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Subject: Onslaught to Orsha 24AM rss

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Craig Benn
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Onslaught to Orsha 24AM

Clearly the previous days non-breakthrough could only be ascribed to counter-revolutionary forces. Enforcing ideological purity became my main concern.

Long live our Soviet Motherland, built by the people's mighty hand.
Long live our People, united and free.
Strong in our friendship tried by fire. Long may our crimson flag inspire,
Shining in glory for all men to see.


Despite my great singing voice, the cardboard 6-2-8’s were not inspired to join in.

Whats up boys?

A 9-2 piped up: They’re used to the Internationale boss. You know how it goes
No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They'll break ranks and fight no more”


YesssssssI think that’s probably why they changed it to something more martial a couple of months ago. And a good thing too. Stirring the new anthem is. Stirring. Makes you want to jump up and kill some fascists.

The 9-2 looked sideways at a wounded 6+1 and coughed meaningfully.
Our reinforcements boss?

I rubbed my hands in glee.
With 7 CPP saved, it had been time for some serious shopping. For fire support I decided to go for a section of 76* guns and a section of 82*MTR’s – something I should have done at start. Infantry losses always need to be replaced, particularly with my tactics so one Guards rifle coy and two Rifle Coys (one depleted). For a bit of death-defying mayhem two lots of Sturmoviks and a section of flamethrowing T-34’s (starting offmap for lack of a last purchase point sadly).

So no minerollers and no OBA then, even though the mines totally stopped the breakthrough last time?

That 9-2 was starting to irritate me.

Yeah well I’m sure our revolutionary socialist zeal will overcome any material shortcomings. In fact it had better, mate, or the NKVD will get involved.”

Early Game

Its always great at the start of a campaign date. All your supporting fire is neatly apportioned, your squads are lined up menacingly, with no hint of the sniveling broken reduced quality mob they’ll become…you get a nice warm feeling as your opponent has to sit and take all your prep fire. It lasts of course until you start moving and provide a target…

A quick look at the german setup proved a bit disconcerting. It was a bona fida defence in depth with enough speedbumps forward to kill momentum, but the MLR well back to maximize the german range advantages. He hadn’t skimped on foxholes this time either. Mark is usually a bit casual on defence, but has been steadily improving throughout the campaign.

The initial prep-fire wasn’t that impressive, but I did manage to lay down a fair amount of smoke from the 82*Mtrs, and the rain held off for the first two turns. I mopped up the german speedbumps fairly easily, but the two 8 hex minefields really slowed me up as I sought to clear them on a fairly broad front.

And for the first time German OBA…two modules of 100mm with offboard observers which only cost 4 CPP each. I was sort of hoping Mark would be too lazy to cope with learning the OBA rules, and intimidated by the counter-battery module he knew I had. Unfortunately not…the german artillery is cheap for the 20FP bang it provides, and because the mines channel the Russian moves- very effective. Really a must-buy for the Germans and a surprise it hadn’t reared its ugly head before now.

One module hit the big gully in the south, breaking a few squads and killing a T-34 ( with 6 flat harassing fire no less). Counterbattery then knocked it out in my turn 3 prep phase. The other module kept deviating in the best possible way for me, and drew a red chit. In the north, my mineclearing squads were putting down labour counters but had some smoke/blaze cover. In the south chattering MG’s totally murdered every effort to create a trailbreak.

Mid Game

The familiar pattern of the campaign re-asserted itself. From turn three it rained and rained, and the attack slowed. The Russian infantry has to advance over open ground with no smoke protection, and as it advances the firebases become less and less use as the hindrances add up. The infantry itself rarely has the firepower to suppress the German MG positions itself, and its mobility is severely restricted by the mines and all the cumulative terrain, not to mention the 1MF for elevation changes around the gully systems.

If the infantry can’t do it on their own, then the Russian armour and OBA has to take up the slack. I had no OBA (not enough purchase points), and the 82mm MTR’s and 76* Guns were not a good enough substitute, so that left the tanks. My tank losses had been adding up over the three dates – mainly to stupid stuff like panzerfausts that need snakeyes to hit, 6 flat OBA and the like.

