With it pissing down with rain all Saturday last weekend and it being too cold for Windsurfing, Andrew and myself finally got some spare time late morning to play an early war game of Flames of War, that's after watching some exciting America's cup racing.
Andrew wanted to run his Polish tank army he has in mind for using at next years Nationals, so I quickly put together a Soviet Strelkovy army from the new Rising Sun book to keep it nice and historical.
Andrew's Polish Tank List - All rated as Fearless Trained
Kompania Czolgow - Blitzkrieg book
HQ CO in 7TP jw tank
COMBAT Czolgow Platoon with 4x 7TP jw tanks (in reserve)
COMBAT Czolgow Platoon with 4x 7TP jw tanks (in reserve)
COMBAT Czolgow Platoon with 4x 7TP jw tanks (in reserve)
SUPPORT Reconnaissance Tank Platoon with 3x TKS tankettes (in reserve)
(note this is not a recon platoon- in name only)
SUPPORT Piechoty Company with 3 platoons of Piechoty Infantry
(Each platoon is considered a separate Platoon in its own right and
consists of HQ Rifle with 12 Rifle teams in each)
SUPPORT Light Gun Battery with 4x 75mm wz 1897 guns with added observer team
So Andy has 8 platoons in total, all being FT, with its core being his 7TP jw tanks which is quite a decent little tank in early war - AT6 with 4+ FP and 1 armour all round. The 3 platoons of infantry are the thing to watch with Andy though - always a canny player when using a mixed force, he never uses a tank army without infantry support. And this is no exception with 3 platoons of 13 stands in each !
He also gets to use the bypass rule the Poles have, which is a very nice rule I must say, also the main reason Andy decided on collecting Poles. The rule allows to place one platoon of Piechoty in a special reserve where upon on a 6+ it appears, but it arrives as a scattered reserve on the enemies side, whether its the back edge or within 16" of the two corners depends on the dice roll. Also being subject to the normal reserve rule it will automatically arrive on turn 3, so I need to take this into account.
My Soviet Infantry List - All rated as Confident Conscripts
Strelkovy Battalion - Rising Sun book
HQ CO and 2IC kommisar rifle command teams
COMBAT Strelkovy Company with 2 platoons
21 stands of rifles with 3 being replace with light mortars (in reserve)
COMBAT Strelkovy Company with 2 platoons with 21 stands of rifles
WEAPONS Strelkovy Anti-tank Platoon with 4x 45mm obr 1937 guns (in reserve)
WEAPONS Strelkovy Reg gun Platoon with 4x 76mm obr 1927 guns (in reserve)
WEAPONS Strelkovy Flamethower Unit with one team - attached to 1st Strelk unit
WEAPONS Anti-Aircraft Machinegun Company with 5x Dshk AA trucks (in reserve)
WEAPONS Sapper Company with 31 stands of pioneer rifle teams
SUPPORT Artillery Battalion with 8x 76mm obr 1902 guns
(I have used ZIS-3 guns in lieu of these as I don't have them)
My force with 7 platoons in total is a blunt horde of infantry backed up by guns and artillery. I will be relying heavily on my sapper unit and my wave attack rule for the strelkovy units. The AT guns are a valuable assets being AT 7. The AA trucks seem weak being only a 5+ transport save but having AT4 5+FP gun with ROF 4 (ROF2 on the move) makes them a sensible option.
|The table layout|
My plan was to rush Andy's positions down each flank taking use of cover, and hope beyond hope that his bypass unit doesn't arrive until turn 3 as he wont be able to assault on the turn it arrives, and this will give me time to maybe get a reserve of my own, and use my artillery without disturbance for a while longer.
Poles: Andy's bypass unit doesn't turn up (Haha) Andy begins game by moving infantry units on flanks - one on right to edge of wood and other up left side. Artillery must be on hard rocky ground as it fails to dig in.
Soviets: I begin by moving my sappers and Strelkovy up on the flanks, with the artillery ranging in on the left Piechoty platoon with a double width template with all 13 stands under, but due to being conscripts only manage 2 kills.
|Strelkovy 1st turn positions on left side|
|Sappers 1st turn positions on right flank|
Poles: The bypass unit arrives on my back edge right behind my artillery !! (this being the best possible outcome for Andy) Andy then unpins his infantry on the left and attempts to dig them in but fails. His observer in the central building spots the advancing strelk horde and calls in Artillery with 6 hits but all find some cover thankfully.
The bypass unit shoots at the artillery guns and as they are nicely positioned behind their gun shields they take out 3 of them.
|Bypass unit arrives !|
Soviets: I continue to move my sappers and Strelkovy up the flanks leaving the artillery to their doom :-( My gun teams fire as rifles and manage to maim two teams of the bypass unit (probably a mistake as I should of GTG to benefit from 3+ saves)
Poles: Andy's reserves arrive in the form of a unit of tanks, which happily turn up on his back edge and position themselves behind the vineyard to counter the strelk horde on the left. He finally manages to dig in his infantry on he right. The Co blazes away at the sappers killing one of them. Artillery continue to barrage the left but all find some cover and save. The bypass unit begin by killing 3 gun teams to rifle fire and then assault with bayonets and kill another, the remaining guns tuck tail and leg it off the battlefield.
|Strelkovy advance into the woods on left flank|
Soviets: No reserves for me, but all infantry unpin. The CO moves back towards the right objective to contest it. Throwing caution to the wind I advance my troops forward on each flank trusting the Co to defend the objective till reserves arrive. I manage to shoot down a few infantry stands with mortar fire.
