It's set during the initial drive of the German panzers towards Stalingrad and specifically, the line of advance by the German 24th Panzer from the south, and the scratch Soviet forces put in their way to buy time to reinforce the city.
I, my newcomer friend, and George Buzby (who was to later redeem the entire Soviet defense with his very capable use of our mortars) ended up on the Russian side, whereas our host, and most of the other gamers wound up on the German side.
We had to hold a railway station for 10 turns, and of course, not run out of BR, but we had some issues:
|A view of the Battlefield from the Russian Side. The railstation is in the lower left of the picture|
2. The Regulars were also Inexperienced, and while they had some means to fight back against the German force coming right at us, with Molotovs, a 45mm ATG, an ATR, and a 76mm Infantry Gun, as well as some off table mortars, we had to hold on for six turns or cede control of an objective to get our reinforcements, which consisted of more Inexperienced armor (2 T-34 and 1 KV -1) and NKVD infantry. We did have a sniper team as well, who did remarkably well for a few turns.
3. The major problem, the initial BR for the Soviets was 20. Thus the usual Soviet defense of "hold your positions and make them bleed" was not doable under the circumstances. We somehow had to hold off the Germans for 10 turns and prevent them from taking the rail station.
|The hapless Soviet defenders, before the storm breaks|
So, how to fight a mobile battle with no vehicles and green as grass infantry against Hitler's veteran panzers?
|A horde of Hitlerites!|
What helped us at first was some lucky rounds from the mortars being called in and destroying one of the German armored cars. This plus some bad German die rolls for the entry of their units helped a lot. It slowed them down quite a bit, our sniper managed to kill the German FO team, and give the rest of the Germans a scare. (The sniper team soon fell from HE and MG fire from one of the MK IVs). The mortars managed to pin the German flank for a turn (a remarkable six units no less) and one German recon squad was shot to pieces after it walked into a building ringed with Soviet positions. At that point, it was all for the loss of an ATR on the Soviet side.
|First Blood to the Glorious People's Mortars!|
Just as things looked bleak, the Soviet reinforcements appeared, and the Soviet BR got a bit of a bump. Then, the Germans played a breakdown counter, and immobilized the KV-1. We were well positioned to shoot up the leading MK-IV and immobilize him, failing to kill him at all (this came down to our hero mortars, who really were the saving grace for the Soviets, again, well done George!).
|Another Glorious blow by the People's Mortars!|
But, as much as 90% of our predicament was the Soviet side's abysmal dice luck, there were some suggestions I made:
1. Give the militia Molotovs, don't let them seek out close combat with German armor, but at the very least? Let them defend against it and force the Germans to dig them out.
2. Make the initial Regulars Regular morale, there's just too many green Soviet troops against just a horde of German veterans.
Mike thought both were good ideas, and he increased the size of the militia squads to 8. It makes a lot of sense as there were lots of militia units forming in Stalingrad. They were untrained hordes, but they were hordes nonetheless.
Well, hopefully with the changes, and a slightly less compressed map (that did prove to be a slight issue), the game will play a bit tighter, as it was, even with our hapless Soviets, we almost won.