall be. He has also stated he is right with us”
“That’s crap, unless by ‘right with us’ he means living in a luxurious mansion eight hundred miles away” – Kasmar considered that Essou was not showing the correct levels of Soviet like obedience of respect for authority. Maybe he would have to arrange a meeting with the commissars after this battle was won.
He waved his hand dismissively and as they left put his head in his hands as he heard Essou saying to Tzneetch – “why was he waving”
“Bad food- did you see the state of that sausage, probably needed a collection receptacle”
So another week another scenario and to show lack of imagination a fictional tale involving a senior officer with two arguing subordinates.. again. Anyway as we are still learning the rules we decided to branch out into OBA and I have the honour of defending with the Russians. As my defending sucks it should be an interesting experience.  My setup is admittedly hesitant as I am uncertain how best to defend this. I have basically decided that the large building at CC7 will be my Alamo and I am leaving my left flank blank (bar some speed bumps) which will hopefully entice the Germans into allowing me to blow the crap out of them with artillery.  My troops are all mainly starting further back so I can gain concealment and then assault move them forwards. I plan on lots of skulking and hoping the Germans commit some heinous offensive offence.
Situation Enemy Forces
The Germans have a strong force and one in which is particularly well placed to deal with tanks.  They also have lots of ‘toys’. Their biggest weakness is the time limit and the fact that their southerly force is too small to do anything much apart from delay my reinforcements. In all likelihood they will attempt to blow one bridge up with a  goliath and defend the other using the other goliath and the dc to try and block my reinforcements from crossing. In the meantime the strong northern force can crush its opposition and arrive down south before my reinforcements can cross the river. They have a lot of ‘tools’ to do the job but it is likely that these need to be used correctly to get the advantage they are intended to provide. Since neither of us know how to use anything correctly this should weigh things in my favour.
Situation Friendly Forces
The Russian defenses are somewhat reliant on the correct application of OBA which may be a problem as I haven’t used it before. As with many defending scenarios they are heavily outnumbered and will have to be very careful how we utilize our tanks. I have a reasonable amount of varying quality infantry though the reinforcements are both better quality and better led.
The Plan
The west side of the victory condition area has been left somewhat empty, apart from some speed bumps. This allows me to focus my forces in the East and hopefully entice the Germans to move into the left. I can then wallop them with OBA as they cross. My observer is HIP on the 1st floor in Z1 which gives him a good view of the areas that I expect to be swarming with Germans soon. Due to the large amount of anti-tank weaponry being ported round by the Germans I have kept my tanks back from the front line and kept infantry close by to screen. Infantry on the boundaries of the setup area are utilizing the concealed counters and the rest of the infantry is in terrain or locations that should allow it to conceal on the first turn.  My troops have a definite lack of range compared to the German hordes so will hold fire until the Germans get close and skulk repeatedly to reduce incoming fire. That way I will hopefully force him to shoot from far back slowing him down (not many turns to succeed) or take him with close range fire.
The Game
Turn 1
The German setup was unexpected.
In the South the Fallmensjager setup with the obvious intention of moving North leaving the two Goliaths (and crews) on bridge watch. In the North though the entire German horde was massing as far South as they could get opposite the Eastern side and the entire Russian force. No troops seemed interested in dealing with the odd unit in the West – either as they were thought to be dummies or the intention is to crush the main Russian force and then deal with any outriders.
This is not so bad for the Russians though.  My observer is  well placed to observe that side  and though the Germans have enough strength to attack and defeat my main force it will take a while doing it. In the meantime my reserves should be able to easily arrive at the western side (deliberately) setting up another stronghold for the Germans to have to seize.
1st German turn. Honours were probably even  – the Germans managed to casualty reduce and break one of my northerly light machine gun squads and in the south a lucky sniper role both pinned and removed concealment from one of my squads in the open which promptly got casualty reduced by the paratroopers. In return though I broke a squad and then the tank protecting the right flank managed to repeat that feat on one the PSK carrying squads – the next shot I failed to break it and had to take a PSK shot in return only for the squad to break the PSK on its advance phase shot.
