Towards the German goals my 1st turn plan is to.
- Establish fire bases to suppress factory rooftops where artillery observers and hidden machine guns may be lurking.
- Use half squads (think "Spread out everyone") to recon the major N-S road (Tramvanaya Street) that I have to cross before entering good cover along a railroad embankment near the factory complex outbuildings.
- Follow these up with dummy stacks to draw fire and reveal enemy MGs and with any luck if he has offboard arty (which he does) draw it down. Dummy stacks are piles of question marks that can't be inspected unless they do something hasty in enemy line of sight. They can't shoot. They have no morale. If an enemy enters a hex with dummy stacks they vanish. They're the equivalent of "I think I saw some movement or heard some noise over there." If the enemy shoots at dummy stacks and gets ANY result, they vanish. P could have plenty of these for the Russians as well and, as it turns out, he does. I shoot out several Russian forward-deployed dummy stacks by the end of my half of Turn 2.
- Bring my OBA down on any Russians that lose concealment or hidden status.
The rest of this won't make much sense until I get a photo up next Saturday. But for those of you who can look up a digital ASL Red Barricades Map, the following gets you a sense of what I did on Turn 1.
StugB enters K1 and does not bog down in the debris. Stops moving. This has the 10-2 leader. All the hatches stay closed. His job is to sit there all day and start suppressing factory rooftops with 75mm area fire. MG kill stack of HMG and MMG enters wooden building G1 in the advance phase with a leader tagging along. Their job is to sit there all day and shoot at nearby factory outbuildings, area fire, to suppress Russians that may be lurking there. Squad with mortar enters O-nought. His jobs is to sit there all day and drop 50mm mortars onto factory rooftops. Another squad with mortar at A5. Same job.
All of this is out of concern that there might be one or even two modules of Russian offboard artillery and I have everywhere at least 200meters of relatively open grown that is strewn with debris and wooden building rubble that are better than no cover but not really very good cover. After they've shot up all the rooftops in sight, their sights will be lowered to building interiors (except for the 50mm, which are largely useless for stripping concealments from guys inside in buildings or rubble).
Fast moving half squads bypass the buildings on the west edge hexes A7-A9 and start searching from the Row B wooden buildings. Dummy stacks follow up. Big fat stacks whose job is to tempt Russians. There are piles of Russians in B11 wooden building. and B12 stone building. A Russian 9-2 leader (rarer than platinum those guys) and THREE Russian squads starts torching that building by kindling B-13 ground level three times. There's Russians also in C-11 stone building. These guys are all on the WRONG side of Tramvanaya Street (west of the street) which means that if I do my job right I can isolate them and gun them down. I'd happily sacrifice all my PzIIILs to get that Russian 9-2. And any time you wax a Russian squad it's to the Greater Good. The. Greater. Good. (Say it like a zombie).
Half squads and dummies also enter along the R1 to U1 hexes, assault moving the whole way, to secure the flank and to tempt Russians to reveal their positions. None do.
During the Russian Defensive Fire phase, nothing much happens save for bringing down an Artillery Request and Spotting Round at C9. So he's going to blast all those Germans encroaching from the west, but most of those are dummy stacks, so the dummy stacks are doing that-which-I-hoped-they'd-do. Better still, in the Russian part of Turn 1, he tries to convert the spotting round to he can fire for effect on my stacks of dummies and the occasional real half squad. He red cards (you have to make an extra request from the Battalion Morter Company Commander when you want to bring concentrations down on enemies that you're not sure about). So battery access is denied and the Spotting Round goes away. Fire mission canceled. In German Turn 2 Russian defensive fire he is again denied access. So now that battery is nearly useless. On more access denial and he loses the artillery support for the remainder of the day. That's a real gift for Germans trying to cross all that lousy terrain. All my dummy stack NCOs are awarded Iron Crosses for tempting that Russian Artillery down on nothing and getting P to red card the artillery.
Better still, P decides to close combat my dummy stack that has advanced into B-10. This is a great idea if they are real Germans because Russians are stealthy and those are SMG squads. He has a good chance of ambushing the concealed Germans (dummy stacks), killing them, and automatically and immediately falling back to stone building C-11 for a successful close combat after ambush. But B-10 has no real Germans. So he advances into the wooden rubble, eliminates the dummy stacks, and STAYS THERE. No close combat, no ambush, no retreat-after-close combat. They're easy meat for German Player Turn 2.
German Turn 2.
Stukas requested but don't arrive.
A PzIII enters A9 in bypass move around a wooden building, enters A-10 and farts out (by dint of good dice) a cloud of smoke. Rolls on ti B-11 wooden building in Bypass Move and remains In Motion. This is called "vehicular bypass movement freeze sleaze" by ASL grogs. Tanks really catch the eye of enemy infantry, so if you can get a tank at the same level in their hex, even if it's a POS PzIIIL moving fast, they don't get to shoot at other targets that are farther away yet more dangerous. So the Russians go crazy lobbing molotov cocktails.They miss. Hard to hit a small moving tank in any effective way with a pickle jar full of flaming fuel. Two more Russian squads start hurling mols from B-10 wooden rubble and they miss. I like that. They've "fired." A Sturm half squad with a DC enters the smoked hex A-10, and places a demo charge on their heads in B-10. He shoots again to no effect. In the Advancing fire phase, the DC breaks one squad and battle hardens the other. But by the end of my Advancing Fire phase, other stacks of Sturms (who have moved confidently onto the board because the Russian OBA fire mission was cancelled) blow away the remaining Russians in the stack save for a broken, casualty reduced, ELR conscript half-squad. The half squad dies for failure to route while "No Quarter" is in effect. And I secure the now empty stone building.
That gives me 4 casualty victory points (which are useful between days for turning 1st line squads into elite squads), one objective stone building, and leaves the Russian leader and squad lurking in C-13 vulnerable to destruction unless P decides to run away before I can trap them. In that event, I may be able to capture the B-12 stone building intact or at least secure it (for victory building locations) BEFORE it burns down. If I can put out the kindling fires before they blaze, I can get the whole building as an observation post.
What else. Oh yes, I correct my offboard mortar fire mission to F-9, where it has lots of concealed and cloaked Russians. But my Battalion Mortar Company Commander has no problem with shooting at Russians that might not be real. The hammer comes down and eliminates dummy stacks in F8 (a stone building), strips concealment in F9 and G10, and eliminates a dummy cloaking counter in F-10. So now I know where there's a hole in his outbuilding defensive line on Tramvanaya Street.
Ima make that hole wider in Turn 3.
Game play suspended for the day after German Turn 2. Game to resume next Friday with Russian Turn 2. Pix next Saturday.
"Fuck the king." - Sandor Clegane
"And the story was whatever was the song what it was." - Dire Straits