Been a long time since I was able to roll d10s in mock anger... but had a chance to do so last night. I convinced a couple of the local club gamers to participate in a moderns game in 20mm, using Seek Out Close With and Destroy. This was my first "basement game" in the house.
The scenario was a fall offensive set in 1983 in West Germany. The Soviets, including veteran units redeployed from Afghanistan, smashed their way through NATO forces, driving a broken force of Canadian infantry back into the town of Brezel mit Senft. Our game started with the Soviets regrouping for a final try at the town. A few burning Soviet wrecks litter the edge of the town... but the Canadians have been reduced to the breaking point, and have exhausted their heavy AT weapons. They do have the support of a pair of French AML 90s... though the entire force has a surprisingly Argentine look to them... hmmmm... Fast approaching to assist them were a heavy platoon of Scots Guards (veterans of recent fighting in the South Atlantic) mounted in FV432s, supported by a platoon of Chieftains. The Chieftains would prove to be very formidable foes for the Soviets. A pair of much lighter Scorpions would be able to arrive directly in the town.
This was a lot of vehicles for such a small space, I was thinking along the lines of a very intense, very desperate action, fought between armored forces at close range. I expected to see many, many burning vehicles at the end of the game. A kind of mechanized knife fight.
We ended up one player short, so one player would have to manage both the Canadian and British forces. I allowed the other two players to select which force they ran... Wagmanov chose the onboard Soviet BTR and T-55 platoons, and Maranovitch chose the arriving BMP and T-72 platoons. That left the NATO forces to the command of your own Chalfant "Hoser" Smythe-Conley.
Because of several days of rain, the ground was soft. Some vehicles had the potential to bog if they moved at Fast speed. A fine drizzle was still coming down which forced a -1 Firing modifier for all shooting over 30" (except for ATGMs and vehicles with any class of Modern sights). This drizzle did affect some of the infantry shooting. The table at the start of the game...
A view of a Soviet BTR platoon, supported by T-55s and a T-62 (the Soviet player was allowed to move his infantry around in the general area, knowing that the Canadians were allowed to move a squad up after he was done)... take note of the workers dorm in the right of the picture, at the edge of Brezel mit Senft... this building placement was to have unexpected consequences for these Soviets.
Once the BTR deployment was complete, the Canadians pushed up a squad (for free) into the worker dorm. This squad started the game with fire on some exposed tank riding infantry, and were then subsequently routed from the dorm. The Canadians were supposed to be bady demoralized so were deployed with an 8 Guts scale for this scenario. And they failed roughly half of the Guts checks they had to make during the game. Their small arms fire claimed a handful of Soviet infantry, but most of the hard work in Brezel mit Senft was completed by the AML 90s and arriving Scorpions.
The BTR platoon, having quickly routed the Canadian squad in the dorm, found itself having to channel around the dorm itself, creating bottlenecks that the NATO forces were able to capitalize on. One after another Soviet vehicle fell victim to the AML-90s and Scorpions. The workers dorm became the greatest tank obstacle I have ever had in a game.
Meanwhile, the T-72s found themselves completely outmatched by the Chieftains... and the devilishly lucky British dice rolling. The Soviets scored very few hits against the British tanks, and the only one that penetrated was a track hit that did no damage (other than a single PH) due to the good DM of the Chieftain.
Wagmanov's infantry were the most active foot elements in the entire game, but they needed support from their vehicles which were tending to spontaneously burst into flames. Maranovitch's infantry were trying to do their best, including a suicidal move into the open by one squad to get close enough to a Chieftain to fire an RPG-7 (to no effect). The BMPs managed to mostly stay out of LOS of the NATO MBTs, thought they did try a few shots. One BMP flew a Sagger into a building, killing 3 Canadians in an attempt to support Wagmanov's flagging advance.
It was around this point that "Hoser" Smythe-Conley began to feel a little guilty, as he fired an offboard 81mm mortar speculatively at a Soviet truck moving across a field. With no los from the platoon command, I needed a "1" to hit, which I managed to roll... then rolled a "10" for penetration, which meant a "Quick Kill 10" on the results table (modifiers took this up to 12, but who is counting?)... immolating the truck, crew, and all passengers instantly. The passengers were 2 Soviet PK HMG teams. It would have been crass of me to celebrate this misfortune by taking a photo, but I managed to do it anyway...
They were still trying though. Notice the remaining T-55 desperately trying to get into position for a flank shot on a Chieftain, at the end of the game....
In post game wrap up, both Soviet players said the force balance was fine (the Soviets had a few hundred points edge in vehicles and infantry). We did all agree that, while NATO forces did botch some rolls, I did manage quite a few lucky rolls. Neither Soviet player did. The primary problem was the terrain. While the T-72s and BMPs had a straight shot, they were too busy playing with the Chieftains to make a real run into town. The T-55s and BTRs just could not form a cohesive advance because of that worker dorm. And once wrecks began to clutter up the board, it became even harder for them to maneuver. Though it did not have as catastrophic effects for NATO, the Scots Guards had a terrible time trying to get into Brezel mit Senft, and I was convinced to not even try to reach the south east exit road. I decided to be content with a marginal victory.
It actually did make the game more interesting, having that much broken terrain on the table, with limited line of sights, and plenty of mobility problems. In conclusion though, the cumulative terrain effect on the primary Soviet assault force was the deciding factor in the game. But everyone had fun (maybe me more than them!)... I was just glad to finally get a game in again! I am busy working on our latest project, and actually moving miniatures, rolling dice, and seeing stuff brew up is a big boost for me.
Thanks for reading!