July 25, 2013

Panzershrek FOW AAR 1/5 - vs. Soviet Mechanised/Tankovy Company

First game of the tournamentand its against Manawatu club mates Josh & Derek Forester (well deserved winners of the best army trophy) on a table that Tom Robertson and myself set up the night before.  While the terrain was good the match up wasn't, well not for Derek and Josh anyway.  Up against our Panthers & PzIVs they had a large platoon of T34/85s, one of IS-122's, some Mortars and 3 Platoons of infantry backed by AA and some 57mm AT.  No air support and no heavy artillery.  While the river was problematic with only 3 crossing points the terrain set up was perfect for us to attack from.

Deployment and starting positions of our respective forces.  Our Panzers on the left and Josh/Dereks Russians on the right of the river.
Our plan was to use the terrain and the Soviet penalty for moving and shooting to our advantage by establishing some firing points within the key pieces of area terrain.  From these we would use our greater firepower to whittle down the Soviet forces starting with the IS-122s which were the only things capable of hurting Jeremy's Panthers.  To this end one Platoon of Panthers would occupy the forested hills across from one ford with PzIV's covering the 2nd.  A main force of 5 x Panthers & 5 x PzIVs would position themselves in the centre waiting to see where the Soviet armour would go.
Our primary Kampfgruppe deployed in the centre within range of all 3 crossing points

The weakened left hand objective only lightly guarded due to lack of Soviet opposition on that side of the table

Soviet deployment - 2 Platoons of infantry guarding the Ford and one objetive with all of the Soviet armour stationed behind the forests.  This meant (a) we couldnt shoot them and (b) they couldnt shoot us without moving.  The gap between the two forests proved critical as it gave our Panthers perfect LOS onto any Soviet armour there.  Hence Josh & Derek did a lot of cautious movement in the opening turns.

Our Kampfgruppe ready to advance

Opening moves - PzIV's and Panthers move into overwatch positions in the nearby forests.  PzIV's start what is to be a weekend long trend of having at least one tank per Platoon almost permanently bogged down.

Panthers also move up - at this stage our advance is cautious as we need to kill off the Soviet AT guns.  This we leave up to the PzIV's on the left.  The Panthers pictured here are in great position to view the bridge and any points along which the Soviet armour will leave the forested area.

Cautious movement here as we need to kill of the 4 ROF3 AT guns the Soviets have fielded.  This goes much better than expected and they are quickly destroyed forcing Josh/Derek to divert T34s to cover this flank.  Once the AT guns are gone the PzIV's move forward to get direct LOS onto the Soviet Mortars which are capable of knocking our tanks out.

A lone T34 moves forward and attempts to engage the PzIVs in the forest.  Not a good idea.

4 x PzIV's vs. 1 x T34 is not good for the T34

Meanwhile the IS122s keep inching around trying to take pot shots at our concealed armour but its just not working for them.  As the Soviet infantry keeps failing to dig in our Nebs starting causing a fair bit of damage.

Soviet AT guns are gone and Soviet armour is being pinned in place by the threat of the Panthers so the 2nd Platoon of PzIVs starts heading toward the more lightly defended ford and objective.

Sometimes Stormtrooping works and sometimes it gets you bogged down in range of enemy tank fire.

Things are rapidly going pear shaped for the Soviets.  The T34's/IS122s are being systematically destroyed by the Panthers.  PzIV's now move to cross the river and assault one objective but pour direct fire into Soviet mortars first.

With their tanks getting mauled Josh/Derek decide to be aggressive and rush their infantry across the river - bold but not a good idea.  We have 3 Panthers, 5 x PzIV's and the 3 AA 1/2 tracks in position now all of which start pouring MG and Cannon fire into the exposed Soviet infantry forcing them back.

The few remaining Soviet tanks have managed to sneak past our overwatch positions and are moving to guard the 2nd objective.  The Panther CIC/2IC move up to support the PzIV's - their frontal armour makes them invulnerale to the T34's which puts paid to that Soviet idea.

Green smoke goes down forcing the Soviet tanks to move again while the T34s have pulled back to try and neutralise our overwatch positions.  The resulting battle doesnt go well for them particularly as the line of T34s behind the wall is in perfect LOS for flank shots from the Panthers to their right (previous picture).

Oops we finally lose a Tanks

Soviet tanks are in big trouble now and even the Nebs are starting to hurt them

Trapped between two groups of Panthers/PzIV's Josh and Dereks are in a very bad position.  We haven't had to take any risks so far but have been able to set up good attacking positions while forcing the Soviets to take all the risks.

Game over - burning Soviet tanks everywhere

Soviet tanks are pretty much all gone so its time for the PzIVs to head into assault. 

The Soviet infantry is pinned down by Neb fire and the Tanks go into assault.

Assault successful victory is ours!!!
A great start to the event for us - but also evidence that clubmates shouldnt be paired up when completing the draw, or at least you should try not to.  Josh/Derek were on the back foot right from the start and this was one game where Jeremy and I managed to get everything right.

In the end we only lost a single PzIV whereas almost the entire Soviet force was wiped out or fled off the battlefield.  A solid 6-1 win to start.


Mark Stanton said...

Looks like you had a great game, you stuck to the plan and used the terrain and the enemy's weakness to your advantage.
Not sure why everyone was teamed up with club mates in the first game - seemed a tad silly to me. We played on this table on game 2 and thought it was very good.

Scott said...

Good report, John and a fully under control win.

I think the first games vs club mates was probably just to let everyone settle in to the event...

Danisnotatree said...

Great battle report. Looks like you devised a good plan based on the terrain early and then executed it well. Look forward to the further match ups from the week end being reported on.

John Murrie said...

I like rivers they keep things interesting for both sides and help even them out if they're too unbalanced.

To be honest it wasnt the best match up for Josh n Derek