Monday, November 25, 2013

BGPG - Counter-Attack At Bereza

“Counter-Attack At Bereza” is the last battle of the 3-part Barbarossa mini-campaign, adapted from the Skirmish Campaigns' scenario book “Russia '41 – Drive on Minsk.” The first two battles in the campaign, left the German side substantially ahead with a cumulative score of 17 to the Russian side's 7, pretty overwhelming. Perhaps the Russians can even it up here. We played on a 6x4 foot table using Battlegroup Panzergrenadier V2 rules with some house rules added in.

Map and Initial Setup
“Counter-Attack At Bereza” is a meeting engagement. On June 24th the advancing German 3rd Panzer Division was met with a determined attack by elements of Russian 205th Motorized Division and remnants of 22nd Tank Division. The terrain is reasonably tank friendly with a low hill and light woods blocking all LOS, and medium high crops that block infantry LOS but are only an LOS hindrance for AFV to AFV fire. All woods are passable to vehicles at half-rate (no Bog Check) and there are two gullies that are Difficult Terrain.

The German initial force enters on Turn 1 at the west board edge with reinforcements on Turn 2 from the north edge within 4 feet of the west edge. The Russian initial force deploys on the table within 12 inches of the east edge, receiving Turn 2 reinforcements on the south edge within 5 feet of the east edge. No units are hidden and the objectives are the same for both sides, awarding 5 VP for control of BOTH buildings (no enemy within 4 inches) at game end (variable ending after Turn 8). VPs are also given for each enemy unit eliminated at 1.5 VP to the Russians for a German casualty and 1 VP to the German for a Russian casualty (German casualties are harder to get!). The total point cost of the units assigned to each side's OOB added up to very close to the same (1205 German, 1245 Russian). Deliberately set almost equal to see if 100% strength each side will yield a relatively balanced meeting engagement.

The Russians have it a bit easier since the east building is easy to grab right away. Their initial forces deploy in the east forest with a platoon of T-26s in the north, the HQ, FOO, & KhT-130 flame-tank in the centre, and an infantry platoon to the south (with a gully and crop to screen their sneaky advance to the centre cottage). The German entry on the board will have panzer forces in the centre and embarked support elements to the north, screened by the forest.

Tim and Brent took the Russians and Rick and I the Germans.

Russian Force (Lt. Polokov and Lt. Timoshenko)

Deployed at Start:
Battlegroup HQ + truck (0 bonus on initiative roll)
FOO (Forward Observing Officer)
Off- Board Artillery (120mm mortar – 1 mission - pre-designated location in T1, T2, or T3)
KhT-130 (1x T-26 flame-thrower/smoke tank)
Light Tank Plt (command T-26, 3x T-26)
Rifle Plt (command, 3x rifle squads, 1x LMG)

Reinforcements - Turn 2:
Tank Group Commander (T-26A)
Light Tank Plt (command T-26, 3x T-26)
Light Tank Plt (command T-26, 3x T-26)

German Force (Lt. Von Lowellenstern and Lt. Chappenstein)

Turn 1 Entry:
Battlegroup HQ + truck (+2 bonus on initiative roll)
FAC + truck
Air Mission (1 Stuka mission)
Med/Light Tank Plt (command Pz35(t), 2x PzIIIG, 2x PzIIC)
Schutzen Plt (command, 2x squad + 2x LMG, 2x SdKfz 251/1 + 2x LMG)

Reinforcements – Turn 2:
Company Commander + Kubel
Mortar Plt (command, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x observer, 1x truck)
Motorized Anti-Tank Plt, 521 Anti-Tank Btl. (command SdKfz 265, 2x PanzerJaeger I)


Turn 1 Initiative G4, R1 - German initiative and move first.

Lt. Von Lowellenstern and I hear numerous tank engines off to the south and there are artillery spotting rounds falling ahead so we decide to deploy and advance with caution. Lt. Von Lowellenstern moves the Panzer Plt east down the centre, ready to react ahead or to the hilltop on our right flank. I move the Schutzen Plt and more vulnerable HQ and FAC into the nearby north woods for use as an artillery observation base and springboard to the centre cottage. End German Orders Phase.

Lt. Timoshenko moves the FOO up into the building with the HQ moving up behind the building. The remaining Russians stay put. No Rallies so end of Turn 1.

Turn 2 Initiative G8, R6 - German Initiative.

I move the half-tracks, HQ and FAC into the woods where they are joined by reinforcements from the north. The motorized PanzerJaeger I Plt from 521 Anti-Tank Btl, arrives on the east side of the woods to make the east T-26 Plt think twice about advancing. The Mortar Plt, and Company Commander enter into the woods a little further west. All hanging back from the forest edge until after the artillery barrage falls. Meanwhile Lt. Von Lowellenstern moves the Pz Plt further east, mashing the hedge and advancing into the garden. No targets but the tank motors down south are becoming ominously loud. End of German Orders Phase.

