Strachwitz's Tigers (RetroPack #2) - AAR

von Marwitz

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Strachwitz's Tigers (RetroPack #2) - AAR

My opponent proposed to play this Kursk-action as the Germans as he is kind of prone to heavy metal hard hitting German bad-ass troops. I was kind of guarded as this scenario was published by Critical Hit in 2007 or 2008 without any reference to the designer. But heck, it's called "Strachwitz's Tigers" - which sounds almost as cool as "von Marwitz" and it's gots Tigers, 3x FT, DCs, 9-2s and a 10-2 Strachwitz AL in it (wrong on the pic below), so what could possibly go wrong? :happy:

RetroPack2 Strachwitz's Tigers v641 AAR.jpg
Note: The 10-2 Strachwitz should be an Armor Leader, not an Infantry Leader.


Looking at the setup areas my reserve was somehow reinforced as it looks a bit like: "Well, we'll divide the area in two. Germans set up one side, Russians in the village on the other. To make it look sophisticated, we'll give the Russians that hill to set up on, too". In my opinion, the setup area for the Russians on that hill is all but useless. Looking at the terrain in which the Russians set up, it quickly becomes obvious, that there aren't any real choices: The Russians do not get any concealment or Foxholes/Entrechments, so they had better set up in the village buildings. Same for the Germans: Shall they attack along the left flank with long ways and no rally terrain - or might it just be better to approach with the Schwerpunkt 44H1 to Q2 with more units to the North than to the South, without forgetting to lay fire down the 48Q road dividing the village? Hm... :rolleyes:
Second option, surprise!

For the Germans, it is enough to capture "half" of the village - either the "western" half or the "northern" half will be sufficient, so if the Germans can hold, there's no need to them to cross an extra open road.

The Russians have numerous MGs among which are 2x HMG and 1x MMG. These are important, as they can lay down FLs through the grain surrounding the village. Now, you sages may figure out what the Pz IIIN and the Pz IVE might be good for.

It is clear that the Germans can 'cut' the village into four pieces by covering the roads. This will eventually become a problem, as the Russians will inevitably be pushed back through the village. Despite the Russians having quite a lot of high FP infantry, they are burdened by its short normal range of 2.

As pointed out, there's no rocket science in setting this up nor many surprises for lack of concealment. So I put most of my Russians in the 48P6 and 48R5 sections of the village, some into the 48P4 section and few in the 48R3 sections. As expected, the Germans set up in force in the 44I2 area and maybe somewhat too many units around 44Q2.

The latter Germans had great difficulties with a HMG Fire Lane reaching out from the 48P6 section of the village towards roughly 44U5, separating them from their first objective 48R9. Fire Lanes towards roughly 48J10 were made impossible by SMOKE. Because of the short range of most Russian infantry and it not being prudent to place the Russian HMGs/MMG too far forward where they would be too quickly overrun, there was not much the Russian could to to prevent the Germans approaching the village from the Northwest. What took me a bit off-guard was that the Germans moved significant infantry east of the dividing road to get towards the 48P4 section of the village. During German Turn 2, the Tigers moved in as indicated on the map, two of them entering from the North.

Basically what happened then is somewhat typical for this particular bd48 village: The attackers fought down from house to house along the road. This will usually not be too easy as it imposes onto the attacker to move ADJACENT and thus allow Point Blank Fire by the defender.

During Russian Turn 3 I rolled for the first group of reinforcements and received the weakest one (two T-34 M43 and a SU-57). As by now, the four German Tigers were in place, these Russian vehicles needed to attempt to threaten something while not getting themselves killed in short order. So I moved the two T-34s to shoot down the road (not contested by Tigers) and moved the SU-57 far out to the flank to threaten with side shots any Tiger which might be tempted to move towards my tanks on that side.

At the end of German Turn 3, the Russians where pretty much broken in the 48P6 and 48P4 sections of the village yet still rather firmly installed in the other two remaining sections of the village. As it was getting late, we called it a day leaving the scenario unresolved. We did roll to see what the next group of Russian reinforcements would have entered: The section with the 9-2, 2xFT and 2x SU-152. Had we continued, it would have been their task first to reach positions and then to push back into the 48P6 and 48P4 sections of the village which would have been cleared by the Germans by then. I am somewhat doubtful if this would have had decent chances of success.

Since we discontinued the scenario at this point, it might be too early to allow for a decisive evaluation of it. My gut-feeling tells me 'meh' while my opponent found it was quite exciting and could have gone either way.


von Marwitz
 
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bprobst

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Well. Best guess is that it's an "adaptation" of OAF Pack #2 "The Tiger's Roar", itself a CH reprint of the scenario from the OAF 'zine. (See Pitcavage's comments on the "Retro" scenario pack: http://www.desperationmorale.com/products/retro-pak-i/) The OAF Pack did not credit the original designers, and I don't have a copy of the OAF original.

In saying that it is an "adaptation" I mean that the OBs (and VC) are broadly similar. The boards are completely different and I would guess that the scenarios really would not play very similarly even though roughly similar forces are attempting a roughly similar objective. As with any recent(-ish) CH publication the lack of a scenario designer citation probably means that Tapio threw it together himself, and the lack of playtesting credits probably means that no playtesting took place. Of course the original OAF scenarios were not always much better! The ROAR numbers for the older version(s) are too few to be meaningful and in any case there's been enough changed so that they wouldn't be relevant any way.

I'd put this in the same basket as a home-brew DYO effort. You don't really know how balanced it's going to be, and the historicity is limited at best, but there's the possibility that it will make for a fun game. There are probably worse ways to spend your ASL time ... but many better ways too, in all likelihood.
 
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