Please check out Part I here if you have not done so.
Now on to turn 7!
|The final grind as the last few panzergrenadiers go down.|
|The panzerscreck had done its work.|
|Passing skill checks like veterans really helps.|
|A short lived control of the objective.|
|The mortars don't like what is coming for them.|
|Shemans taking care of the Pak.|
This turn begins with Ernst Barkmann, in his Panther A, sitting on one of the Soviet objectives, having moved there in the last German turn. I move my mortar command team into the nearby bombardment craters to contest the objective. Loza in his M4A2 76mm sherman moves around Barkmann towards the center of the board and the two 75mm shermans move around towards the Soviet board edge. I want to get side shots on his panther from either one of them. The 120mm mortars catch the three Sd Kfz 222's and several German mortar teams in a bombardment and knock out a armored car and three mortar teams.
On the other side of the board, the Soviets push aggressively up to the two German objectives. Three of the 76mm shermans and the SU-100's destroy the far right grenadier platoon's Pak 40 and an infantry stand. The ISU-122's and one of the shermans destroy two of the last three SS scouts, and the last one would run. Then in the assault step the Mk VIII valentines rush into the close combat. They are Hero units so hit like veterans in assaults, the first attack sees them destroy four German teams. The German command panzerfaust and panzerschreck team were to far away in the initial assault to do much good but came in late and destroyed two valentines. The assault was back and forth for several rounds as we were both fearless, the SS did have to rely on their "One Way Trip to Heaven" rule as they failed one counterattack roll. However in the end the last two valentines crushed the last two German teams under their tracks and consolidated to contest the German objective.
The pinned 81mm mortars failed to unpin while the two remaining armored cars moved up towards the Russian objectives. The nebelwerfers destroyed another 120mm mortar (we forgot there were only two guns firing the last few turns, so didn't re-roll hits). Barkmann and the armored cars peppered the mortars with fire but didn't destroy any more. The German 2iC moves over to contest the objective that the Valentines are on, and a large part of the second Panzergrenadier platoon move over to contest that objective as well, leaving the German CiC and last Pak40 to hold the other objective.
|A rough series of rolls to hit left altogether too many German infantry remaining.|
|The SS special "One Way Trip to Heaven" rule really saved their assaults.|
|The Shermans break off and hope to use their burning comrades for cover.|
|But the Pak shoots through, bailing one and the remaining tanks then fled.|
Loza and the two 75mm Shermans continue to move stealthily around Barkmann using the buildings as cover, to go for the panthers vulnerable sides. The third 75mm Sherman which bogged on the railroad back in turn 5, finally unbogs after failing the last three rolls, only needing to roll a 3+ on a D6 dice. Terry, the sherman then rolls a 1 to cross... bogged again.
Around the German objectives the 76mm shermans rush in, machinegun and then assault the last panzergrenadier platoon. Shooting from the shermans, valentines and SU-100 only kills a single team but does pin the platoon, unfortunately the moving ISU-122's were not able to knock out the Pak40. In the assault that Pak40 destroys a sherman in defensive fire but the last three tanks only take out a single grenadier in the assault. The SS fail their counterattack but with the "One Way Trip to Heaven" rule they again continue the assault and destroy another Sherman. The remaining two tanks only destroy a single infantry stand but when the SS counterattack again the panzerfaust and panzerschreck teams miss, only a rifle team hits but the shermans save it. I then fail my counterattack roll and the last two 76mm shermans move back from the assault. Definitely not how I wanted that to go, the panzergrenadier platoon was also still above half strength, so did not check to run away.
All German platoons unpin. The 81mm mortars continue to move forward, and the armored cars close on the Soviet mortar command team contesting the objective. The nebelwerfers fail to kill any mortars as does Barkmann and the armored cars with shooting. On the other side of the board the unpinned Pak40 bails a 76mm sherman and the panzerschreck team knocks out a valentine. At the end of the shooting step the shermans run off the board but the last valentine stays around. The armored cars then assault the Soviet mortar command team, one bogs on the way in but the other destroys the team, leaving the Germans in control of the objective. If they can start their next turn with no Soviet teams within 4 inches they will win.
|Loza on the hunt!|
|It is worse than it looks as all those ROF 1 vehicles had moved.|
|Barkmann returning the favor... or not.|
Last turn Barkmann had backed up slighty and angled using his stormtrooper move to try to keep the shermans way from his flank. I had then took a huge risk that nearly lost me the game on turn 9, I chose to attempt to shoot the armored cars and Barkmann off the objective instead risk the shermans moving through difficult terrain to contest. Loza rushed forward and was able to get behind Barkmann and the 75mm shermans moved up to the wall to take shots at the sd kfz 222's. On the right side both the SU-100's and ISU-122's moved up to take on the German CiC and Pak 40, staying away from the woods and the last German infantry (they have no MG's to stop an assault).