The Russian reinforcements arrive and instead of the usual boiling out into the open plain where they can be picked off, Lt. Polokov sneaks a company of eight T-26s and a Tank Group Commander into the forest. Cagey! But they find it very slow going with a low dice roll. The remaining Russians stay put again except the infantry platoon makes a dash for the gully, out of LOS of the Pz Plt. End Russian Orders and with no rallies, also end of Turn 2.

Turn 3 Initiative G3, R3 - German Initiative (German wins tie)

Lt. Von Lowellenstern moves the Pz Plt further up unto the garden and deploys facing south toward the hill and heaviest T-26 threat, not concerned about the faraway east T-26 Plt.

Two of 8 game turns already gone so time to get the Schutzen moving. I move the half-tracks toward the road but remain screened by the forest since the Russian artillery barrage is about to come down somewhere, perhaps right on the road nearby. The C.C., mortar, HQ, and FAC unload and the FAC moves to the forest edge to observe the hill top in case the T-26s try to use that as a hull-down fire base. The PanzerJaegers hold back out of LOS, waiting for the Russian barrage. End German Turn.

Lt. Timoshenko brings the artillery barrage down on the FAC! The barrage covers part of the road too so it is a good thing I held the half-tracks back.

Fortunately the FAC team is only required to retreat suppressed with damage. Almost lost the Stuka mission! End German Orders Phase.

Lt. Timoshenko shuffles the east T-26 Plt south in the forest. The infantry command fails activation with insufficient help from HQ so each squad attempts to activate un-commanded. Two activate and are able to move into the gully. Lt. Polokov right-wheels the entire T-26 company presenting all eight 45mm guns toward the centre cottage. Formidable! They cluster track-to-track unconcerned for air attack. The German side wishes for an FAC in a Storch overhead to call in the Stuka. Eight burning T-26s would bring a smile! End Russian Orders. The German FAC fails to rally, ending Turn 3.

Turn 4 German Initiative.

The PanzerJaegers move up to the woods edge to discourage the east T-26 Plt from venturing out of the trees. The 81mm observer sneaks up to the woods edge and calls in a strike on the Russian east building, hitting and suppressing the FOO under the template.

The Pz Plt holds position since moving east would unleash the battery fire of the T-26 company in the woods. The C.C. moves over to assist the FAC's rally. So now it is time for the half-tracks to make a dash for the centre cottage. I roll snake eyes on activation and lose all CPs! Rats!

The German retains initiative in the Command Confusion dice roll but since there were no more troops to order, the German Orders Phase ends.

For Russian orders, Lt. Polokov brings the T-26 company to the edge of the woods, still holding their RiverDance formation <grin>, unfortunately not able to be spotted by the FAC for a choice Stuka attack.

Lt. Timoshenko consolidates the T-26 Plt in the east and moves one infantry squad into the centre cottage, taking control of the 2nd objective! The rest of the infantry advance into the crop nearby out of sight of the Pz Plt, ending the Russian Orders.

The German FAC rallies but the Russian FOO does not, ending Turn 4.

Not looking good for the German side with the game half over and both objectives already in Russian hands. The T-26 company in the south really is a deterrent to moving the Pz Plt further east since they are now shielded by the hill.

At this point, both Rick and Brent have to leave, so Tim and I finish the game, Tim continuing with Russians and I with the Germans.

Turn 5 German Initiative

Time for the Schutzen Plt to move up and assault the cottage objective. To provide some cover for their advance, the mortar attempts to lay smoke on the cottage but misses, with it landing ineffectively to the north. The FAC moves up beside the arty observer and is immediately suppressed again by Defensive Fire from the LMG in the cottage. Angered by this, I back the Pz Plt out of the garden onto the road and blast the cottage with all guns, dispersing the infantry squad there. Now for the half-track dash – Oops! - crappy movement roll and they only get part way. The Schutzen are really having trouble getting going! The C.C. moves up to the FAC for moral support and the rest of the units just hold position, ending German Orders.

Lt Timoshenko begins the Russian turn by moving up the infantry in the crop, advancing one infantry squad to just behind the cottage out of LOS of the Pz Plt. Then he splits the T-26 company and moves one Plt of 4 T-26s toward the hill top, but halts them in the woods behind the crest, just out of LOS. The other T-26 Plt just repositions in place, while the Tank Group Commander eases into the open still behind the hill slope. The T-26 Plt in the east repositions again, and the KhT-130 flame tank moves forward behind the house near the HQ, ending the Russian Orders. The Russian FOO rallies and the German FAC as well but rolling boxcars makes the FAC Battle Hardened!

