Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Berlin or Bust : First blood

We finally did our real first battle for Berlin or Bust last Saturday and it was fun. We had first tries to get along the rules and the infantry/tank balance.

The scenario was simple. The Germans had control of a small hamlet, and the Soviets have decided to take it by force. We used the Attack/Defense rules of "Section d'Assaut", a French rule set for 20mm miniatures. Basically it states that when you attack you have twice the amount of units of the defender. To balance it, all objectives are within the defender deployment area. We also used their rule for reinforcement. Reinforcements are planned and a reinforcement unit has a decrease cost whether it arrives in the first half (-25%) or the second half (-50%) of the game.
Soviet deploy 10 inch on the left side, German in 3/4 right. Truck and kubelwagens represent the objectives
The main road that will be disputed. The wood will be of high importance for the Soviet
The army list was :
Germans : Veteran, Sturmgrenadier, 1 HQ (medic), 2 grenadier squads (LMG+Panzerfaust), Pioneer squad (Panzerfaust, Panzerschreck and flamethrower), MG team, light mortar, 1 Panzer IV and 1 Panzer IV in reinforcement (Turn 4).

Soviets : Elite, Desant, HQ in a jeep, 3 Rifle squad (5 SMG, 1 Packed LMG) on a halftrack with MG, 2 Antitank rifle team, 2 MG team, 1 medium mortar, 2 antitank gun 1 JSU 122, 2 T34, 2 T34 in reinforcement (turn 5)

The houses are Dave Graffam houses printed to match 20 mm. The floor can be taken out.

We forgot to take pictures as we were under time pressure (last metro) and the first turn took ages.

In a summary, turn 1, the German immobilize the T34 with a lucky panzerfaust while the JSU kept on being missed (and it is a large vehicle, meaning I have a +1 to hit!), the Soviet wiped out 1 half team in the woods and the MG team with heavy fire. German : 3/Soviet 0
Turn 2 saw the JSU immobilized too while the Soviet destroy about half the German units. Luckily the Panzer IV is still not affected, leaving the soviet moving carefully to get the objectives.German : 3/Soviet 0

 Turn 3, the Soviet continue their massacre, only the HQ and few grenadiers are left. The German are able to wipe out 1 rifle and the Soviet are hiding in the woods. Their 2 tanks immobilized in the middle of the road are avoiding fast move, while the last T34 move inside the hamlet. German : 2/Soviet 1

Turn 4 see the Panzer IV reinforcement coming, killing a full rifle squad on-board a half-track.That Rifle was about to capture 1 objective. The last T34 is immobilized (but not destroyed!). German : 2/Soviet 1

Turn 5, the German are running low in manpower, only 2 grenadier left. Their last action is to throw a grenade each in the last rifle on-board a half-track, killing half of them, while the rifle successfully throw a grenade back killing the 2 heroes.  The Soviet reinforcements arrive and shoot to the German reinforcement without touching it. Meanwhile, the last AT rifle finally hit the Panzer IV in the hamlet killing on of the crew. German : 2/Soviet 1

Turn 6, the final one. The battle is now with the tanks. If the Soviet can destroy the German tank in the hamlet, they are sure to win as then no German would remain to cover the objectives. The Soviet successfully blow up the Panzer IV reinforcement while the tank in the hamlet is not destroyed.

We conclude on a draw. The Germans have only 1 damaged tank left but the Soviet have suffered heavy losses but would be able to take the hamlet.

When we started the game, we thought it was too much unbalanced. The Soviet had 100RP and the German 50RP. We thought the Germans would be wiped out easily.
On the contrary, taking heavy losses, the Germans were able to inflict a lot of damages to the Soviet, taking out the tanks (even if immobilized only).
From my point of view (German), I should have kept all my team back instead of putting them in front line. The LMG/HMG are deadly and the survivability of units is very low. At the same time, even if in front line, I should have camouflaged them (can be only attacked within very short distance), or even prone them. Also the houses were supposed to be wood only and the troops inside where easily destroyed with HMG/LMG fire. The stone walls were better protection! I should have also burn the wood with the flamethrower immediately to interdict it.
For the Russian, his main challenge was to get to the objectives and the tanks immobilized in the middle of the road killed his deployment. He also bought 2 AT guns which were of no use (he thought I would have more armors), and the wood were used well by him.