For this weeks wargaming on Wednesday we thought it would be interesting to try out an Axis of Attack campaign. The idea is that there is a string of battles to be fought and you push back and forth like a tug of war. We picked up the campaign for Kursk from the Flames of War website and went to give that a shot. We went for Axis One so our first battle would be at Cherkasskoye. This would have the Germans launching a massive attack on the Soviet's first defensive line. for the campaign this is a Hold the Line missions with the soviets defending with a Strelekovy Company (1500) and the Germans attacking with (2000) points and are allowed to have air.
I considered a few options based on what I have and decided to go with a Tiger company. Other options were Panthers and Infantry. So I had a command Tiger, 2 Platoons of 1 Tiger each, 3x Panzer 3s, an Infantry platoon, some Pznaerwerfers, and a Stuka with bombs.
The Soviets had 2 companies of infantry, one with 2 platoons (20 Teams) and one with 1 platoon (9 teams I think) the big platoon had an attachment of 5 pioneers, and they had to big platoons of the biggest anti-tank guns points can buy in ambush. 4 other platoons were in reserve but they were picked to be as small as possible to take advantage of the reserve mechanic so were not important.
It has been a long time since we played Flames of War, so there were some mistakes especially in the start, but got more into as things went on.
So here is the start position. Pznaerwerefers and Panzer 3s hiding behind the hill, Tigeres spread out, and infantry lined up. The Soviet army has a huge blob of infantry dug in all across the board close to the edge of their zone, the guns in ambush. One objective is at the rail crossing, and the other is on the far right of the picture by the shell holes. All the guns in ambush of course.
My thought is that I need to stay outside of 16" with my tanks until the guns arrive and the destroy them at long range and assault. Also hoping that the plane and rockets will get some good kills in on the infantry. I got pretty good with tiger skills and had 2 top aces with 2 skills and they all had re-roll hits or ROF3 if not both.
Turn 1 I creep forward and lay down fire, moving the infantry to get them in the edge of MG range. The Panger 3s take cover behind the hill where they can temp a gun platoon to that side but are hard to hit. For the frist while I was averaging 1 kill per turn, with 25 stands to kill to get the objective! The soviets just sat and passed the turn back.
Turn 2 was just more of the same. I started to edge forward with some of the Tigers so I will be good to get on the Soviet half by turn 6 to avoid losing from that win condition. As before killed 1 team, last time it was the stuka, this time my infantry got one. The soviets finally deployed the ambushes, but got no kills just a bail. I think this was on turn 3 or 4 but I am not certain. I think Serge was mainly waiting out the air support dice.
My retaliation was to shoot everything at the guns! I was able to kill 2 of the big AA guns so that was not bad. At this point we remember you can't shoot over moving infantry so I left a tiger gap. My stuka arrived but the 2 remaining AA guns decided to have perfect accuracy and shoot it down. On the Soviet turn the AA libered and towed off the hill since they would not be shooting, now I can't really shoot them.
Next turn I kept up the fire, limited effectiveness, and brought around the Panzer 3s to hide from guns and get ready to assault. The next picture is blurry but the Soviets towed the gunts in position to overwatch the objective, well only one of the AA guns could fire, but still. I started chipping away teams with Tiger assaults.
Next turn things started to get risky as that gun was in position and set up. I failed to hit it with the rockets so no pin, and my infantry was pinned by artillery so couldn't move in yet. We were running low on time so I decided to keep assaulting instead of methodically destroying the guns. One Tiger was bailed by the defensive fire, and then I lost it in the second round when I was forced to break off. The big platoon is getting close to platoon morale now with like 12 teams dead, but they are fearless with a CO and Komissar so a tiny chance to break anyway. The soviets brought up the pioneers to be in range for the next assault, and that was about it really, some shots but no damage really.
Due to time I had to keep on with assaulting, not time to wait a couple of turns MGing those not dug in pioneers, so things are getting worse for me. I got a couple of more kills, and lost some Panzer 3s. The Soviets moved up some of the smaller guns to the edge of the wood so they would be in the 8" bubble for defensive fire when I assaulted next time.
This was pretty much going to be the final turn. I decided to fire a smoke bombardment instead of trying to pin, which I think was a mistake. Anyway I set in the infantry first and they got pinned by defensive fire, but lots only 1 team despite 10 hits. Then the alive tanks went in, the CO got killed and the last tiger held for a few turns but broke off. I had forgotten to roll for bogging every turn with the woods, but he failed the one test I rolled and was captured. The Russian infantry passed their platoon morales, so it was a failure for me despite a 500 points advantage.
According to the campaign I would now have to attack again but without the 500 bonus points, and same time constraints. So I decided eh forget that the East Front sucks. So I am putting in for a transfer to the Afrika Krops! Those guy know whats going on. So the whole campaign is a Soviet victory, next week early war desert time!!