Thursday, December 13, 2012

AirCAv: Quick Progress Update

Vendetta 04 and Valkyrie 01 are finally taking shape. Vendetta 04 was actually assembled a long time ago, but finally got the under and basecoats done.

Next up is to do the cockpit details, pilots, weapons details, weathering, decals, etc.

In the meantime, the remainig 30 Catachans are looking good. Don't have pics though. Hopefully next update.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Baptism of fire for Vendetta 03

It was a night of many firsts: 1st game with my IG in 6th Ed, 1st time using a Lord Commissar, 1st time using Priests since the ancient days of 3rd Ed - and the 1st time using my Vendetta since I finished it a year and a half ago. In fact, it's the first time I've used any of the IG assault flyers ever since the Codex came out a few years ago.

And it was a blast! Flying into battle on the enemy flanks is definitely a tactical multiplier, and while the Vendetta did not actually shoot down any of the 2 enemy Stormravens, it caused enough worry and damage to totally disrupt the enemy. The Vendetta came off pretty well, causing 2 hit points on each of the Stormravens, forcing one to hover (stunned) whence it was finished off by Leman Russ battle tanks. It also destroyed a Razorback and drew all kinds of fire, suffering 1 glancing hit (from a bolt pistol).

My first IG 6th Ed list itself was pretty fun to play. It's not as big as my 5th Ed infantry lists of 105-125 infantry, but it was hefty enough with 78 infantry and 5 vehicles. The biggest drawback of the list is that it had very few scoring units (only 4 after I combine the platoon infantry squads), and I must admit that I am not accustomed to so few for my IG. The list:

Company Command - w standard bearer and vox caster
Lord Commissar - w power fist
2 Ministorum Priests - both w eviscerator, one also w shotgun

1st Platoon:
Command - Lt. w close combat weapon & bolt pistol, vox caster, grenade launcher, meltagun
1st Squad - Sgt w power sword & laspistol, Commissar w power axe, vox caster, meltagun, krak grenades
2nd Squad - Sgt w close combat weapon & laspistol, meltagun, krak grenades
3rd Squad - Sgt w close combat weapon & laspistol, meltagun, krak grenades

2nd Platoon:
Command - Lt. w power sword & bolt pistol, vox caster, grenade launcher, meltagun
1st Squad - Sgt w power sword & bolt pistol, vox caster, meltagun, krak grenades
2nd Squad - Sgt w power sword & bolt pistol, meltagun, krak grenades
3rd Squad - Sgt w power sword & laspistol, meltagun, krak grenades


Assault Tank Squadron
2 Leman Russ Demolishers - demolisher battle cannons and hull & sponson heavy bolters

Leman Russ Squadron
2 Leman Russ - battle cannons and hull & sponson heavy bolters

Next time I'm going to keep the regimental standard bearer at home and use the points for heavy bolters on the Vendetta and an extra grenade launcher or flamer for either 1st or 2nd platoon Command Squad.

The Emperor Protects!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Belated update from France. Better late than never.

You may have guessed it - I started a new job in September, and was literally swept away with work. Completely forgot to update my last campaign game in our France 1940 FOW campaign.

It was a brilliant battle against Mark's BEF. I was really cocky at the start of the battle and actually charged his lead platoon with my PzIIs. And I learnt the hard way how effective those little 2pdr guns can be. Needless to say my PzII platoon was torn to shreds, and the 2 surviving tanks bottled out.

After the initial setback, my troops dug in and waited for reinforcements. The pioneer platoon dug in to cover my right flank while the center and left flanks were covered by the Luftwaffe 88 battery and supported by the CO and the 2iC platoon. In the meantime, the 88s got invoved in long-range counter-battery fire against the Britsh artillery, with Stukas joining in the action as appropriate. The combined and consistent shooting eventually wore down the British batteries, and they were never a real threat in the battle.

The British reinforcements in the form of infantry and mortar platoons, supported by Matilda I's came in from my right flank. The dug-in pioneers were more than enough to discourage the advance of those tanks. Fortunately for me, the British infantry advanced cautiously, deciding to go from wood to wood.

