Kent came over and we used similar terrain to last week but this time he bought a guards strelkovy. I volunteered to attack as Guards strelk are one of my nightmare forces to assualt so it would be good practice- however on my own defence Guards Strelk are one of the forces I regularly play an have always done well with, and so at least I've got an inkling of how to deal with the buggers!
I didn't want to defend, I needed to practice attacking and so we diced off for a mission I'd have to attack dug in infantry choosing between Breakthrough, Fighting Withdrawal or Hasty Assault- randomising with a die roll came up with a Hasty Assault.
I chose to test one of the fine tuning DAK forces
|Pioneers + 2x pak 38
|Pioneers +1x 2.8cm ATR
|25 pdrs + panzer II
|Semovente + 4x AA MG
HQ + 5 sappers ( a small HQ platoon of a single sapper to get to 6 platoons)
2x 45 mm AT guns (HQ- attached out)
2x platoons (R/MG)- with attached 45mm guns
2x Platoons (Rifles) +2x HMGs
2x SU 85s
I nominated and deployed a pioneers with pak 38s, 25 pdrs and semoventes (I was worried about the possibility of a T70 surprise on turn 1 so didn't want to risk the marders)
Kent ambushed with the sukas and deployed both infantry. His ambush bailed a sevemonte (GtG but I rolled a 1 and was trained-grrr). My marders arrived on turn 1 and so the direct fire of marders, 25 pdr, sevomentes and pak 38s only managed to bail 1 Suka and kill another. The bailed one promptly got back in and shot up my marders (I lost one). Eventually I won this duel once I charged with the semovente's but even as the Sukas died the SU 85s arrived but luckily for me both shots missed my Italian assult guns and in my next turn good rolling from the marders destroyed both SU 85s.
In the centre the guards R/MG company advanced to grab a large central ruin and the T7os roared onto the table but double timed- two of them were KOed by the bison which had also arrived to bolster my very weak looking right flank and over the next few turns I sniped a few more using the sion shuffle (i.e stormtrooper moves).
The struggle in the centre of the table was titanic as my pioneers and the strelk assaulted each other- or more correctly Kent assaulted and I backtracked. In fact the only thing that saved me was uber-observer tank that attached to the other pionier platoon (fresh and unpinned) to score 10 his to stop the QoQ assualt. Slowly though we whittled them away and Kent was forced to retreat.
In the end I managed to takeout the Sukas and SU 85s exposing his right objective and slowly assaulted him back from it. In the centre both my infantry platoons advanced through the ruins and drove the remnants of his R/MG company back (however I had to kill every team in the end to break the company!).
In the end we slowly wore down the Guards and the end came when on turn 7 or 8 Kent assaulted my 2 remaining marders with 2 sappers and missed both, instead of counter attacking and broke off through his force and onto the objecitve creating a no go zone so he could not contest. On the other flank my defensive fire from bison, panzer II and 3 remaining pioneer stands stopped him reclaiming the other objective which I had in my previous turn assaulted him off.
I lost one infanry platoon when they failed to storm trooper back out of LoS and got hammered in the dying turns and the semoventes which eventually succumbed to sapper assaults whilst trying to force Kent back from the other objective. I had also destroyed 4 platoons/companies and Kent passed 2 company morale checks. In fact when I won the game Kent was left with 5 rifle teams and a battalion commander- my last run accounting for the last team of his R/MG company (yes I had to kill all 20+ teams) and the 2 stand company HQ sapper platoon.
2 SU 85s were a waste of points but the rest of his force was potentially very dangerous to my lightly armed tanks. It was a real struggle to wear them down and at no stage did I feel totally in control of things- each infantry team was vital and I kept wishing I had more infantry- or Kent's force- as he launched his assaults in the ruins! However, my observer tank was probably the most useful 10 pts I've spent in along time- it saved 2x 45mm shots, was bailed for a few turns but managed to help break up 2-3 attacks that could have swung the game back to Kent- I know he was getting sick of the independent team attaching to whatever platoon most needed its help!
Kent had not used SU 85s before and learned an important lesson: 3-4 or none at all but apart from that his force was very competitive vs mine as he had plenty of AT 8-9 shots to dealw with the paper thin armour on my tanks and tank hunters- the bison got lucky managing to sneak round a hill to snipe the T70s and did very well at shoring up that flank but I just wish I had another mobile platoon to support them.
I wasn't overly happy with the force I took and although the semoventes worked reasonably well still have a couple more ideas to test before making my final, final decision :) Although the Semoventes worked reasonably well I wished they were M13/1 carri for most of the game so they might get another run next game.