Monday, 25 July 2011

LAAR: 12.SS-Panzer vs 3rd Guards Tank Corps

Hi Guys, Blackwolf again bringing you another light AAR. For a change neither Griddon or myself are playing! A couple of our friends and clubmates, Rob and Andy, are keen to enter the world of FoW, so what better way than to lead them through a battle. Although the game was played down at our local club, the Western Suburbs Wargames Association, the terrain was supplied by yours truly, as were both forces. The battle would feature a Panzergrenadier company from 12.SS-Panzer Division vs a Guards Tank Battalion from 3rd Guards Tank Corps.

The Lists
Andy's SS-Panzergrenadier list comes straight from Earth & Steel.

12.SS-Panzer Division – Fearless Veteran
HQ - Upgrade both to Panzerfaust/SMG's, plus 2 Panzerschrek teams
SS-Panzergrenadier Platoon - 3 squads + Panzerfaust upgrade
SS-Panzergrenadier Platoon - 3 squads + Panzerfaust upgrade
SS-Panzergrenadier Platoon - 3 squads + Panzerfaust upgrade
SS-Mortar Platoon – 2 sections
Light SS-Anti-Tank Gun Platoon – 3 PaK40’s
SS-Rocket Launcher Battery – 3 Nebelwerfer NW41’s
Heavy SS-Anti-Aircraft Gun Platoon – 2 FlaK36’s + extra crew
Field Fortifications – 2 Minefields, 8 Barbed Wire Entanglements, 2 HMG Nests

Rob’s Guards Tank Battalion is from Hammer & Sickle.

3rd Guards Tank Corps – Fearless Trained

HQ – 1 T-34/85 with Cupola
Gvardeyskiy Tankovy Company – 9 T-34/85’s with Cupolas
Gvardeyskiy Tankovy Company – 9 T-34/85’s with Cupolas
Razvedki Platoon – 4 squads (1 Flamethrower team) with Universal Carriers
Decoy Tank Company – 2 Captured Panthers 

We rolled for the mission and got Fighting Withdrawal. Ooh, interesting, I’ve never actually played this mission before. A learning experience for me also!

The German field fortifications had to be place first. The 2 minefields went on the German left, running parallel to the road. Half of the barbed wire entanglements were placed next to the minefields, with the other half being placed on the opposite flank, stretching from the bend in the river to the table edge. The HMG nests were placed centrally, overlooking the village.

Next, the guys placed the objectives, with one placed behind the river on the German left flank, and the other two placed in the cornfield on the German right flank.

Andy deployed the Nebelwerfers, Mortars, and a PzGrenadier Platoon on his left, covering the objective behind the river. On the right went the FlaK36’s and another PzGrenadier Platoon, covering the two objectives in the cornfield. The third PzGrenadier Platoon deployed in a row of buildings in the village. The PaK40’s were held in ambush.

Rob set up the Decoy Panthers, Razvedki Platoon, and T-34/85 company on his left, ready to push on the two objectives in the cornfield, while the other T-34/85 company deployed centrally to go after the PzGrenadiers in the village.

The battlefield as seen from the Soviets right flank

The battlefield as from the Germans right flank

Nebelwerfers, PzGrenadiers, and Mortars, on the German left flank

The Soviets mass on their left flank

The German FlaK36's and PzGrenadiers, overlooking objectives in the cornfield

T-34/85's get ready for the attack

Early Action
Rob infiltrated the Decoy Panthers, along with the Razvedki Platoon, down his left flank, without being spotted. Good start! Both T-34/85 companies pushed forwards, one through a cornfield, and the other over a few hedges, with only one tank from each bogging. The Decoy Panthers and Razvedki continued to push forwards, keen not to expose themselves too much, as there was a feared FlaK36 Battery not too far ahead.

Seeing that the Soviets had almost reached an objective already (thanks to the infiltration), Andy decided that he needed to spring his ambush immediately. The Pak40’s popped up on the German right flank, aiming down the road and open field that the Soviets were pushing up. The PzGrenadier Platoon situated near the FlaK36’s crossed the hedge and moved closer to the cornfield containing the two objectives. The Mortars landed a smoke bombardment on the T-34/85’s threatening the infantry in the village, while the Nebelwerfers ranged in the Decoy Panthers, doing zero damage, but managed to hit a few Universal Carriers, bailing one. Then the FlaK36’s and PaK40’s opened fire. When the smoke cleared, one Decoy Panther and a Universal Carrier lay in ruins. Not the devastating salvo Andy had hoped for.

In response, Rob moved the surviving Decoy Panther and the Razvedki closer to the nearest objective, getting to within 4”. The T-34/85 company following had a difficult time in the cornfields and hedges, with many bogging down. The other T-34/85 company moved into the village, preparing to assault the infantry hiding in the buildings. There wasn’t much shooting from the Soviets, with the Decoy Panther missing the PaK40’s, and the 2nd T-34/85 company failing to hurt the PzGrenadiers in the village. So, in they charged. Defensive fire saw one T-34/85 destroyed by a panzerschrek, with only one other tank able to make contact. Naturally, it missed, and the PzGrenadiers counterattacked, killing another T-34/85. The fearless tanker’s nerve broke, and the tanks pulled back out of the village, leaving two smoking T-34/85’s, including their leader.

