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Friday, November 9, 2012

Bolt Action - AAR: Maine Historical Wargamers - Stalingrad!

Hey, hey, patrons of The BAR. Here's a sweet Stalingrad-themed battle report from forum member ProfNexus, aka Chris Boynton, and his crew from Maine. Enjoy! - Judson

On October 20, various members of the Maine Historical Wargamers Association assembled at Crossroad Games in Standish for some Stalingrad themed gaming. Photos of the event (including my scenario) are posted here.

In observance of the 70th anniversary of Stalingrad, I got out some appropriate looking terrain and concocted some 1942 flavored lists. The German list was all veteran, 3 squads of infantry, a Marder, a 1st Lieutenant, a medic, an MMG and a sniper. The Soviets got 3 regular squads plus a free inexperienced squad, a regular T-34/76, a regular MMG, 2 veteran SMG squads, and a sniper. Two newbies were on hand to try out the game, so we rolled up Envelopment. The Soviet player then won the roll-off and chose to be the attacker.

The battlefield!

The Germans kept the HQ, 1 squad, a medic and a Marder in reserve.

Two squads and an MMG set up in some craters, while a sniper took up residence in one of the factory buildings.

The Soviets got a pretty effective opening bombardment, with the MMG and the sniper team each losing a man and gaining 2 pins. One of the squads got a pin, and the other squad escaped unharmed. As the Soviet guns fell silent, the Russian player began his advance.

The T34, a veteran SMG squad, the inexperienced squad and a regular squad went into reserve and outflanked. The rest marched onto the board.
The Soviets loaded up their flank, sending four units on the left.

The Russian sniper moved through the factory on the right. He was so sneaky, I forgot to take a photo.
Another Russian squad set up in the middle and approached the houses in the center of the board.

 The German player moved aggressively to the houses in the middle of the board, setting up a good killing field with the MMG and one of the infantry squads. The other German squad moved into some rubble to stop the Soviet board edge creep.

The Soviet advance on the left and center quickly bogged down. The squad in the center was hit particularly hard by sniper fire and by the German squad that won the foot race to the building.

 A veteran SMG squad gets pinned down outside the building held by the German MMG.

 Meanwhile the Soviet reserves began arriving. The T34 arrived and fired ineffectively on the German position.

 The veteran SMG's moved around the right flank, covered by the factories.

 The Marder responded to the Soviet tank threat, moving on the board and destroying the T34 in a flurry of sixes to hit, damage and damage chart results!

 As they had moved aggressively to the middle of the board, the Germans were suddenly in a poor position to deal with the outflanking elements. The Marder was the only mobile unit able to respond, and it quickly accumulated pins from small arms fire.

 A Soviet rifle squad arrived on the left flank, then quickly departed the board on the following turn.

  On the right, the veteran SMG's advanced under fire from the Marder and also exited the board.

The inexperienced squad never made an appearance, the men apparently preferring to enjoy an extra turn in the chow line. The Germans poured fire into the remaining Soviet squads, destroying two of them.

At the end of turn 6, we rolled the die and got a 1. No turn 7, game over. The Soviets earned a victory by the slimmest of margins, 6-4. If the game had continued, the Germans could have easily destroyed another squad and forced a tie... on turn 6, a Soviet squad needed to roll a 5 to stay on the board, and did!

Both players enjoyed the game, and felt like they both had a chance to pull it out at the end. The Germans probably shouldn't have moved so aggressively into the center, but they did inflict some pretty serious casualties by doing so. The Germans took full advantage of their veteran status... they rarely failed an order check, and casualties were light compared to what the Russian regulars took.
For the Soviets, the outflanking elements were key. None of his initial force had much of a chance to get off the board... they were just there to absorb casualties and to keep the Germans honest in their deployment. The outflanking inexperienced squad turned out to be a poor bet, needing a 7 or less to get on the board. Of course, it's hard to say they would have done much if they'd been in the initial deployment... The Russians took something like a 5-1 casualty ratio, but earned a victory nonetheless.

I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did. There seemed to be a lot of great cinema revolving around that Marder. Thanks a lot, Chris! Invite us to the next one! Everyone else, again, you can check out his page here! - Judson

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