AAR – Italian Alpini Infantry Vs Tankovy – Hold The Line

Note:- This AAR was posted on the WWPD blog, but for completeness it felt right to post it on our site too. (especially as it’s our first MW AAR)

Hello everyone, James here and today I’m writing up an AAR the first Mid War AAR for 
Breakthrough Assault! Ben and I made our way round to Dave’s house early to get a few games in, so I could practice and actually go to events with more than one game under my belt. During the course of the day both Adam and Alex dropped in as well so it was a good day to learn, understand and gain some pointers!

The game I’m going to write up was against Ben’s Tankovy in ‘Hold The Line’ and was a 1650pts game with one of the Italian Alpini lists that I’m adjusting and finishing ready for Brighton: Blood in the Snow in a few months time. I Defended with the Tirano Battalion of the Alpini against the mighty tanks!

Italian Alpini Infantry

  • HQ with Passaglia Bombs
  • 10 Infantry with Passaglia Bombs, 1 AT Rifle, 3 HMG & 3 45mm Mortars
  • 10 Infantry with Passaglia Bombs, 1 AT Rifle & 3 45mm Mortars
  • 3 Mortars
  • 4 47/32 AT guns
  • 4 75/27 Cannons
  • 4 L6/40 Light Tanks
  • 9 Pioneers, 2 Flamethrower
  • 4 100/17 Howitzers
  • 2 20/65 AA guns
  • Sporadic German Air Support: Stuka

  • HQ T34 
  • 10 T34, 3 upgraded to T34/57
  • 10 T34, 3 upgraded to T34/57
  • 8 T70 
  • 3 BA64

Dave’s awesome table that he set up before we arrived. I defended the far end (possibly a mistake) and Ben attacked from this end!
Ben placed his objective cunningly in a dell in the scenery that restricted lines of fire. I set up my first combat platoon and the 47/32 AT guns and the 1iC to hold this forward objective. Unfortunately I rolled a 1 for 8 Million Bayonettes on the combat platoon meaning my core defensive platoon was trained rather than veteran!

