BoF16 Saluting A General - AAR

von Marwitz

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BoF16 Saluting A General - AAR

16145



A while ago I came into contact with a nice guy in this forum who offered me to play a game of the BoF16 version of 'Saluting A General'. I dimly remembered having played that scenario seven years ago in its original FrF56 version, so I searched my stuff and found the old VASL files which I updated to the current version.

There are some differences between the BoF16 and FrF56 versions of the scenario. As the original FrF56 version, which has seen quite a number of plays, seemed to be quite clearly favoring the Russians according to ROAR, it was tweaked somewhat to strengthen the Germans:
  • They get an additional 8-0 Leader.
  • They get an additional Pz IIIG.
  • While in the original version, only the Pz IIIJs get APCR, in the BoF version, additionally the Pz IIIH and the four Pz IIIGs get APCR 5.
  • While in the original version, US vehicle counters are used for the Russian tanks, it is 'Russian' colored counters for the tanks in the BoF version. This would normally cause the vehicles having different types of Special Ammunition available, however the Russian Special Ammo is deleted by SSRs in each version. There is a difference, though, in the MG armament with the US tanks having fixed mount Bow MGs and the 'Russian' tanks have normal Bow MGs. In case of the M3, the FP of the US tank BMG is 4FP, in the 'Russian' version, it is only 2FP.
The objective for the Germans is basically to control the patch of woods with the path on board 85. Interestingly, the setup areas of the Russians and Germans overlap, so depending on the Russian setup, he might find some Germans behind him well in the East towards the victory area.

Situation at Game Start:

16157

I had the defending Russians in this one. I exchanged my 8-1 leader for a 10-0 Commissar. I chose the 'forward Russian setup' with the guaranteed effect of avoiding any Germans in my back and pushing the German setup area as war to the West as possible. I found that with 7 Germans Movement Phases, I could not afford to have the Germans start anywhere close to the middle of the playing area. This comes at a price, though, as it requires 5 Russian squads in isolated forward positions - almost half of their Infantry force which only has an ELR of 2, which will in turn have lots of ground to cover to fall back to the victory area with difficult open areas to cross. The Russians can count of having to write off some of these forward squads which lie in the path of the German Schwerpunkt. On the other hand, the German will very likely not attack everywhere, so some of them should make it back. It should be noted, that the Russian 82mm MTR is special in its option to assemble and fire a (single) shot or fire and dismantle a (single) shot in its PFPh/DFPh. This might be important as it starts dm (and thus not Emplaced).

So my basic plan was the 'forward screen' to push back the German setup zone and have its squads falling back as quickly as possible. The central woods would form a speed bump with brokies hopefully having time be rallied once by the Commissar before falling back. The HMG somewhat to the back as to allow it to come into the game before the End Game. As the Russian tanks would enter before the German tanks, in my upcoming half-turn, I would need to place them in a manner that they could react and redeploy quickly to whatever moves the German armor would make in German Turn 2 with the understanding that my Infantry would be sorely in need of their support.

The German infantry set up in the center and south of the terrain.


Situation at the End of German Turn 1:

16158

Playing my opponent for the very first time, I notice at once by the details of his movement that he knows what he is doing. Brigade command told me, I should rejoice to annihilate the incompetent, decadent and replete burgeois defilers of the Motherland. As the Russian commander, I begin to have second thoughts about this, but with the proper proletarian verve, I decide to repeat this patriotic encouragement to the letter to my Commissar Breznev, as it probably originated from STAVKA itself. The comrades of STAVKA being even more equal than I am, who would I be to question the utter accuracy of the Party's judgement?

As such, I can witness my three southernmost squads of the screen to begin 'rejoicing' at the forefront of the defense as they see the the German onslaught surging at them and I am convinced that the Russian worker and peasant soldiers will not confuse the correct meaning of revolution with the changing of direction of their movement towards the rear...


Situation at the End of Russian Turn 1:

16159

During my Russian Turn 1, my forward screen overfullfilled the 5-year-plan of reconnoitering backward approaches for bringing forward armored reinforcements that the Soviet heavy industry had heroically supplied in the form of American made tanks. The latter entered mostly in the center to be able to react to whatever moves the German armor would be forced to take by my proletarian forward screen.


To be continued in subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of German Turn 2:

16161

During German Turn 2, the burgeois enemy spent himself by moving with utmost despatch towards the E.. - erm - into a general direction. Meanwhile in the patriotic Russian center, three Russian squads were desperate to rejoice being on the forefront to carry the revolution towards Berlin and beyond. A dirty piece of counterrevolutionary propaganda claimed that Russian soldiers were held as Prisoners in 42N4. I personally established, that I could only discern SMOKE in that area.


