SP202 Fiery Finale – AAR

von Marwitz

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SP202 Fiery Finale – AAR

SP202 Fiery Finale v641 Scenario Archive.jpg

This is an unusual (very) late war scenario by Mike Augustine covering a situation, in which historically, the Russians have stealthily created a small bridgehead for a carefully prepared attack. Then, the Russian company commander – absent in the rear for weeks – suddenly shows up and orders a charge, warning the Germans that had otherwise been surprised.

In the game, the Germans consist of a small infantry force and – four King Tigers and a SPW 251/16 the latter of which may set up HIP. Yeah, that's the one with the two mounted flamethrowers...

The Russians set up partly on the German side of the river. They have a good infantry force and two 57LL ATGs. The three IS-2 tanks that where supposed to be ferried across when the Russian officer screwed up the ambush, are left on the other side of the river and will not be able to cross it throughout the secenario. Their LOS is pretty limited but they might threaten some small areas within the village the Russians have to assault. Interestingly, the attacking Russians set up first. This captures very well the situation that the Germans have been alerted by the stupid Russian officer and rushed to positions to meet the attack. During Turn 3, the Russians are reinforced by a platoon of infantry, two T-34/85, a T-44 and an ISU-122.

I had the attacking Russians in this one. The setup area lies quite close to the German setup area and there is a bit of mostly open ground to cross in the opening move. The bad thing is that the Germans can react to the Russian setup – and then move and fire first. This means that the Russiand will likely get some punishment before they can do anything about it.

Unfortunately, the game began in German Turn 1 quite historically: The damned Russian officer had blown the ambush. The German King Tigers were in position. And they did what King Tigers do: 1KIA on a Russian 628+LMG, the latter also being blown to bits. Next Tiger next hit on the next Russian 628+LMG for a 4MC. The 628 rolled snakes and went Berserk. The Germans then tried to pull out a speed-bump HS using bypass and missing some Russian LOS. Two -2 shots missed and I malfed the Russian MMG. The Zerker 628+LMG would have to charge a King Tiger across OG (where sure enough it met its end). Damn! So I had two of my best squads out of commission almost immediately, all Russian MMG down, none of my ATGs with a tank in LOS, no tank of mine with LOS to any of his, my 8-0 leader broken, my 9-1 tied in a position where he could not leave without passing through the sights of a King Tiger or to cross a road in LOS of enemy infantry. This was a bad start.

In Russian Turn 1, I managed to repair the MMG, somewhat luckily break a concealed 548, move a bit forward, and kill a 237 speed-bump HS in CC.

German Turn 2 saw the 548 self-rally immediately alas. One of the King Tigers reverse moved which I tried to hit with one of the ATGs. Deliberate Immobilization did not work, Intensive Fire broke the ATG. Then the King Tiger pulled out of LOS of the ATG – and into the LOS of an IS-2 tank on a hill across the river: Shot, turret hit (yay!), did not penetrate (curses!). Now the big fat Tiger sat on a road out of LOS of all AT assets ready to blast anything that would attempt to cross.

During Russian Turn 2 there was hardly a thing I could conceivably do. King Tigers covered the streets I had to pass, behind concealed Germans waited. Moving into position would mean being defensive fired at in hexes where the King Tigers had acquired. Basically, I was confined to a few moves out of LOS, advanced only a concealed 628 to the front and grew some concealment for a couple of squads.

In German Turn 3, the said concealed 628 sure enough was hit by a King Tiger, rolled Snakes to Battle Harden, more precisely to go Berserk having to charge across a street covered by two King Tigers and evil concealed Germans on the other side at Point Blank range. So I was looking at yet another living dead 628! Meanwile, the Germans, easily thwarting anything Russian from the riverside redeployed a combo of two King Tigers, the FT-SPW and some concealed infantry to cover the Russian entry area for their reinforcements. This scenario definitely wasn't going my way.

