Robert Ernst looked through his binoculars down the road. His unit had been cut off by the Soviets in the beginning rush of WW3, and he had been unable to contact friendly forces due to jamming. In the distance, a dust plume heralded the arrival of Soviet vehicles advancing on his position. It appeared that now was the time to fight.
This game was a battle between an 2nd echelon Soviet unit, and an U.S. unit that had been surrounded and cut off. The Soviet goal was to destroy as many U.S. forces as possible, and advance off the board with minimal causalities. The U.S. forces were trying to repel the Soviets, but still maintain their fighting force. I was playing the U.S. forces, and would hopefully be able to ambush the Soviets, retreat while inflicting damage, and take none in return.
Soviet Forces were: T-72 x9, BMP x9 (Infantry x9), ZSU-23-4 x2.
U.S. Forces consisted of: Starship x3, M113 with I-TOW x3, LAW Teams x4, M-60 Teams x2, Infantry Teams x2, Artillery Strike x1.
The Soviets started the game by bringing on 6 of their T-72’s. Immediately a U.S. hunter-killer team attacked out of one of the buildings next to the road, however they failed to destroy a T-72.
The Russians advance with 3 of the T-72’s, while the other 3 peel off and attack with co-axil machine guns and main guns. In the hail of fire they killed the hunter-killer team and started the house on fire. The Soviets then brought on 3 BMP’s.
Seeing their comrades killed, 3 Starships revealed themselves and fired on the lead T-72’s, killing two of them.
The Soviet commander ordered the remaining T-72’s to pull off and engage the Starships in the forest. The Soviets then brought on an additional 3 BMP’s, while the 3 currently on the board head down a side road.
The Starships return fire on the advancing T-72’s killing 2 more of them.
All Soviet forces move up and attack the Starships, a Konkurs ATGM from a BMP kills one. At the same time, the Soviets bring on 3 more BMP’s.
The Starships break contact and retreat, removing them from play. The threat over, the Soviets start to move toward the town again, and opt not to bring on more units this turn. U.S. forces wait patiently for the Soviets to get into range.
The Soviets bring in their last BMP unit, and then the ZSU’s. U.S. M113 I-TOW’s strike, ambushing the leading T-72’s and kill off 2 of them.
T-72’s and BMP’s advancing along the right side of the town find my Starships unawares, and, due to the surprise, they kill a Starship.
On the other side of town the Soviets return fire at the M113 I-TOWS, killing two, and forcing the other one to pull back.
U.S. LAW teams on the right side of town fire at the BMP’s, but both miss. However, the Starships fare better and kill a lone T-72.
The Soviets advance up into the town, the T-72 on the left side of town kills one more of my Starships. Another T-72 with BMP support kills one of the LAW teams, while the other team scuttles away.
The remaining Starship returns fire, but misses its shot at the T-72 on the left side of town, the LAW team is luckier, and destroys another BMP.
The tank battle on the left side of town ends with the last Starship being destroyed, and the final LAW team wiped from the manor house. As the Soviets advance, M-60 teams in several buildings ambush the BMP’s, and a LAW team ambushes the T-72’s. However, the attack is in vain as they all fail to do damage.
The ZSU’s kill off the LAW team, and the BMP’s machine guns wipe out a M-60 team. In a last attack, fire from infantry and the M-60 team kill off 2 squads of Soviet infantry.
Combined fire from the BMP’s, infantry, and ZSU’s, wipe out the last resistance.
In a last ditch attempt to stop the Soviets, the bridge is blown, and an artillery strike called in. The strike is lucky, and kills 3 BMP’s. In the end though, it is to little, to late, and the Soviets advance off the table.
The game ended in a defeat for the U.S. forces, as they had been completely shattered, with only 2 Starships and an M113 I-TOW remaining. The Soviets did take heavy losses, but were still able to call it a win at the end of the day.
Reasons for U.S. defeat: My ambushes didn’t work, at the start it seemed to be going well. However, the Starships I had planned to use for an ambush in the town, were pinned down and destroyed, leaving me with little left. Again I failed to build a concentrated group of firepower, in attacks I would fire and then be hit back harder than I had hit. At the end of the day, I had poor rolls, poor luck, poor tactics, and poor decisions.
Reasons for Soviet victory: The use of mass units operating in two teams, allowed the overwhelming of resistance when it was presented. The unorthodox flanking of the town proved to be lucky, as it prevented a counterattack by the Starships that were lying in wait. They also had a superbly executed pincer movement that identified, pinned down and destroyed resistance, while eliminating the threat of counter attacks.
Robert Ernst looked down at the town where the rest of his unit was, or had been. The town was smoldering, and you could no longer hear the sound of gunfire. The Soviets had crushed all resistance. Robert turned back to his tank, now low on fuel and ammunition. He was still cut off. At least he was alive, and could continue the fight.
Until next time,