Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Red Flags and Iron Crosses (Tarred and Featherstoned) - Play-test 2

The second play-test used the same forces and scenario as the first, but with the addition of a PzKpfw V Panther to the German defenders and two T34/76s to the Russian attackers.

Both sides placed their units in the same starting positions as before. The Germans stationed their Panther in an ambush position so that it could cover the main approach road to the village. The Russians positioned one of their T34s on the road (in the same hex as an under-strength infantry unit) and the other in support of the infantry unit on their right flank. Both tanks were to be used in direct support of the frontal attack.

The first turn saw the Russian field artillery knocked out and the crew killed by gunfire from the German infantry gun. At the same time the T34 on the road roared forward – out pacing it’s supporting infantry – and entered the outskirts of the village. It engaged the German troops occupying the right flank of the German front-line, and killed one of the dug-in infantry. The other T34 moved forward with more caution and mounted the hill opposite the main section of the German front-line.

The next turn saw the German Infantry gun engage the T34 that was now in the village, but to no avail. The Panther then opened fire on the same Russian tank, catching it side on and destroying it with its first shell.
On the German left flank the T34 engaged the front-line of German defences, causing much discomfort and a single casualty.
During the third turn the remaining T34 – with distant support from their following infantry unit – moved into the German front-line defences, and forced the defenders to withdraw into the village. The Panther opened fire on the T34 … and missed! In the middle of the battlefield the Russian infantry that had been following the knocked-out T34 attacked the German heavy machine gun that was dug-in there, suffering heavy casualties in the process and being beaten back.

By the end of the fourth turn the Russian troops attacking the heavy machine gun in the village were wiped out when they again attempted to attack it over open ground without tank support. The T34 continued to advance, the Panther’s shells hitting it several times but without effect.

A further assault on the village by one of the Russian infantry units that was working its way around the German right flank managed to enfilade the German heavy machine gun, destroying it and its crew in the process. On the German left flank a counter attack by the Germans forced the Russian infantry unit that had occupied part of the German front-line to retreat (again there was no NKVD blocking detachment to encourage them to return to the fight!).

By turn six a stalemate had developed. The T34 and the Panther were exchanging fire with one another, but neither could get a decisive hit on the other. Even the German infantry gun tried to knock the T34 out, but its shells just bounced off. In the meantime the Russians had now secured part of the village, and were able to mount an attack on the second line of German defences. At first they were beaten back, but during the next turn they managed to break through and occupy a section in the centre of the German trenches.
At this point in the battle the Russians were poised to push the Germans back, but luck was with the defenders. At last the Panther managed to knock out the T34, and the German infantry gun – firing over open sights and at point-blank range – landed a shell amongst the Russians who had occupied the German trenches, killing all of them.

The battle ended when the last remaining Russian infantry unit – one that had been trying to outflank the right side of the German position – appeared over a hill near the rear of the village. The Panther and the German infantry gun turned to engage them, causing them to retreat. Night then fell, and the Germans consolidated their positions before the inevitable Russian attack took place on the following morning.

Lessons learned:

Don’t attempt to make head-on assaults across open ground towards dug-in heavy machine guns – you just suffer horrendous casualties!

The tank rules work – it is actually quite difficult to hit a tank if you are firing on the move whereas a stationary tank has a much better chance of hitting anything it is aiming at.

Tank assaults on infantry positions are not covered very clearly in the rules as they presently exist, and this section needs some work to make it clear and unambiguous.

I need to develop the section on the rules that deal with morale so that they reflect the differences in quality between different units.


  1. Nice report there Bob. Never played those rules before so can't comment.

    Like your figures too.


  2. Bob,

    what is the scale in this rules?
    I've read in the first edition that the units were battalions, but in the second it isn't said anymore.

  3. Gabriel,

    I think of the units as being battalion-sized, but I was specifically vague when I wrote the draft you are looking at so that I could use them for lower level games.



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