So advancing started becoming very costly, Mark concentrating his fire on broken units units until they died. I probably whined about some rate tears, but there were enough high ROF weapons to relentlessly chip away at the Russian ranks.

On the north side an 88mm gun on the rearmost level one hill, murdered my troops clearing the disputed ridge, seeming to average four shots a phase. In the end I evacuated the hill once I’d cleared it of defenders, and re-positioned my sniper on top of the beast (to no effect). Immediately beneath the hill, the German OBA got five black chits and tore great chunks out of my guys. South of this towards the railway line, a handful of squads had cleared lanes in the minefields and taken some foxholes, but the bulk were further back.

On the south side, I completely failed to clear lanes in the 8 hex minefield laid diagonally across my front. Every effort had been broken painfully by the chattering machine guns. The board edge was only covered by a 6 factor AP minefield, so I had a T-34 poised to run over this, with riders. The angle of grain and brush protected the tank from AT guns (although it had survived a shock from spotted mortar fire), and with the nearest MG positions surpressed, I could capture some foxholes, and really turn the german flank. The T-34 got immobilized by the AP mines. Aaaaaargh!!

In fact the only progress was just south of the railway line, where brush and gullies provided some cover, and the german outposts had suffered heavily. Even there a couple of MG positions around the culvert started inflicting nasty casualties. In sheer frustration I launched troops at them, on the railway line itself, frontally, and sacrificed a KV to give them some instant smoke. To my great surprise, some bad rolls at crucial points including a 12 on a FPF shot allowed me to overrun this area.

End Game


The whole date had been extremely frustrating. Rain, mines, OBA, open ground and infantry who have much better range than you have is a hell of a combination to attack against. The mines are the worst aspect of it – get broken by defensive fire, (which is not unlikely as you can’t assault move and attempt to clear mines), and you can’t stay in normal range of an enemy unit, so you often have to rout through the mines taking another attack. Even worse, they can slow up your infantry for 2,3,4 turns destroying any attempt at maneuver. I was really missing the minerollers that had got killed on the first few dates.

I continued to push where I could, but to little effect. Advancing from the culvert position, German MG’s inflicted such heavy casualties on my assault troops, I was forced to retreat everyone into gullies out of LOS. On the north side, my flamethrowing T-34’s had finally got into the action, and managed to get into the westernmost gully system. A pathetically few squads managed to get in there with them to consolidate the ground, although a KV-8 died just short.

The flamethrowing T-34’s are absolute beauties and quickly broke the german defences in this area. And wonder of wonders, the rain cleared for one turn, allowing the Sturmoviks to rocket the last Stug, and bomb a MG toting crew.

In fact the final turn allowed me through some risky armor play to kill 4.5 squads by failure to rout. The germans were at last starting to look a little thin in bodies, but the breakthrough had come too late (turn 7) and the CG date ended.

The Butchers Bill

German casualties were 21 squads, a Stug, a crew and enough leaders to make 62 CVP.

Russian casualties were 25.5 squads, a crew, six leaders and five tanks for more than the german losses.

Note: the exact losses are written down somewhere and will be edited in at some point.

Conclusions

Well despite the frustrations of this date, it really still is in the balance. No new location VP’s were taken, and the Germans lost casualties totaling 3 campaign VP, which means I need 7 VP in the last date to win.

However there are no less than four location VP within 3-6 hexes of my frontlines, which I really should take. Others are possible but unlikely. That leaves me with getting three exit or casualty VP’s. I have 12 casualty VP carried over, so I only need 48 points of dead germans to do this.

Other plus points are that all four OB purchasable 8 hex minefields have been breached, and the german manpower barrel is low. It looks as if he’ll have to buy his last two infantry companies and have minimum for toys. And we finally rolled for clear weather – my Sturmoviks will be a big factor.

On the downside – I was hoping to try something a bit off the wall, combining various OBA preparation with an armoured blitz, but alas casualties to both men and tanks have been too high, and it looks as if I’ll have to go for something more conservative.

I reckon the Russians have an edge, but it is still loseable.

( Oh yeah - the annoying 9-2 got killed by German OBA when he was in a woods hex. But not until getting ELR'd and then wounded first. Partially my fault for keep forgetting to use counterbattery...)
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simon thornton
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Keep these superb campaign write ups coming !
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