Big Russian Assault

Taktik

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#1
This was a huge 5000 point Russian assault into a German held city. Because of the size of the map, the city only took up about 20% of the map, dead center in the German positions. There were houses scattered about on long stretches of each flank. Over a dozen big flags and a few small ones were dispersed fairly evenly deep in my setup zone.

There were some good and bad things I noticed as I setup. There were too many flags and the map was simply too long to possibly defend adequately. I decided to not attempt this and anchored my defense on the city and defend my left flank. From the city out to my right flank I simply had a few commando schrecks and tank hunter teams to pick off potential enemy tanks. I had a 75mm pillbox deployed facing out towards my right flank and a few other strong points projecting a defense on the right shoulder of the city.

As it turned out, Roger completely ignored my right flank the entire game. His entire army hit me from the left shoulder of the city along the length of my left flank…exactly where I defended most. Lucky for me. Had he but a token force from his 8500 points or so to recon and exploit the empty space on my right flank he could have gobbled up a bunch of flags.

Roger asked for no heavy uebers for the fight, so I complied. I decided that my Germans would represent a mechanized infantry battalion backed by a StuG company, a plt of MkIVhs and an escort company. The BN and Coy provided me with a ton of HMGs, which proved vital for the defense.

The map was relatively open and with only small undulations and no real hills. This was obviously to my advantage and difficult for Roger. Even essentially defending 2/3rds of the map, my positions were still very thin. I deployed multiple supporting strong points that featured HMGs and the three ATGs I had. A large portion of obstacles were placed in the city to severely limit enemy movement through that axis of approach. As the game developed, the city saw very little action except for the left shoulder.

With 12 StuGs and 5 PzIVs I had a nice armored force. But the thought of what could come at me was frightening. Roger ended up with a fair amount of tanks, but not the amount I would have chosen. The StuGs held up nicely and I kept my armor-challenged PzIVs in cover of the city outskirts most of the fight. Still expecting a strike on my right flank, I had kept 6 StuGs and 3 PzIVs in place for at least half the fight. When it became apparent after some scouts of my own discovered not a single enemy on my right flank, these tanks were brought over as a reserve and joined the fight late in the game.

Roger started out with a strong recon in force on my extreme left flank. Out of the murk came half a dozen tanks and crap load of vehicles. I had that flank well defended and soon a number of StuGs and HMGs took this force under fire. They were successful in fending off the tanks and vehicles, causing a fair amount of losses to his armor, but not before they deposited what looked like a coy sized force of infantry on my extreme flank in some woods outside my lines. These guys pretty much stayed there the whole fight.

After this Roger seemed to take his time working his gigantic force closer. He did a great job keeping his infantry hidden. I didn’t really spot large masses till the last quarter of the game. While his infantry approached, Roger sent another strong mechanized force into the seam of my defense where it anchored on the left shoulder of the city. Again, StuGs and HMG strong points were effective in halting this thrust, but the cover here was better for Roger and he lodged himself there for most of the game. Our tanks traded shots at each other around the city outskirts. Some of his T-34s had tungsten so I lost a StuG or two during these intermittent duels.

Pressure began mounting along the breadth of my left flank as the game progressed past the mid-way point, but until the end, there was only really long-range fire exchanged. The terrain was the main reason for this, since Roger didn’t have much for covered approaches. In fact, in order to get to the flags, his troops would need to cross TWO long, straight, wide streets that ran parallel with my flanks.

As the battle entered the last 10-15 turns, there appeared massive amounts of Russian infantry separated into two main groups. And I mean massive. Roger started to drop smoke, which helped his lads a lot, but still his troops were under fire for a very long time as they covered a remarkable distance with little cover. I truly had never seen so much infantry in such a narrow frontage.

This huge force of screaming popovs was extremely determined. I scrambled my idle tanks that had been guarding my right flank a little too late to help stem this intimidating force. However, the combined direct fire of a dozen tanks from numerous angles, small arms fire, attrition, distance and exhaustion were just too much for the heroic popovs. The game went an extra 8 turns, 52 in all! With the extended time, some dogged Ivans managed to neutralize three German held flags, with one depleted HQ still tossing grenades at a nearby StuG!

Over all the game was lots of fun. Big battles like this can be very enjoyable. Roger proved a dogged opponent and his human wave attacks in the end had me shaking my head in disbelief and amusement.

In the aftermath, what might have happened? The Russians had suffered heavily, but the German strong points were mostly out of ammo and a few had been overrun in the last stages of the fight. The Red Army lost 32 vehicles; about 15+ were tanks/SPs, the rest of the mechanized sort. I lost three StuGs and a flak truck. My infantry losses were relatively light. The remaining Russians were battered and at the end of their endurance, however, they finally managed to press into the German lines. Future operations would depend on the resources available to both sides. If the Germans could mount a counter attack siphoning troops from my right flank and adding any possible reinforcements, then lots of Russian prisoners could be taken if hit in the flank as they were strung out across the map. If the Russians committed another good order battalion, then the fight would be in the balance. If this battalion were committed onto the German right flank then the Germans would have no choice but to effect a tactical withdrawal, relinquishing ground but still maintaining an effective force for further defensive/counter-attack operations.

That’s about it.