Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Crossfire AAR, Small Threat to the Flank

The Victrix 12mm 1/144 figures got to see the elephant Saturday. Carl commanded the Soviets on the defense and I took the Germans. Last time we played this my attack stalled and the clock wound down.


He deployed his first and second platoon hidden, and his understrength third platoon in view. My first two platoons faced his, my third faced their opposite number. Among the rules mistakes:  we played that an anti-tank shot that hit and didn’t kill the target kept the initiative. Wrong, but it didn’t make a big difference. Likewise, I forgot that tanks in woods, field and rough terrain lose their +3 close combat bonus. As will be seen, it didn’t matter either. I can easily find the pertinent rules after the game is over, rarely during the game.


First I sent my PZ III with the main group out on my left flank. A Soviet squad in a house opened up with an AT rifle and rolled boxcars. Forgetting that’s an automatic kill, I checked the charts. It was indeed a hit and a kill. I suggested the shot had gone through a view slit, Carl said Hans didn’t close the hatch after coming back from a toilet break.


Fire was traded across the valley. I used up all 4 heavy artillery fire missions and couldn’t get more than a pin on the enemy machine gun. The 50mm mortar did better dropping smoke in front of the MG. After the game I noticed how big the heavy smoke screen is. Next time…

Carl was advancing the clock every initiative to start, until suddenly his dice went cold. The clock stuck at 5:30 for almost the rest of the game. A smokescreen from the 75mm kept the 3rd Soviet Platoon out of the picture and my 2nd platoon advanced, ending up mostly pinned but with almost all the Soviets going no-fire. Perhaps guns jammed, ammo ran out, solders decided to take a smoke break, whatever. The one squad from my 1st platoon able to move advanced and was pinned, drawing some more no-fire results in the process. With all facing me in the center no-fire, I pulled my unengaged 3rd platoon back, sent it around the rear to my left and across the river. All three squads and their Platoon Commander (sergeant Steiner?) hit the first farmhouse and cleaned out the enemy machine gun. They advanced up the hill and attacked the T-26, which had the benefit of the +3 close combat modifier in error. The first roll was a tie. Steiner, atop the tank, had trouble getting the hatch open. He won the re-roll and shoved a grenade into the hatch. Scratch one T-26. 


Cheering, the platoon cleaned out the 50mm mortar and charged up to the objective house. A die roll of 1 looked bad, but the Soviets matched it; the house fell in a rain of grenades. Steiner moved to his right and caught the first squad of the enemy 2nd platoon, wiping it out. On a tear, he then assaulted the 2nd squad. We both thought the game was just about over. I rolled a 1. Proletarian hero Maxim brained Steiner with the butt of his submachinegun and proceeded to shoot the rest of the platoon. Carl asked if they were all dead. Ah, yes. 


Both sides were pretty badly shot up. My PZ IV traded fire with the enemy T-34 76 for a while, both sides failing to get a kill. Then my dice heated up; the suppressed machinegun rallied and hosed down the Soviet 2nd platoon, killing both squads, including Maxim. His Hero of the Soviet Union award was posthumous. But his next of kin would be able to cut in at the head of the food lines in later years.


The game took 2 hours, 20 minutes to play. Both of us found Steiner’s mad dash highly entertaining, all in one initiative.  Losses on each side were over 50%. I am aware that shifting a platoon from one flank to the other would be highly unlikely in a real combat situation.


Next game in a couple weeks will be set in 1780 South Carolina via the time travel portal.

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