RO3 - Defenders of Stalingrad Turn 4
Russian Turn Four
Not many rallies really and all unsuccessful. What was more successful was the powerful Russian prep fire phase. In the East of the factory both the forward German defenders and Lieutenant Freitang were broken by prep fire. This allowed Commissar Ramzon and the squad he just rallied to sprint out of the factory and move behind the newly broken squads. The remaining unbroken German squad in Z26 failed to prevent this with a lovely 11 roll on a flat 4 attack. Yuck.
In one fell swoop the NKVD have stabilised the East of the factory and will wipe out almost the entire force there and I had such high hopes for the indomitable officer there...
In the West of the factory things continued to be bad with the flamethrower officer breaking. After more Russians moved to the center of the action the German defensive fire phase was almost a damp squib. A succession of decent firepower shots caused some decent morale checks (3MC!) and the Russians initially passed them all. Especially the damned squad sitting in P22. Eventually squads in S22 and Q21 were broken but it looks like that entire flank will get assaulted in combat this turn..
Three absolutely key combats now occurred. If the Russians win them all (or at least all the defenders die) then the scenario is over. This risk dropped when in the first the Pioneer squad ambushed the incoming Russians and killed a 5-2-7 and 4-5-8 squad. In the next no ambush occurred and neither side did anything to the other! And in the final the Russians ambushed then failed to kill the defenders (they were casualty reduced instead). So on balance favouring the Russians since its unlikely the Germans will survive 2-1 and 4-1 odds in those combats.
German Turn Four
This German turn is critical. They need to be dominant with what they have to even keep a chance of success in play. Due to lack of units… the rally phase basically consisted of the other 8-0 taking the flamethrower. The Russians were happier in they rallied a further two squads. Now the key prep phase. The Germans started by shooting into the upper combat at O22 with the medium machine gun in squad. This caused a 2MC that broke the German half squad, broke and ELRd the Russian 4-5-8 but battle hardened the 5-2-7 to a 6-2-8. That was not unexpected but unfortunate. I was going to shoot the 8-3-8 into the other combat (in for a penny in for a pound!) but now had to shoot them into that combat as well. Rolling a 3 (that generated no smoke stack sniper) this caused a 4 on 16 and a K/3 result. The German half squad was chosen for the K but both other squads failed the Morale Check. Result..
Now we moved to movement and the next key movement occurred. I scuttled the remaining 8-0 officer with flamethrower to the North Side of Hall 3 in Hex P23 drawing two shots from the 4-5-8 with light machine gun in Q23. Thankfully for me the first was a pin that passed (a 12 up 1 (+3 building, -1 NAM, -1 FT) was risky) and the second missed. This allowed the Flamethrower to let rip in the Advance fire phase. It managed to break the defender but at the cost of all its fuel (booooo). So key stage 2 had succeeded.
Finally the third critical action occurred during combat. I advanced the 8-3-8 pioneer squad into the S23 combat. This would give me 3-1 odds needing a 10 to do something, I duly rolled a five and wiped out the defenders. Now the defenders had to choose whether to take on both German squads (needing a 5) or the 8-3-8 (needs a 6) or the 4-5-7 (needs a 7). He decided to go for both but with a high roll failed.
Time to wipe the sweat from my brow as though the position has not stabilized - the Germans are still in trouble, there is a possible clear path ahead mainly due to the Russians needing more troops. They have (at this exact point) 4 full unbroken squads and 1 half squad available and a further 3.5 DM squads with capable officers who could rally and a further four broken squads without officers. Now if they get all those back (or even a large percentage) then they can still apply a lot of pressure from all directions but if they don’t then they have to make a much more limited attack plus need to watch out for the single German 4-6-7 in Hall 7 who is basically playing ('I only need to step in that factory and you've lost so you still need to cover approaches back here and cant use several of those squads to go after the center' game). Now ok the German center is still weak but they will be picking up more support weapons and they still have one officer and three squads and lots of medium machine guns…