Friday, 27 November 2015

Part Five: ENDEX - Cossacks Carry the Day

 Throughout the action 5th Panzer's armour has had no real part to play. Neither the infantry, stuck in the marsh move upon move, only the Cossacks who alone kept their mobility and the mortar and Artillery combo have carried the action to a conclusion...
 The Cossacks push on cutting the line of escape for the defenders.
 Meanwhile the road block comes under intense fire mixed with smoke being now the only, and original, bar to success...
 ...the fire is murderous...
 What to do with the prisoners? In this case the dice say to follow the Fuhrer order...
 ...our first plastic atrocity...
 On go the Cossacks, moving to outflank the road block.
 Even without the encumbrance of prisoners the infantry can't get a move on.
 The A/T at the block is knocked out by a mortar round landing behind the shield...
 Another squadron of Cossacks follow the stream along the edge of the wood towards the road.

 The deep penetration group cut of the retreating remnants and take them prisoner...the dice show them to be a descent lot.
 At a canter, the Cossacks make good progress...
 ...but not the PBI...
"So, Hans, you're telling me zis 37 is more of a dinner gong or alarm clock?" 
 ...there's a whole lot of wallowing going on.
 Spotted, the Cossacks come under 120mm mortar fire!

 The guarding cavalry can do nothing to help their comrades.
 At last a target!
 ...Ooops! they look angry...
 The dismounted Cossacks pour fire onto the seemingly unguarded mortar position...
 ...but the supporting company hears the assault and gives covering fire.
 The dismounted take casualties...
 ..and the surviving mortar crew runs for apparent safety!
 The outflanking manoeuvre has failed...
 The other Cossacks cross and approach the block frontally!

 ...wait for it...wait for it...

 Infantry arrive over the last...
 ...but many stragglers are still to get forward.
 Aware the advanced Cossacks are carrying the fight the HQ and as much support as possible make best speed forward.

 A supporting stonk comes in.

 The survivors of the outflanking group fall back to the cover of the wood.
 There's still life in the blocking company and they cause hits...
 The end is near but no-one is running. They have survived their morale test. Being a separate unit, the road block force rolls separately in the scenario.
 The Cossacks dismount, not wishing to try a frontal assault and work their way...
 ...onto the road block itself

 ...they call in mortar fire as the FOO parties are on the move so there's no comms to the 105's.
 It is concentrated and devastating.
 They don't pass the next morale roll and they surrender.
They go into the bag.

Thanks to Colin for a great game. A number of 'firsts' in this one. All grist to the mill for Stalingrad as we will come across cavalry again in the snows of 'Operation Uranus' at a future date DV.

Next WW2 game - into Stalingrad itself.
Next Napoleonic game - Talavera

Friday, 20 November 2015

Part Four - Annihilation

The Germans enjoy superiority of fire power and manoeuvrable elements...and it is telling...
The line of former Russian positions is reached and occupied.
 The right flank coy moves under the covering fire of the first coy.
 The wire is an obstacle inside an obstacle and would have been formidable had it not been for the efficiency of their artillery.
 Deadly is the FOO party...
 Trying to duck out the back way the few surviving Russians try to withdraw (sprint) towards the rear even though the bombardment is still raining down. They know that to stay is to replaced by a marker.
 Meanwhile the Russian Cossacks dismount into a skirmish line to shoot at targets of opportunity on the edges of the wood.

 Across the field the German Cossacks have the same notion.
 The mortar fire is thick and fast. It is intermingled with heavier salvoes of 105mm rounds.
 The Russians making their way forward through the scrubby woodland are, as yet, unaware of their right flank unit crumbling.
 Crew and weapon take a direct hit.
 Remounted, the German Cossacks now sweep around the open flank into the spares cover of the open wood.
 Oops! the skirmish line is suddenly charged and is destroyed.
 The horse holders don't hold their horses but mount and beat it!

 The available artillery concentrates on the still advancing Russians.
 ...but the cavalry has got behind those trying to retreat and there is no option but to surrender.
 The aerial shot shows the hopelessness of their situation... fact, it's not looking good all round!
 The far hill is in German hands and is idea for the further FOO party.
 Back on the line the Russians are being chewed up by the artillery. There is no protection and no reply.
 The Germans advance...
 ...over a moonscape of destruction...
 ...the flank crumbles. Not due to lack of will but annihilation.
'Comrades, has anyone seen my ear drums?'
 ...still the Russian officer waves his men on! Keen, you know officers, and when they lead from the front in a bad situation you know the paddle has been misplaced during this particular boat trip.
 No news is good news at the road block.
 ...but they help deliver some bad news to the hill...
 ...still leaving...
 ...still stuck in the marsh...
 ...still at the back of the queue, but, hey, who's complaining?
 The Cossacks are vulnerable to 120mm mortar fire. Revenge is sweet.
 It's looking rather sticky for the Russians in the wood. How much more of this can they take?
'Wow! And me without a camera.'
 The German cossacks reach, and are careful not to fall in, the ravine that was covering part of the flank.
 Smoke falls...
'Stand to! We're next!'
 ...accurately on the road block.
 Finally the Russians break.
 The German infantry is tardy at the follow up...
 ...but they get onto the hill at last.
All that survives is the actual road block itself. Fear feeds on's a good job they're plastic.

Next: This the end?