Saturday, November 13, 2010

Closing the Circle: 1914

Played another game of "Through the Mud and Blood" by Too Fat Lardies this evening.  I borrowed another scenario from the "Stout Hearts, Iron Troopers" scenario book and instead of having the USMC attacking a dug in German force, I place the Germans in the attack with a hastily dug in Russian force.  Borrowing from the readings of Dennis E. Showalter's book "Tannenberg, Clash of Empires" and drew up a hypothetical battle.  Based on my reading of the book I found that a similar situation occurred where the Germans started to close in the Russian army.  The Russians in one area had dug in along a wooded area in the attempt to stop the advancing Germans.  The Germans had to cross a long open field before reaching the woods.  The scenario in the Lardies supplement worked the same way.  So I made my adjustments and drew up the two opposing side's orders.  The Russians had four squads, each with a big man.  The squads were not at full strength. One squad had as few as five men left.  They had one SOS barrage (or whatever the Russian term is for this) and a HMG.  The Germans attacked with two Platoons of four squads each and only a Prelim Bombardment to start off the game.
Here's a picture of the table before the setup of the blinds.
The fields in the middle are suppose to extend all the way across the middle of the board but I did not have enough felt for that (so in your minds picture it that way.)  The Russians are dug in along the tree line on the left edge of the board, the Germans start on the right side just behind the edge of the fields.
Here you can see the starting positions of both sides.  The Germans have tough fight ahead of them.  The fields only provide cover if the Germans go to ground, other than that the fields are a hinderance to sighting and movement.
Some really good spotting rolls by the Russian commander reveals some German squads as they dash across the fields.
A view of the Germans attempting to cross the field.  Since I was playing the Germans, I had decided to use all of my dice for movement.  I wanted to avoid getting caught in the open.  I ended up not being that lucky.
The Russians Forward Observer called in his SOS Barrage and bad things happened from then on for the Germans on the right hand side of the board.  The initial barrage caused 10 causalities in three different squads.  From then on the right side of the battle folded for the Germans.  Other than one squad who made it across the field and came into close combat range and then promptly lost and fell back, not one squad advanced any further than the trees.
The left hand side of the table was a little different.
The left hand side of the table went the German's way from the beginning.  The prelim-bombardment did some damage to the Russians facing these Germans and that caused the Russian rifle fire to be ineffective.  Again a mad dash was made across the field, since I was totally expecting another shower of artillery shells to land.  It never arrived.

The Germans kept advancing and firing and caused the Russians to lose their Bottle (or rout) due to excessive shock points.  It was at this point that the Russian commander called the game.  Once we had decided to stop playing, I found out why the second SOS barrage never arrived.  The Russian commander misunderstood the pre-game briefing and thought he only had one chance at firing the barrage, where in truth he had at least one more barrage to drop.  We called it poor communication between the Russian high command and him.
We had fun with this scenario and will be trying it out again in the near future.  Here are a few other photos from the game.

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