Thursday, January 1, 2015

KG Klink, Poland, Game 3


It's 0800, 1 Sept 1939, and the recce element, in a bloody fight, has secured the northern end of the line at Mokra.  However, other elements of the 4th Panzer Division had a rougher time, and so the formation halted and regrouped while air and artillery pounded the town.  Colonel Klink attended the hasty Divisional orders group, where he was told the attack on Mokra would begin at 0800.  Klink returned to his men and issued his orders: the attack would go in at 0800 on the heels of the arty barrage, led by Klink himself, with 1st Panzer Plt and 3rd Gren Plt (minus its 4th Squad, but with 2 squads of 1st Gren Plt attached) in the first wave.  The attack by KG Klink would launch from the positions it captured earlier that morning, and would hit the northern flank of the Polish 21st Uhlan Regiment, supporting 4th Panzer Division's main attack which was going straight up the middle (to the south of KG Klink).

Once again, the opposing forces, guns against tanks.

The Poles have a CO, a .30 cal. MG, an 82mm mortar, four 37mm ATGs, and six rifle squads, and will be dug in.

KG Klink will field its CO (LtCol Klink; yes, LtCol, though you'll often see me simply refer to him as 'Col Klink'), 1st Lt Bohm's Pz Mk III (the Panzer Company Commander), 1st Panzer Plt (led by 2nd Lt Loeb, with three Pz Mk IIIs and two Pz Mk IIs), 3rd Grenadier Plt (led by 2nd Lt Tausch, with three of his own squads and two from 1st Gren Plt, one of which is 2nd Squad led by Sgt Haas, holder of the Iron Cross 2nd Class).

Overview, north is up, Germans on left, Poles on right, situation as of the lifting of the arty barrage.

The Polish line, with ATGs on hill at top left, a trench of two rifles and an MG on the (German) left flank and a four-squad rifle platoon on the right flank in the town.

The German set up, with 3rd Gren Plt and Col Klink at left, and 1st Panzer Plt at right, with the two 1st Gren Plt squads in trucks.  The Panzer Co commander, Lt Bohm, is also there.  Let's get it on!

Right out the gate the Germans roll a scurry, which is not a bad thing as the whole force gets to move forward without drawing fire.  Here is the German left.

And the German right.  Just so you're following, the entire German force has just broken cover in a hell for leather dash to close the distance with the Poles.  Then the worst possible thing that could happen, happened...

The Poles rolled a firefight.  Meaning every single weapon they had with LOS to, and within range of, the Germans, got to open fire.  Please recall that the Poles had FOUR anti-tank guns dug-in on the hill; these opened fire with devastating results.  They also rolled a random event, "a hero emerges," and he was placed with one of the rifle squads in the town.  Sgt Zedler's Pz Mk III (center) was immediately knocked out, forcing Lt Bohm (the Company Commander) to fall back and seek cover behind Zedler's vehicle (red bead at center), and Cpl Landauer's (Landauer is a Cpl because he was demoted after running in the first fight at the frontier) squad (in truck at far left) to fall back behind the trees.  Then Lt Loeb's Pz III (top right) takes several hits and brews up, pinning Sgt Grebel's vehicle (center, w/yellow bead).  The ATGs fire at Cpl Mettner's Pz II (bottom right), but miss, while the enemy MG opens up on Sgt Haas' truck, who's squad is pinned but manages to dismount its vehicle.

Cpl Knacke's Pz II (off camera at bottom left) opens fire on the far left trench, pinning the enemy MG (bottom left w/yellow bead) and forcing both rifle squads to run, while Cpl Mettner's Pz II fires on the central ATG position (the two outboard bunkers have one ATG each, while the center has two), causing both gun crews to run away (top right w/red beads, but right next to their CO, which means they should have no problem rallying).

And then disaster in the south, where the Poles in the ville, armed only with rifles, manage to put Sgt Lowenstam and Cpl Hauer's squads (bottom right, casualty figures) out of the fight...  Lt Tausch's HQ section (center) and Sgt Schlessinger's squad (bottom left) return fire, to no effect.

And that was the end of Turn One...  Down two tanks and two rifle squads, with one tank and one rifle squad hunkering, and one tank and one rifle squad pinned.  The enemy have two ATGs and two rifle squads hunkering, but haven't lost any units.

Not pictured, but Sgt Haas, a bona fide hero, tries to rally his pinned rifle squad, but fails and they actually get worse, falling back (things are really going my way).  Lt Bohm, the Panzer Co Commander, rallies himself, while Col Klink rallies Sgt Grebel's Pz III.  Desperate to change their fortunes, Cpl Knacke orders his Pz II forward, where it overruns the enemy MG in the trench, then fires at the nearest ATG, pinning it.

While Cpl Mettner turns his Pz II (far left) south in an attempt to help his brethren in the 3rd Gren Plt; he fires on the Poles in the ville, pinning two squads and forcing one to fall back (top right).

Cpl Mettner is rewarded by an ATG (center right) firing on him (bottom left); the hit immobilized the Pz II, and Mettner and his boys bailed out.  The Polish CO tries to rally one of his hunkered gun crews (top right), but he failed and they ran!  That's one way to eliminate an ATG.  At bottom right, the Polish hero rallied his squad, who fired on Lt Tausch's squad (off camera at bottom left), no effect.

Sgt Haas manages to rally his men.

While Sgt Grebel (bottom left) moves his Pz III up and fires on the bottom right ATG, pinning it, and Cpl Knacke moves his Pz II (center left) up, firing at the ATG right in front of him, but no effect (he pinned it, but it was already pinned).  This is a dangerous game they're playing; they have no infantry support, and enemy infantry is lying in the wings (top left), suppressed, but if they manage to rally...

