Friday, March 16, 2007

AAR: J33 - The Slaughterhouse

Brian Roundhill

Setup - As the Germans, I have to hold onto one of the two factories. I decided against using the board 20 factory as my Alamo because it was closer to the Russian setup area and had better approach paths for the Russians. The board 22 factory (the Alamo) had more open ground and fewer stone buildings for the Russians to use, so I designed my defense around it. I wanted the Russians to attack the board 20 factory first, I wanted it to hold for the first three turns, and I wanted to delay the Russians as they transferred their attack from board 20 to board 22. Ideally the Russians would be forced to take the last factory in only two turns.

With this in mind, all the conscript squads and one 447 went into the board 20 factory. I put two 6-factor minefields in front of this factory inside the wall, leaving the western-most hex empty. I put 3 of the Wire in position to slow down an attack from the board joins north-east into board 22, and finished the line of Wire with 2 6-factor minefields. I put 4 1-factor AT minefields in scattered locations. A picket force of about 5-6 squads occupied the village in front of my Alamo, and the factory got everything else. I put the majority of my forces in the back of the factories to gain concealment. Since I had some concealment counters to work with, I also created some 3-stack dummies in each factory with the plan of splitting each of them in to two 2-stack dummies. My 88 was in the village, and my 20L was in the woods on the board join, hoping to catch some Russians running into the board 20 factory.

The Russians setup as desired. Across the stream facing the Alamo was the kill stack with the 10-2 and two AFV's, one of each type (don't remember the details, but I think they were an IS-122 and a T-34 with 85L). Four AFVs setup with riders in the far west, apparently planning to drive behind the rowhouses behind that factory, and everyone else was in the center.

Turn 1 - The Russian kill stack opened up on my 9-2/HMG in the front of the Alamo. No effect early, but a later MC generated a Berserk 9-2 and squad. Schwoebel apparently didn't like that because a 122 hit vaporized them both. The rest of the Russians moved out. A few moved to the northeast towards the Alamo, found the Wire, and stayed out. Several squads moved towards the board 20 factory, some staying behind the wall, others hopping the wall into the building there. One squad examined the concealed stack in the factory and found several bullets, dying in the process. When a leader and squad moved into the street also, the 20L had to fire a 20-2, but only broke them both.

Fire was ineffective, so the Russians advanced closer to their objectives. Both the minefields in front of the board 20 factory were found, breaking one squad. The German turn was quieter as skulking and force shuffling was the order.

Turn 2- The Russians kept the pressure on. The kill stack and 122 kept the front of the Alamo pinned down, and probing fire was sent across the wire into the village with no effect. Schwoebel logically deduced that the third hex in front of the factory was also mined and avoided it this turn, which channeled his attack into the street to the west, with ugly results. About a squad and a half died there, and another couple of squads broke, but enough remained to close into CC in three locations. My concealed conscripts got ambush, declared Hand-to-Hand and eliminated a 628. The other two 628s avoided Hand-to-Hand and locked conscript squads in Melee.

The German turn saw more skulking and force shuffling, but both conscript squads turned their Melee into Hand-to-Hand. One resulted in mutual annihilation, but snake-eyes in the other found the Germans a new leader.

Turn 3- The Russian Commissar was earning his money, rallying troops and creating a Fanatic 628. More Russian troops assaulted the board 20 factory, but couldn't get in. Russian AFV's had moved behind the 20L and were peppering the position with fire, but to no effect. The kill stack and 122 continued their barrage, but the Germans were playing scared and only putting dummies in the front of the Alamo. The Germans yet again skulked and shuffled, but the board 20 factory force got brave and moved into CCs. Outside the factory, a 426 and a Fanatic 628 with prisoners killed each other, leaving some German unarmed. Inside the factory, the German leader and squad were unsuccesful and perished, giving the factory to the Russians. Also, the 20L was given several targets and its fire broke a squad, but the flamethrower roasted the crew.

