With the youngest finally settling into something of a sleep pattern, I’m finally able to game again and so attention turned back to actually playing some Team Yankee. Dylan was kind enough to offer a game so we met down the LFGS – Dice Saloon for a 75pt game.
I’ll note now, I’m writing this nearly a week later, based on a hazy memory and some photos which I’m 90% sure are turn by turn. Any errors in the events are unintentional and mine alone.
Dylan elected to play Warsaw Pact so I had to dust off my West Germans.
West German force
- HQ Marder/Rifle Team
- 2 x Full strength Marder Panzer Grenadier platoons
- 1 x Platoon of three Leopard 2
- 1 x Platoon of three Jaguar 1
- 2 x Platoons of two Luchs
- 1 x Platoon of 4 Gepards with 2 Redeye teams attached
- 1 x Battery of LARS with minelets
- HQ T-72A
- 3 x “Companies” of 3 T-72A
- 1 x Medium strength BMP-2 Company with MANPAD
- 1 x Platoon of two BRDM
- 1 x Platoon of three 2S1 Carnation SPG
- 1 x Platoon of four ZSU-23-4 Shilka
- 1 x Platoon of four SA-13 Gopher
Dylan and I agreed to use the battle plans from “More Missions”. Given my numerical disadvantage, but the mobility advantage of the Leopard 2, I elected to go for a “Manoeuvre” stance, hoping to have a mission that split the Soviet force and reduce the numbers I had to face. Dylan went for “attack” and a dice roll produced the result of “Contact” with NATO defending.
On one hand that gave me an ambush unit, put half the Soviet force off the table in immediate reserves, and gave me a chance to attack and win by seizing an enemy objective. However, on the negative side, I would also be half-off myself and with scattered delayed reserves!
I had the choice of table edge and I decided to go for the more open side, reasoning that it gave the best sight lines to let the Milan do their job. I also figured I could use the LARS to close out a flank and I expected the Soviets to avoid the impassable river and steamroll the left flank. In hindsight, I think this was my first error and I should have chosen the other side where the buildings would have offered more cover for the Infantry and artillery.
I placed my objectives far apart on Dylan’s side to best give some snaky Luchs a chance of capturing one by splitting any defensive forces. Dylan placed one on the open flank as I anticipated but then placed the second one relatively central and across the river. That was unexpected, but the area was defensible thanks to the woods, so no great concern.
Objectives and Ranged In Marker
- AO – Attacker Objective
- ARIM – Attacker Ranged in Marker
- DO – Defender Objective
- DRIM – Defender Ranged in Marker
What wasn’t unexpected was that Dylan front-loaded his force with two of the T-72 platoons, the BMP Company and the BRDM. This left the third T-72 platoon, Gophers, Shilkas and Carnations in reserve. It seemed obvious to me to have the two Marders and the Leopard 2 on, but I couldn’t decide on the fourth platoon. I opted for the LARS to bring the mines into place and put the Jaguar 1 into reserves as I was worried that it would be hard for them to use cover (confirming to me that I had chosen the side incorrectly). In hindsight, this is probably my second error.
I set up one Marder platoon to cover the open left flank, the other to cover the ford leading to the central objective, the Leopard 2 in ambush and the LARS behind a wood to keep out of sight.
Defender set-up (not shown – we added a bridge to the attacker’s end of the river.
Dylan replied by setting up two platoons of T-72 and the HQ tank on my left flank whilst his BRDM made a small 4″ spearhead and put his BMP-2 line-a-breast in the new set-up zone, along with the last T-72 platoon.
If you have been paying attention and noticed the error then well done! You are doing better than either of us two. If you haven’t then stay tuned…
First Turn – Bye bye Lars!
Opening moves of Soviet first turn – the infantry are actually in the BMP
The Soviet forces launched a two-prong attack, the armour hugging the corn fields whilst the IFV, facing little direct threat beyond the potential Leopard 2 ambush, raced to close the distance with the LARS.