Turn 6 German Initiative

I move the Pz Plt back into the garden to get close range Defensive Fire on any T-26s that pop up. [in hindsight, this was a mistake because it puts one of the T-26 platoons out-of-arc and gives them close range fire too!] Then the half-tracks move up, but cannot approach near the cottage without triggering Defensive Fire from the T-26s, so they unload part way and the infantry sneaks up further. The 81mm mortar hits the east building again and causes the FOO to retreat. The PanzerJaegers re-position to put the east road in their narrow covered arc. End German Orders.

Lt. Timoshenko's plan for this turn was shattered when he rolled snake eyes on his first activation, losing all CPs!

Making it worse, The German won the Command Confusion roll , ending the Russian Turn. And then in the Rally Phase...

The suppressed FOO rolls snake eyes again! This automatically Disperses him!

This was a short game turn with little action, mostly due to horrible Russian luck.

Turn 7 Initiative: G3, R3 (German wins Initiative on a tie)

I move the Schutzen Plt into the cottage, Defensive Fire suppressing one squad, the rest entering Close Assault on the lone Russian squad just outside. The dice make it a tie, Stubborn Resistance, allowing the Russian to choose to leave the melee and withdraw to the crop unaffected. The Schutzen consolidate in the building, taking back one objective! [we forget to do their Rally Check after Close Combat – but if the Russian withdraws then there is no effect, so actually there is no need for a Rally Check]. The PanzerJaegers hold position and the Pz Plt just swings turrets, changing covered arc, some for the hilltop, some for the open ground at the end of the hill. [in hindsight, I should have pulled the Pz Plt back out of close range allowing their arcs-of-fire to cover both locations and to get out of close range - my only defense is it is late and my brain is slowing...] End German Orders.

Lt Timoshenko activates the south T-26 Plt and runs one tank south along the tree line in LOS of a PzIII for long enough Reaction Time (1 inch when in arc) to enable Defensive Fire. The PzIII smokes the T-26! However, now that the PzIII has fired, the remaining T-26s move up, just peeking around the end of the hill so only the PzIII and a nearby PzII are in LOS. The PzIII had already fired and the PzII is out of arc so does not see the T-26s due to insufficient Reaction Time (4 inches when out of arc). Fire from the three T-26s destroy the PzIII and cause the PzII to retreat! Ouch! Those 45mm guns pack a punch at close range. The other T-26 Plt on the hilltop just holds position, completing their job of drawing attention from the flank attack.

The east T-26 Plt moves up and all fire on the German infantry in the cottage, suppressing one squad. Seeing there are now two suppressed squads in the cottage, Lt. Timoshenko orders the infantry in the crop to Close Assault. With the German command unit the only one unsuppressed there is no Defensive Fire. The Russian wins by two, “They Don't Know They've Lost”, suppressing the German command. Since all German units are now suppressed they must retreat into the crop with damage! [we forget the Russian Rally Check again] The Russians capture the cottage for the 2nd time! Dang!

Then the KhT-130 flame tank moves west along the road toward the cottage. The two PanzerJaegers spy the flame-tank over the Schutzen Plt hugging the ground in the crop, and both fire with Intensive Fire, completely missing, with one PanzerJaeger I getting Low Ammo negating any future Intensive Fire.

End of Russian Orders. All three units in the Schutzen Plt rally.

An unfavourable turn for the German side. The cottage lost, Schutzen Plt damaged, one PzIII destroyed, and a flame-tank about to toast my infantry!

Turn 8 Initiative: R1, G5 - German Initiative

I activate the Pz Plt first, firing the PzII at the T-26 in LOS, and missing. Two Pzs keep covered arc on the hilltop while the lone PzII that retreated last turn moves up for a shot at the T-26. The T-26 misses Defensive Fire, but the PzII rolls a 12! A Destroyed Test and Lt. Timoshenko rolls snake eyes for Destroyed result! [actually it was an automatic Destroyed result because it was a light AFV, but result was the same anyway]

Before asking the Schutzen Plt to assault again, the 81mm fired on the cottage, causing the squad there to retreat to the crop. Then to keep the KhT-130 flame tank away, the PanzerJaegers fired, one with Intensive Fire which missed so badly it caused Low Ammo. Now both have Low Ammo! However, the regular shot from the second Panzerjaeger hit well, causing the flame-tank to retreat. Now for the critical Schutzen assault. They jump up and run for the cottage, taking Defensive Fire at long range from all four T-26s in the east, all missing! However, Defensive Fire from the squad in the crop suppresses one squad outside, just before it reaches the building. Since the remaining 2 assaulting German units are all damaged, their Close Combat factor is reduced. The German loses by 1 for “They Don't Know They've Lost.” One German unit is suppressed so the squad is chosen, and the command unit fights immediately in another round of Close Combat! The German factor drops due to loss of the support and loss of initial bonus, while the Russian factor stays the same. I need a good roll to throw the Ivans out! However, Lt. Timoshenko rolls high and I roll low for a 5 point crushing difference in favour of the Russians.

