Flames of War: Free Sturmoviks!!!
With the new points in the Soviet Latewar PDFs, I had to give Soviets a try. I haven't actually run them since earlier this year and at the time thought there was nothing much too wrong with a Tankovy in V3. With a bit of tweaking (basically one less T-34 85 but one more T-34 overall) the new points meant I could take the list I brought to Warclouds with FREE STURMOVIKS. Ahem. When I saw that, I couldn't not do it. My opponent was long-time German Nemesis Chris. He amusingly somehow saw that coming and took StuGs, Gun Stukas, Marders and Pioneers. But with free Sturmoviks (even if they are a tad overpriced), surely I couldn't lose....?
At this point, I should make it clear that I knew FOW takes a while (even at 1500pts), especcially given we were both rusty. So I made sure to have a table set up all by myself before Chris even arrived and I saw what he had. So the above piece of 'genius' is entirely my own fault. Chris just nodded along as I explained that of course the big hills are V.Diff, and yes there is a big village holding the crossroads and yes those bits of swamp are also impassable to tanks and of course the Balka are difficult on the floor and v.diff on the sides. With this setup, we then rolled for mission and it was No retreat. I have helpfully included circles to indicate the only three points where tanks can get across halfway without a skill check.
The first turns were something like the battle of the Somme with tanks. Except the tanks weren't breaking the line. They weren't breaking the line because in V3, destroyed tanks are now bad to have on your lines of approach and I had to push the attack into the enemy positions while not totally blocking my path. Recon kept the ambush out of the village center so it popped in the treeline (totally blocks LOS unless something is up against it). Chris got over not having gentle hills to storm-trooper back and forth with, at that point. A treeline to shoot from, then storm-trooper out of LOS was as good, if not better. Better.... unless I got rocket firing Sturmoviks! book, three Stugs in a volley - thanks BF!
Twenty one mixed T-34s (plus SU-100 buddies) is a lot of tanks to squeeze through a few narrow approaches. I really did try to not get blocked early but Marders came from reserve(Von Sauken!) and nailed the lead elements, blocking the path nearest the center and meaning that if I wanted to use the road, I was now either going the long way or chancing tanks in the village.... a village crawling with German Pioneers. Am I THAT crazy?
I did not let it go, so as a consequence, Chris of course did not fail the 75% roll (yes, that was my 'plan) and I lost the tanks AND the village.
Both our armies were smashed almost to pieces though. Marders got seen off and so it ended up with my Spetsnaz and SU-100s vs Chris' Pioneers. Problem was, the open approach to the village was not an ideal path when there were circling Jabos. At about the point I had settled on this as my last ditch attempt, the Stukas (all one die worth) came on every single turn. Sure, my Sturmoviks were no slouch either, bombs, rockets and all; but under-slung flying cannons were not a friend to my ragged armoured column.
Good game Chris, and a well deserved win as you were an absolutely brutal defender (and stoic too, the dud flamethrowers were hilarious). Took a little too long but I think there is life in the old FOW yet?