Sunday, 28 June 2020

Part 3 OST east front mini campaign

This post covers the third of the four Actions in our mini campaign for the Old School Tactical system. Following the Lull Phase after the second battle, both sides have brought up some much needed infantry replacements, placing them across the whole front to try and cover losses, but in particular, supporting the centre, where the Soviet held village has seen much of the fighting.
The KV-1's crew are most unsettled by the repeated shell
strikes against their tank!


Please use the ‘read more’ tab to see how the campaign is unfolding.




The below shot is a reminder of how we left the battlefield last time. The line does not show any obvious points for potential breakthrough or defeat, but the heavy casualties sustained in the last Action, may play out into one side or the other making gains today. 
This is how the last battle ended


The Germans start by pressing against the high ground on their left flank, hills are a Victory Point location. The lorry used to tow the 45mm anti-tank gun explodes, but the gun itself gets lucky and pulls back (manhandled), away from the immediate danger, but loses its prime position on the forward slope. 
The Lieutenant (lower centre) assaults the village with
his flamethrower armed section.  


Above - at the village, the Lieutenant takes his flamethrower armed squad from the safety of the wall to assault the first building. They take heavy casualties in the assault (flipped), but manage to clear the building. Before they can take possession of it however, another Soviet rifle section slips in and re-occupies it. It is essential for them to keep the front of the village secure until reinforcements arrive.

The T-26 that you can see in the wood has just slammed two shells into the Panzer IVe (out of frame), breaking the crew, though they do not abandon their vehicle and will likely recover.

Then comes an early moment of crisis as the Germans roll very low for their impulse allowance and on top of that, the Soviet side play the ‘Interdiction’ Luck Card, which reduces the German impulse score by a further 3. With just a handful of Impulse Points remaining, it is likely that their attack will stall this turn.

Initially the Action has been going really well for the Germans, but now they are starting to take heavy losses as they keep pressing ever forwards.
Mind those mines!

Above - The German Sniper hits a rifle section (bottom left) on the very far right Soviet flank, breaking the unit. A German rifle section seizes the opportunity to leap to their feet intending to cross the field and attack the broken unit ... but they run straight into a minefield!

On the high ground on the Soviet right, the defences are pretty thin and exposed. Ideally the Germans should concentrate here to take the hill, but their dire lack of infantry means this opportunity will slip by. The Panzer IVe makes a minimal demonstration by climbing the gentle slope, running over and destroying the barbed wire defence that had originally protected the anti-tank gun ... but danger lurks!
Infantry swarm the Panzer IVe

Above - A Soviet rifle section takes it's chance and swarms the lone tank, but they are beaten back.

The Germans have been doing very well in the village and the situation is now so grave for the Soviets that the KV-1 is forced to trundle out from its protected position on the left and move towards the centre to support the village.

By turn 3 (the game counts backwards from turn 7), the Soviets have been forced to abandon the village. They call in off board mortars to cover their retreat and that fire is very effective, removing two German half sections.
The crew's nerves of the lumbering KV are frazzled!
having been repeatedly hit on the thick frontal armour

Both sides generally have a severe lack of infantry to secure the ground. As the KV-1 moves towards the village, with the 57mm anti-tank gun giving supporting fire, the Panzer IIIJ takes up position behind a wall to deter the Soviet tank, while a Pak 38 anti tank gun unlimbers behind a nearby hedge. With disregard for their own safety, a Flak 30 unlimbers in the open and puts fire down on the 57mm anti-tank gun.
 
It is a desperate defence intended to protect the right flank of the village and it is working, holding off the KV, their crew momentarily broken by the incessant shell strikes against the front armour. 
Final positions


At this point the Action ends, with both sides having fought to utter exhaustion and a brief lull falls over the battlefield while the respective battalion headquarters assess the situation and release more troops from the dwindling reserve.

The casualties have been very high in this Action and reflect the intensity of the fighting in a series of local actions. The situation is so bad that the Germans do not have enough strength to exploit their gains in the village, but neither do the Soviets have the strength to counter-attack. Note some of the brown counters you can see are earthworks and cover .... not necessarily Soviet units.

German losses, 6 rifle sections, 2 half sections, 2 lieutenants.
Soviet losses, 7 rifle sections, 1 half section, 45mm A/T gun, T-26, 1 lieutenant, 1 sergeants.

The rolling number of victory points gained so far after three Actions has the Germans in the lead with 49 VP’s, while the Soviets have 40 VP’s. With the village now in German hands, the situation looks tough for the Soviets.

The Lull Phase
Above all else, both sides need fresh infantry, as occupation of the village is almost certainly going to become central to winning the mini campaign.

Mini game 4 (the final Action) will follow soon. After that, the files for the mini campaign will be made available.

Resource Section.

My sister webspace COMMANDERS is a bit more snippet based than here. Link.

To read the first instalment that includes set up and victory requirements. LINK

The second instalment is here LINK

This link gives a lot of useful information about the development of the Panzer III, including the J variant used in our game. LINK

15 comments:

  1. Although the Germans are slightly ahead on VP's, it has been costly and that's without an active KV-I to harass them! This really does have the feel of the attritional nature of the Eastern Front, where the Germans simply wore themselves out with their repeated victories. Looking forward to the final game and how you feel the campaign has gone.

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    1. Hi Steve, it certainly does and with the Soviet rifle sections being slightly cheaper to buy, there is that sense of ‘Quantity has a quality of its own’.

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  2. Great write-up! Looking forward to downloading the files.

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    1. Thanks J, the play testing is bringing in a few tweaks, but generally the original documentation for the campaign is holding up. Nearly there now :-)

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  3. Another engaging action, Norm! I enjoyed this very much. Thanks!

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  4. Thanks Jonathan, I am really enjoying the system.

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  5. Another nail-biting series of posts. Looks like the Germans should clinch the last round, but I know how these things can suddenly turn, so waiting in suspense for the last final report.
    Still can't get used to games that count down to zero!!

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  6. Hi Mike, it’s working very well so far. The unit density makes recoding between games quite easy. I’m also enjoying the Lull Phase between battles, it can slightly alter the dynamic of the following game, but not too wildly that it interrupts the flow of the campaign narrative.

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  7. Oh look, a salient! Those always work out well for those inside them. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  8. Hi Stew,’Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly’!

    Unwittingly, we seem to have produced the Kursk campaign :-)

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  9. Matt, it is getting there. I am quite pleased the way that the campaign document is shaping up.

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  10. Really good tense game, it feels like the reds are edging it slightly!
    Best Iain

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  11. Hi Iain, I think things are in the right ball park, if after 3 games it still feels so close. I am getting ready to sort out the final game - we will shortly know!

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