We had another ASL Sunday, and an opportunity to play out another fine scenario, Slamming of the Door (#129). There, ill equipped Germans meet vast Russian horde with armored support. Given the early war situation, neither side has tanks that result one shot – one kill situations so there ought to be some nice armor activity as well.
As usual, game had twists and turns where for a moment both sides thought to have upper hand, and the bitter fighting raged on till the very end. I played this one long, long ago with SL and it still is a blast.
German setup was a wide and not very deep one. My opponent elected to set up Close to the only realistically defensive position as close to his perimeter in the row 8. He then, immediately pulled back towards to the board edge to buy time, and seemingly avoid being surrounded by the Russian T-26 tanks.
My plan on the other hand was to make sure two things, firstly that I’d have a commissar (one just has to love the way commissars work in ASL). Secondly that the Germans could not just walk away and reverse the positions because of one sided attack. Thirdly, to make sure that commissar had sufficient forces under his disposal to make human wave over the open area on the right. Yes, I figured no other way to cross the opening but human wave, and some tank support. Later I figured out that there is indeed another way as well.
Initial moves were to get into position and then to pull off the wave. Plan was somewhat compromised by timely appearance of the German AFV and impending FFE looming above. Wave did caught the German defenders by surprise, and while my wave received much more fire than I thought it would (most with dreaded FFNAM/FFMO), I got quite few troops through with the commissar. They then made short work of the target enemy, and gained a solid footing in the back row. Remaining Germans retreated back.
While traditional Russian tactics were employed, the tank battle was evolving. Germans found in a hard way that tank with no MG is not a best weapon against dedicated Russian squad with molotov cocktail. Keeping their front armors towards the Russian 45L guns, there was slim chance of destroying Stug IIIB:s – until one Russian tank got a critical hit through. Remaining German AFV placed itself to excellent defensive position and for a moment it seemed that the Russians would indeed lose – casualties continued to mount, and on the left, there was well protected opening that needed to be crossed.
Right there and then, at the very eve of the disaster – when most Russians were broken, happened something extraordinary. Single Russian squad on the left had had enough. They went berserk and charged over the fields in suicidal frenzy. Every conceivable unit fired at the berserk but they dodged every single bullet and entered into close combat. Winning that, they then went for the stationary German Stug IIIB, but failed to destroy it. While the immediate gain was limited, the longer term one was not.
Because everyone in sight fired the berserk squad, an opening was created for everyone else to follow. That single heroic berserk on the last turn changed the whole game, and from the jaws of defeat, victory was drawn. Another excellent game.
Germans made one big mistake and one smaller one – OBA was not used in it’s full effect, and it would have changed the outcome significantly. It is absolutely necessary to have close infantry support for tanks that have no MG’s given the close proximity of the enemy infantry.
Russians made so many tactical mistakes, that I won’t even count them… However, the commissar is happy about the outcome. 🙂