Sunday, January 9, 2011

Total War Bagration

Andy in Christchurch arranged for a multi-player game so Kent and I drove up the 160 or so km to take part. 3 players per side (well 4 for us Soviets) with approximately 2000pt forces. Soviets were attacking.

The table was a very large L shape with a city in the centre of the L and broken terrain of woods, fields and a few rivers.

Soviets fielded:
  • JS II company with sappers
  • Stelkovy company supported by T34s + God of War+ 8x 152s
  • Motostrelk comapny suppported by T34s and SU 152s.

Germans had:
  • a mixed stug/panther company
  • a panzer grenadier company? Supported by stugs + hornisse
  • A wiking panzer company (panzer IVs, panthers and pioneers)
The Soviets deployed first which gave the German the opportunity to deploy to counter our forces (one of the weaknesses of the TW system- next time we will do map deployment and reveal where each force will deploy).

I tried to reposition my T34 supporting my motostrelk on turn 1 but failed to get out of LoS (pretty impossible on the table really) and got hammered by: hummels, 105s, panzer IVs and panthers and my only tank support vapourised on turn 1. This left Andy's 10x panzer IVs & 3 panther with nothing on our end of the table to slow them down and so from then on he moved freely to whittle down my force. My only luck came with a Sturmovik strike killed 2 panthers and the third fled!

In the centre Martin's Stelk ran into a wall of paks, stugs and panthers and was slowly torn to bits- I"m sure I saw some infantry on the German side but they appeared to be in the stands watching the armour tear us apart all day! Martin was the first battalion to go (followed shortly thereafter by my motostrelk). Only Keith's JS IIs put up any resistance, managing to kill a panther and stop German recon contesting one of the 8 objectives- if we can claim that as a victory!

Slowly though the weight of fire that the Germans had at their disposal won though. Kent ( who was controlling our Corps reserve) T34s could not avoid the enemy armour and our main tank support was slowly were picked off.

In the end it was a crushing German victory with 2 Soviet Battalions broken- in the last turn I was left with my Battalion commander as my sole remaining team on the board! (but I did managed to destroy 4 enemy platoons before succumbing).

An overwhelming German victory (as tends to happen whenever we have tried these style games). My only criticism of the game being the lack of table depth- 4ft- played into the Germans hands, as we could not get out of range (or LoS) of their panthers and guns. Some larger areas of LoS blocking terrain (ridges or large wooded areas) may have given us protected avenues of approach but as it was the Total War deployment rules meant the Germans could see where we deployed and then themselves deployed the force necessary to counter us. Thus it was a slog-fest that was likely to only ever end with victory for one side! But apart from those minor quibbles it was a fun afternoon of rolling dice and hanging out.

Cheers to Andy for organising it!

A few Photos

Poochie deploying his brand new Stug/panther force- directly in Kent's line of advance.

Turn 1- my T34s are vapourised as they try to get round a wood and away from Andy's panthers .

The Panthers are destroyed by an airstrike giving me some (but not much) hope.

In the centre Martin's Strelkovy advance into a veritable curtain of fire....

And make it to the edge of town.

By turn 6 or 7 my razvedki are about all I had left holding off 6 fearless trained panzer IVs.

And they didn't put up much resistance.



  1. Ouch!

    The last one we had in Chch, organised by Jason, was not so one-sided. In fact if Chris hadn't meticulously planned out the German advance beforehand, we'd have lost or drawn - depsite (eventually) having the better end of the casualty exchange.

    Looks like it was an inpressive game though.

  2. It was a lot of fun, the table was very impressive but there were a few too many stugs and panthers for our poor T34s to handle. Next time I think we need to max out on tank support (and field at least a battalion of T34/85s- I think we had 10 T34/85s in total out of 26 or so T34s). The Germans played smart and picked us off at range.

  3. There were 7 panthers, with 11 Stugs and 10 Panzer IV's. Which is about what is to be expected with 2 Panzer Companies! Oh and the tiger that died turn one.... The JS-II's not being able to join the killing for much of the game saved ze Germans, weight of fire would have annihilated us with 13 of them shooting! As it was we got lucky (by relinquishing 2 objectives to the soviets) The few 85s that were there accounted for 3 of my Stug's, Martin had a tough time, one avenue of advance for that many teams was likely to always be shot off...
    Ian's company was a Sturm Company (lots of weapons platoons for the Total War rules)

  4. You not deploying in Keith's sector was a good move for you, bad for us- and forgetting about your recon and so moving off an objective didn't help our cause either as it forced Keith to send part of his strike force back to reclaim it.

    I still feel the TW deployment rules are a bit strange, especially in a situation like that- which was really more of an assualt and are too much in favour of the side deploying second- either alternate or even a blind (map based deployment) would have made a perfect match up/counter less likely.

    We'll get you next time!


  5. Absolutely! That recce saved my poor panthers bacon! We effectivly did a blind deployment, that was always our plan to do those deployments, I knew there was no way to not cede some objectives to the IS-II's, the only way to kill them was a war of attrition!
    So you would be in favour of deploying blind, both sides choosing their depolyments? Perhaps even placing their company commanders?

  6. Yeah, that would probably work better.

    Your annoying recon tied up those JS IIs for 4-6 turns, not a bad investment!


  7. You could have the defenders place their Company HQ's- indicating where the defenders will be, then the attackers deploy? That way it leaves the attackers knowing vaugely where the enemy will be, but will still be in the dark as to exact locations- to simulate ambushes etc from the defender. Then at least it gives the attacker the impression of where things will be. Plus I guess shorten the distance between units/commander- even down to 24" of the commander or something.

  8. I think the maps idea is a good one. We didn't have such serious issues in Jason's one... because there was no space initially. That table probably also needed to be more TW style terrain too, the kind of stuff that has a single hill or wood hiding an entire company/battalion.

    Did you guys have many companies / battalions set up to arrive from flanks?

  9. Just 3 units of armoured cars. The table was possibly too shallow to warrant having too much coming on from reserve. Agreed about terrain, Craig was somewhat hamstrung by a lack of terrain to hide in, and possibly more terrain to help Martin might have allowed his assault to be more successful!
    Good experience of total war however, nice to see it in action!

  10. Sounded like fun :)

    As for table width, try spinning the tables 90 degrees, gives same square footage but 6 foot depth