>> I think this was a mistake on my part. Attacking the Fanatic 628 was not a bad play because he was guarding prisoners, but I should have kept the leader and squad out of CC and made Schwoebel dig them out. Even if they broke in Prep Fire, it would be one less unit moving towards the Alamo.

Turn 4- The Russians turned their attention to the Alamo. At this time, I'd lost a couple of squads in the Alamo, but still had my entire picket force. Russian fire exposed more dummies in the front of the Alamo and broke the 88 crew. Several Russian squads quickly moved past the board 20 factory and onto board 22 north of the village where German forces were lighter. Advancing Russians avoided the Wire and found the minefields, slowing progress into the village. The Germans continued to skulk, and also started to pull in the village picket, giving up a hex or two.

Turn 5- Russian fire continued to pound the front of the Alamo, and a second Heat-of-Battle found the squad with the Panzerschrek go Berserk, and ELR'd the 838 with the flamethrower. They would later be shredded by the kill stack on a 12-4. Russian forces continued to move into position to assault the factory, and a brave DC squad entered the building adjacent to the factory, only to die there. Russian AFVs surrounded the factory and opened fire, giving notice that it would not be easy for the Germans to hold on. The Germans started pushing out of the village and into the factory, putting a couple of squads in the street.

Turn 6- Two turns to go, and my plan had worked so far. Schwoebel had only two turns to dig me out of the factory, but he still had a lot of firepower. The Russians had lost half of their Infantry, but so had the Germans, and the Russians still had all of their AFVs. One AFV drove into the front of the Alamo, establishing a bridgehead for the rest of the Russian troops. Thankfully, none could take advantage of that as they instead ran around the Wire and minefields and through the village. The western side of the factory was also assaulted, but not enough troops were available to get in yet. The kill stack dropped their weapons and ran down the eastern flank to get into position to assault that side of the factory. During the German turn, the 8-1 quit trying to rally the conscripts and instead took the flamethrower out of their hands. Then the conscripts self-rallied. The AFV inside the factory was introduced to the flamethrower and promptly started burning, and the Germans fell back into the eastern side of the factory. One turn to go, could they hold on?

Turn 7- The Russian horde, or half-horde because of losses, attacks. The AFVs go wild and drive into the factory. One locks down a group of Germans, one bogs in an entry hex, and one tries to lock down another group of Germans, but the flamethrower ends that idea. Russians charge the factory and survive the resulting fire to mixed effects. For example, the 10-2 passes, but one squad with him pins and the other breaks. The end result is that only two groups of Germans can be attacked in CC. The stack with the flamethrower is eliminated, but the stack locked down by the Russian AFV kills a squad and survives the return attack.

Last player turn. One German squad with MMG is in the back of the factory, surrounded by a 10-2/8-0/628 on one side, a couple of squads and a burning wreck on the other side, and an AFV with an 85L on a third side. One German squad is locked in Melee with a Russian squad and an AFV. First, the Russian 8-0 recovers the flamethrower, then he and the 628 break under fire from the German squad. Then the Russians open up. 12 +1 from AFV MG's, 16 +0 from the AFV main gun, 24 +6 from the squads in the burning wreck, and the German squad stands strong. The Russians are running out of options, and when the AFV can't eliminate the squad in its hex, the Germans remain in control of the factory.

Synopsis - This was one tight game that lived up to it's name. The streets ran red with blood this day as both sides were decimated with losses. Schwoebel played straight into my plan, and I still feel lucky to win. A fun game, and an enjoyable scenario.

Lessons learned -

  • Shostak commented that keeping the heavy weapons in the factory for the end-game might be the wrong thing to do in this scenario. My PSK never got to fire, and the squad with the flamethrower broke before using it, but the leader with the FT was invaluable.
  • I got too carried away with CC in the western factory. Keeping control of that factory at the beginning of Turn 4 might have made it impossible for Schwoebel to take the other factory.
  • My Gun placement could have been better. The 20L was effective and probably gained me a quarter or half turn, but the 88 was seen immediately and avoided. It fired twice, broke a stack once, and failed its first MC.

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