Having liberated Metgethen the Germans found most of the civilian population had been victims of Soviet revenge and the bodies of old people, women and children were found inside most of the houses, this has aroused feelings of revenge now in the Germans and they have become 'aggressive' for the rest of the campaign. I cannot see this making a huge difference in CoC as it only involves close combat and unless you get the enemy down to two men and a dog with penknives, as the attacker you are on a hiding to nothing.
I was expecting Matt to choose at least one tank for his attack and so took a 45mm anti-tank gun along with a bucket of hope that if he did it would not be anything larger than a PzIII, I had my core squad for its last fight before it is honourably retired backed up by an MMG and a second infantry squad. Matt had an all infantry force with three squads, one original also on its last legs, and an infantry gun and a pre-game barrage in support, so much for bringing an AT gun to an infantry fight.
There was a lot of open ground to cross for the Germans and Matt decided to advance on his right near the railway tracks as on this side there were hedges to hide behind, the infantry gun with entrenchments was to support from the open cornfield on the left. Right off the Russians got a double turn and I put the 45mm on my right to cover the road and open fields, after this everything else refused to arrive for both turns. The Jerries now also got a double turn, in fact two of them almost one after the other, so while the Russians were loathe to turn up the Germans took advantage of this and hurried their men forward, two squads ran for the buildings around the signal box. Now the infantry gun also turned up and began to snipe at the anti-tank gun disabling its Junior Leader and more or less putting it out of action. During the German race to the nearest hedges to the buildings the Russians only managed to get one infantry squad in defence, this was now hit by overwhelming machine gun fire and very quickly was reduced to a wounded leader and two or three men and ran.
The Soviet MMG now showed up and set up in the large signal box building, but again due to the lack of further defenders took the brunt of the enemy fire and shortly it too routed, Soviet morale plummeted. With a cornucopia of double and triple phases the Germans now brought on their third squad in the cornfield and it rapidly advanced to close range of the anti-tank gun and the crew began to fall. In the closing minutes of the game the Russians got their remaining squad into position but it was now the only effective force the Soviets had left to fight the entire German platoon, with morale at rock bottom the Russian leader ordered a withdrawal.
This game was totally one sided due to the effectiveness of the barrage and the almost continual double phases and two triple phases by the Germans. I drop a die for every subsequent phase but even doing this the German command and control was superb, I also do not let troops who have already shot shoot again, but this was no barrier to the Germans taking ground and setting up a firebase of two squads, one panzergrenadiers and one infantry which swept all before them. Although all this was a problem the fact that the Russians only managed to get their people on piecemeal was a bigger problem. This one sided type of game can be a problem with Chain of Command and as a player you really cannot do much about it if the dice Gods come down heavily on the other side, yes I know we all fall foul of this at times but the effect as above is simply devastating. The Russians could if they had a command dice have halted the barrage but by the time they got one I thought it best to use it to deflect a morale test if needed. Anyway the upshot is that the Germans now have two tables to go to win.
I have had a couple of slack days so finished those new Russian troops, the guys with the semi-automatic rifles are really nice, these are from The Assault Group the others simply had SMG's. I also dug out a Russian tank commander from the free Rubicon sprue and put him on the T34/85 as a reward for its stalwart defence of Metgethen.
I am going to take a small break from the Eastern Front for a week or so and get another Ancients game in, this time Rob Broom author of War and Conquest will choose the Seleucid army and I shall choose the Romans, back in charge of the Thunderbolts, yes. I aim to clear the table today, set it up for the game and email Rob a map so he can sort his deployment.
As I said before I am back on with my SYW project and received my new figures yesterday, so plenty to do. I cocked up once again and am a figure short for both units so I jumped on to order them up and thought no point just getting two men so I got a limber and a horse (for which I already have a rider) and more French finnials with ribbons for their flags.
Getting a trifle fed up now, I didn't get out much before but I had decided to organise some weekend wargaming here and I could at least go for a meal, a lunch or a walk amongst other people enjoying the nice weather and of course talk shop at the club on a Tuesday with like minded folks or meet up for one of Rob, Julian or Stuarts large games in Grange. Fingers crossed.