My attempt to call the battery failed so no oba and an exposed observer. My hope here is that the Germans will not spend the time sweeping the entire building so allowing him to remain on the upper floor. If they do sweep the building then they will lose time and troops to do so which is to my advantage.
The final event of note was that the German commander, in an attempt to block the Russian reinforcements, was obviously heavily reliant on the two goliaths to blow the bridges. The idea was probably for the first bridge to be taken out immediately and the second to arrive at the second bridge just as the Russians were approaching. Unfortunately the first goliath went off and just failed to break it (curiously only due to the SSR which reduced the goliaths -3 modifier to -2). This meant that at least one bridge would be left and the Russians had a clear entry to the rear area of the defensive perimeter.
 Russian Turn 1
Mostly spent skulking. The exception was the south flank where (due to the lack of German opposition) the tanks charged forward with riders. One tank and most of the infantry approached the clear bridge with another with a squad and a heavy machine gun going to the other with the infantry then dismounting.  During the Germans next turn the goliath attempted to move onto the bridge but was rendered inoperable by Russian fire (and as it did not receive a critical it did not blow up thus saving the bridge) the two German controlling half squads where then repeatedly demoralized by the rating heavy machine gun  and the main armament on the tank. Elsewhere artillery contact was made but the spotting round was right on the middle of the Russian defensive position. In the east the PSk and tank continued trading rounds with the PSK hitting and failing to do any damage and the tank managing to demoralize  two squads that dared to move into the open close by. On the other hand after using two PSK attacks and accepting the back blast in a row the Germans appeared impervious to self-inflicted damage though as a counter balance one PSK missed and the other hit and bounced.
The most exciting thing this turn was that the Germans attempted to drive their tank into the corner of the AA3 building to carry out some VBM but I initiated a street fighting attempt where the Russian defenders passed the task check and then rolled less than the four needed to destroy the tank (with a three) which also was enough to avoid a burning wreck providing cover to the following German infantry. The crew survived and advanced into close combat with the Russians but even though getting the ambush failed to hurt my troops and were then destroyed.
In the south the German sniper was particularly active pinning two units in the south defences – this allowed the officer and half squad to advance into combat, win the ambush and destroy it in turn. The Hitler youth showed lamentable map reading skills and again got lost in the sewers. The Germans had set up a medium machine gun with squad and the 9-2 officer in the tower on board 20 where they could see most of the far board and had been peppering the Russian reinforcements – this lasted until their prep fire where they malfunctioned the MG (ha ha).
The game stopped here. As the Russian I was happy enough with the situation. The OBA was not helping but on the other hand the German North attack was proceeding slowly and the forward defences were damaging and slowing them down. In the South the Germans had utterly conceded the southerly approaches (after the failure of the goliaths) which would allow me to get some powerful reinforcements into the victory conditions area. With only four German turns left I had increasing confidence of victory.
The next Russian turn was loooong and took up an entire evening. The first half was involved with my artillery attack. I shifted it on top of the Z1 hex on the observer and rolled a double one so hit exactly there.  After much rule reading we eventually worked out the results – the target hex rolled a double 4 to see which level was hit so both levels went down taking out the German occupants, in the surrounding hexes the Germans outside (bar the tank and one squad) broke and of the troops inside we originally had one Russian squad broken and one okay with the artillery observer dying but eventually rubbled half the building and killed all of them. The only advantage for me was that the rubble spread into the road and blocked the German tanks line of sight.
Elsewhere my southerly forces charged onto the defensive area and of my remaining T44’s I managed to get one into my hull down location where it avoided one panzershrek shot and missed another. My T44 in the open was immobilised just when it tried to leave the danger area.
Not much really but an awful lot of rules reading… The building rubbling was a great laugh though.