Why this was fortunate for me was because it allowed precious time for my reinforcements to reposition from my far left flank and into battle on the right flank. One light platoon, one PzIII platoon, and the 2iC platoon combined to make a complete mess of the flanking British infantry. And to make sure the British didn't have any ideas about moving his 2pdrs to support those infantry, one of my light platoons hung around behind a hill on the left flank, within charging distance of the British lines should he decide to move his ATGs.

The combined tank platoons and Stuka strikes eventually decimated the British flank attack, and my tanks were now sweeping into assault positions behind a wood. Then it was time to for the final assault, and as one, the 3 tank platoons of the main assault on the right flank struck forwards, while the platoon lurking on the left flank charged the British positions in front of them, thus drawing the deadly 2pdr battery fire away from the main attack. The platoon carrying out the diversionary attack was decimated, losing 4 out of 5 tanks, and the survivors hastily fled the battlefield. But it was not in vain, for the main attack swept up the British right flank and garnered victory for the Germans.

Only one infantry platoon survived on the British side. I lost 2 tank platoons, and while the 88 battery was technically still there, I had lost both guns.

A superb end to an amazing campaign! Thanks Mark for such a brilliant game. Seeing 2 nicely painted armies on a nicely built table in a campaign game with a strong narrative is always too much fun!

And after that game, it was back to 40k! I had resumed work on the AirCav, with all remaining squads now primed, and 3rd squad currently being painted. Vendetta #3 is being assembled. Should be good. Also, the Dark Vengeance box is a great distraction, and combined with the Dark Angels models from another DV box, plus a whole bunch of marines I've had assembled for a long time now, I think I have most of 1st and 3rd Companies to go along with my Ravenwing. Then there's the Chaos codex, and I've got the Hellbrute all primed and ready to go ...

so much hobby, so little time ...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

5PD encounters minor setback in France

Having missed the first week of the campaign, light companies from 5th Panzer swarmed into France, making tremendous progress before being blocked by French forces under Le Nicque (bolstered by a truly unflappable platoon of British Guards, who no doubted caused the Frenchies to perform uncharacteristically well).

This was my first EW FOW game, and I must say I love it!!!! It's truly awesome. Playing the Germans, I learnt (a bit late) that manouver is key to victory. Static units like my 88s need to be carefully deployed as the rest of the force is highly mobile.

As it turned out, I could have deployed those deadly guns better. They didn't get much chance to shoot, but when they did, they easily disposed of their targets. But overall, my light tank company accounted for themselves really well, fighting the Anglo-French force to a standstill before being forced to fallback to regroup (how about that for well-crafted propoganda?).

I was slightly disappointed by my Stukas. French air cover was more effective than expected, driving away my Stukas about 5 times, but the couple of times the Stukas did come in they were pretty deadly.

It was also loads of fun to use the Pz I and early Pz IIC tanks. Being Armour 1 all-round, I really didn't worry at all about enemy firing into the flanks of those formations. The Pz III platoon were playing the role of heavy tank support for the company, and they were pretty effective as less mobile fire platforms.

Pz IIs are awesome! I might just see how I can form 2 platoons of those, as they are really effective tanks. The first kill of the battle (and the first kill by this brand-new army) was by a Pz II sneaking up the flank of a French Somua platoon.

There were a couple of short and sharp point-blank range tank melees. I think it's a valid tactic, but I need to plan and manouver those better next time.

My pioneers played their role really well. They were dug-in in forward positions on the left flank, and advanced with Pz IIIs and Pz IIs after the panzers and Stukas had softened up the enemy. Then they assaulted the enemy tanks, capturing the objective and promptly digging in to hold the objective.

Anyways, it was a blast! Had tons of fun, and learnt a lot from Le Nicque. Now I need to go find more Pz IICs!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Leichte Pionier and Luftwaffe 88 support ready to roll

I'll need to get more pics of this Leichte Pionier platoon up. Really had fun painting these guys, although it's only a small platoon, and I have yet to paint their trucks. The pioneers will lend some much needed engineering support for my advancing panzers, and will also come in handy to hold objectives.