Situation at the End of Russian Turn 2:

16162

In my Russian Turn 2, the political encouragement of Commissar Breznev in 85P6 steeled the resolve of two squads to resist in good ordered determination. Together with their fatherly Commissar both squads took firm control of the patch of woods to the E... - erm - a patch of woods in the general area through which an important road passed. Actually all roads within the Soviet area of control were firmly in the hand of Russian Army! In a futile attempt at Russian morale, the Germans had dressed up some of their people in Soviet uniforms of superior manufacture to pose as Prisoners in 85T1 and 42N4. In 42N3 the German Panzer spearhead was Shocked to find out the proof of the superior quality of the Soviet optics industries ridiculing anything that Zeiss could muster.


Situation at the End of German Turn 3:

16163

During German Turn 3, the tank in 42N3 was about to be dying to find out the secrets of superior Soviet optics. Meanwhile, the Germans pushed forward - let me clarify, forward towards their deaths, of course - hiding behind a human shield of Prisoners. As my heroic defenders of the Motherland had already seen through the ruse of these puppet-prisoners, this had no effect on Russian morale whatsoever.

In the center, the German tanks sought death, one of them in absolute folly, moving right between three of our tanks, only to meet his end there. If any proof was necessary, that American capitalists could not be trusted, one Stuart tank was destroyed and the MA of a Lee tank malfunctioned. Despite this sabotage, my Russian infantry prepared to kettle in a concentration of three German tanks and elite enemy Infantry in the 85L8 area by a deliberate wide range flanking maeuver staying out of sight in the Northern woods. In the central patch of woods, comrade Commissar Breznev instilled the two defending Russian squads there with the understanding, that they were enough to fend off 5 German tanks and maybe double or triple the number of enemy Infantry.


Situation at the End of Russian Turn 3:

16165

My Russian Turn 4 proved to be a severe blow to the class enemy and a triumph for the Bolshevic cause.
First, the German tank in 42N3 was finally confirmed to have succumbed. As comrade Comissar Breznev had promised, the Germans did not dare to move an inch during the Russian halfturn and one of the two squads scaring them off returned to him reporting the fact in a less orderly fashion than was warranted. But as the squad had just seconds ago been re-rated to Conscripts, they might be excused.

After the pack of three German tanks in the 85L9 area had all missed their Advancing Fire shots in their past turn - surely having been intimitated by our heroic defenders of the Motherland, it was now time for the tankniki to strike back: The first tank was taken out by the 75mm secondary armament, the second one by the 37LL main armament, the third one later in CC by a brave squad of Russian peasants intensly determined to cleanse the enemy from the native soil. I report to Brigade headquarters that if it were not because of another case of capitalist sabotage, the entire enemy armored force would have been annihilated. However, the MA of the American built tank in 85J3 which had malfunctioned, could not be repaired. Thus, the Russian tankniki of this tank wanted to ram both nearby tanks to obliviate them, then charge the last German tank in 42S1 where it would have been taken out by pistol shot. This selfless plan was tragically stopped abruptly and tragically in 85K3 around 40 meters from where it was hatched. This was reported by the nearby Russian HMG position which has witnessed everything first hand and survived all fire thrown at it. So, this halfturn, the Germans lost 4 tanks and the Russians only 1, with the HMG position surviving. Attributing this outcome to pure luck and chance would have to be rated as burgeois propaganda and dealt with accordingly.


To be continued in subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of German Turn 4:

16166

The enclosed map bears witness of the most noble - scratch that couterrevolutionary expression - most patriotic deeds of comrade Commissar Breznev and his accompanying squad. Probably forced forward through sheer terror of their inhuman leadership, the German infantry surged forward in force in the center and from the south.

Somewhere in a sea of blue, comrade Commissar Breznev can be barely discerned, clinging unflinchingly to the trees around 85L5: With his squad, he had First Fired, Final Fired, Final Protective Fired to break the enemy right, left and center. He had taken severe fire but in the Heat of Battle, his Consripts were forged into 1st line troops and Breznev himself became a Hero, fighting on in Melee, standing like a rock in the sea. It had been a mistake, though, to show leniency towards the other Conscript squad, as it dissolved into a halfsquad and then deserted to the rear. Their names and family have been noted on a list attached to this report to be delivered to justice for their treason.

