RO3 - Defenders of Stalingrad Turn 3
Russian Turn Three
The sudden realisation that loads of units should have gained concealment was retrospectively applied (this game is so complex and easy to forget stuff) and then the turns rolled on. Russian shooting was pathetic as ever but during the movement phase the Germans were equally ineffective - not bad shots though - plenty of threes and fives, but this time the Russians were passing their tests. It also generated no less than four sniper rolls with two being the more effective (and funky) smokestack snipers actually managing to break an 8--3-8 in Q22. Its quite thematic, the smoke stack sniper, and more effective than the normal. By the end of the Russian movement Soviet units had managed to move next to no less than six German squads so bar an unexpectedly horrific defensive fire phase should be able to generate favourable combats and at least whittle the Germans down.
During the German phase I decided to self break the flamethrower squad. Lightning is unlikely to strike twice and this time I realised (better) the odds. Admittedly that moves the broken squad to a bad situation but that hex has an officer and squad who can 'take' the flamethrower and re-use it.
The Russians then moved into no less than three combats
The first at P23 was a successful Soviet ambush and the German 4-6-7 plus light machine gun was duly wiped out, the ambush also allowed the two Russian squads to separate to apply more pressure to the weakening German central troops. The second was at U24 in Hall 3 and unexpectedly (without an ambush) the Russians failed to win (needed a 10 to do 'something) and neither did the outnumbered Germans and that stays as a hand to hand. The Russians are unlikely to lose that one in the German phase though and this time there is no super stack next door that can take a risk and shoot in.
The final was at X24 and was also ambush-less. This time both sides wiped out the other with the Germans also getting a decent roll. Losing a 2-2-8 to take out a 6-2-8 NKVD squad is probably a good balance..
Things look much worse for the central German troops here but remember the Russian MMG in S23 is on the ground so no Soviets there and the Russian LMG next to it on R22 is being held by one of two German squads with the other holding an MMG.
German Turn Three
What a mess. The Rout phase didn’t help. The broken flamethrower squad didn’t want to give one of the officers its flamethrower but did give up its DC and neither rallied. For the Russians the Commissar carried on efficiently rallying as another squad was bought back.
German prep fire was mostly ineffective with one Soviet squad (only) getting pinned. The big prep moment was the 8-3-8 using its Demolition Charge to throw it next door at Q24 this went of breaking the Soviet squad with (in a fortunate event) , for the Germans, the broken FT Crew getting destroyed 'dropping' the FT on the floor. Movement phase one of the officers picked it up and scuttled out trying to draw fire from the surrounding Russian hordes (and failing, the full stack was juicier). Then one of the 8-0's attempted to place the DC he had grabbed next door. He survived fire and plonked it down in Q22 where it eventually broke the present squad.
Then Russian Defensive fire arrived and bar a smoke stack sniper pinning an 8-3-8 in the Q23 hex the big news was a Russian squad trying to replicate the German tactic of throwing its DC into Q22. Now when I had attempted it earlier in the turn I deliberately dropped it across an outside boundary so I would get a +6 on the roll and the Russians a +5. This was inside the factory so was a +3 for me and a plus 4 for the Russian. Unfortunately for the Soviets they had been less than enthusiastic throwing and the roll for the Germans was a double 6 meaning no effect (if the dice roll for the thrower is 12 then it's not a dud and the attack still takes place).
A further pioneer squad was wiped from Q22 for failure to rout and then the Germans reorganised their defences by spreading out through the center of the building. The existing hand to and continued with the Germans defeated and Lieutenant Frietang took two whole squads into close combat with another Russian NKVD 6-2-8 relying on Frietangs -1 and concealed status. They didn't get the ambush they wanted so it was time for nerves with the Germans needing a 9 to do anything (and succeeding) and the Soviets a not insignificant 6. They rolled box cars meaning they died and the Germans could again infiltrate to a better position.
Things are getting interesting now. This was a more successful for the Soviets and the battle looks like it is coalescing into two competing zones. We have the Center/West of the Martin Oven where the Germans are strong but surrounded. Any breaks for the Nazis here will probably result in destruction. It will be a bloody fight to the death then the East of the Martin Oven where Lieutenant Frietang, the best remaining German officer, has a good chance of getting a foothold in the factory (with luck) and even numbers of troops. Even if he fails this keeps a small number of Soviet squads locked fighting him which gives the central forces a breathing space.