The real fun part about painting this unit is that it's exactly the same as other infantry units, but being early war, I was able to do some different stuff (as opposed to late war). Like having their trousers painted in grey to contrast against the field grey of the tunics. Also, some tiny white markings on the left side of their helmets to suggest the eagle decal which was on Heer helmets in the 1940 campaign. And being pioneers, these guys have black lines on their shoulder tabs instead of the white for the regular infantry.

These Luftwaffe 88s will be sorely needed in the upcoming campaign, what with the expected stiff defence from French and British heavy tanks (and the fact that being a Leichte Panzerkompanie, the guns on my PzII and PzI tanks will probably need some help). These guys and the Stuka support will be most welcome (though don't expect my boys to start cheering Goering too loudly).

I thought I was being clever by repainting my late-war 88s for this unit - until I discovered that the crew are wearing late-war style boots!!! By that time it was too late to change course, and I finished painting the battery in early-war colors anyways, hoping that people won't catch the offending boots (and won't be reading this blog either). The fun bit about painting these guys are the red details on collars and shoulders denoting Luftwaffe gunners, and the little lines on the left side of the helmet to suggest the Luftwaffe eagle.

Anyways, my 5PD detachment is just about ready for the invasion of France. Only the Stuka needs to be finished, and that's almost done. Totally looking forward to the campaign!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Progress for 5PD!

The tanks are nearly done! 2nd platoon got done last night, and that's the last combat platoon in the company. I must say the decals are the most fiddly part of the whole process. I just realized that the pic above shows the left side of the tank. The tank numbers on the right side of the tanks got peeled off when I got a bit too rough with the weathering. I'll leave it as that for now, but will go back and add extra stowage or something to hide the missing numbers.

The pic below are the tanks from Company command, with the 2iC getting the super-cool Panzer IIC, while the boss rides aroun in his little command tank. This platoon's almost done - weathering and final spray tonight.

Also, tonight I should be able to finish priming the Leichte Pionier platoon (7 stands of rifles) and the Stuka. And then we're just about ready to drive south through Belgium and into France!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Leichte Panzerkompanie: Progress!

The mark of a great campaign like the recent Legio Firestorm Bagration campaign is that it inspires you. And true enough, after a long hiatus, I revisited my FoW Blitzkrieg project - a Leichte Panzerkompanie.

When I left the project, I had finished a platoon of Pz II C and was midway through a Pz III E platoon. I painted the tanks with 9PD insignia, as this was one of the light panzer divisions operating in France. But my late-war 5PD force in the recent Bagration campaign did so well that I switched to 5PD instead. The other good reason for me to switch to 5PD was it was one of only 2 panzer divisions which used 2-digit vehicle numbers instead of the usual 3.

So for the past week, this is what I did:

1. Re-did the list based on my increased experience as a FoW commander
2. Painted German Grey over the 9PD insignia on my Pz II (3rd) platoon, and painted on the 5PD insignia
3. Finished painting the Pz III (4th) platoon
4. Went back and redid the tracks and weathering on the Pz II platoon
5. Basecoated all my remaining tanks in German Grey spray
6. Finished painting 1st platoon, a mix of Pz I and Pz II
7. Started prepping the Leichte pionier platoon

This hobby night, I'll start painting 2nd platoon, made up of a Panzerbefehlswagen, 2 Pz I and 2 Pz II. The army at 1750 points will be made up of the following:

Company HQ - 1 Panzerbefehlswagen, 1 Pz II, 1 Pz I
1st platoon - 2 Pz I, 3 Pz II
2nd platoon - 1 Panzerbefehlswagen, 2 Pz I and 2 Pz II
3rd platoon - 5 Pz II
4th platoon - 3 Pz III
Leichte Pionier platoon - 7 stands pioneers
Luftwaffe 8.8cm FlaK 36 - 2 guns with additional crew
Priority air support - Ju-87 Stuka, schwerpunkt

Out to 2000pts, and as an alternative to the 88s is a Panzerschutzen platoon of 7 stands and 4 halftracks. And you know what, I probably need some mortars too. And a Pz IV platoon would look good too, come to think of it.