The tankers in 85J5 once more proved to be brilliant shots and blew up their third German tank in 85L3 in a blaze. However, with obnoxious heinousness, a German tank sneaked around to 42T0/U1 and found an APCR round to blow up our Russian tank in 85I3. This was most deceitful, because all other German tanks had forgotten to bring their APCR except this one. Sabotage once more because this first (and last) APCR round with a TK of an impressive 18 found the flaw built into the American built tank with its frontal Armor Factor of 8! Indeed, concerns arose that all of these Yankee tanks were of an inferior batch as the next Main Armament of the tank in 85M1 malfunctioned.


Situation at the End of Russian Turn 4:

16175

In my Russian Turn 4, the need to kettle in the three enemy tanks in the 85L5 area had been made superfluous by the known superior efficiency of communism proven in Marx's dialectic, as they had already been brought down. As comrade Comissar Breznev and his valiant squad had held up and were fighting down the German hordes singlehandedly, my worker- and peasant-soldiers in the northern woods were free in their movement to rush towards the victory woods timely enough to thwart any German attempts for it in the bud. I took personal command, positioning myself in 85F6, directing everyone in the area to dig Foxholes.

Passing that American built 'Lee' tank, its crew shouted at me, that its 75mm Gun had just malfuncitioned. If any suspicion would have been left that sabotage was rampant with this batch of tanks, this was the last straw of proof. But what else could be expected of a tank provided by the capitalists and named after a General who fought to keep the proletariat in the chains of slavery? Comrade Stalin must have only accepted these tanks to show these Yankees that when in the hands of Bolsheviks, still a war can be won. Having learned from comrade Commissar Breznev, I encouraged the crew by ordering them to throw the 75mm shells by hand at the Germans and - most importantly - to rejoice. Merely instants later, a surge of pride raised our hearts to even more determined revolutionary fervor, as the Stuart tank which had just roared past me while encouraging the Lee's tank crew took up position in 85I4. There, with the help of the God of dice, it scored an improbable Critical Hit blazing the German Panzer in 85M4. I will amend this statement: We know there is no God, so the hit must have been scored with the help of Vol. 1, Chapter 23 of Karl Marx's 'The Captial'. As lines of sight from 85J3 were almost totally obscured by tank wrecks of the class enemy, the HMG postion relocated to 85I4, from which it could cover the south-eastern approaches to the victory woods.

I will not lose words about the about the Russian squad in 85J1 except to add it's member's names to the list of traitors that allowed themselfs to be taken Prisoners by the enemy.

In the swirling melee, comrade Commissar Breznev heroically threw himself into the way of a bullet to save the promising young peasant Oblomov, who would after the war win an honorable mention in the Klochos '9. November' for collecting 113 hens eggs within an hour. Now wounded, Breznev still fought on in melee deciding to use a smashed vodka bottle to save bullets.


Situation at the End of German Turn 5:

16178

German Turn 5 saw mostly enemy infantry moves - simply due to the fact, that only a single German Panzer was left. This Panzer was akin to the one that the Yankees always picture in their movies: Driven my a menacingly efficient, stern, evil Hitlerite with an eye patch shouting "Achtung!", "Stark, stark!", "Jawohl!" and other such nonsense constantly. While my HMG/Stewart position was swarmed by Landsers pushing Prisoners as human shields before them, this Panzer sneaked up in the background through some woods in 42Y1, obscured by the blazing wreck which he had created with his round of APCR. Its mere presence spurred the German Infantry in the area to avoid its commander by rushing on towards the east, planning to take the victory area from behind. The Russian valiant attempt to prevent this was thwarted by yet another failure of Yankee tank armament. This time, the MA of the Lee in 85E3 fell apart...

Meanwhile, the Germans had realized that comrade Commissar Breznev and his band could impossibly overcome by a single squad. Thus, they put that infamous German soldier Steiner with an extra squad and a halfsquad to the task. Of course, to no avail - bleeding from his wounds comrade Commissar Breznev and his squad held their ground vs Steiner with his 2.5 squads!


Situation at the End of Russian Turn 5:

16179

Now, for Russian Turn 5, we can focus on the victory area on which the Hitlerite attack converged. By now, the Germans would probably have routed in despair in the face of the futility of their attempt and the bloody losses sustained so far if it hadn't been for their evil tank with eye-patched Langen, who fired from his hideout in the woods of 42Y1 a shell that had the American built Stewart tank in 85I4 (provided by the capitalists only with inferior armor) burst into flames. The Russian HMG, now shrouded in SMOKE, pulled back only after breaking a Hitlerite squad with LMG in 85J3, to take up position in the into the stone building of 85I6, where it was in an excellent place to pose as an obstacle for the German Infantry advance.

