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Thursday, March 16, 2017

FOW - Stalingrad 2000 Point Multi-Player

With the impending arrival of Ver 4 to our gaming tables, the regular players at the Brookhurst Club in Orange County California decided to hold a multi-player Stalingrad FOW game. I had run the Able Kompanie Stalingrad intro game at GenCon several times, so we decided to run a modified version of it. We changed the table arrangement so it wasn't a duplicate and created different army lists up to 2,000 points per side.

Our rules for the game included the following:
Movement and Cover: All of the table was (at best) Slow Going - Except for roads (regular cross country on roads).
Rubble (any building or rubble bases, as well as blast craters) gave bullet proof cover to infantry if their base was at least half on the rubble base.
Bunker Busters: Building with four walls, and a second story floor or roof were considered "buildings" for bunker buster guns.
Other terrain such as railroad embankments, etc followed the rule book for Ver 3.
Buildings and rubble bases required skill checks for vehicles to avoid bogging.

Scoring: Based on the Able Kompanie GenCon version, we ran a total of eight objectives. Three in each deployment area, and two in the center of the table. The center objectives were slightly offset from the center line, so each side could attempt to get close enough to contest in turn one. At the beginning of each side's turn, they received points for any objectives they held (or had held, and were not contested by the enemy). Objective in your own deployment zone were one point each. Center objectives were two points each, and if you got lucky enough to take one in the enemy deployment zone, those were worth four points each.

Players protecting the Motherland included myself and Hyato. Raymond and Malcolm brought out their German forces to attempt to take this slice of the city for the Fatherland.

Each side could bring up to 2000 points, divided between the player (either one Company or Battalion per player, or both players splitting one Company/Battalion). Only one HQ per side, however.

Soviets: Strelkovy Batalon (Guards). Hyato and I elected to go with one combined force, and split the kompanies between us.

Germans: Raymond and Malcolm brought two separate companies. Malcolm ran a Mittlere Panzer Company (and the HQ). Raymond ran a Grenadier Company (no HQ).

We ran this as a fair fight, free for all scenario, with a 12 inch deployment zone along the long table edges. Germans won the die roll and got first turn, after they had recce move. That put them on one of the center objectives on turn one. Malcolm's marders moved up and began shooting at the Soviet heavy artillery battalion. He was able to use the marder's longer range to stay just out of direct fire range of the artillery guns. Hits, but no losses.

Turn 1: Germans 3 - Soviets 3

Soviets decided to play defensively, and kept their left flank infantry (the larger strelkovy kompanie) from advancing in hopes that the artillery would do some damage. The SU-122s parked on the Soviet's center objective where they could harass the Center #1 objective with fire, and still have cover. Unfortunately, the lack of mobility allowed the German to stay on the center objective and rack up two more VP each turn than the soviet patriots did.

Soviet infantry on the right flank advanced, since all of the artillery was ranging in on the grenadiers and their half-tracks near the left-center objective. The Soviet Strelkovy platoons needed to avoid one of the key buildings near the right-center objective, due to it being subject to the bunker-buster guns the Germans had in range. That cut down on some of the direct paths to the objective, and forced them to take an extra turn of movement to contest the objective.

The Soviet rockets and 76mm Zis guns attempted to drop a world of hurt on the Germans surrounding the left-center objective. Unfortunately, the comrades calling in the observation must have had their sights set incorrectly.  Ranging in didn't happen that turn. A Kommissar was detailed to educate them on the importance of figuring ranges correctly, should they survive this thrust by the German invaders. Fortunately the Komisar accomplished this without loss of lives. However, one actual model decided to leap from the table during the course of the game. It survived with minor repairs.

The heavy artillery company managed to range in on the Marders on the soviet right flank, but only bailed one.

Soviet strelkovy guards moved up to seize the center #2 objective, but lacked movement to make a defensive perimeter around it. This would be their undoing this game.

Turn 2: Germans 8 - Soviets 6

Beginning of turn two saw the Germans take a two point lead due to holding the center #1 objective uncontested. The german advance continued. The bailed marder crew remounted. Grenadiers invaded a ruined factory near the objective, denying the Soviet forces points for their proximity to the objective. Malcolm's Marders fired again, hit, and but failed to damage any of the heavy artillery battery. The bunker busters fired and took out some of the Soviet Patriots defending their city. The grenadiers on the Soviet right flank assaulted one building killing the brave komrades inside. They now contested Center Objective #2.

The soviet advance continued as comrade patriots moved from building to building preparing for an assault on the right objective. On the left objective, one of the Strelkovy platoons began advancing toward the left objective, and the anti-tank guns took out an armored half-track.

Turn 3: Germans 13 - Soviets 9

Turn three began with the German invaders firing and pinning several units of the Soviet defenders. Loss of men dropped one of the soviet units below 15 stands. Malcolm's Marders put another world of hurt on the heavy artillery and destroyed one gun (dropping it to three guns plus command and staff team). The grenadiers stayed on the center #1 objective, and continued to pour fire on the now advancing Soviets, pinning them.

German Panzers moved into the rubble near the German held center objective #1, preparing to lend aid and firepower against the advancing soviets. The StulG33B bunker buster kept dropping soviets in the center stand by stand.

Soviets were able to unpin. More movement toward the objectives. Minor damage inflicted on the grenadiers by the SU122s and various platoons shooting. It was difficult to dig the infantry out of the bulletproof cover.

The Heavy Artillery battery managed to range in on it's third attempt, finding the StulGs and a couple of Panzers. No damage was inflicted beyond bailing one tank.

Soviet Strelkovy on the right flank pressed in to drive the Grenadiers out of the buildings near the objectives. Their assault succeeded, but a path was still open for the German to press in with the StulG33Bs to contest the objective in turn 4.

Turn 4 Final: Germans 18 - Soviets 12

The final turn we ran quickly, realizing the game was beyond recovery for the Soviets due to time constraints. The Strelkovy on the right flank was pinned, as were the rockets. The Batalon Komissar was dispatched to get the smaller Strelkovy company moving again. Unfortunately, his heavy handed dictates led to the dreaded ONE showing on the reroll die. He failed, and was set upon by his troops.

The Rocket battery failed to dig the grenadiers out of the rubble and the assault by the larger strelkovy toward that objective failed to materialize due to too much defensive fire driving them off.

Lessons Learned:
Despite being a game with limited mobility for vehicles, mobility was the key. The Germans were able to take an objective in turn one, and have a lot of firepower on it due to the armored halftracks taking it, then pulling back as the infantry advanced to make a perimeter around it.

Defensive play on the soviet side slowed down their ability to contest that objective, giving three rounds of points to the enemy. Advancing with the infantry, and the SU-122s should have happened on turn 1 to contest the objective. Creative use of smoke should also have been used to cover the advance.

This was one of the first opportunities for both players on the soviet side to build a soviet list. I see now that maxing out Strelkovy wherever possible is paramount. Shaving points and dropping Kompanies to where they either don't have, or quickly lose Quality of Quantity is a poor choice to make.

Troy recently relocated from crossroads of America, and home of Able Kompanie – Indianapolis Indiana in the USA — to the “Western Front” of North America — Los Angeles California. He is a long time gamer, having dabbled in almost every type of gamer-crack. His small claim to fame is editing a Forgotten Realms supplement, “FR-16 The Shining South” back when TSR still existed.


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