Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Pavlov's House - Version 1

The Scenario:

Over last few years have been putting together forces for 15mm Barbarbossa, using Mark Fastoso's Fireball Forward! rule set. Last year I had the idea of trying to create a Pavlov's House terrain board, considering most FF scenarios can be played on a 4x4 or a 3x4 board.

This was first test of a Pavlov's House scenario with three platoons of Germans supported by armor attacking two platoons of Soviet infantry dug in the apartment complex and surrounding buildings. James and I commanded the Germans, while Lt. Pavlov was played by Fil supported by his Comrade Commissar Eric.

Reference Map
If you are interested in a scenario breakdown, please comment and I can send you forces/ratings, feedback is welcome!

Initial table layout (3'x4') is trying to remain close to the reference map. I still need to purchase some more apartment blocks, as ideally Pavlov's House should be multiple stories high. But for now, a destroyed factory was a placeholder.

Shell crates provided cover for infantry advancing as to not get gunned down easily crossing the square leading up to the House. The tram and rail lines both provided cover for infantry as well.

German infantry prepares to come on
Turn 1 the Soviets stayed hidden, while Germans poured onto the board. Both German infantry platoons, supported by light mortars pushed in from the Milk House, supported by a platoon of Pioneers in half-tracks to their left.

As soon as Germans attempted to push into the craters the Soviet infantry opened up and getting enough hits to slow down the first German infantry platoon. The German's quickly attempted to lay down smoke to cover their advance, but the eastward blowing wind only helped the Pioneers advance, while leaving the infantry in the open.

Smoke attempts to slow Soviet fire
Mad dash across the square!

Getting held up on the push towards the house, James, the German commander on the right flank pushed his armor down the main street hoping to put pressure on Soviets to reveal their positions. One Soviet 45mm gun quickly appeared in a crater outside the mill, but its shots ricocheted off the Panzer 4, which quickly returned fire and destroyed the gun and its crew.

Russians appearing in the apartment block across from Pavlov's House were quickly pinned down by fire from the armor as well as the second German platoon who shifted positions to try and advance.  This German advantage was quickly countered by a hidden Soviet sniper who killed one German squad and made the German's think twice about advancing.

Sniper gets a crossing German squad
Being stuck on both flanks, the Germans pushed forward aggressively, and their Panzer 3 quickly discovered the second 45mm gun hidden in the rubble of an apartment block. This gun did not miss its opportunity and quickly set the Pz3 aflame.

The pinned Russians quickly rallied from a good roll on their Commissar table, that allowed them to rally all units in their second platoon and obtain a free action.

Za Rodina Comrades!
By this point the Germans were close to admitting defeat, having their left and right flank advances stopped by relentless Russian fire. The Pioneers managed to make one last assault into the trench outside Pavlov's House and one brave squad even managed to get inside, but it was too little too late and comrade Pavlov and his platoon were able to hold off the German assault in the end.

Final Positions

Take Aways:

Scenario obviously needs tweaking as this was the first attempt, but think Germans could either use more armor support or another platoon of Pioneers, as the infantry was quickly pinned down trying to cross into the buildings.

Soviet forces felt good overall, but the sniper was very effective, I may consider removing him scenario as they do slow down advances very quickly.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Relief of the Sidwar Crossing

Last night, we got together to try out Ospreys "Men Who Would Be Kings" once more, the scenario played out very cinematically and was good fun. The rules are very simple, but keep game going fast, after a few turns in we seemed to not need to use the QRFs very often.

The games character traits given to leaders added a bit of fun when commanding the units and helped build a story during the game. 

The Forces:

  • Two units of Gurkhas led by Brave Lt. George Channer and a Cad named Sgt. Kulbir Thapa
  • Three units of 51st Rifles led by Captain Charles Grant, enjoying his new commission given to him by his Uncle, Lt. Donald Stewart loved by his men and Lt. Frederick Roberts, who was just plain ugly.
  • Brits also had one unit from the 17th Lancers, lead by an idiot Lt. Michael Allman
Pathans, split between two rival tribal leaders, the drug addicted Sarbaz Jafar and the son of the local Emir, Kaheem Kahn.
  • Jafar had two groups of cavalry under his command along with three units of infantry armed with modern rifles.
  • Kahn had four commands of infantry, reserving the modern guns for his own unit, his three other commanders were armed with old muskets and swords (meaning they could only fire at 6 inches or less).
The Scenario
Somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan a small detachment of Gurkhas were tasked with escorting the local Colonel's daughter through the Sidwar Valley.

Lead by brave Lt. George Channer, two units of Gurkhas deployed onto the table after sighting a horde of Pathans approaching their position. Desperately waiting for reinforcements to appear on the horizon.

Gurkha's seek cover as Pathan's approach
The first turn the Pathans swarmed the board, rushing to reach the Gurkha positions before reinforcements could arrive.

Gurkhas immediately began opening fire at the rushing Pathans, knocking down a few but not slowing the advance. On the left flank Jafar's cavalry charged into the Gurkhas commanded by Lt. Channer and are met with some withering fire. Kahn's rag tag infantry closed the distance to the Gurkhas and assaulted, despite superior numbers they were thrown back twice. But despite their heroic defense, only Sgt. Thapa survived the melee and quickly decided it was time to leave.


Dagar Azaal "The Gun Enthuiast" charges into the Gurkhas
Despite his best attempts to flee, the Pathans caught up to Sgt. Thapa who is cut down in the riverbed as he tried to make it back to his own lines.

By this time, the British relief column has arrived, lead by Lt. Allman, who promptly realizes he left his good riding gloves back at camp and after failing a few activation rolls falls back to the board edge.

"Relieve the Gurkhas lads!"
"On second thought....I forgot something!"
While Lt. Allman tries to figure out his damned compass, the Pathan attack on the Gurkha right falters. After beating back the cavalry charge, Jafar fails two unit morale tests in a row and the Pathan's break. Causing panic in the ranks of the tribal infantry.

Disappearing Pathans
Kahn's forces continuing to try and push towards the bridge and the Colonel's daughter, but quickly meet the now turned around lancers as well as the British foot who gun them down as they try to occupy the riverbed. Khan Bakt "The Merciful" brings shame to himself as he flees from the lancer charge, while Dagar Afzaal "The Gun Enthusiast" and his command are to killed to a man by Lt. Stewart's advancing infantry.

By this point, the Pathans have had enough and decide to retreat. Leaving the badly bloodied Gurkhas on the field, while Lt. Allman claims his brilliant feigned retreat with the Lancers has won the day, he is expected to promoted to Captain shortly.