In Russian Turn 3, the only 'good' Prep Fire – a 9+2 shot which I took in an attempt to save the Zerker had no effect. In the MPh, the Russian Zerker had to charge and take a 24-3 shot (wince!) which took a K/4 with one berserk HS miraculously surviving and entering the only target – a stack of 9-1, 548, 467+LMG. So my Zerkers were still dead men walking awaiting the CCPh. Since overcoming the King Tigers was the only chance to force the way into the village and I had only the chance to get at a single one while the best approaches for entry were covered by two others and the SPW, I decided to enter my reinforcements in the North-East. Taking some risks and by some deception, I managed to get a 527+ATR & 8-0 into the inner village, eliminate a Dummy stack and to elicit enough first fire to be able to place a DC on the King Tiger I had plans to take out. I pushed both ATGs (one still broken) forward, so that they might possibly be of some use in future turns. My tanks on the far side of the river could do nothing. For lack of good choices, my reinforcing tanks broke a trail through the woods in the North-East. Since the King Tiger with the DC needed to turn, I calculated that I would survive its Defensive First Fire. Which I did with my first tank. The second tank, which I wanted to park next to German infantry that had exhausted its fire was not so lucky. The friggin King Tiger Intensive Fired, rolled a 3 and just hit to burn it. The other Russian tanks moved into position at places that were suboptimal but on the other hand, they had not many choices. In the AFPh, I could do no harm to the stack awaiting CC with my Zerkers and missed with one of my tanks the SPW. The DC, however, blew up its friggin' King Tiger. In CC, the Zerkers managed not to get ambushed despite being a net -2 disadvantage, but they went down doing no harm themselves in a 3:1@-1 CC attack. At this point, the outlook for the Russians looks really grim.

In German Turn 4 the Germans attempt to break my guys in P7 by PB fire but thankfully fail. Besides that there is not any significant Prep Fire. He attempts to move away his Flame-ht. Because this beast is dangerous to everyone, I fire a T-34/85 at it needing a 9. „To make sure“, I go for APCR 6 first and roll a 7 – meh. All right, normal AP then – miss. Curses! Then the inevitable happens: The FT ht walzes around from the rear and takes out my ISU-122 in P3 and further causes a FtR elimination of a squad in Q4. One of the Tigers moves up a bit uses Bounding Fire vs. a Russian squad in N2, get ROF three times, hits with a roll of 3 and causes a K/4 leaving a broken HS behind... Curses!! In my DFPh, I retaliate vs. P6 and manage to break the leader. LLTC pinned the accompanying squad. During the RtPh, I declared No Quarter, eliminating the broken Leader.

Interesting Question: Where does the Leader die? In the Location where the leader starts attempting to surrender or in the Location of the unit which declines Surrender? In the first case, he would cause a LLMC in our case, otherwise not. We dug into the wisdom of GS forum but only found an inconclusive thread about the exact problem stating that a Perry Sez would be handy on this one. So we just rolled to see if it matters and his squad made the roll.

At the start of my Russian Turn 4, a repair attempt of one of the ATGs X'ed it. Three rally attempts failed with an average DR of 10 for these. Hardly any Prep Fire on my part except for a PB shot from P7 to P6 which broke the German 467+LMG there. My Russian even survived the return fire in the DFPh. Besides that I somehow managed to extricate my remaining T-34/85 from O4 and the T-44 from P4 and a squad from O5 helped by my burning T-34 in P5. Then some Russian Infantry made it into M8, getting into the Rowhouse next to the German menacing stack of 9-1 with 548+LMG, 467 in the other half of it that had so far thwarted all attempts to get close to it. I advanced into CC but both sides had no effect. In the RtPh, the Germans in P6 were importantly eliminated for FtR.

The start of German Turn 5 saw me gacking the repair roll of the T-44 and it being recalled. Curses!!! Does it ever end?! We determined, that the friendly board edge for it would be the three hexes of Q11, Q12, and Q13. At least one Russian squad rallied. Due to the Melee in L7, the Germans were now pretty short on infantry – but so were the Russians. The Germans moved their Flame Halftrack back from Q3 over O1 to L4 and beyond. There, it survived two MG TH shots to its reat target facing. Luck was not on my side during this game so far. His King Tigers redeployed a bit (congrats to the German mechanics shop in the rear as they had no issues with Mechanical Reliability whatsoever. The Germans reinforced the CC in L7 which now had on the German side a 9-1, 548+LMG, 548, 467 vs. 2x 527, 628 on the Russian side. The Germans CR'ed a 527 while the Russians, once more and despite picking favorable odds of 3:1 vs. the German 9-1&467 failed miserably.