The massed T-72 on my left flank opened up on the dug in infantry and scored a hit on one of the two Milan. I needed those firing so rolled to reallocate it and…scored a one. I passed the save but then had to re-roll it for Brutal and failed it. Dylan then nailed the firepower check to half the ATGW fire on that flank. Ouch!
On the right, the BMP opened up with their auto-cannons and unsurprisingly shredded the LARS. Double ouch! Thankfully the supporting T-72 platoon missed the infantry.
NATO first turn
There didn’t seem much point holding the ambush off so I popped the Leopard 2s out of sight behind the ruined buildings of the town and then used their 14” tactical move to get them up into the flanks of the lead T-72 platoon – any time I can eliminate the opponent rolling armour saves has to be a good thing! I was a bit worried that the third Leopard was a bit exposed to shots from the T-72 supporting the right flank but I needed to get the shots in whilst I could. The two with flank shots opened up and scored precisely one flank hit! Still, it brewed up a T-72. The one firing in the front arc also scored a solid hit and sent another T-72 turret skyward, sadly in a different platoon. The solitary Milan on that flank opened up to try and force a moral test on the lead platoon but the shot went wide.
On the right flank, the Marders of the central platoon blitzed and advanced to the burning LARS. They let off a few shots but the BMP mostly withstood the fire and the low firepower meant only two were bailed. Still, one of those BMP did stay bailed for most of the game! I had no expectations that even the cover from the burning artillery would do much to protect the Marders, all they could hope to do was slow the Soviets down whilst I waited for the BMP-shredding Gepards to arrive. I moved the Marders of the left flank platoon over the ford so as to provide further fire against the BMP in future turns.
Second Turn – Leopards Pounce
Dylan rolled reserves and managed to get one on. He chose to move the third tank platoon o…wait. Where is the third tank platoon? We then realised that Dylan, who had queued them up on the board edge to remember to bring them on first, had had a brain fart and had been using them since turn one. I noted that they hadn’t done much and it was an honest mistake so Dylan forgoes his reserve that turn to even things up. If you had spotted this error, well done!
On the left flank, the T-72 moved to deal with the Leopard 2, a couple able to use their stabilisers to threaten the flanks. I hadn’t expected Dylan to be quite so ballsy in the counter-attack but he certainly was going for the kill. He also started moving the BRDM from the right flank to cover his left flank objective, obviously realising that my plan was to deal with the tanks and then seize the objective.
As it was, the T-72 largely fluffed their shots, but still ending with two Leopard 2 bailed. Cue some anxiety on the end of phase morale check! Thankfully (and somewhat atypically for my Leopard 2) they passed.
On the right flank, most of the infantry dismounted from the BMP (Dylan kept a few in case he needed to seize an objective – smart move) and the BMP in-turn shredded the Marders amongst the wrecks, adding more debris to the area. The T-72 surged forward over the central ford to threaten the infantry…and promptly bogged two of them, blocking the ford. The third sat still and fired but achieved nothing.
NATO second turn
I remounted one of the two bailed Leopard 2 and swung behind the T-72, again using my mobility to maximum advantage. With the third T-72 on the board, I didn’t need to worry about my flanks so concentrated on lining up rear shots, with one Leopard firing at one platoon and one at the other. Four T-72 brewed up and the Milan claimed the CO – two platoons and an HQ down!
The second Marder platoon swung behind the central wood to snipe at the BMP-2 in the next turn whilst the central infantry bailed one of the two bogged T-72 with a Milan.
Third Turn – Someone order a flower delivery?
Dylan continued to get reserves and brought the Carnations on – I guess I should have kept my Leopard’s flanks better protected. Thankfully “Slow firing” came to the rescue and, combined with the cover of the long corn, helped protect my careless flank.
The BMP deployed their amphibious capability and made to cross the river. Three bogged on the bank but the majority made their way behind the burning wrecks of their previous turn’s handy work. Their infantry formed up across from the wood near the river, waiting to cross next turn.
