Thursday, 28 January 2010

Preparation for Vapnartak: Day 2

German Grenadier Kompanie 2,000pts 'Hasty assault' Vs. Finnish Tank Company (Nath)

With the Finns once more my enemy we ran through the ‘Hasty Assault’ scenario for the first time to try and avoid nasty shocks at Vapratnak. Both sides used the same lists as the previous week, the Finns because they justifiably felt it worked after their complete victory, and I used the same Grenadier list because I believed it should have done better, and it was my own poor tactics that had helped defeat it. Plus both armies are now registered for the tournament and unchangeable so will have to work or lose!

Scenario rules:

The had one platoon of five T-26 light tanks, one of four T-28 multi-turreted tanks, one of two KV1’s, one of two Landsverks anti-aircraft vehicles, one of four howitzers, one of anti-tank guns and a pioneer platoon. My own force consisted of 3 platoons of infantry (1 pioneer), 1 of Marder III’s, 1 of StuG F/8’s, 1 of HMG’s and 1 of mortars, topped off by a platoon of two PaK40’s and one of four 10.5cm howitzers.

The Battle:
With the battle being fought lengthways on the table, and the night fighting rules in operation, the Finns reverted to massing their tanks on their right side, and with my superior number of platoons I was able to place the Marders and StuG’s to oppose them. The enemy armour had just reached the StuG’s long range when the sun came up, while the Marders and a unit of Grenadier pioneers had worked their way into a wood flanking the armoured wedge. Elsewhere on the battlefield the Finns pioneers had made it into the buildings in the centre to defend their objective, and my remaining two grenadier platoons were massing on my right in preparation for an assault across open group which would only happen if the enemy tanks were eliminated.

In the dust-up on the German left which followed the rise of the sun I lost my pioneer platoon and all but one of the Marders in exchange for all of the T-26’s and T-28’s. My luck well and truly held as both of the KV1e’s where destroyed by lucky artillery shots, while the Landsverks were destroyed by the StuG’s, who also claimed three T-26’s, a T-28, and several (undamaging) hits on the KV1e’s, while surviving numerous artillery bombardments.

With the enemy armour eliminated my Grenadiers on the right swept from their positions in the woods and assaulted the Finns pioneers, who were already depleted by mortar fire. They cleared the numerically inferior enemy from the buildings for few losses and the opposition conceded.

In a reverse from the previous weeks battle the Finns were genuinely unlucky, while the Germans could do little wrong, and credit to the opposition for sticking it out to the bitter end! Three 152mm gun hits on the roof of a StuG should have put it out of commission, but somehow the assault gun shrugged them off each time, while the Marders survived a hail of low velocity shells which should have easily destroyed them.

The Germans luck extended to the artillery taking out the KV1e heavy tanks, the Grenadier pioneers wiping out the T-28’s, and the StuG’s exceptional shooting. It is also worth noting that if the darkness had lasted another turn the Finns would have been amongst the Germans and I would have been in serious trouble.

From a scenario point of view I had been hoping to race my truck-mounted infantry forwards to take and hold the objectives early, but the darkness prevents doubling so I waited for the enemy to attack and be depleted before I counter attacked, hopefully the opposition in York will do the same! I liked the scenario overall as being a bit different and I think I’ll leave a copy in my rulebook as another option.

German Grenadier Kompanie 800pts 'Take The Hill' Vs. Finnish Tank Company (Nath)

Having finished inside two hours we decided to try out the 800pt scenario too, and set up a hill in the middle with the objective on top. The Finns ran with a list of 1 platoon of five T-26’s, 1 platoon of four T-28’s and their platoon of pioneers. On the German side my troops consisted of my captured KV1e (liking the irony of both sides using captured Russian tanks!), my PaK40’s, two platoons of Grenadiers in trucks and an 8.8cm Luftwaffe FlaK36 gun.

After last weeks experiment of driving the KV1e directly onto the hill so I couldn’t lose I decided to be less boring and sent it off to the right to go through a wood and flank any enemy attack towards the hill. The infantry set off for the hill in their trucks, covered by the 8.8cm gun on the left, and the PaK40’s on the right. Unfortunately the Finns chose daring over caution and it paid off for them. The T-26’s raced through the gap between the KV1e and the hill and destroyed the PaK40's for the loss of one tank, and then joined the T-28’s in assaulting and driving back both of my infantry platoons, despite losing two T-28's tanks to the 8.8cm gun, and a further one to the KV1e. The German heavy tank drove into the melee of troops and tanks surrounding the German side of the hill but was too late to save my CO who was gunned down by the T-26’s and with three platoons gone out of five my troops quit the field.

In hindsight I think it was the poor lines of sight for my anti-tank guns that undid me, and my own sense of sportsmanship! I did rely too much on the PaK40’s gun shields protecting them long enough for their guns to take out the T-26’s. It appears that daring either wins this scenario (which we played out in around 40 minutes), or goes horribly wrong.

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