The German squad and command are both Dispersed, leaving only the suppressed and damaged Schutzen squad just outside the building. The surviving Russian command passes his Rally Check but does not enter the cottage in his consolidation move. [the German squad below should also have a damage marker]

A devastating blow for German morale! There is not much else to do with the half-tracks without risking deadly Defensive Fire from the T-26s. At this moment a message from the FAC is received at HQ that he has a T-26 in sight (the flame tank) and possibly more T-26s in the trees behind. He asks if he should call in the Stuka attack. HQ screams “Yes!” so the FAC rolls for Air Mission availability and makes it! The primary target is the KhT-130 flame tank with secondary target the T-26 Plt. in the woods behind (AFVs in the open must be chosen before those in cover). The Stuka rolls a 4 and does not acquire the primary target. Last chance is the secondary target, which is the one I really wanted anyway.

The secondary target is the four T-26s all bunched up nicely to fit under a bomb template. But they are in cover so get a -2 DRM. The Stuka rolls an 8 which results in a net 6 for an overshoot by 2 inches + 1d6. I'm praying for a 1 at this point for a small template deviation, but of course it is a 6 which puts the bomb template completely off the T-26 Plt. Rats! A total miss! The cover saves them. End German Orders.

In the Russian Orders Phase Lt. Timoshenko moves the T-26 Plt on the hill up to the crest in LOS but staying hull down. The PanzerJaegers both Defensive Fire at long range and miss. The remaining fire by the Pz Plt only manages to suppress one T-26 on the hill. Poor shooting! The T-26 return fire causes the PzIII to retreat. The 2 remaining tanks in the other T-26 platoon nearby move up onto the hill crest in hull down position and fire on the nearest PzII in the garden also causing it to retreat. The Tank Group Commander moves over behind a wreck to take a shot at the suppressed German squad by the building but misses. Whew!

Lt. Timoshenko now tries to activate the east T-26 Plt and rolls snake eyes! This removes the only Russian CP available. No record of a Command Confusion roll but my notes indicate the Russian Orders Phase ends without the Rifle Platoon activating, so I presume the German Command Confusion dice roll ends the Russian Orders. In the Rally phase, the flame-tank rallies but the Russian squad and T-26 stay suppressed. The German squad and the PzII rally but the PzIII stays suppressed. This ends Turn 8 with the first Game End Check required, which will end the game on a 1-3 roll for a 1d6. A 3 is rolled to end the game!

Tallying up the score:
The objectives are the same for both sides: 5 VP are awarded to the side that controls both buildings (no enemy within 4 inches) at game end. The Russians only control one building since they did not dislodge the German squad next to the cottage, leaving it contested. Therefore no points either side for objectives. VPs are also awarded for each enemy unit eliminated, 1.5 VP to the Russians for a German casualty, and 1 VP to the German for a Russian casualty (German casualties are harder to get). The Russians have 3 enemy KIA (PzIII, Schutzen command and squad) for 4.5 VP. The Germans have 4 enemy KIA (two T-26s, FOO, rifle squad) for 4 VP. The Russian side wins a Marginal Victory for this battle! When added to the campaign totals, the German has 17+4 = 21 and the Russian 7 + 4.5 = 11.5. An overall German win for the campaign, which was fittingly also the historical result.


1. It seemed like the forces were pretty evenly matched with the outcome decided on tactics and Lady Luck. This supports choosing equal total point cost of the units assigned to each side's OOB (1205 German, 1245 Russian) for a meeting engagement scenario.

2. Direct porting over of all three Skirmish Campaign scenarios played so far is still resulting in games that last too long, around 4 hours each. My target is 2-1/2 to 3 hours. The first 3 turns or so of these scenarios have been mainly just approach moves and could be skipped to shorten the games so hopefully all players can stay to the end. I'll modify the next game with a smaller table space, say 4x4 feet, and define starting positions that will pretty much throw the troops into engagement range right on Turn 1.

3. The number of turns in this game was reduced from 10 to 8 but it still did not shorten the game enough. I'll try the next game with only 6 turns (on a 4x4 table), forcing players to engage quickly to meet their objectives. In “Counter-Attack At Bereza” both the German and Russian sides had sufficient game time to depart from historic tactics undertaken in the Barbarossa “blitzkrieg.” Without significant obvious resistance the Germans deployed early and advanced too slowly instead of bashing full-speed ahead and deploying on the fly. And the Russian armour had time to play cat-and-mouse with the German armour instead of being forced by time to directly engage. Regardless, it was good fun to play this “methodical” game, but I also wonder if the “fun factor” for this scenario would be as high or higher if the German was forced by game tempo to push all forces ahead at max speed, guns blazing (as Brent suggested). Fewer game turns would require the Russian side to adopt a fast response with the T-26s having to crash in fast from the south and east, also with guns blazing - without regard for life & limb. And then see who is left standing at game end.