The Cannons lurked in ambush whilst the fearless veteran demolishers lurked on the Italian right flank with the 2iC to prevent flanking moves towards the back objective and to hold the road down the middle of the village.
Ben’s first platoon of T34s on the right, a wood infront of them protects them from fire and near objective. Even though I have a plane, Ben knows he’s going first so bunches up to deploy and move off later
On the other side of the farm in the centre of the board are the other 11 T34 tanks and the recon armoured cars. By this point Ben’s plan has become clear and my first platoon are thinking that reserves will have to come soon!
The Soviet light tanks take advantage of the crops on their left flank ready to advance and possibly sweep around and encircle the Alpini.
The Alpini have no recon but the Soviet BA10s make a recon move behind the woods, ready to point out the Italian Infantry for the T34s
Turn 1
T70s advance through the work of the communal farms, five year plans be damned! They fire on the pioneers in the buildings infront of them but to no avail.
The Red Army advances under direction of their command tanks. Like the light tanks to their left, their initial fire keeps the heads of the Alpini down but does no damage.
A BA10 locates the company’s objective and reports in, lurking this side of the wood so the Italian Solothurn can’t pick it off!
With no air support of their own, the Italians are lucky to receive German air support which draws first blood and destroys one of the T34s. I don’t ambush with the cannons, no reserves arrive and the Italians in battle think keeping their heads down is the best option so… that was a quick turn!
Turn 2
T70s continue their advance but yet again fail to damage the pioneers infront of them. I think Ben probably wanted to move these at the double round the flank but couldn’t risk it with the cannons in ambush and the pioneers lurking at full strength able to jump on them as they moved past.
Ben doesn’t seem to be having muck luck here, the fire from the T34s in the centre also fails to kill the dug in troops around the objective. At least the Soviets could take comfort from the poor leadership the platoon received in that they wouldn’t be assaulting veterans with passaglia bombs.
The rest of the Soviet armour moves in behind the wood, waiting before they will push through and join the eventual assault! The circling German aircraft though are happy with what they can see!
Trained Cannons appear… as the crews pull netting back to expose the mountain guns! They open fire on the central tanks and as the best Italian AT asset I have high hopes of inflicting a few kills or forcing a few bails!
… ah well… never mind… That 3 ended up being a confirmed kill though so that’s
2 T34s down in that platoon!
German air support arrives again! It destroys the lead BA10 but not before the remaining two can see Italian teams and inflicts a few more blows on the advancing T34s but with no reserves on turn two either and the ambush failing the poor Italians in the centre fear the worst!
T34s on both sides of the wood advance towards the objective and into very close range!
On this side their machine guns inflict the first casualty on the Italians. Whilst i’d lost nothing to this point I wasn’t overly smug about this as I wasn’t sure I was going to hold the middle!
The first platoon and company HQ wade into the Alpini who rise up to meet them. Fire from the 47/32s inflected some hits but failed to repel the tank assault… and so it began!
The tanks closed the gap and killed Italian too quick to leap up with their passaglia bombs before the Alpini also gained the unknown hero, got the nod from the 1iC and counter attacked, bailing one and destroying another.
The Soviets continued the assault and machine gunned down three more teams of Italians… yet again, even with the unknown hero the Italians need the 1iC to confirm the counterattack but this time the passaglia bombs are less effective.
The unknown hero in the centre of the Italian line!
Another round of fighting costs the Alpini three teams in return for one bailed tank!
Another round goes Ben’s way… the Italians hold but don’t have the numbers now to inflict the damage they need!
It all goes wrong again… the combat has got to five rounds each and the tanks are now starting to romp through the Italian lines. With less and less passaglia bomb armed teams left victory seems doubtful…
In the end, luck deserts the Alpini and their own passaglia bombs turn against them, claiming the unknown hero and leaving only one team left… the Solothurn up in the top left who was never dragged into combat!
That poor gun team takes the assault from the remaining ten tanks after the 47/32s again fail to force back the tanks! The Soviets claim their first platoon… but as I have nine, I’ve not lost a point yet!
My turn now and reserves finally arrive! A second platoon arrives and moves at the double up the table onto the back objective. If they can push forward they might be able to get into the fight!
The pioneers jump out of their buildings and prepare to counterattack!
Smoke from the cannons and flamethrowers pour into the T34s in the centre!
German aircraft support the pioneers by strafing the light tanks in the fields and taking the pressure off them! Its all going well!
… and then the pioneers fail their tank terror test and refuse to assault…
Turn 4
Ignoring the objective for now the centre T34s turn their attention on the cannons…
The Tanks on the Soviet right flank the man packed guns!
The T70s push into the back of the pioneers, still floundering in the open…
The T34s bring down one AT gun!
T70s kill all the demolishers they can see!
And the AT assets suffer 50% losses! Finally good shooting for Mother Russia!
In go the T34s on the right and with no defensive fire the AT guns and 1iC fear the worst!
Not quite the worst but the company commander goes down in a blaze of machine gun fire and is rolled over by tanks.
The remaining two teams back off towards Soviet lines and turn about, ready to fire next turn. They’re still protecting the objective so there is at least one more turn to push the Russians back!
The cannons fail to damage the advancing T34’s in the centre and both guns are destroyed!
Turn four and I still only get one reserve unit on! This isn’t helping… but I make the best of what I have and the howitzers roll on with line of sight to tanks on the front objective!
With nothing to lose the second infantry platoon that arrived last turn advanced towards the tanks wit their passaglia bombs. My plan isn’t to just throw them into the fray as behind the T34s are… the pioneers!
So some things had not gone my way but the Germans seemed to be giving a lot of planes to the Don Front today! The T70s are the only viable target for the bombers!
The light AT guns fail to damage the T34s on the centre objective… as do the howitzers… even on the rear armour!
If this assault works the survivors and reserves can turn on the other T34s on the objective!
But… the elite pioneers failed their tank terror again and the infantry who choose to throw in their lot are gunned down and forced to back away from the tanks.
Turn 5
Turn 5 and the T70s push in towards their original targets, the pioneers! They bag themselves a long range kill!
The rest of the second combat platoon is destroyed by machine gun fire!
Ok, so we ended up playing one more turn as Ben wrapped up the game 6-1 by killing the rest of the 47/32s and taking the last objective by the pictures of the carnage stop there! My light tanks made an appearance too, hiding behind the wood to deny the back objective to the Soviets too.

So what did I take from this game… lots and it was a really fun game!

I learnt about the tolerances of my army against its bane, tank companies… this means I’ll be well prepared going forward.

I also realise that against this type of enemy the key Avanti, tank terror or firepower tests have to go well for me as I’ve only got so many AT assets as I’m not buying German Allies yet! (PAK40s would have made a big difference!)

Ben played well and attacked from a strong position, meaning that even if I had have had great AT assets I’d have only have had very limited opportunities to use them.

It’s also obvious that I got very lucky with the Stuka with four turns of air support proving effective. Now the question is, do I keep this moving forward to hit heavy tanks at range or do I reorganise for a 10th platoon as having both sets of big guns on the table from the start would be better. (Of course I could drop the HMGs and take more 47/32s whilst keeping the plane in… but then there could be lots of Strelkovy at Brighton!)

So, in conclusion, I hope you enjoyed the AAR and i’m looking forward to playing more games against armour to put what I learned to use!

Jersey James

Category: AARItaliansMid WarSoviets

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Article by: Mark Goddard