Notably, it was a Russian ATR left behind by some traitorous conterrevolutionaries upon their surrender to the Germans, which was recovered by the latter and used to immobilize the Lee in 85E3. This did not so much as scratch the morale of its crew which continued to fight back from their pile of junk, breaking the Germans with the captured ATR in a piece of sweet revenge.

Meanwhile the Russian MTR-Crew had recovered the LMG from the Woods in 5K1 and taken up position in 85G8 poised to lay down a Fire Lane in front of the victory woods, in which the bolshevik forces continued to dig in under my direction. I orderd the northern Lee tanks to enter the victory woods, as this seemed to offer the best protection against the evil Langen with his Panzer and block 85F5 against easy German entry attempts.

The Russian halfturn ended tragically, though, as this infamous Steiner shot our most heroic comrade Commissar Breznev dead, who had held up the Germans there decisively. Breznev's squad, inspired to follow his example to the last, went down as well.


To be continued in a subsquent post...

von Marwitz
 
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Koestler

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I think I was the opponent of Oberst von Marwitz 7 years ago. Suffering a hopeless defeat as the Germans, I recall thinking that if one would ask an ASL player to design a tank, it would probably look like an M3. A75 mm in the hull and lots of MGs to suppress hostile infantry and a hard hitting 37LL in a fast turret on top to fend of hostile tanks without even interrupting the suppression business. I believe that in reality the M3 was flawed, but in ASL terms it is a winner, at least in '42.
AK
(Needless to say, I lost because of Von M's superior tactical and strategical acumen.)
 

von Marwitz

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Interlude:

I think I was the opponent of Oberst von Marwitz 7 years ago. Suffering a hopeless defeat as the Germans, I recall thinking that if one would ask an ASL player to design a tank, it would probably look like an M3. A75 mm in the hull and lots of MGs to suppress hostile infantry and a hard hitting 37LL in a fast turret on top to fend of hostile tanks without even interrupting the suppression business. I believe that in reality the M3 was flawed, but in ASL terms it is a winner, at least in '42.
AK
(Needless to say, I lost because of Von M's superior tactical and strategical acumen.)
Indeed, you have been my opponent back then.

I have to state, though, that my 'superior tactical and strategical acumen' consisted of rolling devillishly low which broke a lot of your infantry early and put me into a position in which I could prevent them from coming back, thus screwing up the German time table to reach the objective.

I even found the file to present the final situation of our game, which was the FrF56 version.


Situation at the End of German Turn 3:


16180

von Marwitz
 
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BattleSchool

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  • While in the original version, US vehicle counters are used for the Russian tanks, it is 'Russian' colored counters for the tanks in the BoF version. This would normally cause the vehicles having different types of Special Ammunition available, however the Russian Special Ammo is deleted by SSRs in each version. There is a difference, though, in the MG armament with the US tanks having fixed mount Bow MGs and the 'Russian' tanks have normal Bow MGs. In case of the M3, the FP of the US tank BMG is 4FP, in the 'Russian' version, it is only 2FP.
von Marwitz
Are you certain about the BMG on each Lee?

The Russian-coloured Lees that came with HP have a 2FP BMG on a white circle background. It looks like the only difference topside between the American M3 MT in Yanks 2 and the Russian version in HP is that the Russian tank is called a Lee. The M3 MT has C5 while the Lee has C4. And unlike the M3 MT, the Russian Lee has s8 (for the SA).
 

von Marwitz

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Resuming the BoF16 AAR...

Situation at the End of German Turn 6:


16181

At the end of German Turn 6, the Hitlerites might have been misled to believe they had a chance. But Party doctrine has taught us, that this was a delusion. I wanted to believe in Party doctrine at that point as much as ever...

The good news was that all Germans in 85J0 failed to rally. The bad news is that the epitome of evil, patch-eyed Langen and his tank ventured forth from his hideout, passed my hapless immobilized Lee with malfuctioned MA & SA heap of Yankee junk and pulled up to stop right in front of my own Foxhole. Just like kicking an annoying pebble out of the way, he pumped an AP round into the rear of the Lee to blow up his third tank. Its Russian crew decided to continue the resistance by emitting a peculiar stench of burned flesh in the area. Then, a devellish grin, he turned the turret menacingly slow right into my face and opened up with his MGs. Just in time I took my head down in my Foxhole, heart pumping, while pieces of wood and earth thrown up by the bullets rained down on me. Apparently, Langen was not aware that the evil German tank commander always goes down in the Yankee movies to a pistol shot by the Allied hero after cornering the latter in a hopeless position and pasting him with vicious fire in his Foxhole...

