Saturday, 25 September 2021

Lieutenant Veselovsky attacks!



The following post covers the playing of a Stalingrad based scenario from the Old School Tactical system by Flying Pig Games, which is a WWII squad based game.

We are playing ‘Siberians’, a scenario from the Stalingrad module, which states;  ‘The 13th Guards Division was reaching its breaking point. In the early morning hours, elements of the 284th Rifle Division were ferried across the Volga to join the fight. The rugged Siberians of the ‘Tomsk’ Division were feared by the Germans.

These hunters and frontiersmen would push back the enemy and buy the 62nd Army some time. From the beaches, Col. Batyuk’s men plough into the city’.

It is 23rd September 1942.

Please use the ‘read more’ tab for the rest of this post.


This is an infantry only scenario. The fighting is across a district that has 7 building blocks. At the end of play, the side that has the most men in a building can claim control of it. The side that controls more buildings than the other, wins.

The game opens with the buildings all in German control, with German riflemen trying to set up a defensive perimeter. They are opposed by Soviet riflemen (13th Guards), who are making a last bid attempt to get a foothold amongst the buildings. 

To the Soviet rear, newly arrived shock troops (284th RD) are following up as a second wave to the assault. The Germans can likely handle the tired 13th Gds, but they will be sorely tested by the follow-on Soviet shock troops.

The Germans have their own reinforcements on the way and these are dedicated assault platoons, which will be needed if there is to be any chance of restoring the German line.

This is a night assault, so visibility is down to three hexes.

There is roughly a company of men per side, but we will be concentrating on the actions of Lieutenant Veselovsky, who is part of the reinforcing shock division and will be attacking the mid part of the district.

Our action starts with Soviet riflemen trying to infiltrate into the various building complexes. Among them is the brave Captain Volkov, who has taken two sections of infantry across open ground that is littered with shell holes and debris.

Captain Volkov advances towards the office block


He is aiming for the small block of offices, where a German section, commanded by Sergeant Duerr have just occupied the upstairs rooms and have opened fire on the silhouetted Soviet soldiers, causing Volkov to lose one section, while the other takes cover amongst the shell holes. Volkov himself had a 50 / 50 chance of being lost with his 1st section, but he survived.

Duerr orders his men to create some mouse holes to fire from (they gain an additional cover counter) and the German fire continues to bite hard on the second Soviet section. Who are now pretty much pinned.

The first elements of the Soviet reinforcements arrived just in time. Lieutenant Veselovsky, with couple of shock infantry sections pass Volkov, working their way through debris and assault the office block. 

Lieutenant Velselovsky pass Volkov and make
for the office block


One of their sections get reduced to half strength on the way in, but the group reach the building and enter. Armed with Molotov Cocktails they assault Duerr’s section.

[Duerr (1), infantry section (4), LMG (2) = 7 melee attack points)

Veselovsky (1), Shock section (5), half a shock section (2), Molotovs (2) = 10 Melee attack points. Duerr loses his section and just about escapes with his own life - Veselovsky now has a foothold in the building].

The melee chit marks the hex, with the two
occupants spread to show their unit types


As other buildings in the district are assaulted, the German defence become stretched, but they have their own reinforcements on the way - well trained assault sections. It is at this point that their command comes briefly under stress [they only get 3 impulse points for the turn …. Dire!].

Duerr, with his second section, is given one of those precious impulse points to put in an immediate counter attack against Veselovsky. Using grenade bundles, they flip a Soviet shock section to half strength, but return fire also reduces the German section to half strength and for the second time, Duerr only just survives the close encounter.

Veselovsky rushes Duerr, pushing the remnants of his unit out of the building. So far the Soviets control 3 of the 7 buildings in the district. Sergeant Stolypin brings up two more shock sections in to the office block and consolidates.

Duerr has taken up position at the shoe factory opposite. Lieutenant Veselovsky puts down covering fire while ordering Stolypin to assault the shoe factory. The Germans put down effective fire, putting broken markers on Stolypin and one of his sections, but his other section enters the factory and pushes Duerr back, deeper into the building.

Stolypin moves forward to assault the shoe factory


Veselovsky takes his two half sections and enters the shoe factory to support Stolypin’s men. Brutal fighting breaks out, which sees off the Germans and leaves Duerr dead!

Just 1 more turn to go, can the Soviets capture
enough buildings to bring them a win?


With the shoe factory captured, the Soviets now control 4 of the 7 buildings, so can claim a win. Casualties have been significant to both sides, so by the end of the last turn, neither side has much fight in them left.

Conclusion.

Another slick game. It ran for around 2½ hours, during which time I only referenced the rulebook a few times, with the game running off a double sided play aid.