During my Russian Turn 5, the Russian T-44 drove off, leaving me with one T-34/85 on the German side of the River vs. three operational King Tigers and the Flame-ht. [gulp!]. Again, I tried two shots with 2 MGs vs. the Flame-ht against its rear target facing. Again, both shots not even hit. Curses!!!! By now I had missed the damn thing no less than 6 times and by the odds it should have been long dead! With all German infantry but one 467 and a broken HS in Melee, I pushed up my remaining ATG into a position where it might do something. A King Tiger fired at that attempt and veryfied that there was no LOS to the ATG which I had correctly guessed. With the way confirmed safe, I slipped a 9-1&527 over to M8 as well as the 228 crew from my X'ed ATG to reinforce the pivotal melee in L7. To avoid overstacking the Melee, I reinforced with the 228, 8-0 and 9-1 leaving a 527+ATR behind in M8. This put Germans and Russians back up to 16:16 odds. Once more, he stacked his 9-1 with the 467, which I attacked at 3:1-1 and at long last killing them. Now, I chuckled because my devious plan had been to inflict a LLMC on all other German units, possibly blunting his return attacks or even breaking the Germans altogether. To settle the issue, we paused here. I noticed that my DR average was truly abysmal at 7.84 with 55 rolls (which would make 2nd place in 'Worst Rollers' of the now alas defunct ASL Scenario Archive's Log Analyzer in roughly 1400 sessions of 50+ DRs and 140,000 DRs total). As it's been some time since we've continued, I have actually forgotten again the outcome of the issue – doh!. But I *think* it was that there is no LLMC in that situation. Anyways, we did the rolls just in case and for our game, it was of no consequence..

I looked at German Turn 6 (his last one) with some anxiety, as his flamethrower ht was still around and my Russians were very short on infantry. As the Russian infantry did not only need to control buildings but also needed to be in Good Order, chances were in favor of the Germans. The Germans managed to selfrally a Conscript HS, my Russians managed to rally a 628 in K10. During Prep Fire, his King Tiger in N5 fired MG's vs. my Russian squad in P6 to no effect. MA fired and hit, but the squad miraculously survived unscathed. The IF-shot had no effect either. Phew! The even more dangerous flamethrowing ht moved around via K5 to J8, where it threatened both my squad in H8 which I needed to take the I8 building, as well as the melee stacks in L7. Luckily, my squad in H8 managed to inflict a MC on the exposed crew which it failed to become stunned and thus was factually out of the game. I gave a sigh of relief because this got the Russians back into the game. The next move I did not quite understand: The King Tiger from J6 moved into bypass of M8 where it was killed by one of my Stalin tanks on the far side of the river that had up to now not had any targets. The remaining King Tiger moved from M5 to M7 giving me much more of a headache, but its Advancing Fire had no effect on the Russian squad in M8. A 467 squad from L5 moved to L6 later to reinforce the Melee in L7 while the rallied Conscript HS moved from L3 to garrison L5. The melee in L7 remained inconclusive with the reinforcing German squad being killed and I believe one Russian HS, too. Altogether, the Russians were quite lucky this turn.