In the shooting step all of the assault guns miss the Pak and CiC and the last valentine fails to hit any infantry in front of it... Then for the big one! Loza fires twice on the move and hits Barkmann once in the side! I fail the firepower roll though and the fearless panther is still alive. The 75mm shermans hit the last active armored car but I fail that firepower roll as well, and they pass their morale to stay on the board. However that does mean there are no active teams on the object! The game will continue.
The armored car and Barkmann remount. Barkmann backs up to keep the 75mm shermans from being in his flank. The 81mm mortars unpin and move foward. The last few SS grenadiers move forward to assault the last valentine, who also lacks any MG's. Barkmann then takes his shot and Loza and misses! He does get to re-roll his misses and proceeds to miss again (Dmitry Loza is Fearless Veteran). The pak40 fires and hits the IUS-122's but they shrug the shots off. The Nebelwerfers range in on the shermans and knock out another mortar, the last gun passes morale to stay on the board. The SS infantry then fail their tank terror check and do not assault the last valentine.
|ROF 2 on the move, and two threes.|
|Terry being Terry.|
|Failed firepowers were not only my problem alone.|
I was distracted by the fight between Dmitry Loza and Barkmann for the next few turns so I missed photographing some of the action on the right side.
Loza was able to move into Barkmann flank, the 75m shermans stayed still to fire on the armored cars. The valentine moved away from the grenadiers trying to drag them away from the assault guns who had focused on the second German objective, guarded only by the last Pak40. Terry the bogged sherman unbogged! Then bogged again...
Loza had two shots into the side of Barkmann panther, and missed with both! The 75mm shermans killed both remaining sd kfz 222's and the assault guns took out the Pak 40 but missed the CiC. Even better, one of the SU-100's was now within 4 inches of the second German objective.
The German CiC move up to contest the ovjective the SU-100 was on. The SS grenadiers chased down the last valentine but missed with their panzerschreck. In the shooting step the nebelwerfers fired on the shermans but failed to damage them. Then Barkmann turned to face Loza and fired with two shots the first hit, the second missed even with a re-roll. The M4A2 sherman could not withstand the point blank 7.5mm L/70 shot, but Grayson failed the firepower roll and Loza lived! The panzergrenadiers fail a second tank terror check to assault the last valentine, leaving then far from the second German objective.
|Fearless only goes so far.|
|I don't think he is going to make it.|
|For Victory Comrade!|
|The most useful the SU-100's had been all game.|
I rolled to remount the fearless Loza and rolled a "1", no worries he has protected ammo, another "1". Well time for the 75mm shermans to save the day, their commander rushes around Barkmann's side, while the other MG's the 81mm mortars. Terry meanwhile fails to unbog, again. I move a second Su-100 to take the German objective and the Valentine finally decided to stop tempting fate and doubled away from the infantry.
The brave sherman commander, fighting hard to save his bailed captain, hits Barkmann from the flank! Grayson then rolled a "6" for his save bouncing the 75mm shot off the side. The ISU-122's then annihilated the German CiC freeing up the far objective.
We ended up calling the game at this point as my wife and I were going to a concert, and I was really late :). There was nothing Grayson could have done to win the game at that point, as I had the objective firmly in my control with no Germans teams close enough to contest it. He also could not take my force below half strength.
However, Grayson was in a really good situation to make me pay the last turn. His mortar command was in range to assault the bailed out Loza and Barkmann was looking both 75mm shermans in the face, and they looked decidely nervous.
What an amazing first game for my Lend-Lease Soviet tank force. It was a grueling slug match against those Fearless Veteran SS, certainly suitable for a 1945 Eastern Front battle. I really liked how the Hero Tank force played, very mobile with no "hen and chicks" and powerful support platoons made for a great mix. While only being trained will make them very fragile against big German guns.
Looking back at things, the picture below really shows where I made my biggest mistake.
|They should have stayed on their own side of the tracks.|
The 75mm shemans should have stayed on that sided of the right side of railroad tracks and the SU-100's should have stayed on their side as well. The shermans MG's would have been much more help against the panzergrenadiers while the SU-100's would have given even Barkmann cause to worry. In the end the SU-100's just lumbered abound and killed a single infantry stand, while the shermans played a game of cat and mouse with Barkmann.