On the other side of the woods, a Russian squad received German MMG fire from 85K6 which incensed it to the point of going Berserk. A welcome fervor, but maybe not exactly the perfect time for charging out of the victory area to be defended into the open towards the enemy... The Russian HMG position could effect nothing, and in effect was still panting after having lugged that ponderous beast into the stone building the previous halfturn. For the same reason, much to my chagrin, it could not take out a German halfsquad which had crept into the stone building during CC, thus remaining locked in melee at this crucial point of time.

From the south, German infantry poured into the victory woods in 85F3 and E4 and covered Langen's tank with an infantry escort. The showdown was not far ahead...


Situation at the End of Russian Turn 6:

16183

My Russian Turn 6 continued with lots of drama. Intimidated to the bone, the Germans in 42X0 still did not rally.
This was all of no concern to the evil Langen in his Panzer still parked next to my foxhole. Once again the Panzer's MGs opened up, pinning my Russian squad next to me. Needless to say, in the serene knowledge that the Bolshevik ideology would carry the day, as I had been instructed countless times, I kept a level head. Next Langen fired his MA at double point blank range, hit us but could do no damage as we took cover at the bottom of our Foxholes. Remembering the aforementioned Yankee war movies, I stood up in my Foxhole while Langen was reloading, took aim and fired right into the Panzer's Gun tube two or three times with my pistol. To no effect!

In that moment, Langen's Gun Intensive Fired at me with the worst possible outcome. For Langen, that is, because despite the boom of the Gun, nothing happened. Apparently, my bullets had somehow jammed the shell with my name on it in the gun tube and not only malfunctioned but disabled the Panzer's Gun. I blew the smoke from the muzzle of my pistol and cried 'Yihaa' as the cowboys do in their Yankee movies. Obviously, not everything in those movies was capitalist propaganda, as I had personally disabled the villain Langen's overpowering tank gun with my pistol. I knew that even Langen was slave to German doctrine by which he was immediately recalled after having Disabled his Gun.

While I was looking around for my horse, my cowboy hat, and the sunset to ride into, I was suddenly reminded of what was going on around me by a Russian squad routing past me in terror - but only after having previously broken some Germans&LMG just south of my Foxhole. I crept after my brokies for rallying and reminding them to rejoice for being the spearhead in the struggle aganist Nazi panzer steel. Maybe not the brightest rethorical figure, but I was a peasant and not a burgeois poet after all.

Right behind me, I heard the MA of the last remaining Yankee built tank fail - the SA had already been malfunctioned before. What kind of crap did these gum-chewing Americans send us to win the war!? Mind you, five out of six MAs & SAs of those 'Lee's had failed without even a single decadent thought of intensive firing them! Good for the Berserkers in 85F6 right next to the tank that they didn't take note and charged towards the Hitlerite HS that held our HMG in Melee. No fire of the class enemy was able to stop them, so the German HS was looking at a Melee of 4:1 against it. Har, har!

In 85G8, the Russian MTR crew skulked back to G9, taking two mintues to carefully oil their LMG before advancing back to put down their Fire Lane right across the path of the final German charge that was about to come any second...

You may wonder, what became of the 4:1 Melee vs. that German HS in the Russian HMG position that would sit absolutely menacingly in the way of the soon to come final German charge? I was tearing my beard to observe that the two Russian squads failed miserably to eliminate it! (Censored for the final report)


Situation During the MPh of German Turn 7 - Game End:

16184

In their final Turn 7, the Germans in 85J0 all rallied. My own rallying attempts of the Russian squad with me failed: Somehow they took the figure of they being the spear with which to attack Langen's steely Panzer wrong... I will use the picture of spear vs. mammoth next time.

Anyway, I was torn out of these considerations by the Russian LMG in 85G8 opening up. Thank God fully, they did not cower and brought the Fire Lane down. The first Germans to dare it was the vehicular crew which had previously manned the German MMG - it pinned. Next came a German HS, which was unimpressed by the FL but broke under the fire of the Lee's AAMG. Then the freshly rallied Germans in 85J0 charged to 85G5 next to the last Russian tank. The Fire Lane had no effect, nor had my CMG of the tank, but the fire of the Russian squad in 85F4 finally broke or Pinned everyone.

I waved the Recalled tank of evil Langen goodbye with my red kerchief, as he trudled off to the German board edge. In that very moment, the Russian squad just south of me in 85E5 opened up on a stack of Germans in D4 led by the infamous Steiner, Iron Cross gleaming. All of them broke or were Pinned, so they could not reach my position.