A building dense map generally makes for reduced ranges of vision, but the night fight made this an even more closed down affair and on a couple of occasions, being able to skirt around the buildings outside the three hex range, helped both sides and brought some extra interest.

The shock (Soviet) and assault (German) sections are powerful with attack strengths of 5. A leader, if present in the hex, can allow two stacked sections to combine their strengths, so those sections that managed to operate together in pairs for 10 strength points were quite formidable, especially once close combat started, but they also attracted the bulk of the fire, so suffered heavily in casualties. 

Controlling a building for victory purposes is nuanced, because it is based upon which side has the most men in the building at the time of calculation and so even with 7 buildings, it is possible to get a draw result. If this happens, victory is based upon casualties and in that regard, Soviet casualties were much higher and so any victory estimated that way would have delivered a German win.

Resource Section.

There is an AAR post here of scenario 1 ‘Rattenkrieg’ (War of the Rats), which includes a little detail of the system. LINK.

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2019/11/ost-stalingrad.html


My sister webspace COMMANDERS is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and give a flavour of where current ongoing projects are up to. Link.

https://commanders.simdif.com

22 comments:

  1. The map looks good. How does the game map deal with hexes that half fit buildings and a road?

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  2. Hi Peter, for infantry the gamer declares whether their unit is using the road or the building part of the hex, paying differing movement rates and claiming differing protection, depending which is chosen. There is a game marker to put on the unit to remind players if it has chosen road movement.

    For vehicles, they get no choice, they must use the road portion of the hex.

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    1. That's a simple and clever way of dealing with the challenge.

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  3. Really enjoyed this post, Norm. OST really seems to deliver a satisfying game with low overhead in complexity.

    I am doing a bit of board gaming at the moment myself (although different era) so very timely :)

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  4. Thanks Steve, I found it quite notable how little rule referencing I was doing, which for a tactical type game is impressive. I have two Kharkov 1941 based boardgames at the top of the gaming queue, which should see the table soon.

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  5. As Peter mentions, the map is a handsome one with an almost "Google Earth" feel to it. I like the thought of lower rules' overhead and less rulebook referencing. Maybe time to give this system a closer inspection. Do I dispatch with my SL/ASL games and move toward another tactical system? Hmm.

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  6. I think this sort of game is perfect for dense BUA fighting, which can be tricky to handle with figures, both in terms of placement, lines of sight, getting a building etc. I look forward to the Kharkov AAR's as and when time allows.

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  7. Hi Steve, yes, I think that’s true. The stacking in the game allows two sections per hex, plus leaders and markers, so having the terrain in 2D is an efficient way to manage that.

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  8. Looks really good Norm and a win for the right side too so thats a bonus! I have played a couple of games of Heroes of Normandy board game with my mate Andrew, using 15mm FoW vehicles and infantry and this works quite well - Andrew has always said he would like to model the outlines of the buildings that are printed on the board game to enhance the figure orientated slant of the games further...

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  9. Hi Keith, there is a blog (which I have just searched for and can't find) in which the gamer is building up a huge Stalingrad table using hexes with some very good modelling. If I can find it, I will post back here.

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    1. EDIT - found it moments later!

      http://lairoftheubergeek.blogspot.com/2020/10/stalingrad-project-trudging-along.html

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  10. Sounds like the system delivers an atmospheric and tense game, nice!
    Best Iain

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  11. Hi Iain, it does draw you in and I think that is helped by streamlined processes that mean the rule book stays in the box for the most part.

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  12. That was cool. No other blog can make pics of chits on a board interesting like you do. 😀

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  13. Thanks Stew, I game graphics are really nice .... so they are doing all of the work :-)

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  14. Gripping narrative Norm! Seems like Comrade Veselovsky just earned himself a medal!

    Was wondering about building entry/exit points. Are they considered rubble/ruined so they can be accessed from any hex or do they have designated entry points?

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  15. Hi Mike, they can be entered from any direction. Moving in the open costs 1 movement point per hex, entering a building hex costs 2 movement points. With the map being building rich, movement can be slow, but of course it is more deadly to get caught in the open.

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  16. It looks like that was an exciting game. High casualties are not unexpected from a battle like that.

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  17. Hi, I don't know why, but I have always been a bit anti night based scenarios, but here, the range is down to 3 hexes and the cat and mouse nature of fighting in a built up areas and using that 4th hex range to skirt some danger spots, come together to give a scenario that draws you into the 'moment by moment' style of play and that does deliver an exciting game. the next scenario in the package is 'The Nail Factory'.

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  18. Must confess I never took to OST system not sure why, but that Stalingrad map looks very enticing.

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  19. Hi Gary, I know you like the GMT Combat Commander system. I find OST to be the nearest in terms of design objectives to the original Squad Leader module - which ticks many boxes for me :-)

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