After a quick change of scenery and some campaign admin we get to game 5 of the Rückzug East Front campaign. With the Germans at 6 VP, the Soviets had to push regardless of cost to gain victory.
Because of the victory in the last game, the Germans had 3 D20 rolls on the support list, which could have gotten them tanks, but resulted in: a regular squad (#4), 3 extra riflemen (used to fill some gaps) and a sniper.
The Germans were in a village for an attack & defend scenario. Jasper and René would have to work some magic here to turn the campaign around. Their support roll didn't let them down at 15 points, which bought them a T34-76, flame thrower and the ever-returning elite scout squad and pre-game barrage.
The Patrol phase was rather timid, with no exciting choices.
You can see the Soviets outflanking the Germans on their left, but a bit back. The action was to be funneled into the centre.
In a campaign tradition Jasper diced 3 x 6s on his first roll thus ending the turn and negating his pre- game barrage immediately. Muffled smiles and curses all round.
And look who's here! A T34-76, soon joined by a fresh scout team.
Little did they know...
The Soviets were not messing around this time. A scout team pushed into the pigstie, covered by lots of tank driver LMGs.
And up popped a German squad from ambush behind the hedge. Within 4” of the scouts, so close combat broke out!
It turned bloody. The scout team including junior leader was wiped out, but the Obergefreiter also bit the dust and four of his men. German morale dropped 1, Soviet 2.
The T34-76 also took an
overwatch shot at the remainder of the Germans, who then looked very
The Soviets kept pushing though, and the SMG tank drivers pushed forward while the German squad was targeted again by the T34.
This allowed the Soviets to push closer to a German jump off point. Tension rising!
As the Germans tried to strike back, a Soviet flame thrower ambushed them! Ach nein! Their end was terrible and final! German moral dropped 2
But now it was tit for tat. An MMG opened up and wounded the Soviet junior leader. Soviet morale dropped 1.
A German squad also appeared and delivered more punishment, killing the junior leader. Morale dropped another 1
In a double turn the Germans repositioned to give the LMG and MMG another chance at the tank drivers. The Tank driver SMGs were pinned
And the Soviets went all in to relieve pressure on their comrades in the pigstie!
The Germans kept pounding. The pinned Soviet squad was now very close to breaking. And if they did, the Soviets would be at half their force morale and the Germans could pull back
And see how they run! Soviet morale dropped to 4, triggering the German escape clause.
In probably their last turn the Russians deployed their flame thrower and did some damage as a parting shot.
The tank rider LMGs made a mad dash for the German jump off point but fell just short.
At which point the Germans took to the rear while the going was good (although some felt so cocky, they wanted to slug it out and give the Soviets a final beating. Wiser council prevailed)
Which effectively concluded the campaign. The Germans now had 7 VP, with one more game possible (we rolled for that). A Soviet campaign victory or draw was now out of reach.
Although the Russians took a lot of hits in the pigstie, actual losses on the Tank drivers were light. And while the Germans lost a squad, those casualties would not be disastrous.
A medal goes to Arvid for getting his platoon safe out of Belarus without defeat. Ignominy remains for Jasper and René. Soviet hierarchy doesn't have much sympathy for failure. Despite their best efforts and some close calls, the German force stayed intact
Many thanks for the Rückzug campaign rules to David Hiscocks and to Adam David Warne for the suggestion to use it for the Eastern Front. And then of course also to the Lardies. You've given the four of us a lot of fun and inspiration. Not just during the games, but also in between. It provided a target for Jasper's painting and resulted in a T-shirt for Arvid (see game 4).
Of course many thanks to Arvid, René and Jasper for playing and to Jasper and Christie for hosting! It has been a delight.