Finally, the pomaded bourgeois German Uffz. Frisch danced around to settle in the Brush behind me. But it was to no avail: In theory, he could have taken out the 'Lee' tank in CC. My two squads in F4 and E5 might have broken by Advancing Fire of the Germans or died in CC.

But there was nobody left to take out 85E6 - me! Cpl. Gromyko, commander of this valiant and victorious struggle against the Hitlerites. In any case I would have stopped the attack. The proletarian victory had never be in doubt for any fraction of a second. You can read it up in the dialectics of Marx's 'The Capital'. It was I that have taken out the enemy champion Langen in a duel of my pistol vs. his tank. It was I, Cpl. Gromyko, against no one could prevail in my love for the Motherland!

==================

Bde. Headquarters, near Karmanovo, Russia, 6th Sept. 1942

Who is this inflated, snobbish Cpl. Gromyko who penned up this report? I find his boastings qualify for diminishing the sole shining glory of comrade Stalin. This counterrevolutionary element Gromyko is to be stripped of rank immediately, dishonrably discharged from the Red Army, and exterminated at once. Take all necessary steps.

Lt. Babutkin, NKVD



Review:

Truth is the first victim of war.

As such, I venture to propose the notion of the existing possibility that Cpl. Gromyko's report might contain some elements of propaganda.

The fact is, that this was a very close game in which at times both sides seemed to have very good chances to win before it came down to be quite a close outcome in the end. Gromyko errs, claiming that there are no dice Gods. I won't deny that they helped me twice taking out German tanks by Critical an even Improbale Critical Hit. Furthermore Commissar Breznev holding out and binding the Germans in Melee for so long was decisive. All German tanks 'forgot' their APCR at home except for Langen, who had one shot (and made it count). And finally, Langen's tank could not break Cpl. Gromyko and his squad in the ADJACENT Foxhole - worse, he rolled Boxcars on an IF shot thus Disabling/Recalling this decisive tank in the decisive moment. On the other hand, the German tanks seemed to be lavishly equipped with sD rounds. Especially very late in the game my Russians were haunted by MA and SA malfunction (5 out of 6 of the 'Lee's). My HMG with two squads failed a 4:1 Melee and as a consequence could not interfere with the German's last turn charge.

In Cpl. Gromyko's report it appears that three German tanks driving before the Guns of a 'Lee' in the 85L9 area was a turkey shoot for the latter. In fact, the German's chances of hitting the 'Lee' in Advancing Fire and taking it out were reasonable - especially, as they then still had the chance for an 'extra' APCR attempt. While it seemed not unreasonable to take out two of them in the Russian return fire, killing the third one with a single Russian squad in CC was good luck. This success opened up very important movement opportunities for the Russian to reinforce the 'victory woods' with units from the 'northern woods'. Altogether, my opponent's tank moves were conducted very skillfully and with considered risks and chances.

Basically right from the beginning, I had the feeling that I was short on infantry. The price for the 'forward dispersed' Russian setup which forces the Germans to set up way towards the West is still worth it, I believe. Maybe my inital northern flank was a bit too strong and for quite some time I believed I would not manage to bring them back in a timely manner into the 'victory woods'.

The 'Lee' tanks are decisive for the game. With a 37LL MA, a deadly 75 SA, a 2FP BMG, a 4FP CMG and a 'protected' 2FP AAMG paired with good frontal armor, they can dish out a lot of firepower on a multitude of targets. These tanks are probably more powerful in ASL than they were in reality. In any case I like to have them in my OoB a lot. It should be noted, that as the SA is 'bow mounted' it cannot fire across a Wall.

Some have recently criticized that with the 'forward dispersed' Russian setup, the Germans have not enough time for their infantry to cover 24 hexes to the VC woods. I do not think that this holds generally true. In our game, the German Infantry arrived in force in the 85M6 and 85I1 area in Turn 4 and as such only 6 to 9 hexes away from the VC woods with three Movement Phases left. Of course, I might have misplayed my infantry, but with the 'forward' setup, the Russians will almost inevitably lose those squads of his screen where the German Schwerpunkt moves forward, so there is not much there actually slowing the Germans. During the first Turns, the Germans will be able to cover quite some distance towards the VC area, because at this time, the Russian forward force will be very dispersed. Several roads are running into the direction of the VC area, so there are possibilities for an extra MF of Road-Bonus. Finally, the Germans have 4 Leaders for their 11 squads, that can boost the MF allowance.