This battle completes the 3-part campaign in the Skirmish Campaigns “Russia '41 – Drive on Minsk.”  The next WWII miniatures gaming night will be Thursday, December 5th and will be the last one before the Christmas holiday season. No decision yet if we will start a new 3-part campaign or do a stand-alone scenario. I have four Barbarossa early war Skirmish Campaigns books to help me decide <grin>. Tune in around mid-December for the next AAR! - Gary

Sunday, November 10, 2013

BGPG - Defending Kobrin

Welcome back to the second battle of the Barbarossa campaign, “Defending Kobrin”, adapted from the Skirmish Campaigns' scenario book “Russia '41 – Drive on Minsk.” The first battle, “Armour Clash” scored Germans 8 and Russians 3, a pretty historical outcome. “Defending Kobrin” was played on a 5x4 foot table using Battlegroup Panzergrenadier V2 rules with some house rules added in.

Map and Defender Setup
Defending Kobrin is a German attack on a prepared Russian defense. On June 23rd lead units of German 3rd Panzer Division meet a well dug-in blocking force from 205th Motorized Division. Again, the terrain is not tank friendly with streams crossing the map that can only be crossed by vehicles at either the bridge or at fords, and with hills, marshes, and sunflower crops all blocking LOS. The German also has no intelligence about the stream fords, the weight capacity of the bridge, or the location of two hidden anti-personnel minefields, plus there is a heavy bunker to deal with. All woods are impassible to vehicles and there are numerous marshes (Difficult Terrain).

The German force enters at the west board edge and the Russian can deploy entrenched and hidden anywhere except within 12 inches of the German entry edge. The objectives and victory point conditions are secret from each side. The German secret objective is to exit AFVs off the east side of the table (toward Kobrin) for 2 points each by the end of Turn 10, plus get 1 point for each enemy destroyed. If the Russians fail a Battlefield Withdrawal Test the German also gets 1 point for each AFV not yet exited. The Russian secret objective is to prevent any German AFVs exiting the east side plus get 2 points for each enemy destroyed, with highest total points the winner. My initial feeling was that this one could go either way so I wasn't sure if setting these victory point allocations would be reasonable.

Since the Russian deployment was secret, to save set up time I placed Russian units in what I thought were good defensive positions to be used for the game and took a photo of the table before everyone arrived. Then I removed all the Russian units to be placed as they are “discovered”. Here is the Russian defense. The light green is also marsh since I didn't have enough “good” marshes built.

Pretty simple – The stream and marshes protect the south flank so the main German attack is expected to the centre and north. Therefore, the bunker with MMG backed up by a Kommissar (the C.C.) was placed to cover the bridge. One AT Gun and command unit was placed forward in the sunflower crop to cover the ford and also to get nice side shots at any armour crossing the bridge. The second AT Gun was placed with the Battlegroup HQ well back to cover the main road and bridge plus engage any armour that got through on the flanks. And an AT Rifle Team in the swamp for side shots at the bridge. One infantry squad covered the west flank of the AT Gun in the crop and the other squad plus LMG in the centre woods. The anti-personnel minefields were placed in front of the infantry positions. All units were entrenched. An amusing comment during play was “entrenchments in marsh?” Oops! Perhaps think of them as hard cover built above ground and camouflaged?

Tim and Brent took Germans and Rick and I the Russians.

German Force (Lt. Von Pollockstein and Lt. Mueller)
Battlegroup HQ + Truck (+2 bonus on initiative roll)
Company Commander + Kubel
Recon Light Tank Plt (2x PzIIC, 1x PzIIC command)
Medium Tank Plt (1x PzIIIG, 1x PzIIIG command,1x PzIVE)
Recon Motorcycle Plt (2x rifle squads+2x LMGs, 1x command)

Russian Force (Lt. Lowellinski and Lt. Chappevich)
Battlegroup HQ (no bonus on initiative roll)
Company Commander (Kommissar)
Infantry Plt (2x rifle squads+1x LMG, 1x command)
2x 45mm AT Gun teams
1x MMG team
1x AT Rifle team
1x Bunker
2x Anti-Personnel minefields


Turn 1 The Germans won the initiative roll – surprise!
The medium panzers move on first and the PzIV smokes the bridge to block LOS from the MMG bunker (rats!) while the rest of the German force comes up. The motorcycle plt moves straight up the road and is ambushed by the Russian squad + LMG in the woods, the Sustained Fire from the LMG just causing one M/C squad to dismount suppressed. The PzIIs move next and their 20mm autocannons suppress the Russian squad as payback. Then the German HQ moves into the woods and the C.C. moves up in his Kubel.

