So, the big day arrives. The first game of our only partially planned campaign starts with a patrol action in No-Man’s-Land in East Prussia. Before we report on the game, here’s a chance to meet the teams.
I the red corner, literally, we have Leytenant Stanislav Azarov, a 28 year old from Moscow who prior to the war studied at the Tekhnikum to work in logistics and distribution, primarily the shipment of produce from the collective farms to the cities as part of the great five year plan. He is unremarkable in looks but is a veteran leader who has served since Kursk. He begins the campaign in a relaxed frame of mind.
Squad one is led by Evgeny Olenev, a farm boy from the Don region he is 27 years old and worked on a collective farm growing turnips before joining the army when his region was over-run by the fascists in 1942. He is a broad man of no great height and is a known killer of fascists.
Squad two is led by 39 year old Maxim Varushkin. A factory worker from Irkutsk he worked in an armaments factory until last year when, despite his age, he volunteered for service at the front. He is of average build.
Finally squad three is led by Uri Gribanov. Short and wiry Uri is 37 years old and was a tractor mechanic before the war in his home town of Khabarovsk. When the war began production changed to tanks and it was hoping to serve with the tanks he had built that dedicated communist Uri joined up.
On the other side of the battlefield is Feldwebel Albert Feldtmann. A farmboy from Schleswig Holstein he joined the army straight from the Hitler Jugend, arriving at the front just after Stalingrad. At 5’8″ he is an intelligent looking youngster who hopes to go to agricultural college after the war. Despite all the trials and tribulations of war he remains cheerful.
Squad one is led by Ulrich Goltz, a townie from Mainz he is just 20 years old. His father works in an ammunition factory and he worries about the incessant air raids. He has just been promoted to led his squad after Obergefreiter Lorenz, a veteran who had served since 1939 was killed by a red sniper.
Squad two is led by Richard Brecht. a 22 year old from Munich. He joined the army straight from the Hitler Youth but has spent much of his war in France. He joined the unit recently after time in hospital for a minor injury suffered in Normandy. His old unit was disbanded after suffering 80% casualties.
Squad three is led by tall and wiry Jurgen Plotz, a 31 year old saxaphonist from Hamburg who has a passion for jazz. He was a minor star on the club circuit, playing as Joe Chicago and his band. Most of the boys are now dead, but he hopes to reform the band after the war and continue his career.
So, that’s how our two sides line up. Both sides are rated as regular troops and that gives the Soviets a -2 disadvantage in strength rating. This will be quite handy for getting them some much needed support to shoot them in to their objectives.
With both sides assembled, lets now look at the playing area for the first game of the campaign.
We rolled a D6 once the table was set up and that tells us that the Soviets are coming on along the edge indicated. The Germans will be entering the table on the opposite edge. Or, more to the point, this will be where their Patrol Markers begin the game. We have rolled 5 for supports, so the Germans will select from List 3 and the Soviets, with a 2 point defecit, from List 5. What supports will we select? You’ll have to wait and see – as will we!
It was towards the end of the second week in May when I received the communication from Sir Roger at the Residence, brought by a galloper who had sustained several wounds in his attempt to locate my outpost and deliver his message; a message which only served to confirm what we had been already told