I am not sure if instead of a fall-back defense of the Russians, a 'castle' defence that relinquishes more of the forward ground for the benefit of having concentrated infantry in the back and more time to dig in pays off. This would allow the Germans to move forward more quickly. One argument that might speak for such an approach is that the Russians only have two Leaders for their 11 squads (the 8-1 of which can be exchanged for a 10-0 Commissar). In our playing, the Commissar went down rather late in the game. After he did, though, there was not much time and opportunity for rallying anything with the remaining 7-0. With German tanks around, there are pretty good chances that DM'ed Russian units can be kept under DM once broken. The Russian ELR of 2 will have some Russians become conscripts. Even with a Commissar, rallying these with a broken Morale of 5 or even a measly 4 for a HS is not guaranteed. Very likely losing any of those two Russian Leaders will get the Bolsheviks into trouble. A fact, that did not play out as it well could have in our game.

My opponent believes that for historical and balance reasons, the Pz IIIG's should be exchanged for Pz IIIH's. This would change the frontal AFs from 4 Turret and 3 Hull to 3 Turret and 6 Hull thus making them somewhat more resilient vs. the 37LL Guns with a TK of 11. While I agree from the historical standpoint, I am not so sure about the game standpoint. With the current way it is, I find the Pz IIIG's and the Stewarts pretty well matched against each other. Despite the 'Lee's being, without question, the decisive tanks of the Russians, they do need some protection of the Stuarts to cover their flanks. So if the Stuarts are lost to quickly, this will also inhibit the options of the 'Lee's.

At least changing fortunes in our game made our game tense and interesting to the end and much fun to play.

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Are you certain about the BMG on each Lee?

The Russian-coloured Lees that came with HP have a 2FP BMG on a white circle background. It looks like the only difference topside between the American M3 MT in Yanks 2 and the Russian version in HP is that the Russian tank is called a Lee. The M3 MT has C5 while the Lee has C4. And unlike the M3 MT, the Russian Lee has s8 (for the SA).
16182

At least this is how the VASL counters look like. I admit that I did not check the cardboard counters. If the latter have their BMGs circled, then the VASL counters would need a fix.

Per BoF SSR, the Russian tanks do not have Special Ammo.

von Marwitz
 

BattleSchool

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Your point about having Germans set up to the "rear" of the Russian pickets is a good one. I doubt it will happen often, but it's something to be aware of when setting up the defence.

Interesting decision to exchange the 8-1 for a 10-0 Commissar. That hadn't occurred to me, in part because most players would prefer to pair the 8-1 with the HMG/ATR.

Yes, I noticed that the BoF SSR effectively removes Smoke Ammo. The original card only removed Canister, which makes sense considering the US counter (which the FrF56 used) doesn't have Smoke.
 
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The Purist

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Believe me, the Russian armour needs no help from special ammunition. Those Stuart IIIs are deadly to the the Pz IIIGs in particular.

Edit: I thought about the commissar exchange in my game against Tom but went with the 8-1,... which so far has worked out (a stunned Pz IIIG)
 
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von Marwitz

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Interesting decision to exchange the 8-1 for a 10-0 Commissar. That hadn't occurred to me, in part because most players would prefer to pair the 8-1 with the HMG/ATR.
I prefer to exchange 8-0 Leaders for 9-0 Commissars rather than to sacrifice a negative 1 Leadership modifier vs. a 10-0 Commissar. However, in this scenario, there is no such choice if you want a Commissar.

The issue with the HMG in this one is that it cannot be moved about quickly. To lug around a 5PP weapon, you normally need a Leader to get anywhere. I think it risky, though, especially in the early game with all those German tanks not yet diminished in number, to place the HMG and one of the two precious leaders to the front. As soon as the squad breaks, the HMG will be effectively lost as it is too heavy to rout with. And exposing one of your two leaders early in the line of fire is very risky.

The alternative is to set up the HMG further in the back as I decided to do. It might be a bit safer for the HMG and you might be able to use your leader elsewhere first. If having to conduct a fall-back defense, there is often not enough time for recovering from DM and rallying in the turn after that. The Commissar effectively eliminates the DM and raises the broken unit's Morale. So you can put up a 447 to shoot at moving enemy infantry and put out some RFP. If broken and not ELR'ing, the broken 447 will rout back some where the Commissar (out of the enemy LOF) awaits. The brokie will rally on a 9 or less (Broken Morale 7, -1 Woods/Bldg, -1 Commissar Raised Morale) which is an 83.3% chance. In their upcoming MPh, the Commissar/rallied squad(s) will fall back to the next position to fire on the moving Germans again.
Rinse and repeat. This at least is the theory.