In my last Russian Turn 6, I had to enter 3 buildings and survive in Good Order, win the Melee in L7 or enter another stone building and survive there in Good Order. Of these, three buildings with MMC in Good Order would be a sure thing: I could keep out of LOS during Defensive Fire in Q7, L8, and H8 to advance into the ADJACENT Stone Building Locations. Winning the Melee, however, seemed difficult and the odds favored at least some Germans to survive. During Prep Fire, the helpless BU flamethrowing ht was destroyed by one of the Stalin tanks on the far bank of the river. Then, to maximize my odds, I attempted to move all remaining Russians in a manner that they could conceivably have some effect. First, I moved my only remaining AFV on the German side of the river planning to drive it into the King Tiger's hex in M7. The T-34/85 dodged the shots of the King Tiger in N5 but was killed by the other King Tiger in M7 before it could enter the hex of the latter. At least I had drawn a shot of the MA and created some „Russian smoke“ for the next move of a Russian squad also starting in Q8 with the intention to reach L8, freeing the 527+ATR in M8 to move elsewhere. This did not work out as the former was broken by the MGs of the King Tiger in N5. The crew of my ATG in M10 had been broken by the German Sniper in the previous turn and had not rallied. So there was only a single 8-0 I could spare to reinforce the Melee in L7, pitting 2x 548 on the German side vs. 2x 8-0, 9-1, 527, and 628 on the Russian side. In K10 I had one Russian 628 with a 9-1. The question now was whether to use it to reinforce the Melee in L7 (without danger in the approach) or to move to K6, taking the PB fire of the German 236 Conscript and some low odds shots by the MGs of the King Tiger in M7. I took my chances and attempted the latter reasoning that if I arrived in K6 unpinned, my chances to take out the Conscript HS in the L5 Stone Building would be quite favorable. The Defensive Fire of the German HS and of the King Tiger's CMG which had to swivel the turret as well as its MA ROF shot had no effect and missed. The Advance Phase saw P7, M8, and I8 secured. The Melee attacks in L7 had no effects, so everything hinged on the L5 building. There was no Ambush, so the Russian odds were 3:1 @ -1 (Leader) -1 (Capture Attempt vs. Inexperienced Personnel). The attack was successful and the Conscripts captured, but...

… those German conscripts somehow contrieved to cause a CR result on their return attack (Can't piece together the details, maybe they had indeed ambushed the Germans – whatever.) In any case RS selected the leader. Uh-oh! If the leader died, then the Russian squad might gack its LLMC and break, thus not being in Good Order, thus not fulfilling the VC, thus giving the Germans the win. The breath was held, the Wound Severity dr made: Less than 5, leader merely wounded. That was too close for comfort. Russian win.





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A very tense and interesting game with a very unusual tactical situation. It was a lot of fun to play and I recommend it. As an added bonus, it seems to be very balanced according to ROAR being currently at 28 (Germans) to 31 (Russians).

von Marwitz
 

Eagle4ty

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One of my all time favorite scenarios, played it at least 3 times (2G, 1R win). Once played it against Mark Devries at a tournament where he got a HE CH by an ATG against one of my CE big kitty cats causing the crew to abandon & then killed the crew on Turn 1. That darn cat sat sat there the entire scenario abandoned & do you think I could get another unit into it? HA, no way! As for the placement of two IS-2s on the overlay hill, I think that's fairly standard, but the last one can be critical in its use as several very weird LOSes are there for its use (Q18 for example). Another quite effective placement for the HIP SPW 251-16 is in the Orchard at M7 as it covers the rowhouse building without being vulnerable to fire from afar. All in all a great scenario and a ton of fun.
BTW, don't know when you played this, but a ruling has been made re the Ldr elim by refusing its surrender. The elim takes place in the location it was surrendering from, thus causing a LLMC.
 

JoeArthur

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A question please?

"In CC, the Zerkers managed not to get ambushed despite being a net -2 disadvantage, but they went down doing no harm themselves in a 3:1@-1 CC attack."

A 11.4 states "whenever infantry advance into CC". Surely a beserk squad has moved in, not advanced - which means no ambush rolls?

Many thanks for the AAR.
 

von Marwitz

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A question please?

"In CC, the Zerkers managed not to get ambushed despite being a net -2 disadvantage, but they went down doing no harm themselves in a 3:1@-1 CC attack."

A 11.4 states "whenever infantry advance into CC". Surely a beserk squad has moved in, not advanced - which means no ambush rolls?

Many thanks for the AAR.
Good point. You are absolutely right. It seems that we misplayed that in the heat of the moment.

von Marwitz
 
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