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Battle report for Battle for Moscow Scenario 2

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2 года 10 мес. назад#47262от JonDee
JonDee создал эту тему: Battle report for Battle for Moscow Scenario 2
Tom and I sat down to try out Scenario 2, and learned a few things along the way.

Scenario


This scenario once again pits the advancing Germans against Soviet defenders. This time the Soviets don’t have their AA gun, but they do have the powerful T-35 tank. They also start with almost all of their forces in and around a town, an excellent terrain for any defense.

A small group of Germans starts in a village some distance from the town, and the lone Soviet Ski unit has been ordered to attack that village and kill or capture the weakened German HQ unit there. However the HQ is accompanied by a mortar and a StuG III Assault Gun.

The scenario offers several ways for both sides to score victory points:

• Kill enemy units to gain their cost in VPs.

• Kill or capture the enemy HQ for 50 or 100 VPs respectively. (Killing an enemy HQ also doubles the VPs you earn for each enemy unit killed after that.)

• For the Germans, capture the town. Specifically, the Germans score 50 VPs at the end of the game for each hex that contains a German unit and no Soviet units.

The game is won by whichever side has scored the most victory points by the end of turn 12.

As I mentioned in my overall review of Battle for Moscow, the Ski unit is strangely set up in range and line of sight of the German mortar. This means it stands a very good chance of being damaged, possibly even killed, in the first turn or two of the game.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Ski unit was meant to start in the adjacent Ravine hex; this would put it out of sight and safe until the Germans hunted it down, or it decided to make its attack against the HQ once the Germans’ other forces were committed. Nevertheless, we played the scenario as presented.

Setup


Two notes on rules we used during this game:

The rules do include a mechanism for capturing units; it must be out of ammunition, the target of an assault, and be unable to retreat out of the hex (for example, surrounded by enemies or impassable terrain). These rules make it impossible for the Ski unit to capture the enemy HQ; so we agreed to use the second-edition rules for capture in this scenario, in which an unarmed unit that is Assaulted will surrender immediately without attempting retreat.

We also read over the road rules and concluded that while units can obtain the movement bonus for roads (all Tanks gain +1 movement if their entire movement is along a continuous road , Armoured Vehicles gain +2, and Transport vehicles gain +3), they also suffer the -1 penalty for snow; so in total Tanks will just move their normal movement, AVs +1, and Transports +2. I’ve decided subsequently that this is probably wrong, and there’s no Snow penalty for moving along winter roads; but that’s a separate discussion. It did affect movement rates for our play of this scenario, though.


STRATEGY: SOVIET
I was playing the Soviets. I knew that the Ski unit had to find cover immediately, and planned to move it into the ravine on the first turn, assuming it survived and was not suppressed, and then find a way to threaten the German HQ later in the game.

The infantry forces in the town seemed to have an obvious plan too: the Militia would start digging trenches to increase the hexes’ defensive benefit even further, and then the forces there would enter Ambush to force Tom to Assault the town without being able to pick off the defenders from a distance with his tanks.

The big puzzle was what to do with the T-35. It’s a powerful tank, no question; even the German Panzer III that starts relatively nearby would roll only four dice wen attacking such a heavy tank. The StuG III, more of a threat with its 7 dice versus the T-35, was way across the board near the German HQ. And German infantry that start near the town were helpless against the T-35 except in Assault. They can only Assault a tank in certain terrain types (brush, or the town itself) and I had no intention of letting that happen.

BUT… the T-35 has a Defense value of zero. That means that while enemies will roll few dice against it, every hit they do score will be a wound on the tank.

Why risk it, I thought? If I kept the tank inside the town, it would gain +2 Defense just from the terrain. If I had a Defend or Ambush order, I’d gain a third point of Defense. This would make it extremely hard for Tom to damage the tank.

So my plan was completely defensive -- pull back into the town, entrench, enter Ambush, and create the best possible circumstances in which to wait for Tom’s inevitable assault.

STRATEGY: GERMAN
(I’ll let Tom add any thoughts he wants to here. Without a doubt though, his first priority was to attack the Ski unit while it was exposed and before it could move into cover.)

TURN 1



Most of my units retreated into the town, shuffled about, and the Militia began to dig trenches in two of the city hexes facing the road. It would take them four turns to finish the job but I thought that would give me JUST enough time before Tom’s attack began.

Tom’s infantry mostly retreated away from the town in anticipation of a sortie by the T-35. Instead, the Soviet tank was busy taking cover in the town.

During Suppressive Fire, Tom naturally used the Mortar to attack the Ski unit. He rolled four hits and knocked it down from a Unit Strength (US) of 5 to a US of 2. Worse for me, the Ski unit now had to make a Fortitude test with a -3 penalty due to its casualties. It needed to roll a 5 or less on two dice… but unsurprisingly failed. The unit was Suppressed, which meant it could not execute orders and so would not get to move into cover this turn after all.

The StuG III moved at full speed up the road so it could help in the attack on the town, trusting the mortar to finish off the ski troop and secure the HQ it was leaving behind.

TURN 2



I gave the Ski unit the same order to move into cover should it pass its Fortitude test at the start of the turn… but instead it failed, and continued to flounder in the open ground.