That ends the German Turn. Since the squad is suppressed and no LOS from the bunker, the Russian just passes with no actions. In the Rally Phase both squads rally.

Turn 2 German Initiative.
The smoke on the bridge drifts away, but the PzIV moves up and places smoke right on the bunker while the PzIIIs fire on the squad in the woods and force a retreat with damage. The PzIIs move across the first stream ford and discover that on a 1-3 roll (1d6) each vehicle takes a Bog Check. Only one is temporarily stalled in the stream. The C.C. in his Kubel follows the PzIIs.

The two mounted M/C squads on the road move across the bridge and are completely missed by ambushing Defensive Fire from the highly inaccurate north squad newly revealed in the swamp.
However, the AT Gun down the east road unveils and manages to cause the lead M/C squad to dismount suppressed. The previously dismounted squad moves across the bridge separately coming up behind them, ending the German turn.

In the Russian Orders all fire was ineffective. In the Rally Phase, both the Russian and German squads rally.

Its looking a bit grim for the Russian at this point! The MMG in the bunker is ineffective from the smoke laid by that pesky PzIV. Those M/C troops may Close Assault the bunker!

Turn 3 German Initiative
The smoke drifts away so the medium panzer plt immediately moves closer for a better shot, but the PzIIIs both miss the MMG in bunker so the PzIV tries to smoke the bunker again and hits off-target on a 6! Too bad it wasn't a 5 which would have put it out of smoke for the rest of the game. Deviation moves the smoke to the south leaving the MMG clear LOS! While the PzIIIs were moving up both AT Guns open up, the east road AT Gun missing at long range and the newly revealed crop AT Gun getting side shots with Intensive Fire but just suppressing one. The C.C. in his Kubel moves up behind the suppressed PzIII to aid his rally. Two PzIIs now realizing the crop AT Gun has fired, now move up and fire at close range but miss! The third stays stalled in the stream.

Not wanting to Close Assault the bunker without smoke cover, the M/C plt tries to move off the road into the woods. Defensive Fire from the MMG disperses one squad and dismounts and suppresses the command. The last squad escapes into the woods, revealing an adjacent minefield they almost walk into. That ends the German Turn.

On the Russian Turn, the east road AT Gun fires at a PzIII at long range and misses and the crop AT Gun fires and hits the nearest PzIII again causing it to abandon position and withdraw back down the road with damage.

The MMG in the bunker misses the already suppressed M/C command on the road. That ends the Russian Turn. The PzIII and M/C command both rally.

Turn 4 German Initiative. Lt. Lowellinski receives a message by runner from HQ that only one Russian CP is available this turn! (Kapitan Zippy is hitting the vodka again!)

The bunker smoke drifts away. The PzIIs move up and using Intensive Fire the crop AT Gun suppresses one. Fire from the other two PzIIs both miss the AT Gun. Lucky! With the crop AT Gun already fired, the medium tanks move, one PzIII starts to cross the bridge and is missed by long range Defensive Fire from the road AT Gun. The bridge is found to be shaky and requires a 1d6 die roll, on 1 or 2 the bridge will fail, the tank fall in the stream immobilized and damaged with only the MG functional. But the PzIII rolls high and crosses the bridge, taking Defensive Fire in the side from an AT Rifle team in the marsh to the south. They miss! The PzIII then pulls into close range of the bunker, and both PzIIIs fire at the bunker causing the MMG to Retreat. Since the MMG crew is in hard cover they elect to stay inside and be suppressed and damaged. Actually they tried to run out the back door and saw the Kommissar holding a pistol on them and decided it was in their best interest to go back and lay low in the bunker. The PzIV fires at the road AT Gun and misses. The M/C command races across the road into Close Combat with the AT Rifle team in the marsh. Should have been an easy wipeout of the AT Rifle but the German roll is bad and the M/C command is suppressed and forced to withdraw. The AT Rifle crew fail their rally test after winning so they became suppressed also. The remaining M/C squad just holds position in the woods. The C.C. in his Kubel moves up near the PzIII/PzIVs in case one takes suppression, ending the German turn.

On the Russian Orders Phase both AT Guns fail to activate with only one CP available! Sheesh! The AT Gun crews must be on a vodka break! Imagine what a close range Intensive Fire could have done to the two PzIIs bearing down on the crop AT Gun. [Error note: The crop AT Gun is in close range so could have fired Point Blank at the PzIIs in the open without activation. I forgot that rule at the time! Dang!]. On the Rally Phase the MMG in the bunker didn't rally, even with prodding by the revealed Kommissar. The German M/C command and the PzII both rally.

