Glory in Russia


I am having some time off between my last exam and becoming a father again, so I've tried to get gaming as much as possible. Today I had a battle of IABSM with Søren 'Mouse' Husum at the club.

Actually the player I was meant to fight didn't show up and I hadn't brought my mobile so I had no way of knowing. But anyway Søren was readily available and interested in the IABSM game.

Having painted up a few Panzer II's (C's and F's) I wanted to have the Germans field those. In the early days of Barbarossa this wasn't entirely impossible as some of these antiques were still around.

Søren got six – three of each – no less could do it. He also got a StuG III ausf D. Besides that he had a motorised platoon and two regular platoons – all wehr infantry of the line. Unfortunantly I don't have a suitable model aircraft, so no air support was available. Supporting his troops were two MMG's and some recce bikes, which should end up faring oh so poorly.

The Russians were to epitomize the worker and peasant army fielded in the beginning. As such they were composed of three platoons (blue, white and red) of piss poor Red Army infantry, with a good SMG platoon surrendered from battalion together with two 76mm AT-guns. The Russian fighting chance was heavily reliant on a pack of three T-34 ready to take out the enemy armour.

The setup was a bit experimental as I tried to create a village of spread out Russian farmhouses. A great hill knelt in the background and a small river flowed through the area too.

I always find it difficult doing terrain for Russian gaming, as on the pictures in my books there's hardly anything but long grass or open land. Anyway I think I managed ok on this one.

We deployed 10'' in from each end, roughly. The German recce unit zoomed over the bridge and started spotting away. This led to the discovery of the an infantry company next to a field in the north. Søren was quick to move up his mobilised infantry and unload them in the farmhouses next to the bridge.

This was a setback as that meant I would never make it over the river. He had a firm hold on the bridge. Supported by good terrain features on the part of the map he'd probably be off for a good thorough thrashing of the Russians.

The Opel Blitz and the German company commander decided that after unloading troops it was best to head back behind the lines and await the good news of an easy victory over the radio.

Unfortunately the trucks weren't that capable of making a column nice and easy so they didn't get over the bridge in the first run.

Meanwhile the spotting game continued and after a while the rifles hiding out on the hill, a tank-killer team and some German troops were deployed. The blue rifles found themselves heavily engaged by enemy fire but managed to kill some of the motorbikers.

A lucky T34 managed to put out an Opel Blitz shooting it in the rear and immediately fired a snapshot at another sending a shell blazing through the canvas. But one Blitz was ok.

The company commander decided to have lunch and watch the battle

The second T34 opted for going south to make it over the river and flanking the Germans. A fatal move.. as it was later shown.

Søren fired bloodily and killed more blue rifles but the situation on the bridge was much to his annoyance. Understandably – the rest of the German army wasn't able to get over the bridge as long as the trucks were blocking it. His pz II's ausf c's tried going over the river. One immediatley bogged down but the two others made it. As if that wasn't enough the next card immobilised his StuG III – petrol shortage! And as luck would have, it for the Russians, it wasn't able to shoot anything – StuG's lacking turret traverse and all..

From their position in the houses next to the bridge Søren opened fire on the white rifles on the hill. Nothing happened.

He send forth a section to investigate the shrubberies a bit further east the bridge. At Tea Break it was discovered that the harmless looking bushes had no less than two platoons of Russians in them! Yuicks! The one platoon even got to fire a the Tea Break, but two initiative dice apiece didn't yield much. Two kills and four wounds on the section in front of them.

After the break Søren retired the unlucky section and rallied it. My answer to this was a draw of the ”uhraaa” card – I couldn't miss that one out! The Russians stormed forward. Their commander had completely forgotten their measly 2 initiative dice and was greatly disappointed to roll... 5''... Stuck, dumbfoundedly in the middle of the bleeding open an entire Russian platoon sat as a sitting duck.

The nearby Big Man tried a desperate assault on the several Pz. II's lined up next to the houses. We decided that on a roll of 11 or 12 he had thrown a good one with a Molotov cocktail. He didn't.

North the Germans were having a firefeast. The T34 #67 had been ridiculously impotent failing to roll 6+ for two consecutive turns. But finally it managed to hit, pin and kill some Germans. The blue rifles tried advancing but the lack of big men proved fatal. South the T34 215 had it's turret blown to smithereens by a PaK, which Søren deployed from a Blind. Reason he hadn't used it earlier was that he had misunderstood when he was allowed to do it – believing it could only be done on the ”German Blinds move” card. A bit sad.

We had to end the game soon after this as my last bus would be leaving soon. It was a cool game with lots of good moments and Søren was a thoroughly good guy to play with. Having lots of good troops at his disposal probably helped this!

Needless to say the early Russian fight an up hill battle – but unlike some people I don't mind playing games that way. Fair gaming isn't necessarily fun gaming in my opinion. If it was, why even bother with IABSM and not just play Flames of War instead.

Well thanks to Søren for saving my evening from being wasted time, and hopefully he'll be interested in taking on the Russians later. Or perhaps my Frenchies when they arrive (even the delivery is hesitant!).