The Agony of Doom is a great scenario which features interesting set of vehicles. Russians have fielded the big guns, ISU-152, pair of ISU-122, supported by a pair of T34/85’s. Against this set of massive tracked firepower comes solitary Tiger and two fearsome Jagdpanthers and their 88LL guns – a force to be reckoned with.
My opponent opted for the Germans, and I was left with the Russians. Now, I faced an situation where Russians were set against rag-tag late war Germans with low ELR – and hence good change of being disrupted once broken. Goal was to capture 4/5 multi-hex buildings in town on map 3. Firepower was not a problem – on paper. Deploying it in meaningful way was a bigger issue, considering that Russian guns wouldn’t hit a barn door from any distance, and getting close risked Panzerfausts that about every German squad possessed.
That said, there is pretty good squads in play for Russians, and even some mobility, which would enable them to be ferried around. Trucks and unprotected road leading straight to the backs of the Germans was attractive avenue., especially considering that the German forced were quite up front, expecting the all frontal attack.
Meanwhile in the Russian headquarters, plan was formed to push straight into the German position frontally, and make little flanking move around through the forest. However, because of some odd miscommunication between my right and left brain lobes, the Russians disembarked early and I failed completely to put force against the German rear. Was too afraid of the incoming reinforcements I guess. It was even more odd, considering that I did indeed take the T-34/85’s for a long tour, to achieve precisely nothing.
So, First victim was the Tiger overseeing the Russian entry in the hill near town. ISU, after taking two ineffective shots from the 88L, put one 122mm round through the gunshield of the Tiger making sure that it was going to stand as a monument to deployment error. Shortly after accompanying infantry started retreating towards the town, Russians on their heels. However, advance was not as quick, not as casualty free as it should have been – given the distance between the troops to their objectives and the amount of Germans standing between. Two leaders were lost, one 9-1 and one 8-0. One in close combat, and another to a sniper – lesson again not to leave leaders alone in open. Mind that I only had three leaders to start with, my entire left flank and middle were now without a rally point. Any casualties there, and the whole progress would stall. Losing ISU-152 to permanent gun malfunction did not help matters.
That was however not going to happen, mostly because of single berserk that killed one rather nasty unit along the way. It was the right flank, bounded by 75mm AT gun and one Jagdpanther that was stalling and having literally nowhere to go. Dwindling in men and material and not being any closer to the objective, I conceded the game. Russians bagged 3/4 buildings but the two remaining ones were being strongly occupied.
Few things were evident. Disruption is fatal for low quality troops with low ELR. Exploiting that with encirclement is excellent idea. However, big guns on tracks do not help if one is not able/talented to utilize them in best possible way. T34/85 is no match to Jagdpanther frontally and ISU-122 that is, is not going to hit it buttoned up from the preferred engagement distance of the former, nor is it a machine suitable for fighting in narrow streets with limited aim. Additionally, trying to position Russian CT AFV to HD on a hill is, well… parking exercise like no other.
Once I found good position to threat the Jagdpanthers rear, I missed and in next round up, second one maneuvered to point blank range and did not miss. 88LL just improved the T34/85 air conditioning a lot. Hitting the darn thing didn’t make a dent.
Tank-to-tank battles are one thing, trying to utilize assault guns efficiently in a face of potent enemy firepower is another. Back to the drawing board then. Meanwhile, there would have been a much better chance winning, would I have driven the trucks all the way to the back of the Germans and occupy one or the other of the two buildings there.
The Agony of Doom is a scenario worth playing again.