Anyways, I'll focus on 1750 first, and we'll see what happens when the Blitzkrieg campaign opens up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

5.panzerdivision truimphs at Bykhov again!

Once again, our brave panzertruppen of 5.panzerdivision defeated the enemy hordes at Bykhov. Having just been returned to the line to man the defences at Bykhov, 5PD was assailed by hordes of Soviet infantry, supported by rocket artillery, self-propelled guns, heavy tanks and Sturmoviks. To make matters worse, by sheer bad luck the Soviets had managed to cut off Bykhov in the previous week, and our troops were fighting with very low supplies. But instead of letting this bitter situation get the better of them, this only served to strengthen their resolve, each man prepared to fight to the bitter end if need be.

As is usual throughout this campaign, 5PD was badly outnumbered. Two huge battalions of Soviet infantry were deployed on the right flank, no doubt intent to swamp our lines. They were supported by two IS-2 heavy tanks, a mortar company, an HMG company and a huge battery of around 14 Katyushas. The left flank was covered by a company of SU-122.

Against this horde, the 5PD detachment mustered up 7 Pz IVH, 6 StuG IIIG, 3 Panther A, 3 Pz IIL, 2 platoons of panzer pionier and a battery of 2 Luftwaffe 88s.

The 5PD detachment was spread throughout the frontline. They had fought on this ground before and was able to use that experience to their advantage. The two objectives, one on each flank, were defended by the trusty panzer pionier. The Pz IV platoon, led by the company commander himself were deployed on the far left against the SU-122s. The Luftwaffe 88s deployed in the center to make full use of their superior range. Interspersed between the guns was the Panther platoon. The right flank was brought up by the 2iC in his Pz IV, 2 platoons of StuGs, with the Luchs recce platoon deployed forward.

The most daunting part of the enemy force was his huge artillery support, and that became a priority target. Also, the enemy's right flank was definitely his weak spot, with only 5 SU-122 covering it. This is something my Pz IV can take care of at range, especially with the help of the 88s. The Panthers were tasked to take out the enemy heavy tanks. The StuGs were to target the Katyushas while sweeping up the right flank with the Luchs platoon. At any rate, 5PD will have to close with the enemy fast or face incessant bombardment from both the Katyushas and Sturmoviks.

Seizing the initiative, 5PD moved into the attack. The right flank advanced aggressively, as the StuG platoons spread out while opening fire on the Katyusha battery, destroying only 4 launchers. The Luchs platoons scouted ahead on the extreme right and tested the Russian defences there, gunning down some enemy infantry in the process. The opening round of fire from the Pz IV platoon was not impressive, killing only one SU-122 and forcing another to bail out. The Panthers did not fare any better, and their shots did not find their marks.

The Russian hordes advanced on our right, with both infantry battalions marching headlong towards our lines. A horrible fiery Katyusha bombardement was unleashed on the 88s' and Panthers' position, but after the explosions, smoke and dust, only one 88 was destroyed. Mortar fire on the same area also failed to do any damage. Then on the right flank, the crazed Soviet hordes charged the Luchs platoon with SMGs and grenades! A hail of MG fire from the Luchs and nearby StuGs cut down scores of Soviet infantry, but they still kept coming, such is the unstoppable wave of the Soviet horde. But as man and steel contacted, the enemy infantry failed to do any harm to the light tanks, but were instead further decimated by the merciless point-blank MG and autocannon fire. Goaded by their commissars, the Russians threw themselves into the fray again and again until only a few remained, and even despite their  fearless nature, such were the losses that they fled the battlefield.