Poles: Andy's reserves get lost and don't turn up (good) His tanks move to the left and kill another 2 infantry, as do the infantry on the right killing 2 sapper stands. The bypass unit moves onto the objective but luckily to far to assault my CO.
|Bypass unit on my objective - pesky polish rules|
|My Strelkovy company arrive in exactly he right position|
Poles: Andy's tanks arrive on the left side, he unpins and digs in his somewhat depleted infantry unit on the hill. The Artillery continues with 10 under the template for 10 hits but I manage to save all but 2 of them. The tanks on central left side move towards my left objective.
|Andys 7TP jw tanks arrive on the left|
Soviets: The trusty 45mm AT guns finally arrive on the left side hooray!, they position behind a small wood with one being able to fire on tanks for a bailed result. The sappers and forward left infantry fail to unpin and therefore GTG after failing to dig-in (darn conscripts with shovels). The freshly arrived strelkovy move to pursue the by pass unit and assault killing another 3 stands, Andy backs off but passes a morale test.
|Strelk pursueing the by pass unit|
Poles: Another unit of his tanks arrive. The central left tanks moves to engage my AT guns in a firefight and proceed in killing 2 of them and thier commander, forcing the others to flee (poo) The Artillery fail to hit anything this turn, meanwhile the tanks on the right with the help of his CO tank have a field day in shooting my GTG sapper unit and manage to kill 7 teams with MG dice .. ouch
The tanks on the left side shoot at the strelkovy mass there, and after a bloody assault resulting in one dead tank for the loss of 3 infantry stands I come out the loser and fall back. I decide to remove this unit to form a wave attack unit next turn.
|Another unit of tanks in exactly the wrong place for me, against the sappers, of which are nicely positioned to assualt only if they unpin dam you.|
|Meanwhile on the left, a somewhat bloody assault looms|
|Andy's tanks making a run for the objective on the left after killing the AT guns|
Soviets: The Dshk AA trucks arrive now on the back edge, the pioneers fail to unpin so GTG. But the wave attack succeeds and starts to form up in the woods on the left side, but due to the close proximity of the enemy teams they only manage a some what small unit of only 8 teams (As the wave formation has to be 12" from all enemy teams and 16" from recce teams - so if you can get around behind these units it limits their effectiveness for the this rule for which Andy has succeeded in doing) - oh well at least they arrived.
|The tiny wave attack platoon form up in woods as |
Andy limits their size with platoons in all directions
|The AA trucks arrive - hooraa|
Poles: Andy gets his little TKS unit on now arriving on the back edge to support the units against the sappers. The central tanks remount and put some lead into the AA trucks sending 4 of them into flames, the commander then decides to call it a day and flees. Andy has another shooting spree on the right and kills another impressive 6 stands of sappers (thank god they have a large unit size) they pass their morale. The tanks then assault killing 2 more, but they fail their morale so their kommisar team yells encouragement by pistol shooting one, but must of been the team no one likes as they all ignore this and fall back.
|TKS unit arrives to offer even more MG dice in the direction of the sapper unit|
|The aftermath of the tanks shooting at my AA trucks|
Soviets: The little 76mm infantry pop guns finally decide to arrive and bails two of the tanks, in where the infantry assault and kill both, the commander wisely flees back behind some cover. The sappers have some since and digs in.
|76mm regimental guns fire into the tanks|
|The Strelkovy assualt the tanks and bypass unit.|
Poles: The tanks on the right are now poised to wipe out the sapper unit as they swing the TKS unit around behind them. They kill 5 more teams from main gun and MG fire killing 5 of them (aarrrgghh). Andy then somewhat fool hardly decides to assault the unit with his infantry first, and I manage to summon up 12 DF dice but only get 4 hits which all save. The melee battle lasted several rounds, where upon I was required to make 3 kommisar rolls to which all succeeded (losing 3 teams in the process mind you) but the tanks rolled up and finished me off as I fled the table with only one stand left.
|The few sappers now surrounded awaiting the dreaded assault|
Soviets: With his battalion in disarray the CO grudgingly decides hes had enough and puts in the general call to retreat his force from the battlefield having failed its company morale test. A good win to Andy.
GAME OVER .... with a 5- 2 win to Andy's Polish tank force.
Aftermath..... well what a game, full of assaults, huge infantry units, wave attacks, bypass units arriving in the rear of the battlefield to cause mayhem and mischief .... who doesn't like Early war I ask you ! always good fun.
Andy played an excellent game here, the tactic of placing the tanks in reserve and relying on his bypass unit made it hard for me. He was able to counterattack with his tanks while all I could do was sit still GTG as my reserves were far and few between and couldn't support one another properly.
Given another shot at this game, I would like to use the Artillery unit differently, as being conscript it was pretty useless for artillery - i think I was looking at the double width template with re-rolls but still, I should of used the guns offensively and placed them on the 12" line and advanced them 6" up the table to take the firepower to Andy's guns and remove the threat of Andy's bypass unit - only downside would be this would mean that the sappers would of had to sit still and defend the objective. I think this would of lead to a draw or stalemate though so unsure if this would of worked and maybe not as fun - always next time.
Might structure my force somewhat differently if I used in a tournament, I'd remove the artillery unit and replace with another unit of 45mm AT guns, beef up the Regimental Gun platoon to have 6 guns instead of 4, purchase a pioneer supply wagon for the large sapper unit and finally put in another small unit of sappers. This would make for a hard hitting force relying on the sappers to hold off attacks and the wave assault to push into positions to take objectives.