In Suppression Fire, Tom again followed up with an attack on the exposed Ski unit. Remarkably though, he rolled only one hit on his 15 dice. This stripped away the Ski unit’s Defense, but did no additional damage. Since the Ski unit was still broken, no test was needed.

Otherwise, my units continued to dig in within the town, and Tom’s StuG III surged further up to the road to lend support.

TURN 3

Okay, so as I watched the Ski unit and considered its likely fate, it finally struck me. Tom wasn’t going to roll abysmally forever… and he was very likely to kill the unit this turn. And if he did… HE WOULD WIN THE GAME.

After all, the Germans didn't necessarily have to take the town; it was just a source of victory points. The game was won by whoever scored more VPs than the other side... and the Ski unit would give Tom 15 points to my zero. And after that there was no reason at all to throw himself against the Town’s bristling, hidden defenses. He could just pull back, wait out the remaining turns, and win 15:0.

My HQ slowly begins to recognize the problem...


Now, in our previous game we talked about the merits of continuing an attack even after a slim lead had been achieved, 'cause it's more fun and sporting. But in that case the attack had a pretty good chance. In this case… with all of my units in Ambush, entrenched, in the cover of the town and supported by the tank… what chance did the Germans really stand? It would be so lopsided a battle that the outcome was almost predetermined.

It occurred to me that I had completely misplayed the first turns. The T-35 had to get out there starting on Turn 1 and do some damage before the StuG arrived from way across the board. That way the death of the Ski unit alone wouldn’t put the Germans in the lead; they would have no choice but to attack the town. But… I hadn’t seen it.

So now I had no choice but to take the enormous risk of leaving the town and attacking with my only mobile unit – the T-35, against both of the German tanks.



At the start of the turn, the Skiers again failed their test and remained Suppressed. And then, in Suppression Fire, Tom again attacked the Ski unit… and this time easily rolled the three hits he needed to kill the unit. Just in case that hadn’t worked, Tom also moved both of his tanks toward the Skiers with move-and-fire orders to finish the job of they’d been needed.

Tom had scored his 15 points, just as I’d feared, and now the initiative was all with him. I had to attack, not defend.

The T-35 had orders to do just that, and moved out of the town with a Move and Fire order in the hope of attacking the Panzer III. As things turned out the German tank was indeed in range when expected, but with its reduced dice for move-and-fire the shot had no effect.

SCORE: Germans 15, Soviets 0

TURN 4



All that mattered now was the tanks; my infantry continued to dig in hoping that the expected attack would still happen, but it all hinged on whether the T-35 could inflict enough damage to tip the balance and force Tom’s hand.

Tom gave his Panzer III a Defend order, thinking I might move closer for a hit at better odds. This would also negate one hit, should I score any, with the Defend order's +1 bonus to Defense.

The T-35 used Suppressive Fire on the Panzer III, and actually managed four hits (looking for 2s or less on seven dice). This inflicted one casualty on the Panzer III (it had an innate Defense of 2 and a +1 bonus for the Defend order) and forced a Fortitude test... which Tom failed! I thought maybe I could somehow turn this around.

However, the StuG III had just arrived and parked itself in range to fire on the T-35 next turn.

SCORE: Germans 15, Soviets 0

TURN 5



And… that’s just what happened.

In the recovery phase at the start of the turn, Tom's Panzer III passed and recovered.

Both German tanks used Suppressive Fire, and although they rolled relatively few dice against the heavy tank they were able to score the three hits needed to destroy it.

My T-35 used Suppression Fire hoping to finish off the Panzer III, but scored only a single hit and didn’t even penetrate the tank’s armour.

Tom had now scored 48 points to my zero, and had no intention of assaulting the town, where the trenches were now complete and the defenders in full Ambush.

In effect, the game was over and the German side had won.

SCORE: Germans 48, Soviets 0



AFTERMATH

Tom and I went over the battle and talked about the options for the two sides. Clearly the Soviets had to get out and do damage to force the German attack. The Ski unit was a lost cause; I knew that it couldn’t be relied upon to survive the first few turns, let alone succeed in its mission against the German HQ.

We had the board set up, the models on the table, and we’d wrapped up in less than an hour. So there was only one thing to do… we set the pieces back to their starting positions, and tried again!

And THAT battle, whose tale I will tell next, was much more interesting… ending with the Soviet HQ leaping from its trench to lead a desperate, mass assault by every available Soviet unit on Germans within the town.

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2 года 10 мес. назад#47263от Gerry
Gerry ответил в теме Re: Battle report for Battle for Moscow Scenario 2
A very interesting report. Thank you.

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2 года 10 мес. назад#47264от JonDee
JonDee ответил в теме Re: Battle report for Battle for Moscow Scenario 2
Thanks! I actually find the events in this one pretty dull, but the explanation of our reasoning and strategy is valuable.

It will all pay off in the next report of our second attempt with the scenario, in which the events are much more dynamic.

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2 года 10 мес. назад#47265от Gerry
Gerry ответил в теме Re: Battle report for Battle for Moscow Scenario 2

JonDee пишет: Thanks! I actually find the events in this one pretty dull, but the explanation of our reasoning and strategy is valuable.

It will all pay off in the next report of our second attempt with the scenario, in which the events are much more dynamic.

The more you play this game, the more it dynamic and interesting. waiting for Your report.

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