Taking advantage of this fortunate turn of events, the Luchs swept up the right flank, with the StuGs in close support. The Panthers stood their ground to concentrate fire on the Russian heavy tanks, and this time the IS-2 company was quickly reduced to smoking ruin as shell after shell found their mark. Likewise, the Pz IV platoon and 88s focused their fire on the SU-122s, quickly  destroying all but one. On the right flank, the Luchs platoon and one of the StuG platoons opened fire on the surviving SMG battalion, thinning their ranks, while the remaining StuG platoon opened fire on the Katyushas, destroying only one. Then the order came - "Panzer vorwart!" - and the entire German tank line advanced as one.

On the extreme right, the Luchs and the StuGs assaulted the enemy infantry. In a short but sharp fight, the Soviet SMG battalion was cut to ribbons and fled off the field. The Soviets were now in a hopeless situation. They had lost all their armor and most of their infantry, and the Germans on both flanks were barreling down on them. In true Soviet style, the Katyushas brought down a fearful barrage on the German forward right fank, with rockets falling on their own comrades still manning HMG positions! Fortunately for the Russains, the infantry were able to find whatever cover they could and came through the bombardment relatively unscathed. Unfortunately for the Russians, the German tanks survived largely unscathed too, with only two tanks forced to bail out. The Russian commander frantically called for air support, but mysteriously, the Sturmoviks did not turn up (really really bad roll).

Then it was time for the coup de grace, as 5PD tanks advanced into the kill. On the right flank, the StuGs and Luchs platoons assaulted the enemy HMG company defending the objective, easily cutting them down to the man and securing the objective for Germany. The remaining forces advanced and opened fire on the Katyushas, finally destroying all launchers. There was nothing more that the Soviets could do, and the handful of survivors of the onslaught retreated off the battlefield.

This had to be the shortest and sharpest FoW battle I had ever experienced. The battle was pretty much one-sided, with the Soviets really lacking in anti-tank assets. A battery or two of ATG would have changed the situation entirely. And this showed in the tally as well. The Soviet force lost 6 of its units in just a few turns, while the Germans only lost a single 88 gun and crew.

It turned out that this was to be the final battle for 5P in this Bagration campaign. Bykhov was held, ensuring that supply lines to Mogilev remained open. The battle also resulted in the retaking of Slavgorod, further securing the German position.

This campaign turn had been nothing short of monumental for the Germans. Although they gained strategic initiative only once, they had managed to win all but one of the battles fought during the campaign turn. The Germans lost Orsha, but also cut off the fallen city by taking Dobryna. The Russian Smolevichi salient was squeezed out and the southern flank was further secured by German victories in Berezina and Zhlobin.

The Bagration campaign is over. History has been rewritten. Victory to the German forces!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5. Panzerdivision defeats Soviet hordes in Bykhov and Rudina!

The third week of the campaign sees the Russians desperate to achieve a significant breakthrough, simultaenously throwing their numerically superior forces straight into the German lines in the north, south and center.

5. panzerdivision was in the thick of the action and was sent in to fend off two major Russian attacks - at Bykhov and Rudina.

The Battle of Bykhov
In a bid to encircle the city of Mogilev, Russian Guards tank forces made a frontal assault on Bykhov, defended by elements of 5.panzerdivision. Comrade Colonel Pura's (Puranovich?) battalion of 12 IS-2s, supported by an attached T34/85 company and IL2 flying tanks rolled into the defenders in a brazen frontal assault.

The 5PD forces were made up of 6 StuG Gs, 5 PzIVH, 3 Panthers and an 88mm FlaK battery, supported by 2 platoons of panzerpionier from 3.Armee reserve. The 88s were deployed in woods on the left flank, while the panzerpioniers dug in to defend objectives in the German lines. The PzIV platoon deployed in the far right to lend support to the dug in panzerpioniers, with the 2iC in his StuG in the center, hidden behind the farmstead. To the left of the woods, the main attack force of Panthers, StuGs and the company commander in his StuG deployed in attack formation.

