Thursday, 22 September 2016

Stalingrad - Hanging on

No resupply, no reinforcement and no hope of relief but the Germans are hanging on in the ruins of the, now carved up chunks of, city of Stalingrad. It started as a pointless political exercise to grab a city because it had Stalin's name and will end with the sacrifice of the cream of the Wehrmacht for no good strategic or tactical reason. The three fold boost to the Russians is a gift they are determined to capitalise on...no ideological pun intended
The two Russian tank brigades are heedless of losses
 The katyusha rains fire on the dwindling pockets of resistance
 With all the airfields gone, Gumrak, Pitomnik, Tatsinskaya and the rest, virtually no supplies are getting through by air...and the odd longer range sortie is a waste of time. Mainly it goes to the Russians now.
 Despite everything there is still fight in the scattered group of survivors
 A couple of T34 companies charge on through a convenient gap onto some open ground with the aim of deploying an adhoc gun-line...but plough into a mine field...oopski!
 Meanwhile, the last of the armour attracts a deluge of fire...
 ...plenty miss but a lot of hits too
 Churning through the months of debris...
 The infantry supports the armour by the occupied buildings. In RF you have to roll for morale if unsupported armour comes close to occupied positions
 Back up the embankment the ambush draws off some of the Russian infantry
 One battalion is now tasked with a sweep of the former German start line
 ...and they're keen...
 ...to get to grips...
 The Russians swarm back over their formerly defended ground

 ...and the Germans keep up their fighting withdrawal
 ...the Russians are capturing ground. Factories and houses are that in name only. Battling from one pile of frozen rubble to the next...
 Going out in a blaze of glory turns into going out in a blaze...
 The katyushas just keep turning the rubble over
 But there are still survivors
 There are signs of cracking now. This guy, the last of his unit, flees to a hole and stays there
 ...others slide down the icy ramparts...
 ...and into captivity

 German 81mm mortars put down more fire to break up yet another attack in the making...

 The Air Regiments' ground attack is surprisingly ineffectual...

 ..but the ground squeeze goes on...
 Reduced but still fighting, the flank defence gathers to make a break for relative safety if they can but disengage and put some distance between themselves and the angry Russians...
 ...but its not looking hopeful
 Crossing the main road between the marshalling yard and the workers houses
 Nice to have some moving cover...
 Passing the frozen remains of the previous engagements...
 Russian infantry...
 ...and Russian armour flow through the terrain like a lava flow...
 ...igniting and destroying all in its path...
 The barrage sweeps to the end of the factory...
 ...and the infantry stand to ready for the next wave...
 Back through the under pass...
 ...unless the flankers get a move on they'll be trapped with armour in their rear...
 The Russian Division clears pockets of resistance it passes through...
 ...they come at the Germans from every side...
 Stormovik's eye view...
 ...and again...
 Just about clear of the yard...
 Thomasov the tank engine!..the fat controller is gone, along with his family and his house...
Ah, yes! Where would I be without my war-hammer...er...any reference to something similar is pure fantasy and does not reflect the gaming habits of us as a group nor of my scenery making technique sometimes referred to, due to frenzy, as war-hammer hysterical.

Next time: Giving up - a thaw point.

12 comments:

  1. This is fantastic - and so bleak! I had taken my eye off your blog for a while, to my enduring shame, and had forgotten this game, but now it is winter! So impressive. The warhammer reference is cute, but this vision of hell is bleaker than anything the W40K lads could cook up.
    Great table and game.

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    1. Thanks Padre. I get a chill just walking in the Games room. Never mind space - in plastic no one can hear you scream

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  2. This continues to be superb beyond words Simon. Well done to all. Great photos!

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  3. Thanks James. I think it may have run its course by next time. Still, it might leave us open to doing Manstein's 'Winter-Storm' relief attempt, Kharkov or even the Courland Pocket at some future date

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  4. What a fantastic looking set-up, makes you feel cold just looking at the pics, and such an enthusiastic account of a wargame too - brilliant, thank you.
    Chris
    http://notjustoldschool.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. Thanks for the kind comment Chris. We do (as you can see) everything on the cheap. We really like the effects though.

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  6. Truly awesome... and inspirational!

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  7. Replies
    1. Don't know who you are pal but your casual, intrusive vandalism ain't winning you any brownie points. As I say to truculent five-year-olds - it isn't big and it isn't clever.

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