Friday, 24 March 2017

Operational Game : view from one side of the Russian table

First off, well done to all involved.  Great fun and (as ever) a close result.

I think Frank and Ozzy did really well in directing the troops from the back tables and there were some ideas that will no doubt get repeated over the next few campaigns.

Its becoming like an evolving beast - as one idea is tried out, the other side develop a counter to it in the next game.  So the airfield attack by the Russians is countered by a German CAP over the airfield sector.  In the next game, will the attackers (and defenders) allocate CAP and AA to their airfields (but thereby denuding air protection at another part of the front?).

For example, we thought the train would be a major target for the Luftwaffe and so arranged (initially) for the train to roll to the back table each hour as we'd stuffed it full of what limited AA we had (including the Motorised Division's Quad AA).  As it transpired, the airfield became the area of most intense activity and we could have used more AA there instead.

The plan on my side was to essentially hunker down and make the river tricky to cross.  I put a unit in the wood with the abatis providing cover to prevent the usual German trick of running in from all sides - shooting for a bit then close combating the inevitable suppressed units.  The additional bonus for being dug in in the woods meant that the Russians were holding the Germans up and it was the tanks in the end which made the difference.  With hindsight, artillery in support on the other side of the river would have made a massive difference  as the Germans were in the open trying to climb the abatis and would have presented a tempting target....

As it was I asked Frank to bring the air assets in on the German troops in the open and they were obliterated.  Which was nice.

That pretty much did it for the left-hand table, with Mark employing the well known German manouvre of 'hide in the woods and pray for night'.

On my right hand table my troops were spread very thin as I'd forgotten that I had two battalions on each table (and so one was still in the box round the back). If they'd been in position when Mark arrived it would have been a much bloodier encounter.  As it was the artillery nibbled away on both sides and the bicycle recon made life hard.  Seeing his tank rush down the side I made the error of moving troops in the open and - Sod's Law - the 76's being towed were the only thing they could see and both got blatted.  In the woods and with direct fire they would have made life hard for the German armour.

We debated building a bridge on the far side (away from the cowering Germans in the woods) and running some troops up and sneaking some points,  If we had done so, then we would have secured at least a draw and a possible win - but the demand to keep the reserves behind paid off as the Falschirmjager first fell prey to Frank's commitment of the armour reserves, then the NKVD proved a tricky proposition - especially when the Mounted reserve showed up.

The tanks continued on their way towards the bridge the Germans had paid on for us.  The problem was leading with the wrong tanks - we should have gone with the KV1 and T-34 followed by the T35's and T28's.  The tough tanks would pin the AT and the rest would ping away at the troops in the woods (anti infantry 7 is going to hurt anyone) and potentially force a morale check.  Still, once in range the German armour found out what being outgunned meant.and suffered accordingly.  

Its all ifs and buts though.  Frank was befuddled by how a load of blokes on bikes can hold up a platoon of tanks on a bridge for a start.  In hindsight a conditional order to cross our own bridge further left then attack the enemy armout in the flank would have been the better option (but only if my own infantry could have been relied on to hold up the German armour until they got there.

The good thing about having CinC's was that I had little idea about what was happening with Russ (apart from the fact that the Katyushas' were not working).  Or that he saved me from the rush by Jon's recon towards me.

Towards the end of the day, myself and Mark and Frank had a 3 way stalemate as things were being decided on Russ' side.  The strength and numbers of German materiel was telling and it proved again hard for the defenders to do much to hold it back.  But it was close and I think if we'd used things a little better (such as not letting the medium bomber get shot down) it could have been a whole different ball game.


Russ Fewtrell said...

I certainly felt the pressure on my side. Jon just kept feeding stuff in on all fronts and the best I could hope for was to just try and hold him off. My dice rollings was shite and I need to invest in a new oven I think. If Jon had been able to roll "better" it would of been a walkover but I did get lucky on the close assaults, so much in fact Jon gave up in the end!

Frank was down last night and basically said he kind of left me to get on with it, most of the support and all the reserves were fed across to you side. Not sure what difference it would of made if we swung that over to my side, it could of been interesting.

I think you held Mark up enough and looking across I could not say that he posed a real threat to your side after you managed to thump him with air attacks and then Frank's reserves.

It was a bloody good game but it took it out of me. Felt like a boxing match after a full days fighting.

I agree in that I think the Russians are the most likely side to stick it to Adolf. The random morale will one day yield a lot of Veteran battalions and with a little bit more careful planning I think the Russians could win.

Ian said...

Good to get your side of the game. There were so many options that ćould have been played I think it could have been a decisive win for either side.