Turn 5 German Initiative
Seeing an opportunity to finish off the crop AT Gun, the PzIIs all fire, but miss! Wahoo! In a bold move they move forward to overrun the AT Gun and this time the Defensive Fire (using Intensive Fire) rolls high, destroying one PzII and retreating the second into the stream. The third PzII crosses the stream and rolls toward the now harmless AT Gun but doesn't have enough movement to reach it. Seeing the fix the PzIIs have got themselves into, the medium panzers activate and the PzIV successfully places smoke on the crop AT Gun. Grrr! The PzIIIs then fire on the suppressed MMG in the bunker yielding an Abandon Position Test but the MMG passes the test with a 12! The M/C squad and command in the woods fire on the Russian squad there hoping to suppress before close combat, but miss. As they move in the Russian squad Defensive Fires and suppresses the M/C squad before it can make contact, so the command stops too, not wanting to go alone. As a last move, the C.C. dismounts the Kubel and starts across the bridge, ending the German turn.

In the Russian turn, seeing no enemy except one lonely unsupported PzII in open ground, the squad in the nearby trench goes berserk, grabs their Molotovs, and runs to close assault it. The PzII swings it's out-of-arc turret and blows the squad to vodka heaven (red X). Ouch! Guess that is payback for the PzII.

Then the east road AT Gun fires at the PzIV and misses. The crop AT Gun is blanketed with smoke so can't see anything to shoot at. And the squad in the woods fires at point blank range at the suppressed German M/C squad and misses, ending the Russian turn. In the Rally Phase, the MMG in the bunker rallies along with the M/C squad in the woods, but the PzII in the stream fails. The Russian AT Rifle team fails with a crummy 2 roll and is Dispersed!

The game is taking longer than expected and Brent and Rick have to leave the game at this point but Tim and I decide to see it through. At this point the Russians are holding. Can they hang on?
Turn 6 German Initiative
The smoke on the crop AT Gun dissipates but the PzIV successfully renews it immediately. The PzIII at the bridge fires at the bunker and misses. The other PzIII fires at the squad in the woods & also misses. The lone PzII, concerned about more possible berserk infantry hidden near the crop AT Gun, decides to wait for support and speeds over to the woods to pump a few 20mm rounds into the Russian squad there at close range, and misses! Then the German M/C squad and command in the woods close assault the Russian squad there again who miss with Defensive Fire. Once more the Russian squad stands its ground and wins the engagement, throwing them back suppressed. The C.C. stays put on the bridge, not wanting to risk the MMG fire, ending the German turn.

The Russian turn goes nowhere with the MMG, road AT Gun, and the squad in the woods all missing their targets. In the Rally phase the PzII in the stream rallies but the German infantry squad doesn't. For whatever reason I forget to snap a photo for the end of Turn 6.

Turn 7 German Initiative
The smoke on the crop AT Gun holds on for another round (rats!). The medium tanks activate first, with the PzIV successfully placing smoke on the east road AT Gun. Then one PzIII fires on the MMG in the bunker getting a Retreat Test result. And the MMG crew rolls snake eyes on the morale test and is Dispersed! Ouch!

The second PzIII fires on the Russian squad in the woods and rolls high for a Dispersed Test and the squad fails that miserably and is also Dispersed! Double Ouch! The PzIII near the bunker moves around back to threaten the Kommissar. The remaining PzIII and PzIV then try their luck crossing the shaky bridge and both roll high and make it! The C.C. moves into the woods with the M/C squad and command. The PzIIs now combine their movement to close assault the crop AT Gun who cannot Defensive Fire due to the dang smoke.

The Close Assault reveals a hidden command unit adjacent and supporting the AT Gun. However, despite the German low roll, the Russian roll is just as bad so the PzII win handily. The AT Gun is dispersed and the commander is suppressed, retreating through the crop into the eastern woods.

The Russian turn is short with so few units left. The Kommissar makes a run for the stone cottage and is fired on by the PzIII getting a Retreat result which puts the Kommissar in the stone cottage where he was headed, but suppressed and damaged. That ends the Russian Turn. The Kommissar fails to rally, the Russian command in the woods rallies, and also the M/C squad with a 12 roll, earning Battle Hardened status and a Hero figure (+1 to all die rolls). Three Russian units were lost this turn putting the Russian's over 50% losses and triggering a Battlefield Withdrawal Test. Since no German AFVs have exited, the Russians still defend their objective so get a +2 DRM plus another +1 for being Tenacious. They pass the test and go on to Turn 8. Again I forget to take a turn end photo, perhaps mourning the loss of so many good units this turn! It's looking bad for the Russians with the road AT Gun the Last Hope.