The Russians started the battle aggressively rolling forward on both flanks. On the German left, IS-2s advanced from the village, opening fire on the Panthers without success. The IS-2s in the center sat on one of the German objectives and opened fire on the Panthers, also without any success as the Panthers' thick sloping frontal armor easily shrugged off the 85mm AP shells. On the German right IS-2s and T-34s advanced at full speed towards the Germans.

The battle proved to be short and sharp. In the German opening move, combined fire from stationery Panthers and the 88 battery knocked out most of the advancing IS-2s on the left flank, causing them to flee the battlefield. With the flank wide open, and using the village as partial cover, the Panthers advanced cautiously forwards, with the StuGs following. The advance had to be cautious, with the German tanks staying as close as possible to woods and buildings, as roving flights of Sturmoviks were harrasing the Germans forces throughout the battle.

In fact, on the far right flank, the PzIV platoon was continually hit by IL2 airstrikes, their rockets destroying the entire platoon in just 3 turns. This is the second time 5PD had to face the Russian airforce, and this time the damage was far worse than the experience in Gorki last week. As saving grace, the PzIVs did manage to destroy two T34s at long range before they went out.

As the dug-in panzerpioniers on the right flank braced for the inevitable heavy tank assault, the German left flank launched into an all-out attack. The Panthers rushing into the left of the village and overwhelming Colonel Pura's lone command tank, capturing the objective by the rail line. The IS-2 platoon guarding the central objective near the road desperately swung in at best speed to contest the objective. At precisely this moment, the German StuG platoon broke cover and swung in on the Russian heavy tanks' left flank. Combined fire from the Panthers to the front, and the StuGs and 88s firing into their thinner side armor, quickly reduced the Russian heavy tank platoon to a single tank, who broke and retreated from the field.

5.panzerdivision truimphs again at Bykhov, recapturing Slavgorod, and throwing the Russians back across the line to their starting positions!

The Desperate Defence of Rudina
At the start of the campaign turn, the Russian northern flank was in a precarious position. While they had captured the city of Vitebsk, as well as the surrounding areas Sumalina and Gorodok, the entire northern flank had been cut off supply by German forces occupying Rudina and, importantly, the rail line connecting Smolensk to Vitebsk. Rudina had become a vital target for the Russians.

The 5.panzerdivision kampgruppe that was victourious in Gorki had been pulled into the rear lines of Rudina to rest and refit, and act as reserves for any attempted Soviet breakthrough. Unfortunately for the intrepid panzertruppen, there was to be no rest, as the Russians threw everything they had at Rudina, and every available forces were rushed into battle.

5.panzerdivision forces in the defence of Rudina were made up of 6 PzIVH, 3 Panthers, a panzerpionier platoon, an attached Luftwaffe 88 battery and a platoon of 2 Tiger tanks from 3.Armee reserve. The Soviet forces attacking from the hils of Kholm under Comrade Colonel Khairul (believed to be a traitor of the Reich) were made up of 11 T-34/85s, 8 SU-100s and bolstered by army reserves of 5 SU-76s and 3 more T34/85s.

Again, 88s took up position in some woods, sited in the German left flank, with the Panthers, PzIV and company command PzIV deployed to the left of the woods. The Soviet objective on the right was occupied by the panzerpionier, supported by Tigers in the extreme right and the 2iC PzIV behind the farm in the center.

The battle started off quite disastrously for 5.panzerdivision. While the initial volleys of AP shells knocked out 3 T34s in the left flank, a serious deployment error resulted in one of the Tigers easily knocked out at extreme range by the SU-100s, while the crew of the other Tiger was forced to bail out. A force of 9 T34s with support from 4 SU-100s were quickly closing in on the isolated panzerpioniers, and it looked like the battle would be carried by the Russians in short order.

There was only one thing to do, and risking all, the Panthers and PzIVs on the left flank advanced at full speed into the Russians, intent on capturing the objective on that flank. While more T34s were knocked out, somehow enough SU76s managed to escape destruction and were able to come round the rear and sides of the German tanks, taking a heavy toll on the PzIV platoon. However, superior German crew and weaponry gave the outnumbered panzertruppen the edge and in 3 turns of point-blank range firefight melee, all Russian resistance in the far left flank was annihilated.

