Monday, 29 October 2012

Some Rapid Fire on the Eastern Front

A couple of years ago and I only had a few armies to bring along to a club night, but such has been my productivity last year in particular that I'm actually now reaching the stage that I have stuff that I feel guilty I haven't got out of the cupboard in a long time.

So it was with my WW2 Eastern Front Rapidfire armies, and so I decided I'd put on a biggish participation game for all comers at the club. I referee'd and six players pulled cards from my scenario generator deck to determine forces (in the general chaos 4 players ended up on the Russian side and 2 players on the German....). We went for 4 battalions a side. The Germans were thrilled to pick an 'Elite SS panzer battalion' of shiny Panthers as their second card- all the rest were infantry battalions. The Russians just pulled infantry battalions, but I decided to even things up a bit by giving them a battalion of T34/76s as reinforcements, and they got a couple of companies of SMG armed tank riders as their other reinforcement card.

Russians who were defending rolled a lousy '1' to determine how far in they could deploy (which under my scenario rules means only one foot in). The Germans started the game by marching on the table. We used hidden movement, and the first units to be detected were the Panther battalion just as they took a ridge halfway across the board.
Overview from the Russian left wing
The Russians didn't waste any time bringing on their reinforcements, and their tank battalion with SMG armed tank riders came on from their right flank in turn 3. Next to be spotted was a German infantry battalion marching down the road into the main town on the Russian left, and a bit of accurate mortar fire took out half a company. Ben had rushed his Russian infantry battalion to try and take a smaller village on the Russian right.
T34s advance to try and stop the Panthers sweeping through the Russians who have seized a secondary village
The main 'fireworks' of the game was in the tank battle on the Russian right. The Panthers succeeded in taking out all the T34s in three or four rounds, but most of their tanks were left heavily damaged. One of the distinguishing features of the rest of the game was the very large number of '1's rolled on the combat dice. Ben's AT gun missed several times at point blank range against the Panthers, and Simon's didn't have much more luck, at an admittedly longer range, against the Panzer battalion's HQ company. Small arms fire in general seemed to miss the mark all over the place. Rarely have so many rounds been expended for so little effect, and it looked as if the Russians in particular had gone into battle without much weapons training!
Dug in across the river, the Russians make a last minute dash to try and stop the Germans taking the town
On the Russian left, the Germans pulled off a highly effective ruse of aggressively moving a hidden movement decoy base into the main town (contrary to the rules I allow decoy counters to be moved - I can't see why they shouldn't be) where they couldn't be spotted. Diggers commanding the Russian battalion on the Russian left was clearly spooked and kept his forces dug in on the other river bank, until a couple of moves before the German infantry battalion was just about to enter the town, when he and Simon, commanding the infantry battalion holding the woods in the Russian centre line, released a few companies to try to contest the town.
German infantry are already entering the town before they can stop them
It was at this point that we ran out of time. I hadn't had time to put out all the victory point markers, so instead of adding up points, I gave a marginal victory to the Germans, who had taken control of a road exit on the right, the ridge line in the centre and were contesting control of the town, while the Russians hadn't done much more than hold the bridge and grab the secondary village.

Thanks to Mac and Diggers with helping out explain the rules to the other four players who had not played Rapid Fire before, without which I don't think we would have even got as far as we did.

Personally I think I'd have brought my Russian reinforcements on the left flank (where most of the objectives were!) not the right, but if they had, the Russians probably would not have stopped the Panzer battalion smashing though the Russian centre, which they probably would have done if they had not been loading AT shells into their guns for most of the battle, and instead put some concentrated HE fire into the Russian infantry battalions. The battalion of T34s was destroyed, but they put enough 'heavy damage' markers on the Panthers to blunt their offensive.

No comments:

Post a Comment