Turn 8 German Initiative
The smoke on the road AT Gun dissipates and the PzIV tries to replace it but misses. The PzIII in LOS fires on the AT Gun but misses. Neither the PzIII or PzIV risk moving and incurring Defensive Fire from the AT Gun so stay put. The last PzIII behind the bunker just moves up and fires on the Kommissar in the stone cottage with no effect. The M/C squad, hero, command, and C.C all move to the east end of the woods and fire on the AT Gun getting a Suppression Test. The AT Gun rolls 12! on morale, easily passing and getting an instant return fire as bonus, but misses. One PzII moves near the Russian command in the woods and fires, getting a Dispersed Test. But the Command rolls 11 and just retreats into the woods, suppressed and damaged. The other PzII moves toward the road AT Gun emerging like a raptor suddenly from the sunflowers, unnoticed by the AT Gun crew since their attention is on the PzIII and PzIV bearing down on them on the road (targets suddenly appearing in LOS must move 4 inches in LOS before Defensive Fire is allowed when the AT Gun is out-of-arc, 1 inch in LOS if within firing arc). The PzII fires and rolls 11 and the AT Gun fails morale miserably and Disperses! That ends the German Turn.

The Russian turn is short, actually a pass since only 2 units remain and they are suppressed. Neither one rallies. The Russian again passes the Battlefield Withdrawal Test based on the bonus that no German AFVs have exited yet. (pardon the blurry picture).

Turn 9 German Initiative.
The Germans are going to win and it remains only to see by how much. The PzIIs, PzIIIs and the PzIV all race to get off the board but with poor movement dice rolls not one tank makes it! Hah! To gain at least one more VP the M/C squad, Hero, command, and C.C. move across the road to the stone cottage and Close Assault the Kommissar, Dispersing him in spades. There are no Russian actions but the Russian command rallies. Again the Russians pass the Battlefield Withdrawal Test based on the bonus since no German AFVs have exited.

Turn 10 German Initiative
I am prepared to call it and tally the score, but Tim says if the German rolls low on Initiative it could affect the result. Sure enough he rolls a 1 for 3 CP, then needs all of them to augment a lousy activation roll for the PzIIIs & PzIV and roll them off the board toward Kobrin. Then the PzIIs failed activation with no CPs left so they stay put! [Error note: Lt. Mueller could have activated all 5 AFVs using one command unit and exited them all, but we forgot this at the time]. End of German Turn. No Russian turn actions, no units to Rally. But now that the German have exited AFVs off the board, the Russians lose the bonus and fail the Battlefield Withdrawal Test so the game ends before rolling to see if it continues on to Turn 11.

Tallying Up The Score 
The original scenario allows the German to earn 2 points for each AFV exited, 1 point for each AFV left on the table and 1 point for each Russian KIA. With 3 exited, 2 on the table and 7 Russian KIAs that is 15 VP. Tim and I both agree this is horribly excessive (I expected way more German AFV losses). So we tinker with the German victory conditions and give 1 point for those exited, none for the ones left on the board and 1 for each KIA. This brings the German VP down to 9. Russians get only 4 points, 2 KIAs for 2 points each and lose the 5 VP bonus for preventing any German AFVs from exiting. Still a hefty German win at 9 to 4! Adding this battle's VP to those of the previous battle, Armour Clash (German 8, Russian 3), gives a Campaign total so far of German 17 to Russian 7. Probably fairly historical I suppose.

1. Despite the big German win, I still feel this one could have gone either way. Tim M. (Lt. Mueller) made an important observation that small skirmish scenarios with few units become more dependent on dice roll luck at critical points so the results can swing wildly either way for any one playing even if the scenario is close to balanced over many playings. As he said, “It's just the nature of the beast with the smaller games. We have to manage our expectations accordingly.” Thinking on that I wonder what the game outcome would have been if the PzIV had lost smoke capability early - no more smoking the AT Guns. Or if the first PzIII collapsed the shaky bridge. Or the AT Guns had another lucky roll. Two or three more tanks could easily have gone down in mid-game, with possibly a Russian win. So in future I'll just try to plan a balanced scenario as best I can and let the dice decide!
2. The total Battlegroup points used for each side are worth considering too. The first scenario “Armour Clash” was a Meeting Engagement. That was German 1050 to Russian 780 points. Defending Kobrin was an Attack/Defend battle with German 915 and Russian 620. I've always felt that for Attack/Defend battle scenarios the attacker's strength should be at least about 1-1/2 times the defender's. Otherwise no “schwerpunkt.” But the German won both these scenarios handily so maybe I should be looking at say 125% for Attack/Defend scenarios and 100% for Meeting Engagements. On the other hand, if the dice in the previous Point 1 went hot for the Russian and caused the PzIV to lose smoke early and collapsed the bridge.... Hmm...

3. The variable game ending and variable effects on the bridge and fords seemed to work OK.

Anyway, the “crew” all thought it was fun to play which is the most important thing. Tune in for the next scenario in the Barbarossa campaign which is planned for Thursday November 21st. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. - Gary