The troubles were not over yet for the Germans though, as while the Panthers and surviving PzIVs had reached the edge of the village, they still had the SU-100s to deal with. At the same time, on the right flank, the Germans were about to be overwhelmed as 3 T34s had come into point-blank range of the lone Tiger, firing again and again into the German heavy tank, with another 6 barreling towards the panzerpionier.

The large T34 platoon at the last moment veered right and headed straight towards the objective on the German left flank, which was unoccupied. But the 88 battery in the woods demonstrated why 88s are the stuff of legends as they took out 4 of the advancing T34s in a single round of rapid-firing high-velocity shells. This combined with another T34 crew forced to abandon their tank after coming under fire from the lone Tiger, and the last T34 in that platoon destroyed by a rear shot from the panzerpioneir's command halftrack 28mm gun, utterly broke the Russian attempt to seize the unoccupied objective.

To make matters worse for the Russians, the lone Tiger not only survived repeated volleys from SU-100s at extreme range and T34s at point-blank range, it actually fought back and destroyed 2 of the T34s, forcing the survivor to flee. This was another stuff of legend - a lone Tiger fighting off hordes Russain armor, and surviving to tell the tale!

Not all was going well for the Germans though. The SU-100s deployed in the center entered the village to stop the advancing Panthers, and managed to destroy the whole Panther platoon. The Russian advance into the village was not without cost, and they lost 2 tanks to Panther and 88 fire. The lone surviving PzIV boldly advanced to shoot into the SU-100 flanks, but was eventually destroyed. The 88s avenged the death of the brave panzertruppen though, destroying another SU-100 and forcing the survivor to flee.

The battle had been reduced to a slugging match with both forces reeling and bleeding. But with the demise of the SU-100 platoon, the Russians only had a single platoon of SU-100s left, against the surviving German 88s, dug-in panzerpionier and the lone Tiger. Making matters worse, Russian morale was sapping by the minute. There was only one thing left to do, and the SU-100s advanced towards the panzerpioniers at full-speed. The 88s and the Tiger opened fire, destroying one SU-100, and eventually the Russian resolve broke as the battalion's morale failed and the 3 Russian surviving tanks fled the battlefield.

This was truly an epic battle that was fought desperately and valiantly by both sides. It was so desperate that at one time I even considered limbering up my 88s, so that they can move forward and take the objective on the left flank! There were many epic and legendary moments - the 88 battery knocking out the Russian attack in a single round of fire, the lone Tiger practically single-handedly holding and beating off the Russian attack on the right flank, and the fact that I had to throw in my half-tracks to fight T34s. The Germans lost 2 platoons of tanks, but the Russian force was almost annihilated. What a victory!

Sadly, while 5.panzerdivision defeated the Russians and captured Kholm, a follow up Russian attack on Rudina from Gusino was successful, and the Germans had to fall back to Dobryna.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5. Panzer Division Captures Gorki!

In a daring strategic envelope, the defenders of Orsha sallied out to capture Gorki from the Russian horde. Armored elements of 5. Panzer Division, supported by Tiger and Panther platoons from 3. Pz Army, thrashed the Bolsheviks, inflicting horrendous casualties upon the enemy and throwing them into disarray. The attack also successfully cut-off Soviet tank forces in Bykhov, forcing the wholesale surrender of some of the enemy's best troops.

This was a great game against Syamael's Russian SMG horde. Being the first time for me playing Germans, and the first time playing a tank company, I was looking forward to see what my little force can do. It was certainly scary, as I've only got 7 PzIVH (including HQ and 2iC), 3 Panther A, 3 PzIIL, an armored pioneer platoon and a Luftwaffe 88mm battery. Lucky for me I was able to add some key Firestorm troops - a platoon of 2 Panthers and another platoon of 2 Tigers.

