Sunday, 12 March 2017

Kursk - Part Five: Out of the Frying Pan...

As per the historical situation the Panzer Corps at the tip of 9th Army 's attack has just about punched through the first defensive belt and is half way to its first of two major objectives.
"Wait for it....wait for it..."
The PAK front is revealing itself and getting the lead tanks into a kill zone where the cross fire can be the more effective
"Sorry comrade. I do that when I'm nervous"
 Germans have their suspicions confirmed when a bunker lets rip. They concentrate fire to suppress it.
 It's taken out. There's more to come though
 Air support by the Luftwaffe is in the ascendent again...top cover....
 ...and a bomb run from medium height onto that Russian support line of katyushas and 122mm guns
 The Staffel get's a hit. Scratch one katyusha.
"No, no. It's up there!"
 85mm AA tries desperately to drive off the JU 88's...unsuccessfully
"Hey, come back! We've signed for that!"
 Time for some of the German artillery to relocate
 ...because it's all going so well...isn't it?
 Surprise! While clearing the trenches the Germans are close assaulted by Russians waiting in their bunkers for the enemy to pass them by. Suddenly the trench is all shouts, shots and struggling men.
 In an 'heroic action' (according to the rules) or a 'stupid action' according to everyone else, two Ivans' try to attach magnetic mines to a passing PzIV....
 After the bomb run the gunners are ordered to advance to the rear...
 The first action throws the Germans out of the trench with losses. A second SMG assault group appear from further down the trench. The Panzergrenadiers are in a desperate fight.
 Unaware of the enemy appearing in the area just cleared, the panzers advance continues
 Short and brutal the fight is done. The last Russian dies on the bayonet.
 Over go the FH18's and...
 ...the horses too
 On the left flank the German armour approaches the railway embankment with trepidation...
 Back in the trench line the mortar battery has nowhere to go and nothing to lose
 Some survivors try surrendering...
 ...while the Germans systematically clear up...
 The armour is cheered to see the back of the nearest artillery receding into the distance
 The 105mm OP team dismount and take to a former anti-tank position
 The mortars get a stay of execution when massive fire power from the 150mm FH's and 210mm morsers bracket them...
 Yet another OP team gets right forward to former Russian positions
 Panzer III N's mount the embankment to have a peak into Pandora's box...
 The final call of the 82mm battery is on their former infantry positions now occupied by the remnants of 86 Div.
 ...the armour is through...just about...
 ...but the clearing goes on mercilessly
 ...looking for more hidden bunkers...
 More Russians appear!
 The fight goes on. Another tank burns.
 Optimistic Russians
 Furious Germans (Collin's got this thing about shooting prisoners but he says he's just following orders...dice)
"What do you mean which-ones-are-the-Germans?"
 Just then a Pe2 sneaks in for an attack...but misidentifies the target!
 It appears the field is left to the Germans. Just the detritus of war left lying around.
"Hey, Hans. Can you smell burning?"
Now to reorganise for the next objective. Under their air cover POL, ammo and artillery can come forward.

The Germans found all through the battle that areas they had supposedly taken were reoccupied by the Russians. They were constantly sending forces back, or not getting the reinforcement they were expecting, because of this Russian tactic.

Next: Pushing on to the objective

16 comments:

  1. Fantastic stuff- love the flamethrower marker.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Thanks Pete. I took a strip of old duvet stuffing and painted it. Now when I need a flame marker I pull a bit off the strip and roll one end between the fingers.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Sergiuss. I referred to old photos and maps for the terrain moulding.

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  3. What a great and intense looking battle! Love the air support, the flamethrowers, trenches, wonderful pictures...Well, what's not to like here?

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  4. Inspiring. Makes me nostalgic for games in Scotland...

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    1. We're still here any time you can make it. Open invitation Paul.

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  5. Even though your tone is tongue in cheek (which I love), these posts make me appreciate the heroism of the Russian troops who manned those forward lines of defences, knowing that they had no escape and no duty but to sell their lives dearly. Inspiring and sad. Also a continued feast for the eyes.

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    1. I know what you mean. Suffering is not a comparable experience. You can't say a Canadian father suffers less that a Russian mother at the news of the fate of their loved ones at the front or that a Chinese child bombed by the Japanese army suffers comparably more than with a merchant sailor clinging to wreckage in the freezing night of the Atlantic. We play out scenarios, empathise and hold our masters to shaky account through the ballot box.

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  6. I've only just had the chance to read through this and the previous posts. All I can say is well done once again on an epic game, superb photography and entertaining narrative!

    I love your scenery - do you think you might be able to do a post sometime showing how you set up the terrain? An overall shot of the whole table would be interesting too (although I love your tight camera shots).

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    1. Thanks Stryker. Yes, I have set out through the 'How to...' sections the route to the scenery. Overall shots are far and few between because you are in danger of breaking the 'spell' of suspended belief when a wide angle shot gets the piles of boxes, rulebooks and players picking their noses in shot. The practical aspect stops it being an oft presented shot because a table of 24ft in length and varied width means getting it all in is really tricky.

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  7. I am of course rooting for the Russkis. Superb as usual.

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    1. Me too, George...the poor blighters. Imagine going through all that, surviving and ending up with Stalinist communism!

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  8. Hi From Ireland but not here. I know there is a long way to go which is good. I'm looking forward to when the Germans trip the first Soviet armour. Another winner! See you in April.

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