Monday, 11 November 2019

Hill 242 - the Kill Box Unwrapped

Soviet armor on the move.  
Columns detected moving in the vicinity of Kastenwald.
Moving North East toward your position.
KV-1 tanks spotted.
Hold at all costs.

In the next episode of Steve's Ponyri Firestorm campaign, it was all out action, and as I had reported to Steve, an immeasurable Pucker Factor (when I write a set of rules, that's what they'll be called - you can also look up on Google...).

(ok...that isn't just dust on the KV-1 from not being used ...IT'S BATTLE DUST)
We used Rapid Fire with variants.
These are now called Vapid Fire (variant based on hexes and cards similar to Field of Battle and the Nations in Arms variants for Road to Berlin). 

  Armour ratings and combat, with a variant on teh armoured mechanism for infantry combat, from RF is in place. This would prove quite critical actually, as the StgIII has a class 2 gun and can claim cover in the correct circumstances.

 Soviet Units will approach from the southwest, a reinforced battalion with heavy armour.

...just like this...

'Today, I vill show you, verr zee Iron Crosses grow...'
'Right know what to do. you have a choice!'
Soviet Recon determines the position of the StgIII in fixed position ...the hard way.
Soviet KVs (there might be some KV2s and an SU100 thrown in there to make up numbers), with heavy infantry support, leaves the start line.
German tank hunters (what they have of them) are in the trees and sunken areas.
The emplaced StgIII does not last long.
This prompts the Soviet reserve to immediately embark upon a flanking action. This would end with some of the most ferocious fighting of the day along the treeline.

Wait...those Hidden Unit markers are dummies ...that means...
...the German 'Kill Box' is unwrapped; flanking shots from German Armour and PAKs devastate the KVs.

The fight on the German flank is horrific, with troops displacing as much as possible, but with many Russian troops thrown into the meat-grinder.

German armour, now having managed to disengage with infantry support along the defence line, relocates and provide more accurate shooting from the exposed flank.
The German flank to the south is holding, but not for much longer.
The area around the farmyard is completely overrun and the scene of bitter hand to hand fighting.

German units start to fall back to 'The Alamo' - their final line of defense around the ruined buildings to the north.
Russian Armour pours on.
Soviet Armour gets close - somehow the Germans need to push for another morale roll.
Fighting on the flank becomes confused, with Russian units assaulting remaining German positions in the farmyard, while taking enfilading MG fire from positions to their rear, which in turn suffer horrendously from Soviet heavy gunfire.
Armour and infantry losses are reaching terrible levels. The Soviets pass one morale test for armour.
'The Alamo' - indicated by the coffee cup.
Soviets pop smoke from mortar fire in a last assault, but there are too many concentrated German units now.
Soviet forces disengage, at speed.
Russian armour, followed closely by Russian infantry, starts to withdraw. The line ...somehow...has actually held!
'You knew you had to win right?'
Soviet Forces - 50% casualties - 50% losses in Armour.
German Forces - 40% losses.


  1. Excellent battle report! Casualties were very high on both sides of the battle. Surprised neither side broke sooner. Looks like a heroic stand for the Fatherland.

    1. Unbelievable stuff.
      I'm physically exhausted (from my James Coburn impressions all morning).

    2. Very funny! Probably a bit hoarse, too!

    3. I blame Stransky for the whole thing. :)

  2. This was an incredible battle, Darren. The Germans held on despite tough losses and the Soviets equally threw themselves at the German positions. You could tell this was very bitter fight and you are becoming a master of defensive tactics!

    Rumors in Berlin are flying that you will receive Oak Leaves for your Knights Cross! Many thanks for the great game and write up.

    I wish i could say we could give you a rest, however we are going into turn 5!

    1. ...understood sir...
      These troops may be moving to 'exhausted' status uuhhhh

      (This is pretty exciting stuff though)

  3. Excellent defensive work, herr oberstDucfuhrer.
    I remind you that the Fuhrer expects excellent OFFENSIVE work as well!
    Having dealt a forehand blow to the Red Rats, we will now deal them a backhand blow, re-open our supply lines and stage ourselves for victory!
    FM A.

    1. Jahwohl Herr GruppenAl,
      I fear that, although my men are eager, we are becoming exhausted.
      Might I ask, where is the Luftwaffe?
      Where are the Tigers?

      I'm sure someone promised these...

      (I also need to think about using 'Up the Blue' for some of these battles...

  4. Wonderful - gripped from the opening photo of a KV-1 :-)

    1. Thanks Norm. It was pretty exciting for that time of the morning. I hadn't even had my coffee when we started.

  5. Exciting game Duc - the hidden armour was a nasty surprise - I liked that.

    1. was a surprise for the Russkies alright heheh

  6. Wow, great stuff Darrin! I'm with Steve, that was a helluva knock-down, drag out fight! Thought the Reds would easily overrun the Germans, then the ambush was sprung and I thought the Reds would be sent packing, all came down to some gritty close combat, very cool!


    1. Thanks Jack. It was pretty epic. You get a definite sense of the bigger picture and context when fighting smaller battles within the larger campaign.

  7. Great report and inspiration, that looks like an interesting campaign system.

    1. Thanks George. Completely different dynamic in this campaign. The Germans had more to lose in the long term than the Soviets, so there was much orchestration of how an effective ambush might work. Though we like to tell ourselves, we would have done the same in a one-off game, I'm not so sure. There's the bigger picture and other sectors to think of here, and that changes the thought process. Great dynamic!

  8. Like them or not Rapid Fire does exactly what it says it does and seems good fit for the campaign