Guardian Games regular FoW / TY night was bumping yet again with one TY game and two FoW games (the V4 guys have a tournament going on this weekend). I brought pretty much the same army I had last time as I wasn't able to finish my infantry in time for the game... and boy did I miss them! They would have been a big help this time around.
Ryan was out with his very balanced U.S. Mechanized Infantry force, which is difficult to dig out at the best of times, worse with NVA tanks with their fairly weak frontal armor that can be impacted by just about every hand-held American missile out there. Ryan wanted to play in Leipzig, so we went ahead and used the dust up mission for that theater, even though I'd played it the previous week. It is an entertaining mission, but I figured it would be much harder to dig out infantry.
To say that this game really didn't go to plan is a bit of an understatement, and I ended up winning the game on an oversight... which wasn't really satisfying for either of us. So we ended up rolling the game back and starting over for our second game of the night. This report covers the first battle, look out for "Return of the Mechanized Infantry!" for the far more interesting, and bloody, second battle.
Despite the "violence" of our counterattack, the Americans continue to prosecute attacks in this sector and we have been unable to completely drive them back to the West German border. My orders remain clear - I am to push back any enemy forces in this region with extreme prejudice. My own forces consist of a formation of T-72 tanks and a formation of T-55 tanks with supporting anti-air, recon, artillery, and anti-tank AFVs. Our infantry still has not arrived. I asked command to send them forward with all speed, but received a terse reply in return...
My own forces are as ready as they can be, but I am concerned that American mechanized infantry is in the area. If they manage to dig in on our objectives they will be exceedingly difficult to remove. Even their hand held rockets can damage my panzers from the front, which is something our Soviet friends generally don't have to worry about.
As we move out toward a crossroads where the reconnaissance teams have reported American Activity, I'm informed the entire T-55 battalion and one of my T-72 companies are still refueling, and can't set out immediately. However, my orders are clear, I can't delay. I order the anti-tank armored car team to remain behind and cover the refueling panzers, and head out with the rest of my force.
As I approach the crossroads, I realize control of it will allow us to completely cut off the American advance in this sector. Given the Americans are coming from the southwest, there is a choke point where the key crossroads can be controlled. I set up a forward communications center and my artillery sets up its own command center. I assume that there is an American forward base in the vicinity, but I still can't see the enemy at this point. I order the Shilka battery to take up position behind a small wood, while one company of T72 tanks is prowling the area for targets. The 2S1 battery takes up position behind another wood. The recon squadron has managed to find a path behind a forest to the West allowing us greater freedom of movement.
Forward observers report American infantry in the woods near the crossroads. Blast it! Our ranging in behind the house near the choke point will be useless at this point! It looks like a Mechanized Infantry Company from my vantage point. I also have reports of helicopters in the area, but they aren't close enough to be a problem yet. I don't see any enemy armor, but I figure it is merely a matter of time before it puts in an appearance!
Just as I begin to order my forces forward to close with the American infantry, I see rocket plumes erupt from the crossroads slamming into first company's tanks! Two are destroyed in spectacular fireballs before I even know what is happening! I order first company to break off while second company begins working its way toward the objective. The 2S1 battery manages to range in on the American mechanized infantry, but from my vantage point, it doesn't seem to have been particularly effective.
Given a lack of targets, the American missiles go silent, and repeated bombardment of the American position at the crossroad continues to be futile. Local radar and SAM positions report incoming American helicopters which should be upon us in minutes. At the same time the second T-72 company indicates that the crossroads objective appears to be very lightly defended with the infantry out of place if attacked from the flank. I give them the go ahead to begin to work their way toward the objective, but to watch out for incoming fire from American helicopters as they'll be well outside our anti-aircraft umbrella.
The T-72 tanks reach the junction and open fire on the American infantry with their main guns, while they are supported by the BRDM platoon. Though an amazing hail of fire is poured into the woods, the Americans hold firm as their casualties appear to have been very light. Our T-72 tanks are in a good position, but the Americans and their APCs are still in the area.
The deep thrumming of rotors announces the arrival of American helicopters which open up on second company's T-72 tanks. One is destroyed in a spectacular fireball. Then, almost inexplicably, the American APCs move out and engage the BRDM group destroying one. The American infantry, however, does nothing...
At this point we're at the beginning of Turn 3 - the NVA tanks are sitting on the objective, and Ryan hadn't realized that his infantry wasn't within 4" of the objective, so unfortunately Game 1 is over just when it promised to get interesting. My T72 tanks were in a good position, but he'd just had two helicopters pop out along with an Abrams unit. I had 3 Shilka remaining, so it would have been a dog fight from here on out - though I think we were calculating the "to hit" number for his helicopters incorrectly - I'll have to go back through the rules this week.
My lack of infantry support for this list - especially against enemy infantry - is something that continues to be a concern. Hopefully I can get them painted and based this weekend as they are close and I finally have all of their transport vehicles at least assembled.
This is also the first game that Ryan played with the new Scouts rule. It really helps out the American forces quite a bit. Originally the woods were not in the American deployment zone, and their being able to move into the woods and load it up with missile-equipped infantry created a huge zone of denial in the middle of the board.
Be on the look out tomorrow for the sequel to the battle report - the far more interesting battle where my biggest concerns about this particular list are confirmed and more tanks lose their tops than... well... if you've been to Mardi Gras you get the idea!
I thought I'd be able to push Ryan off of the objective from my position on his flank. The only thing that could hit me at that point was his helicopters, and I hoped to deal with them on Turn 3... maybe hope springs eternal, but that was "the plan" anyway. Ryan was a good sport about the mix up, and since we'd only used up about 45 minutes of time, we went ahead and rolled back and hit it again.
Anyway, since the T-72s at least did what they were supposed to do, despite trying to die like mayflies when presented with American missiles, here's a brief video on the T-72 in NVA service! Enjoy!