The T-72 decided not to press the ford again and instead tried to kill the Milan teams pestering them, thankfully the shots went wide or I saved despite Brutal.
My first chance for reserves and none were forthcoming.
I tried to get the Leopard 2 unbailed but it stayed buttoned up an unresponsive. The other two angled themselves to avoid any more potential side shots and opened up on the self-propelled guns, but only managed to hit one! The Milan also fluffed its shot.
Over on the right flank, the Marder moved into the woods and fired some shots at the beached BMP, bailing one. The Milan teams continued to be ineffectual versus the T-72, bailing one.
Fourth Turn – Enter the Shilka
Dylan got another reserve on and, running out of things that could shoot things other than aircraft, bought on the ZSU-23-4 Shilka. These things could do some mischief to my infantry but the same was true in return. Still, it was a lot of fire they could put down range so it got my attention. They made a bee-line for the central ford.
Talking of the ford, the T-72 once again tried to push across and once again managed a double bog! Clearly, the ford was not stable enough for a MBT. The infantry crossed over the river into the woods ready to advance onto the objective in the next turn. The BMP moved to assist, killing a G3 stand and bailing a Marder.
The Carnations scored hits but were now dealing with the front armour of the Leopard and had nothing to show for their accuracy. The BRDM arrived at the leftmost Defender objective to secure it for as long as they could in the face of three Leopard 2.
Still no reserves! At least I was guaranteed one next turn!
The Leopard 2 bailed in the square finally got its act together and swooped around to kill the BRDM on the objective but, with the out of command penalty, missed one and bailed the other. Sadly they didn’t run. The other two Leopard 2 flanked left, killing the Carnations. I noticed that I had got a bit exposed to the rear achieving this but there was nothing else to come on except the Gophers so I didn’t feel too worried about that.
The central Milan bailed a T-72 and killed a BMP whilst the Marder also scored a kill versus them. Still, it didn’t feel like I was making much of an impression on that flank.
Fifth Turn – Finally, reserves!
The T-72 had clearly got bored of trying to cross the ford and decided to mix things up by swinging across to the left flank – lining up long range rear arc shots on two careless Leopards! The 125mm rounds for their mark, killing one and bailing the other and, importantly forcing a check. Having made one this game, my Leopards returned to form and ran. So much for challenging the left defender objective.
The Soviet Infantry moved through the cover of the wood (and no doubt being choked from the light AFV funeral pyre to their left) and opened up on the German infantry, killing another G3 stands – the platoon was now only one stand from being out of good spirits. The Shilka tried to tip the balance but failed to make an impact beyond pinning the platoon. The BMP killed another Marer but, critically, the last Marder remained in the wood.
At this point Dylan assaulted. Between the pined G3 stand, the CO stand and the Marder I had six dice to score 5 hits (some on 4’s due to concealment).
All six hit.
A few stands died.
The assault fell back and, for a little while longer, the line was held.
I rolled for reserves and finally got the one I would have got anyway. Still, four Gepards would be immensely useful round about now and the dice were kind on the scattered reserves, putting them on my edge. I bought them on to clear the Shilka out a task which they almost accomplished, save for one survivor that stuck around. They also took down a few more Soviet infantry but, importantly for Dylan, left one stand within 4” of the objective.
The infantry did not unpin, so the exposed flanks of the T-72 were left unbothered by Milan fire as the infantry hunkered down.
Sixth Turn – Highwater Marks
Dylan had to accomplish one thing this turn; eliminate the infantry around the central objective. If he could do that by the end of his turn, the game was his. He had some infantry, a few BMP (one nowhere near the carnage), a Shilka and three of the worst driven T-72 in the whole Soviet army to accomplish this. Somewhat hindering it was that my guys were all trying to fit as much of their body under their helmets as possible…
The Infantry surged forward. There was no intent to assault (not with the Gepard with 8”), but purely to dig my infantry out with AK-74 fire. Thankfully my luck was with me and I survived the barrage. The Shilka also joined in – also to no great effect. The T-72 took the opportunity to engage the Gepards and found their mark, brewing one up and bailing another (another 1 on the firepower check!)