German Turn 3 & Russian Turn 3
My valiant German opponent managed to stabilise things somewhat helped by no less than two snake eyes on morale/rally attempts generating two battle hardening and a hero. Plus the incredibly efficient German sniper was keeping the poor sods in my Alamo running around like decapitated chickens. The immobilised tank was finally destroyed in close combat and another T44 bit the dust when the remaining German tank started up and rolled slowly around to behind it. A long range duel then ensued with the T44 managing to miss a grand total of four times (two intensives over both the turns) before being drilled itself.
The Hitler Youth finally realised they had been reading their map upside down and popup up ready to create mayhem.
On the plus side it seemed like six or so panzerfasut attempts were made with most not only failing but failing with a six and pinning the unit. Even the two that did arrive spectacularly missed due to the two hex range.
The Germans ended their turn by grouping several powerful kill stacks together the Russians carried on stabilising and bringing the southerly reserves within movement distance of the victory zone. As the turn ended I realised I had cocked up slightly by advancing two Russian reserve squads next to the remaining German tank. I should have left them a square further away where they could gain concealment and the following turn advance then assault. As it stands the closest will probably get heavily walloped by the tank in the German third turn.
German Turn 4
The German turn started well with a Panzerfaust brewing up (with a blaze) my big tank by my Alamo – that will teach me to stop in a late war scenario. Then the many, many Germans in the East swarmed forward with the intention of smashing into my Alamo from the North. Here is when my luck changed (along with an impressive amount of high German rolls) no less than three German units failed morale checks leaving a single squad and the hero next to my most northerly units. These eventually advanced into combat where due to the deadly hand to hand rules, both sides managed to wipe each other out. I was not so worried though as it would take a while for the broken Germans to recover and get back into the combat reducing pressure on that flank. In the centre the Hitler youth managed to get broken by the Russian sniper and then destroyed through failure to rout. The German officer having watched his squad blow up the tank decided on his own brand of heroics and advanced forward to try and demolition charge a Russian officer with a pinned 6-2-8 (that damned German sniper carried on dealing out death and injury) but failed a normal morale check (he was a 9-1!) and broke back to his squad.
In the west on the left flank it turned out my ‘boneheaded’ decision to advance my units into view turned out not so boneheaded as if the tank had moved it would have been hit with potentially three street fighting attacks. So rather than move my opponent decided to shoot point blank at the unit next door. He hit and I passed the resultant one morale check with ease. My oppo then decided to intensive fire and his main armament malfunctioned…
In the now ruined factory the 9-2 officer and a squad advanced into combat with my half squad and officer and though I ambushed I rolled box cars for the hand to hand roll and was eliminated by the following German roll.
Russian Turn 4
Lots of skulking occurred on the Russian turn but the major highlights were the Snipers. The Russian one managed to execute the broken officer (who had tried to place the DC) but this paled into insignificance compared to the super human German sniper (and my uncanny ability to roll his SAN). First up he pinned the 6-2-8 with the Heavy Machine Gun who was about to advance next to the solitary half squad that had previously brewed up my tank – but his swan song was on the West flank. I had two 6-2-8’s next door to the last German tank and first up the sniper pinned the squad in the open. No matter, I still had one squad – I rolled the PAATC and with a 5 passed easily but that was the German SAN he not only rolled a two he followed it up with a distance direction roll that planted the Sniper right on top of the unit who had taken the PAATC. After discussing the situation we resolved that because the PPATC occurs before a unit can advance the Sniper results also occurs before the advance which pinned that unit as well thus preventing the advance into combat (with the CE tank with no MA aaaaarrgg). So basically that Sniper single handedly saved the last German unit in the west  and saved that tank (for at least a turn and perhaps entirely) cool… [As it turns out we played this incorrectly as SAN does not activate during the advance phase so that squad would have advanced into combat]
We stopped again here but things were not looking hot for the Germans. Great fun though.
