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Subject: Scenario 6 rss

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Brian McCue
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In Scenario 6, the Russians are attacking the seven-hex village of Kurhava, near one end of the board; they enter on the other end, and thus have to go almost the whole length of the board. The width-spanning river is, in this scenario , a fordable stream. The Russians have a tank-heavy force, with ten T-34 85s, three SU-76s, a mortar, trucks, SMG-wielding infantry that can ride on tanks, and regular infantry, some of which has Lend-Lease bazooka. This scenario is later in the war, and the Soviets are credited with an ample supply of command chits.

The Germans have two Marders, two StuG III's, two 75mm AT guns, one fearsome 88mm AT gun, infantry with Panzerfausts, and four Hidden Unit markers.

Both sides have off-board artillery, and Forward Observers to go with it. The two sides differ in how their off-board artillery is used. Before the start of play, the Russians set up a schedule of Planned Artillery Fire points to hit, spaced six turns apart. After hitting a point they can "walk" the barrage around for four more turns; then the battery takes a smoke break (or something) for a turn, and after that the next point can be hit. The Germans Pre-Register two points, and can shoot at them at will--if they have an observer who can see the point and has an Overwatch order. Recall that there is an separate Indirect Fire phase for all of this.

As usual, we played with
--All Basic Game rules 1 through 4
--All Advanced Games rules 5 and 6 except for Command Units
--Selected optional rules:
7.2 Hidden Units
7.8 Turrets
7.9 Smoke dischargers
7.10 CE ammo
7.11 Brew up
7.12 Variable AP
7.13 Lower Hull hits
7.22 Infantry Smoke
7.25 Weapon Malfunction
7.29 Bogging

As the Germans, I was more than a little daunted. Off-board artillery was new to me and I feared its effects. I tried to avoid placing anything (especially those AT guns) in obvious hexes that the Russians might have picked, but I didn't see how to avoid setting up my infantry, anyway, in the town, and I was sure that the Russians would lambaste it with artillery.

When I played the defender in Scenario 5, I had some success with forward-deploying my tanks and then withdrawing them as the enemy advanced, rather than putting AT guns up front and having to worry about getting them over-run. (Or, in scenario 6, bombarded from off-board.) I decided to do the same thing in this game, the more so because I didn't have any trucks with which to reposition the AT gusn

The lack of trucks also acted to immobilize the Forward Observer, which turned him into a Rearward Observer because he really had to be able to control fire in the vicinity of the Russian's ultimate objective, the village. Later, a bystander commented that I could have used a StuG III to transport the FO. I still have not found out exactly how to decode the Transport information on that unit's card, so I don't know if I could have used it that way or not. That would have made a big difference. (EDIT: See also next post)

Suffering from bad dice as well as inept command, my tank screen suffered the fate of many tank screens (especially ones like mine that were actually self-propelled gun screens) and got wiped out while only inflicting Damage on a couple of enemy tanks.

The Russians lumbered onward and were slowed, by about a turn, by the 88. I think it managed another Damage result, but it was also only a speed bump, albeit a potentially deadly one, because it lacked its special-purpose giant halftrack prime mover and could not displace. I had put it in Full Cover because it couldn't see very far anyway, but it is a big target.

I had registered the bridges and my off-board artillery was able to do some damage (that is, some Damage results--I don't think it actually killed anything) to the Russian force as they concentrated to move across the bridge. The AT guns were in the town, and again slowed the advance; I think one of them did actually manage to kill an SU-76.

Panzerfausts have a range of 1, so the Russians ringed the town at a range of two and began a bombardment with GP rounds from their tanks. The Russian off-board artillery finally focused on the town as well. I had managed more delay than I had expected, but less than I needed: the scenario had enough time remaining that the German infantry would be destroyed by artillery, without ever getting a chnce to use their Panzerfausts.

It's a great scenario, and I want to play it as the Russians next time, and then a third time as the Germans, to see if I can do better than I did this first time. When I am the Germans again, I expect I will simply defend the vicinity of the town, and use the time taken by the Russian advance to get my self-propelled guns into hull-down positions. (Strangely, defending AFVs that start on the board are not allowed to have gotten into hull-down positions before the game begins.) These tanks would be on reverse slopes and other defilades such that they would only engage the Russians as the Russians got close, and would in all cases get to do so with at least one turn of close-up Overwatch fire, as the Russians come into view.










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Brian McCue
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Transporting that FO
A reader provided amplifyng remarks on the question of the StuG III giving the FO a ride.

6.6.7.1 wrote:
Transport & Passenger Capacity All vehicles have a Transport Capacity Factor on the Movement Row of their Data Cards; it is listed as TR: #-#. The first value is the vehicle’s Towed Capacity, the second value is its Leg Capacity. ... Leg and towed units have a Passenger Capacity. The data is presented as a reverse image indicating that they are passenger units. Their capacity indicates how much space they, their equipment and ammunition requires while being transported.

The StuG III Data Card (63) shows a transport capacity of Tr: 0-2. So it can't tow the 88 (too bad), but it can transport the Forward Observer, who is the size of Section and therefore consumes only one point of Transport capacity.
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