Elsewhere, the Gophers arrived to secure the left most defender objective. No-one paid them much attention. It seemed the Soviet tide had reached its high water mark.
My Jaguar and one platoon of Luchs arrived. The Luchs got to deploy on the right corner so deployed as far forward as possible and made a tactical move passed the bailed BMP, shooting as they went, to no great impact but placing me in striking distance of the right defender objective. The Jaguar was less fortunate, deploying on the left corner. I deployed them as far right as I could and moved them to the ford, towards the centre.
The bailed Gepard remounted and the survivors moved forward to take them out the T-72 arc of fire, gunning down the Shilka; bailing a BMP to force a, sadly, successful morale check; and not doing much at all to the Soviet infantry.
The “pyre of light AFV”
Seventh Turn – Unlucky Luchs; Lucky Luchs.
Dylan continued to try and wear down the infantry and managed to kill the last Marder and, critically, one of the Milan teams, forcing a morale check. Thankfully I passed.
The long bailed BMP remounted and promptly hosed down the passing Luchs for their impertinence!
The last platoon of Luchs arrived from reserve. The Luchs once again got to deploy in the right corner and so tried repeating the actions of the last lot, somewhat more successfully as they killed the BMP and avenged their brothers. The final BMP, hiding amongst the funeral pyre of burning steel, stayed resolute.
The Jaguars crossed the river, leaving one of their numbers bogged down on the ford. The HOT missiles remained racked up as they tank destroyers moved but the hull MG joined the CO’s Marder and the Gepards in hosing the Soviet infantry, leaving just a quartet of stands left, but still one within 4″ of the objective.
Eighth Turn – End-ex
The Infantry in the woods picked themselves up, and moved forward once more, determined to shift the Germans off the objective and win the game. All they had to do was kill one stand or otherwise force the German Infantry to run. Dylan just couldn’t catch a break though, and the infantry remained unscathed.
The Gepards moved onto the central Objective, relieving the dazed and beleaguered German Infantry. The two Jaguars blitzed into sight and fired a pair of HOT at the T-72, missing both.
Hmm…maybe these were actually the *best* T-72 drivers in the Soviet army.
The Luchs moved onto the rightmost defender objective. This would force the Soviets to either turn the T-72 to face them, exposing their rear to the Jaguars and Gepards; or to face the Jaguar, leave the Luchs unmolested and concede the game.
Conscious of the real world time. Dylan called it there, and the remains of the Soviet force withdrew.
NATO 4-3 victory
The game was certainly bloody!
From the outset, I made small errors. I arguably chose the wrong side of the table. The LARS should have been *in* the wood (v3 FoW prejudices showing), or possibly not on the table at all in favour of the Gepards. The Leopards got lucky once versus the Carnations when they showed their flank and I shouldn’t have exposed my flank again later. The second platoon of infantry should have advanced forward to keep the pressure on the left Defender objective, guarded only by Gophers and a pair of BRDM!
All stuff to fix as I get reacquainted with the game.
Dylan didn’t do much wrong in the early game, T-72 reserve error aside. He used his superior numbers to split my limited force and took his shots as they appeared. Arguably he should not have done the first assault but statistically, it should have gone in. I’d also argue that he should have tried again the next turn. The German Panzergrenadiers were mauled and unable to put up much of a fight. He just needed to kill the Marder and Gepard, then assault the infantry. He fell foul of some bad dice in the latter game but he did benefit from my bad dice in the early game. Some tighter target selection, and continuing his earlier aggression, and the game would have gone his way – dice or not.
All in all, it was a good game that came down to the wire – always a good thing!