As such, only Rob and I were able to make it to Mark's place.
A little while ago Rob had picked up the Bolt Action Ostfront book and we'd been talking about trying one of the missions out for a little while.
Today would see the Battle for "insert long unpronounceable Russian name here" Heights.
The mission setting is Kursk 1943. This would mean we would only use Operation Citadel/Battle for Kursk lists.
In building my list, I decided to go for something a little bit different:
Reg. 2nd Lt. + team mate
3 Reg. Squads of 8 (1x smg, 1x lmg each squad)
Reg. Squad of 8 (1x lmg)
Reg. Mortar + Obs
Reg. Sd Kfz 222
Reg. Tiger 1E
Reg. Arty Obs (free from mission rules)
If I recall correctly, Rob's list was...
Lt. + team mate
3 Inexp. Squads of 12
2 Reg. ATR teams
Vet. Sniper team
Reg. Heavy howitzer + Obs
Reg. Arty Obs (free from mission rules)
He may have had one more squad... I'm not sure.
The mission set-up dictated a large hill running through the centre of the table which the Soviets could set-up on. They would also get a number of minefields, linear obstacles (providing hard cover) and a bunker!
(The barbed wire/hedges represent the linear obstacles in the photo).
I was not looking forward to this... lots of arty, defenses and open ground to cover! Attacking long ways too.....
The Soviet deployment....
I did at least get a preparatory bombardment. I do often have a knack for rolling 6's.... :-) 2 Russian squads lose a comrade from the bombardment and most units end up with a pin. Even better though..... a round takes out the Russian artillery observer. I breathe a sigh of relief having been on the receiving end of those big bombardments too many times when facing Mark's British force.
The battle is themed around Kursk.... Mark's Tiger was looking pretty good... so I had to use it :-)
And of course, it would lead the way!
My plan was to use the Tiger to advance up to the bunker and try to keep the sniper team pinned down (or at least block some lines of fire) whilst my main assault force and support weapons (mmg & mortar) focused on the other side of the table using the only hamlet as a bit of cover...
The sniper hiding in the bunker.... making him pretty much impossible to hit!
The SU-152 fubar's on turn 1! :-) Luckily another 6 prevents a bit of a disaster.
My troops just start running. It's all they can do.
This is where the the Inexperience rating starts to hurt Rob.... the pin markers start to stack up and that extra -1 means he's not hitting much (still some good rolls seems them rally a few times). The ATR and sniper teams aren't hitting much either. If they are, casualties are light. So far so good. Things are looking okay for Germany at the moment.
Especially when my mortar ranges in on one of the Russian squads turn 1. A couple of turns later and that squad is gone. Some amazing shooting with the 20mm from the 222 deals to the ATR teams. A big gap is opening.... and my units start to crest the hill.
So, how does Rob answer.... drives up the tank. The SU-152 advances.
Then I point out it's sitting on the minefield :-) As per usual we hadn't read the rules properly. Rob had needed to number his minefields and secretly determine the type. So we rolled a D6. This minefield turned out to be an AP minefield rather than AT.... It would have been amusing if his tank had blown up on his own minefield :-)
But it has crested the hill. Before my Tiger knows what happening a massive HE shell slams into it causing a pin, but no further damage. Phew.... the Tiger is my only AT asset.
As the Soviet heavy howitzer is trying to range in on the Tiger as well, I continue to advance it firing at the SU-152. Seems that HE shell shook the crew pretty well. A few turns of shooting are uneventful. Just as well, the SU can't hit either.
At least my artillery barrage finally arrives! (Marked in turn 2 followed up by a succession of 2's each turn!). The far Soviet squad gets blasted by HE and the pins are stacked up effectively negating it as a unit. Now my Tiger is so close it can't miss the SU....
.... with the inevitable result from a close range hit from a super heavy AT gun...
By now I'm breaking through and over the top of the hill. Rob does get a little bit of revenge as one German squad crests the hill, a heavy howitzer shell just obliterates them.
Still, I've broken through.
And Rob concedes with little left on the table. The hill is still contested at this point due to the sniper team, so I miss out on the VP's for holding the hill. Based causalities, the end result is 5 - 1 to me.
My plan worked perfectly :-) with a fair bit of luck though! Taking out the artillery obs. before the game even started and my early mortar strike gave me a good start.
When we talked about it afterwards, this game was won & lost on Rob's army selection. The inexperience really hurt him. Having a couple of regular squads and mmg's on that hill line would have made it hard hard work for me.
It was good fun trying out a completely different scenario like this though. Something we'll definitely do again.
Thanks for reading.