Burning Metal

On Sunday Ninjasaurus Rex and I grabbed a quick game of Rapid Fire, I told him to come over at one, but true to form he arrived at two... Dane was also here, he was borrowing some music from my large collection, but I think he was angling for a game, or at least to watch us play. He kept chiming in with tactical advice, talk about a back-seat driver...

I thought for a quick game we'd just use a load of armour with no infantry support, I know it's not historical, but it's just a game at the end of the day... I set up a pretty bare field as well, I wanted to funnel the action to the centre of the board:

The opposing forces were whatever I pulled out of the cupboard first; Ninjasaurus took the Russians and had: 5 x KV1, 3 x T34/76, 2 x T34/85, 5 x Sherman M3A4, 5 x Matilda II, the last two types being lend lease tanks.

These faced off against my Germans: 4 x Tiger I, 5 x Panzer IV (long 75mm), 5 x StuG IIIg (4 x long 75mm, 1 x 105mm), 4 x T34 (r). So it was 20 Russians, against 18 German tanks.

The Russians rolled high for the initiative and took the first move. They began advancing across the board under the careful watch of the Panzers...

I used the natural cover of the woods in the centre to start bringing my forces closer into contact with the advancing Russians.

Two of the T34(r)s sped forward with their good cross-country speed, and immediately came under fire from the KV1s:

A lucky hit at long range destroyed one of them:

Meanwhile on my left flank the Panzer IVs had come under fire from the two T34/85s and the Matildas. The damage was catastrophic for one of the Panzers, but heir return fire took out a Matilda:

The KVs then came under German fire, but only one was heavily damaged (the red marker).

On the other flank the Matildas and T34/85s damaged and destroyed two Panzer IVs, making the unit tanks flee the field due to bad morale rolls. My left flank had collapsed very quickly.

The two Panzer IVs on the German right flank advanced slowly, under the cover of the Tiger's 88mm guns. I quickly rushed two StuGs up the road in an attempt to destroy the KVs. Meanwhile three of the Shermans had split off and were lurking behind the woods.

The Russians continued their general advance across the field towards the German left flank which was now open for exploitation. They seemed on top, only having one tank knocked out at this stage, I was already four tanks down.

One KV took light damage (the yellow tokens) and another took both light and heavy damage, it seemed that the shots were just bouncing off. Meanwhile, the Shermans destroyed the lead StuG before it could round the woods to face them.

It was looking better and better for the Russians at this point:

Three T34/76s burst through the woods to try to inflict damage on the Tigers and remaining StuGs.

But three T34s against four Tigers and three StuGs can only have one outcome:

However, the Russians were slowly inflicting casualties on all the German tanks, two of T34(r)s were already burning, one had heavy damage and the fourth had light damage. A Tiger had also been hit and was damaged as was the lead Panzer IV.

Fire from the Panzer IVs and Tigers damaged enough of the KV1s to make their morale crumble and they fled from the field. Now the Russian left flank was wide open.

As Russian tanks inched their way around the woods towards the open German flank, the T34s in the central woods fled due to another bad morale result:

Whilst the T34/85s came under fire from the Tigers and T34(r), fire which destroyed one.

It was time to settle the score on the German right flank and I started feeding units forward to attack the Shermans, knocking one out immediately.

As the Russians were threatening my left flank I held some tanks back behind the woods to await their attack and the game seemed to be tipping in my favour.

The remaining Sherman on the Russian flank reversed back to the safety of cover, away from the growing threat and waited for the German tanks to come around the woods.

And come they did, and in force. A T34(r) lead the attack, supported by two Tigers and two Panzer IVs and another Sherman earned its nickname of the Ronson:

The remaining T34/85 was making mincemeat of the StuGs and T34(r)s in the centre of the field, but the rest of my force was holding its own.

Suddenly the Matildas arrived in the gap in the woods and made their presence felt by finishing off the last T34(r).

Then three Shermans suddenly arrived on the flank through the woods! It looked like the crisis point had been reached!

Now the T34/85 was holding off the German flank attack, notching up a kill against the T34(r).

The German tanks pushed forward despite the firepower facing them:

The Tigers and Stugs exchanged shots with the Shermans with little effect, except lightly damaging a Sherman.

How the field looked at this stage, the Germans have pushed on around the woods, but are coming under fire from their exposed left flank, the field is littered with burning hulks and it is still unclear as to who is on top:

Despite being outnumbered four to one the T34/85 was still inflicting casualties, this time a Tiger burst into flames!

The Shermans in the woods were having similar fortune by heavily damaging both the Tigers that faced them. The Tigers failed their morale and one fled off the field, the other one thankfully stopping just on the edge of the board.

With a hurrah the two Matildas pushed past the burning hulks of the German tanks and destroyed one of the remaining StuGs:

Their victory was to be short lived however, one was quickly destroyed by the StuG and Tigers, the other surrendered due to a morale failure.

The remaining T34/85 fell back to consolidate his position on the hills as the remaining Sherman retreated behind the woods and the game swung back into my favour. 

The Tiger on the edge of the board recovered enough to return to the action and cover the StuG advancing on the Sherman's position:

The StuG rounded the woods and destroyed the remaining Sherman on the hill.

Now it was pretty much over bar the shouting:

The Germans in the centre behind the woods poured a hail of fire on the last T34/85 and it burst into flames.

That was it, an undisputed German victory. From my point of view it didn't look so clear cut a lot of the time, especially as I was blasting away at the KVs for what seemed like forever until they finally fled due to morale. The Tigers had a very poor performance overall, with one fleeing the field and another being destroyed and no kills between them besides damaging a few enemy tanks.Outnumbered and out-gunned the Germans gave sterling performance with 2 x Panzer IVs, 2 x Tigers and 1 x StuG surviving the encounter and halting the Russian onslaught.

A quick and enjoyable game, not strictly historical, but fun nonetheless. Thanks for looking!


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