The action on the hill boils over!  The Polish CO moves to his ATG and rallies them (top center); they fire at Cpl Knacke's Pz II, but miss, while the bottom right ATG tries to rally but fails!

And then I get royally screwed: the Germans roll a scurry.  I don't need to move, I need to shoot before the Poles can rally all their pinned/hunkered troops!  And now every pinned/hunkered Pole that sees a German move will be able to attempt to rally.  Now, I could have simply sat tight, forfeited my turn, so that the enemy couldn't do anything either, but that reeks of gamesmanship; it's borderline cheating in a game, and is not what would have happened on the battlefield.  So on we go.

Cpl Landauer tries to rally his men, and once again (as at the frontier), he and his men depart the field of battle.  The Germans consolidate in the center, and the Poles begin rallying their troops back into fighting shape.

And then the worst possible thing happens again: the Poles roll scurry...  So all those troops they just rallied now get to move up without drawing reaction fire (far left, practically on top of Cpl Knacke's Pz II).  ATG #3 (top center, crew next to CO) finally manages to succeed its rally (I think the failed three times before passing, but at least they didn't run away).

Lt Tausch and Sgt Schlessinger moved round the village, trying to gain advantage on a numerically superior force, who have moved troops from further south up into the building.

And then, in reaction to the Poles scurry, Col Klink has the Germans push all-out, with Cpl Knacke's Pz II at top, then Sgt Grebel's Pz III, Col Klink's command element, and Lt Bohm's Pz III at bottom, with Lt Tausch and Sgt Schessinger's squads escorting them at bottom.  At top left, Sgt Haas continues to try to get his men to catch up, but the earlier morale issues means they are way behind.

Then the Germans roll a firefight, which isn't terrible (another scurry), but I'd rather have had a 'normal' turn so I could move Sgt Haas' squad (bottom left) up to offset the enemy infantry threat to my panzers in the center.  Cpl Knacke's Pz II (center, the top one, with Sgt Grebel's Pz III below it, and Lt Bohm's Pz III and Col Klink at bottom right) fires on the left-hand ATG, causing the crew to run (red bead at top left).  Sgt Grebel fires on the ATG at right, causing men down and forcing an enemy rifle to run (top right).  Sgt Haas squad fires across the trench and puts men down (white bead at bottom left) on the enemy rifle squad there, but their compatriots return fire and put Sgt Haas' squad out of the fight...  There are zero German infantry remaining in the north (hell, there's only two squads left in the south!).

Lt Bohm turns his turret (top center) and blasts the Poles out of the building (they're now on the road at center, w/red bead), while the German infantry push back another enemy squad and eliminate one more.

The enemy CO moves to and rallies his remaining ATG, and the Polish hero rallies his rifle squad.

But the big move is when the far left Polish rifle squad charges Cpl Knacke's Pz II.  Knacke's tank fires its machine gun at the charging enemy troops, but the rounds fly wide of their mark...

And the Poles climb over the German tank, pouring fire through vision slits and dropping grenades into hatches, destroying the tank.  They then turn their attention to Sgt Grebel's Pz III, who doesn't even get to snap fire as it's facing the opposite direction.

And the Poles make quick work of Grebel's vehicle...

Col Klink has no choice but to order the withdrawal, taking only Lt Bohm's Pz III and two rifle squads with him...

-Cpl Landauer is executed for his second bout of cowardice in as many battles.
-All five 1st Pz Plt vehicles knocked out.
-Cpl Knacke recommended for Iron Cross 2nd Class for charging main enemy position, killed in action.
-Sgt Grebel, captured.
-Sgt Zedler WIA, out for campaign.
-Lost ~50 KIA/WIA/POW, lost 3 x Pz Mk III, 2 x Pz Mk II.
-Caused ~25 KIA/WIA, destroyed 1 37mm ATG.

Well, ouch...  Sometimes you grab the bull by the horns, sometimes you get gored.  You may be laughing at my rudimentary tactics, but I'm sticking with history, and the Germans lined up their panzers and charged the enemy gun line, and, just like real life, they got shot to pieces.  I don't feel too bad, it was going to be a tough fight either way, and I never felt out of the fight until the very end when the Polish rifle squad charged and put my two panzers on the hill out of the fight, at which point it was clear which way the wind was blowing.  The rules have an activation system that truly add drama to the game; for me they are the perfect balance of adding fog/friction, without making you feel helpless; you don't know what your options will be until you make the command roll, but you're constantly making decisions, which is what I want from a game.

More to come (another butt-whooping, incidentally).



  1. Yikes, the Germans got handled rough in this one :-)

    Do you feel infantry assaults against tanks are too deadly?

  2. Yeah, it was rough, but c'est la vie. It was fun, right up to the end ;)

    No, I don't think they're too deadly. I think that if you use bad tactics (like have your tanks dash forward and outrun their infantry support in close terrain) and/or get taken to the cleaners by sneaky 'scurry' moves (though scurry won't allow the infantry to actually close assault the tank, only get close) you've messed up somewhere, and if infantry can get close enough tanks are very vulnerable, so I think it's perfect.

    But I have a flair for the dramatic. But there's also a reason why combined arms doctrine is what it is (tanks and infantry supporting each other during their vulnerable parts), and why things like "Tank Hunter" badges/medals existed (i.e., tank hunting is a real thing, not a myth).

    Oh, and I haven't gotten anything meaningful done with those damned naval rules. When I started typing them up to send, I kept rearranging and re-thinking stuff. I'll get to them when I can, I swear.