Colonel stood on the tank turret and scowled up ahead –  the German advance had crumpled on the might of the Red Army, though his victory had not been without consequence. Captain  Essou’s tank had brewed up in spectacular fashion and several key Russian assaults had been compromised by a particularly competent German Sniper. Nothing that a brick on the head could not resolve though.  Ahead Tzneetch could be seen exhorting some Guards to attack around the area of the collapsed factory. Still it was finally a German collapsed factory and not a Soviet one and with that he could be well satisfied.
German Turn 5
Things were looking bad for the Germans with his Easterly assault disintegrating and alarming amounts of Russian reserves starting to get close to the victory zone.
This did not discourage my opponent and he started swarming troops forward. Die rolls started to go against me with my squad in DD5 failing a FPF shot and eventually being eliminated for failure to rout. Various German half squads were suicide to draw fire as my squads in my the Alamo laid down a curtain of residual fire as swarms of Germans approached but in this turn lost the outlying unit In BB6 to ambush . The Germans also finally managed to destroy my hull down T44 in DD7 with a Psk. On the West side the tank started up and promptly got erased by a street fighting attack from the adjacent Russians. The remaining German foot troops moved forward attempting to engage one in close combat which the Germans won.Russian Turn 5
In the West I moved away from the Germans and spread my remaining active units (4) over separate hexes to increase the amount of work the Germans would have to do in their last turn and on the East flank laid down some successful prep which knocked out the officer and one of the squads that had won the combat last turn in the Alamo. This allowed my remaining squad and officer to advance forward wiping out the defenders in turn in combat.
German Turn 6
Looking at the board I realised that the German, if lucky, may even pull his attack off! He needed to win all the combats in the west and then break the final unit with fire and in the east defeat my one remaining unit. Plus have enough troops to prevent my last two units getting into the victory area.
As it turns out the German Sniper over these last turns had switched from deadly killer to ineffectual incompetent – maybe he was eating his packed lunch. Though the Germans managed to clear the Alamo of my troops by huge combined fire group attacks which left my officer on his own fighting against 20 to 1 odds  they also failed to win all the close combats in the West. The Germans here had managed to get some repetitive battle hardening and gained fanatic status and no less than two more heroes. Here my opponent drove forward in three stacks and obviously intended to use the heroes to get extra advantage from the combat. Three were initiated and in all three the odds were 3:2 for the German with a minus one for leaders in all whereas I would get 1:2 at best (thank heavens for 6 fire-power Russian guards). Only one ambush was initiated in the Germans favour but this they failed to gain any advantage. In return my single squad wiped out the fanatic squad, another half squad and leader. In the next combat in the building the German won and his final squad also won wiping out the defender. This still left me with units to play with and probably too big a task for German defensive fire in the final turn.
We played the prep and movement phase of the Russian turn and I managed to break two of his units in the west ad sneak my 6-2-8 (having dropped the HMG) all the way over to DD6 where it absorbed a 20 shot. We stopped here mainly as the west was mainly won and I still had units in Z7 that could run free if the German player used his squad in BB6 to shoot at my newly arrived squad in DD7.So the game ended up closer than expected and was very enjoyable. I would play again quite happily.  Luck swung both ways in the game though I would say I tended to have better rolls. In the  last two turns my oppo missed several 16+ rolls which scuppered his chances of a comeback. The other thing is I believe that both sides need  to utilise their tools correctly (or luckily) to win. Due to my ‘lucky’ OBA attack and the early street fight against the 150 plus the goliaths un-impressive d├ębut the Germans were functioning under a considerable dis-advantage and would probably have won without a single one of these failing (let alone all). My star players were my hull down T44 and my T44 in FF3 which had delayed and soaked up huge amounts of German damage that would otherwise have been hurting my foot troops. On the infantry side my Alamo did its job though it was scary how quickly it was eventually reduced when the Germans got enough troops down there. On the negative side my tanks were borderline inefficient and often badly placed.


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