It had been brutal, that battle for the German outpost line where so many of my brave Soviet soldiers had died. At the start of this, the third campaign game, I had waited to allow the few of my men in dressing stations to be returned to my platoon before I could push on. Even then I was left with no choice but to reorganise. I put my two LMG teams into one small four man squad under Yefreitor Gribanov, then put Olenev in charge of the other six men who were all SMG armed. My spare NCO, Yefreitor Gostravnikov I put in charge of the Maxim team that had come to support us. It was going to be a tough fight, possibly to the death, I could only hope that my luck was better than last time. I had rolled a 1 for support, so I knew the Germans would get absolutely nothing, but they did have one minefield or barbed with section as a result of being left to strengthen their positions in the last campaign turn.
I rolled well to begin with and got the maximum number of free moves with my Patrol Markers and then got a higher force morale, 9 as against the German 8, which allowed me the first move in the Patrol Phase. Nick told me afterwards that he was set on getting into the farmyard and not being restricted to the rear ridge and he went hell for leather towards that objective, realising too late that my Patrol markers which had concentrated on the central road suddenly swung to the left. Again I had elected to use just three Patrol Markers and was consequently more nimble than the Germans. The end result was that with him focussing on his left I was able to skew the battlefield round to my left. At the end of the Patrol phase the table looked like this.
As can be seen, the forward-most Soviet jump-off point was going to be very close to Nick’s base line. Obviously he was going to put a minefield in the woods and block my easy route to victory.
Nope. Barbed wire. And his barbed wire didn’t stop me deploying in phase one into the wood, past the wire and just 5″ from the baseline. Naturally Nick opened long range fire, but I was deployed tactically and it did no damage. In the next phase I rolled 3D6 and ran for the line, Remarkably I only rolled a total of 5 on 3D6, but it was just enough. A swan dive for the line, the ball was down and it was five points for the try. The red team won more convincingly than Llanelli Scarlets on a good day.
What a contrast to the first game, and proof again that the Patrol Phase is not just about seizing your own objectives but about denying ground to your opponent. Of course, there will be those who say “Yeah, but if I went to my club and got a game that lasted ten minutes I’d be a bit fed up”. There is no hiding from the fact that campaigns will throw up different situations to your usual 1500 points bash. You are going to get some games where, for the sake of the bigger picture, you don’t get a complete evening gaming. In this case it wasn’t an issue, we just shifted the terrain around and got straight on with the next game. Failing that, you can always go to the pub.
So, no casualties and we needed to see what impact that had. Well, Leytenant Timorenko wins his first game so that’s good. His Colonel is clearly a hard man to impress as his opinion remained solid at +1. The men’s opinion didn’t change either. On the German side the CO’s opinion dropped by one to -1. Maybe appointing a man from outside the platoon wasn’t a good idea afterall. The men were more forgiving, they knew thta it was a misty morning, a blast of firing and then Ivan was through on their flank. What else could they do but withdraw to their man line of defence? So they remain at -2. Feldwebel Mann finds himself in a thoughtful mood. No doubt thinking about how long it’ll be before he gets killed.
But on to happier things! I mentioned in the run up to this campaign that I would be hand crafting a beautiful set of Soviet jump-off points with all sorts of spare bits and pieces. Well, I decided against it, as you may remember reading here: https://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=2744
I already had some great jump-off markers in resin, so I cut off the unwanted weapons with the bread knife and stuck on some Tamiya 1:48th bits. And they are now finished. Here’s a snap.
I’m very pleased I didn’t waste time and money reinventing the wheel. These fact that we went for the highest quality resin means that it is very “carveable” as well as being pretty much shatter proof if dropped. As it was, adding a few Soviet weapons cost me pennies. Job done!
In next campaign game I’ll be attacking the German main defensive positions around Waldstadt.
There are some dates or events in the wargames calendar which mark special or memorable day; Crisis in Antwerp is always the first date on the wall planner in the Lard Island Office, the Lardy Games days across the UK are always next. But sometimes a day comes along which is unique and deserves celebrating