It worked for me this way falling back from the 85O6 patch of woods to the 85M6 patch of woods. There I got stuck because my opponent moved most of his tanks to the flanks of these woods so I could not repeat the process to go to the stone building in 85I5, which was also the planned falling back position of the HMG originally placed in J3 for which I created a covered path to the building by digging a Foxhole in I5. From I5, then I would have fallen back to the 'Victory Woods' through the grainfield. So much for the plan...

In the event, the Commissar, by luck, held up the Germans by fire and CC in L5 for two turns before going down instead of falling back as originally planned. Looking at the map, I did not find any good forward position for the HMG either.

von Marwitz
 

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To be clear, I don't advocate placing the HMG forward in this scenario. My point was more to do with the loss of the negative leadership DRM.

With an ROF of 3, the HMG can make the most of the 8-1 leader's DRM. Paired with a 4-4-7/ATR, the leader allows the ATR to DI a panzer--including one of those dangerous Pz IIIJs--with a Hull Hit on a six or less. Depending on where a German tank is Immobilized, it could be irrelevant for the remainder of the scenario. That's a big payoff, if it works.

These advantages need to be weighed against the rally potential (and risks) of a Commissar. The 10-0 worked for you (this time). ;)
 

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Believe me, the Russian armour needs no help from special ammunition. Those Stuart IIIs are deadly to the the Pz IIIGs in particular.
The only advantage the PzIII's have over the Russian Armor is Black To Hit Numbers. Careful Russian play will ensure you don't get any opportunities at those ranges. -- jim
 

Sparafucil3

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And fast turrets. And APCR. And Armor Leaders... ;)
Again, those aren't likely to be too oppressive with some effort on the Russians part. The Russians can control the Location of the engagement by just being cagey in their armor play. And the APCR sucks (or maybe it was my dice, I don't know). -- jim
 

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Again, those aren't likely to be too oppressive with some effort on the Russians part. The Russians can control the Location of the engagement by just being cagey in their armor play. And the APCR sucks (or maybe it was my dice, I don't know). -- jim
It's always your verdamnt dice. Mine seem to work just fine against you. :)
 

The Purist

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And fast turrets. And APCR. And Armor Leaders... ;)
Well,.... actually, the Russian tanks are better off than you think. 🤓

The Lee's have a fast turret
The Stuarts are a small target
An APCR # of 5 is actually quite low and should not be factored into the German "tactics". A "no APCR" result effectively ends the threat of a 50 gun to the Lee's front AF.
A Pz IIIGs hull AF is 3 meaning the 37LL has a final TK of 8 (immob, 7 kill)
A Stuart's hull AF is 4 meaning the 50 has a final TK of 7 (immob, 6 kill)
The terrain means LOS hindrances render long range hits unlikely if a tank moves.
Russian armour will usually get the first shot with better TH and TK possibilities.
A German tank w/o an AL that moves has a +4 to hit as a bounding firer, +5 if BU (likely), +6 if shooting at a Stuart (+5 if there is an AL)
A Stuart has better or equal to hit chance in this case even if it must change its TCA: +2 TCA change, +3 if BU, +5 for the moving tank.
The Stuart will also win a gun duel as its Firer based To Hit mods (w/ a TCA change) are +3 while a Pz IIIG is +4 (BU w/ AL) or +5 ( BU, no AL).

Once the numbers are parsed, the 1942 era Stuart III has marked advantages over the 1940 era Pz IIIG. The Lee is in a class unto itself against the Germans in this scenario, which is actually historically accurate, so no complaints.

In the game betwixt von M and myself, the Pz IIIGs failed to kill a single Russian tank. The five killed were shot by the Pz IIIJs.
 
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Sparafucil3

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In the game betwixt von M and myself, the Pz IIIGs failed to kill a single Russian tank. The five killed were shot by the Pz IIIJs.
I am not sure of the exact count, but counting APCR shots that depleted, I took more than 10 shots at Stuarts and managed to kill only 1. In two fire phases, I shot at a single Stuart in the woods 8 times, hitting it twice and bouncing. I lost one tank in return and broke one MA. The game ended with me hitting and failing to pen another Stuart and then getting hit with a return B1F shot that killed the tank that had the temerity to scratch it's paint. In the next fire phase, I shot at this same Stuart and missed, then Intesive Fired scoring a 1,1 on the TH DR only to 6,6 the TK DR. Needless to say, the dice were not my allies in my game. -- jim
 

The Purist

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Thus my suggestion that a pair of IIIGs be upgraded to more date-accurate IIIH. The AF 4/6 may help the German armour remain 'engaged' rather than providing +TEM as 'wrecks as cover' and/or Smoke hindrances.
 
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