Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FOW: Tankovy vs Germans

Just to try something different, I had a game of FOW vs Jason, last week. I was (and still am) a bit forgetful about what is actually involved with this game, so kept to simple - at the DNA level. Yes, back to my Tankovy roots and no thinking hard about the list. I forget the exact unit but this was one of the battalions from Bagration, fighting in the Baltic - late 1944. I used the Hammer and Sickle list. It was 19 mixed T-34s (9 '85s), tankos on the larger Tankovy coy, Razvedki platoon in captured '251s and a Spetsnaz  platoon in more captured German HTs. Jason had a fair suspicion that this would be about all I could mentally handle, so found a nasty confident trained Germans list with veteran support. I ended up facing a few infantry platoons (ie 'life support') who were reinforced by a platoon of Panthers, a platoon of StuGs, and a platoon of Pak 40s! This could be tough, hope I don't have to play a defensive battle (I remembered that much) then we rolled a three for the mission - No Retreat!
 Here is the German defense. Not the Panthers positioned hull-down behind a low rise. Screened to the front by dug-in infantry. Classic German DB layout.

 To the top-middle we see the Soviet infiltrate move with the large Tankovy Coy, Tankos, ITs and Spetsnaz. I rolled a 1 so the Germans got first turn. However, the intervening rises and dips in the terrain meant concealment and range (with moving Panthers) preserved the Tanks. The StuGs face my forces in the wood ahead but Paks lurk in ambush.,..
 So now I have second turn and it is pretty much what turn 1 would have been if Jason had just put the Panthers on the low rise in the first place and I had not rolled a 1. Sucks to be those StuGs, unless he ambushes the Paks there.
German Turn 2: But no. No ambush and two of the StuGs bogged while attempting to fade back through the woods. Now it really sucks to be those guys. 
 Soviet Turn 2: While suspecting that this no-ambush deal is to good to be true, the Soviets push forward anyway. It is absolutely unhistorical to play Soviets and ever display local initiative or fail to press forward. As I say, the Soviets and I share DNA. The StuGs go down to T-34 fire and followup Tank-rider assault but the remaining StuG passes morale and remains to fight.
 German turn 3: The ambush appears, cunningly sited on the hill ridge, and savages the flanks of the T-34s. The Panthers have actually achieved some kills of their own by this stage.
 Soviet turn 3: Meanwhile, the Razvedki silently advance through the soot-blackened (honest!) village, ready to snatch the objective, when the time is right.
Turn 4: There has been serious fighting on the flanks of the lead Tankovy Coy but the guns have beaten off the determined tank-rider attack. this time. Meanwhile, the rear Tankovy coy takes savage fire from both Paks and Panthers and dies, the remnant's fled. The lead tanks are now in the wood, the remaining StuG gone, and some T-34s are even machine gunning German infantry reserves on the back line. We can almost see Berlin from here!
 Turn 5: The German guns were pinned and the Panthers unable to draw a bead on the T-34s. So the Paks did not achieve much before the vengeful tank-riders returned to finish the job. It looks like that rear objective is suddenly quite a viable proposition.
 Turn 6: Jason finally moves the Panthers off their comfy perch! This turn, they are unable to draw a line on the T-34s, but the Soviet commander tells a relieved set of T-34 commanders that the plans stipulate that this push was merely a diversion from the planned assault on the 'near' (as opposed to 'rear') objective. Sometimes the old strategies are the best.
Turn 7: Jason's CiC had got caught out alone in the swamp due to heavy German infantry casualties. If the Soviets could bag him, they would auto-win through failed company morale, the next turn. We were pressed for time, so the Tanks forged through the wood, to converge on the 'near' objective, supporting a Razvedki push out of the village. The tanks are unable to kill the wily German CiC but pin the German infantry and permit the Razvedki to assault and throw the Germans off the objective. The Soviet followup shepherds the Germans back, and timeout sees the Soviets in possession of the road to Berlin (it is there, under snow), while the Germans cannot must a counter-attack to keep contesting it.

Phew! That was a toughie. I never like facing that kind of German list with a Tankovy. Especially not in a defensive Battle where I cannot utilise my characteristic low-trickery to steal the objective while big-cats are distracted. However, constant Soviet pressure managed to effect the breakthrough, with another characteristically messy Soviet success. Now to explain to the Corps commander that I yet again lost over a company of tanks to take another minor European village! Thanks for a fun, and quite testing, game Jason.


  1. Hey Jamie,

    Good Game, it was quite fun and your sneaky Russian tactics eventually managed to trick me into moving the Big Cats away, to my chargin later. :P

    It was fun to play FOW for once. The CT Walkure list (from a Bagration PDF) was cool (with the supports) but the infantry are a bit lame!

    I think I will be taking your advice and just taking a regular old Gren list and thrash it till I know it backwards.

  2. Cheers Jason,

    Despite the fact that you would have had less support - Veteran German infantry/ATGs (the paks were trained too, right?) would have been WAY harder to attack in that mission.