Arrayed across the field was a daunting sight. Hordes of Russian SMG troops in 2 companies, supported by a mortar battery, Katyushas, 6 SU-100 and 5 SU-76. These were further bolstered by a company of sappers and IL-2s on limited air support.

My deployment was obvious in its intent to drive up the flanks. What wasn't obvious was that my 'stronger' right flank (5 PzIVH, 2 Tiger, 2 Panther, 2 88mm guns) was actually the feint meant to pin the enemy's anti-tank assets. My 'weaker' left flank (3 PzII L, 3 Panther, 2 PzIVH) was the actual assault force designated to capture the objective. The key objective on my side was held by dug-in panzer pioneers.

My 5PD forces lucked out as Syamael deployed with the assumption he would get turn 1. As it turned out, I won the roll, and my flanks surged forwards. The enemy SU-76 force were wiped out in a single round of fire, while rapid-firing Luftwaffe 88s forced a couple of the SU-100 crews to bail out. The PzIV platoon on the right flank advanced rapidly, and in 2 turns destroyed the Katyusha battery.

On the left flank, the Luchs platoon used their amazing mobility to close in on enemy infantry, gunning them down in droves with MG and cannon fire. Panthers and command PzIV tanks added to the carnage.

I must admit I wasn't sure at first how well the Luftwaffe gun crews would perform, being Reluctant Trained as opposed to my panzertruppen's Confident Veteran rating. I must say my misgivings were ill-founded. The gun crews performed admirably, their high rate of fire harrasing enemy armor throughout the battle. They were hit by mortar fire once, and were pinned for 2 turns, but they quickly recovered thereafter and continued pumping high-velocity AP shells into the enemy.

The Russian SU-100s proved to be extremely hardy. At range, my guns couldn't seem to knock them out (keep failing firepower tests), and I was just plain lucky that most of the time, most of the crews bailed out and couldn't seem to remount fast enough despite being Fearless. Eventually my PzIV swept around the right flank and started shooting into their thinner side armor. Only one SU-100 managed to survive the battle.

A highlight of the battle was when the SMG company on my right flank surged forwards to assault my PzIV platoon. With one of the tanks out of range, only 4 tanks opened up with defensive fire MG. Amazingly, they scored 12 hits out of 16 shots, immediately crippling the assault. The tanks' counter-assault in the next turn further decimated the SMG company.

The Russian air support was quite effective, given that it was only limited, and did not have much time to act. My other FoW army is a LW British infantry company of 11AD who regularly fight with rocket-bearing Typhoons on priority air support, and I'm very used to calling in air strikes to get rid of the odd pesky Tiger platoon or two. Being on the receiving end of rocket air attacks is not funny. The first rocket strike destroyed one Luchs and forced another to bail. The second rocket strike killed a PzIV. I lost 2 other tanks in the battle - a Tiger to concentrated SU-100 fire, and a Panther to Russian sapper assault.

As the enemy forces on my right flank started to disintegrate and falter, I threw my left flank into the final assault. These tanks had been parked away from assault range of the enemy infantry, spraying the enemy with MG and cannon fire for the past few turns. Finally when the enemy ranged anti-tank assets were depleted, the Panthers, Luchs and PzIV assaulted the enemy sappers and SMG teams. In the center, Firestorm Panthers also assaulted. The strike was decisive and the Russians' resolve broke, throwing them into retreat. Even the enemy Commissar couldn't stop the rout, and he was killed by his own men.

This was a most amazing battle and a great debut for my 5. Panzer Division troops. Looking forward to the next campaign turn. We will throw the Bolsheviks all the way back to Moscow!

About 5. Panzer Division
I chose 5PD because I feel the historical unit really reflects the Confident Veteran rating. The division fought in Poland, France, the Balkans and was about to be shipped to North Africa when it was assigned last minute to 3. Panzer Army in Russia - and their tanks had already been painted desert brown! This also explains why my Luchs platoon is still in its desert camo scheme. 5. and 12. Pz Div were the two major tank formations of the Heer in the Bagration theatre of operations.