The PzGrenadiers in the cornfield consolidated their hold over the objectives there, while the Mortars smoked the T-34/85’s near the village again. The Nebelwerfers, PaK40’s, and FlaK36’s concentrated their fire on the Decoy Panther and Razvedki Platoon again, Killing a few more Universal Carriers, but not much else.

The Decoy Panthers lead the Razvedki as they successfully infiltrate

T-34/85's drive into the village, looking to expel the Germans from the buildings

The Decoy Panthers and Razvedki continue pushing forward

A closer look at the charging T-34/85's

FlaK36's taking aim at the oncoming Soviets

Artillery, Flak, and Pak guns start finding their mark

A smoke barrage lands on the T-34/85's

The other T-34/85 company gets strung out in the cornfields

After an unsuccessful assault, the T-34/85's leave two burning tanks behind

The Soviet left flank, getting crowded

Mid Action
Rob knew that if he didn’t go after the objectives quickly, the Germans accuracy would eventually improve, and he’d be shot off the board. With that in mind, the Razvedki Platoon jumped out of their Universal Carriers and moved through the cornfield containing two objectives and a PzGrenadier Platoon. The T-34/85 company on Robs left continued to slowly move forward, hampered by the terrain. The surviving Decoy Panther managed to kill a PaK40, while the Razvedki prepared to shoot at the PzGrenadiers. The flamethrower team opened fire. Four dice. Zero hits. That’s not good. Rob really needs to pin this platoon before assaulting. The SMG’s open fire. Nine dice (only 3 stands in range), only two hits. That’s definitely not good. Gritting their teeth, the brave Razvedki charge in… and are promptly slaughtered by the defensive fire of 6 MG teams. A few stands survive, but seeing so many comrades die before them, they turn tail and run, failing their motivation test.

Andy’s turn 3 and his first platoon has to withdraw. He chooses his Mortars. Not much else happens for the Germans, with sporadic firing from the PaK40’s and FlaK36’s knocking out a couple of approaching T-34/85’s.

The Razvedki preparing to assault...

...and are wiped out

Late Action
The T-34/85 company by the village has had a new commander appointed by the Battalion HQ, and is now ready to resume its attack on the PzGrenadiers in the buildings. They move forward once more, ready to attack. The Decoy Panther, seeing no other option, drives into the cornfield, charging headlong into the waiting PzGrenadiers, while the other T-34/85 company moves to within striking distance of the objectives. The Decoy Panther amazing survives the defensive fire from a panzerfaust and a panzerschrek, and kills a stand of infantry. The PzGrenadiers use the ‘one way trip to heaven’ rule to counterattack, knocking out the lone tank. Meanwhile, the T-34/85’s assault the Germans in the village buildings, with much the same result as their first attempt. They lose a tank to defensive fire, and over the course of the assault, proceed to get smashed by the two panzerfausts (Platoon leader and 2iC) and single panzershrek.

The Germans don’t have much to fire at anymore, with a depleted T-34/85 company the only target. The PaK40’s and FlaK36’s open up, knocking out more Soviet tanks. With only a few left, Rob calls it quits, leaving Andy and the Germans firmly in control of the objectives.

The T-34/85's prepare to launch another assault

The PzGrenadiers leave the burning Decoy Panther and head towards the T-34/85's

Still plenty of stragglers

A crowded road leading to the village

The nebelwerfers, rained rockets on the Soviets heads all game

The German right flank see's a lot of burning Soviet armour

The T-34/85's gun their engines and charge headlong into the village...

...And are met by the awaiting PzGrenadiers

The PaK40's and FlaK36's see off the last of the T-34/85's

After Action
Well that ended up being pretty convincing in the end, with Andy’s Germans able to fend off Robs marauding Soviets. But Rob actually came within millimeters of taking this game out by turn 2, when his surviving Decoy Panther stopped just short of an uncontested objective.
In hindsight, Rob and the Soviets were always going to struggle in this mission. The terrain was awful for him. With a lot of hedges and cornfields, he had to make a lot of bogging checks, slowing down his advance. What’s worse, is that the same terrain didn’t block line of sight, with the fields and hedges only tall enough to offer concealment. This gave the Flak36’s, Pak40’s, and artillery observers free reign over the battlefield.

Still, both Rob and Andy enjoyed themselves, and learnt the basics of the game. Andy has already bought a sizable collection of Germans, which are just awaiting their paint, while Rob is quite keen on collecting Soviets. Looks like he’s keen on a Soviet infantry horde.

I think my terrain will see some minor changes, with the hedges being built up to provide LOS blocking, and maybe some copses of tree’s to hide behind. The other, easier option, is to treat those tree lined roads as LOS blocking linear obstacles, like those found in the terrain chart in Blitzkrieg. Yeah, might do that from now on ;)

See ya next time!


  1. Great game. Difficult to know what would have worked better having never really seen the Russians in action. I may have been tempted to halt with the left flank advance and spend one turn at range shooting 20 main gun shots at the 8.8s. Similarly, I reckon the Russian infantry would have faired better assaulting the town and opening up that route through the map to the other objective. Hindsight. Tis wonderful.

    Great scenery and good 'cinematic' feel to the game.

  2. Fantastic and comprehensive report. Amazing bad luck on those flame throwers with no hits just when they were needed.

    Terrain is looking very nice, I like your small lakes and the overall effect is very nice.

    Keep them coming

    Chris from Model Dads