Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Game 56 : Prokorovka, the main game

These are pics from the larger Prokorovka game. In size it was a reinforced Das Reich Panzergrenadier Division fighting the main elements of a Russian Tank Army, based on two tank corps.  The smaller previous game set the scene and this game was just as interesting. The Russians have some discretionary points that are used to "buy" extra troops or upgrade troops to Guards status. In our rules, Guards status makes it harder to be killed and usually imparts a higher morale. When we finally decide troops factors after first contact, Guards tend to only ever better, never worse. The Germans are crack troops throughout their forces. The smaller game saw a fight to a standstill. The Russian Guard tank corps was able to hold its ground against a Regimental sized force of Germans. We were able to see the influence of being somewhat harder to kill. It really becomes a balancing act when choosing numbers or quality!!
Now to set the scene for the bigger game. The Russian chose to increase their forces with their points and included a whole Tank corps as Guards. What happened? To cut to the chase, the Germans were able to eventually exert control over both flanks and the Russians were being pushed back, but not broken. Some highlights are pictured below.

Unfortunately for me, the burning tanks are mine! Two Marders and a Pz IIIM. Killed by the Russian air force if you can merit that!! The Russians will fight all day for control of the main hill, but a late in the day surgical air strike by the Luftwaffe and the exposing of the flank would eventually force the Russians to yield the hill.

This is in the centre. This was a bit of a no mans land as both sides had tank heavy flanks. The SU 152s do a good job of scaring the German armour and progress can only be made very slowly and methodically by smoking out the enemy armour when he engages the advancing Germans. Both sides would really end the day at the same point where they started the day.

Longer angled shot showing the action from the previous pic and the action for the hill. Winning the initiative was very important tactically. We find that if both sides are "balanced" against each other overall, initiative becomes critical. It also then leads to the expected backwards and forwards unless one side is lucky enough to get a run on winning the initiative.

Action at the other end of the table where both sides contested a major river crossing all day. The river was crossable by foot troops but not by vehicles. It was here that Tiger tank "perished" under sustained AT fore from 45mm ATGs. Gaining control of one bank of the river took 2 days, gaining control of the far side saw us run out of time.

Towards the end of the duelling, the Germans begin to make steady, relentless progress onto the hill which then quickly fell under total German control. As the Germans had more flexible artillery, namely Regimental heavy weapons, the hill proved a powerful position and created a sort of exclusion zone as its height meant the all enemy troops were visible for some distance and could be engaged as desired by artillery.

Back the other flank and the fight is now across the river where German infantry are infiltrating amongst the Russian armour. It now becomes time for the Russians to retire from this before they get fixed in position and destroyed in detail by the Germans.

We all agreed it was one of the better games we had played as the forces were all good kit and both sides had their own specific advantages/disadvantages. We still look like a motly crew!!
Next game will be Prokorovka, take three! We'll see what happens in this one but I have made further "scary" changes for both sides to digest!!