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Counter-attack at Mtsensk, 1941


The Second World War, Battlegroup Panzergrenadier, 20mm

DSCF2892This is a scenario published in the back of the Battlegroup Panzer Grenadier rules, and again (slightly modified) in the East Front scenario book. We’ve been meaning to play it for ages, and the arrival of a new grass mat gave us the excuse – and a nice 8’x6′ battlefield. The premise is that the Germans have just established a small  bridgehead over the River Lisiza, just in time to meet a rare Soviet counter-attack, spearheaded by the newly-formed 4th Tank Brigade. Both sides had the same objective – to hold the bridge at the end of the game.MtsenskThe German players (Kevan & Nikolas) opted to deploy their guns on the south bank of the river (which technically wasn’t allowed in the scenario), leaving a powerful infantry screen supported by tanks in the bridgehead itself. The Soviet players (Derek, Dougie and myself) decided to launch the KV-1’s directly towards the bridge, while the T-34’s became the sacrificial lambs, drawing fire from the German artillery and the sole 88mm gun. DSCF2919Of course the plan fell apart in the first turn. A couple of lousy initiative rolls meant that we were hit badly before we got the counter-attack underway – losing all out KV-1’s in the first two turns. However, the T-34’s fired as they advanced, and a couple of lucky shots brewed up a Pz. III, knocked out a 105mm howitzer and suppressed the 88mm! This brief flurry of success was followed by a remorseless pounding from the Germans, who picked off the rest of our tanks one by one with a combination of artillery fire and a plucky anti-tank rifle team.DSCF2916Fortunately the scenario allowed for that, and when our first wave of tanks were smoking in the north side of the river we were allowed to unleash our reinforcements – another six tanks – all T-34’s and KV-1’s again. This time we had a little more luck, and while our infantry pinned the last pockets of Germans north of the river, our tanks destroyed or damaged their German counterparts, then drove into the village and captured the bridge on the final turn of the game! URRAH!DSCF2918We celebrated in true Russian style (a round of large chilled, neat vodkas all round), which with hindsight was probably not such a good idea!DSCF2900

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