Saturday saw the 2nd installment in our (very) occasional series of Kursk encounters, the assualt on the main Soviet line at Cherkasskoye.
(full details for the scenario and TOE can be found here:)
The German view of the battlefield from Butovo prior to the placement of the anti-tank ditch and the Soviet defences
The 67th Guards Rifles dig-in at Cherkasskoye
The formidable defenses
Turn one and as per history, a command blunder has the Panzers stumbling into a marsh
Soviet High Command check their situation maps
The Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadiers move up cautiously
Early game and the germans are massing in the cover of the cornfield, shrugging off the loss of their air-cover
In what was to become a familar sight, artillery had suppressed a Russian Command stand
The Panzers move up to firing positions
View from the Russian front lines
A few brave PanzerGrenadiers make a dash for the cover of the anti-tank ditch
More suppressed Russian command stands (sigh)
Von Cleuswitz demonstrates his unrivalled ability to pass successive command tests
Turn 4 and as usual with BKC, casualties are light so far
Sutov and his adviser Sam comfirm that the panzers are still out of range of their guns
Confident in his dice rolling, Von Cleuswitz takes time out for refreshment
It's bad news for the Russians as the forward artillery observer makes the cover of the anti-tank ditch (particularly given the slightly over powered misreading of the artillery rules we were using)
Mid game and the german view of the Russian lines shows a few gaps developing
Now the CO is suppressed
The 199th hold firm on the left flank
And the right flank is holding steady (shame about the centre...)
It's crunch time as the GD lunge for the anti-tank ditch in force - with the pioneers taking up position
Russian mortars thwart the plans of the first unit of pioneers
The start of turn 10 and the russian casualties are becoming unsustainable
Clearing the ditch, the Germans halt at the wire belt, amused that the russians have not placed their hidden minefields in front of the village but to guard against a mythical flank attack
Suppressing fire proves effective yet again
Technical victory to the Germans on turn 10 but we play-on figuring that if their going to capture Obyan, they need to occupy Cherkaskoye by turn 12
Darren ponders the irony that the Germans have won before they finally bridge the ditch
Panzers poised to exploit
An ill advised assault on a bunker sees the entire German first wave suppressed as they lose badly
Which displeases Darren as he's forgotten that suppression comes off at the end of your turn
Victory is secured. Flanking fire from the left suppresses some of the Germans...
and the last ditch charge from the right flank falls tantilisingly short with a final failed command test at 6's
A dejected Sutov awaits his fate at the hands of the NKVD
So, some closing thoughts. A massively enjoyable day for all concerned. The table looked great and the scenario was fun. It was pretty touch and go as to whether the Germans would prevail, despite the overwhelming casualties they caused. It came down to not much more than a failed command test on turn 12 for the Russians. Great effort from Darren once more in constructing a meaty and plausible historical scenario and plaudits to von Cleuswitz & Sam for great company and great dice rolling
There were some problems, some due to our massively overpowered misreading of the artillery rules, but mostly of our own creation as the Russians. We placed the ditch too far away from our defenses meaning we couldn't really pour down concentrated fire on the infantry while not halting the tanks far enough away to stop them shelling us. I bizzarely placed all our minefields on the right flank. Our scheduled barrages were in the wrong place .... I could go on!
Furthermore, the Germans out ranged us with their tanks, meaning that they could simply stand off and snipe our ATGs. I think a re-run might need some rules for hidden deployment or simply not letting the tanks fire until the ATGs had opened up at them to better reflect the historical events.
Wish we had time in our lives for a re-fight but now it's on to Game 3 ...