FrF76 Pain In The Neck - AAR

von Marwitz

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FrF76 Pain In The Neck - AAR

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I remember first playing this scenario as a playtest and already liked it back then. This time, I played the published version which was very similar to the playtest version, the sole difference being the Special Ammo Depletion Numbers being reduced for the Germans.

The scenario is set one day before the end of the war in Europe. A German SS-force, well supported by armor, including two American Sherman tanks (no Captured Use penalties apply) have to enter the playing area, push through a small defending Russian force, all the while being hotly pursued by a larger Russian force that enter on the same board edge as the Germans - but one turn later. This is a very original and exciting concept.

The Germans needs to plan a fast route to exit a very significant part of his forces. A hip Roadblock will likely block one of the paths. He will carefully have to consider with how many of his forces he will hold back and delay the chasing Russians. In the process, he will rarely have the chance to rally his troops that break, melting away from the number that he can exit.

I played the Germans in this one. I planned the entry of my forces to make best use of every MP (and yet I could have done it a bit better). Delaying the Russian on my heels on the eastern flank worked quite well. I also found the Roadblock a the spot where I had suspected it.

In dashing forward with utmost speed, I chanced my halftrack loaded with my 9-1 leader, a 548+LMG. Alas, it was destroyed by the Russian T-34/85 with everyone being killed. However, this opened the opportunity - still somewhat risky - to swarm his tank, which I could take out with his crew surviving. That Russian crew, though, absorbed incredible amounts of fire, inclusive of a CH by a Sherman gun until finally going down in turn 4.

Meanwhile the Russian tanks pushed hard from behind, partly loaded with riders. Altogether, though, my opponent was unlucky with his tanks. He overlooked that one stretch of woods could not be bypassed and thus detoured through the stream where the T-34 M43 bogged and mired and was thus effectively out of the game. He pushed hard - probably a bit too hard - with the two T-34/85 with riders across the bridge. At first, this seemed to pay off because I couldn't take neither of the tanks out with my Pz IV or with PFs, though some Riders bailed out to become Berserk, which was highly unpleasant. Luckily, during the AFPh, the Russian tanks 'only' managed to immobilize my Pz IV, the crew of which kept its nerve and remained in the tank. Yet it seemed that the hours of my Pz IV were numbered with a Berserker ADJACENT and in the beads of three Russian tanks, two of them at PB range.


Situation Start of German Turn 3:

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This is the time, when Intensive Fire is not an option, but a neccessity. I figured my best chances were not to fire at the acquired ADJACENT tank with the first shot, but rather at the unacquired one at 2 hexes range. If I could kill or even burn that one, it would create 'Russian Smoke' to protect me from the third one on the far side of the bridge. Luckily, indeed, this worked out, also killing that tank's Riders. The Intensive Fire shot then killed the ADJACENT tank and either that shot or a subsequent PF shot blazed it. With that, my Pz IV was 'saved' for the moment, because the chances of the third Russian tank of hitting it were now low - and it indeed did miss. Next turn, the Russian Berserkers charged into my immobilized tank's hex but luckily got blasted to bits by its gun firing into its own hex.

My Jagdpanzer was staring down the road towards the middle of the village and was (too) boldly confronted by the Russian T-34 M43 of the northern force. Amazingly, both vehicles must have traded about half a dozen shots at double point blank range, until finally the T-34 went down and my Jagdpanzer prevailed.

Thus, the Russian tank force was seriously weakened and allowed me to surge forward with more units and vehicles than would otherwise have been possible. The Shermans and my second Pz IV could keep the Russian infantry of the northern force in check while the Russian infantry only emerged from the eastern woods, when my infantry already had put some distance between them.

To make matters worse, the remaining Russian T-34 M43 with Riders bogged and mired on the western flank when attempting to circumvent its own Russian Roadblock.

In this situation, I had enough squad equivalents / vehicles to exit during German turn 5 - altogether 7. But none more could have come after those. So the Germans escaped the Russians to break through into the American sector and into American captivity when the war ended...

Situation at during the MPh of German Turn 5:

The Russians cannot prevent sufficient German units to move or advance offboard.

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A blast of an exciting and hairraising scenario, which I can thoroughly recommend.


von Marwitz
 
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