Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Dining Room Battle: Encounter at Shklov, June 1944

The Battle of Shklov is a fictional WW II battle that was fought on December 26, 2009 on the Dining Room table of our house. We decided to play a 2000 point Flames of War game using the Encounter Scenario from the basic rule book. The scenario begins with the attacker, advancing and encountering strong opposition, calls for assistance - but so has the defender! An interesting scenario with mobile forces and delayed and scattered reserves coming to the rescue.
The two opponents:
1. Oberstleutnant Dad leads a Kampfgruppe built around the 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Grenadier Regiment. (Most of the time I like to lead a force heavy with infantry as they comprised the majority of combatants in WW II) The company is able to field two platoons of infantry and one platoon of heavy machineguns. Both infantry platoons are armed with panzerfaust anti-tank weapons and the Company headquarters has a panzerschreck anti-tank team along with panzerfausts. Fortunately for 4th Company, additional forces have been added to build the Kampfgruppe (task force). A German paratrooper platoon with panzerfausts has been attached and an assault gun platoon consisting of 3 Stug G IV's will provide some armor support. In additon, an artillery battery of 10.5 cm howitzers and some sporadic (and I do mean sporadic!) air support is available. In a surprise move to my opponent, I decided not to deploy my combat engineers and decide instead to have a platoon of Tiger 1E tanks from Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 (Heavy Tanks!).
2. The opposing commander leading the Soviet 42nd Guards Tank Battalion is Comrade Colonel Colinovskii. Colonovskii has seen victory slip from his grasp several times during the long war; would today be different? The 42nd Guards for the first time will have the charasmatic Brigada (Brigade) Kommisar M. A. Dedov has the battalion second-in-command. The armor of the battalion consists of 7 T-34/85's, 5 T-34 obr 1942's and 5 IS-II heavy tanks (KV-1's used as proxies). Along for the ride is a company of Guards Tank Riders (infantry), a company of Soviet Naval Infantry armed with sub-machineguns, a heavy machine gun platoon, more Komissars than you can shake a stick at and making their debut: the Guards Rocket Mortar Battery.

Both sides start to set-up; the German commander puts his Tigers in the village of Shklov on the left flank while Soviet Scouts conducts a recon of the German forces.

Now a quick die roll to determine who goes first and the Soviets attack!

Brigada (Brigade) Kommisar M. A. Dedov commandeers a T-34/85 medium tank (the one with the flag) and decides to join the heavy tanks of the 42nd Guards Tank Battalion. It will be Dedov who first spots the Germans at Shklov. Dedov's force will be isolated for most of the battle as he ties down the German reinforcements. The damaged Tiger is one of the objectives to be captured in the Soviet deployment area.

The Tigers of the 501st wait to engage. In Flames of War, Tiger platoons get to roll for a special "Tiger Ace" skill for the game. For this game it will be rapid fire. The Tigers will have a great rate of fire; unfortunately their accuracy will be horrendus.

Enemy tanks! Action right!

Tigers from the 501st move up to engage at long range . . . and spectaculary fail to hit a single tank exposed in the open. The Tigers, though in cover and concealed by buildings will not be so lucky.
Dedov hastens the Soviet heavy tanks forward as obviously the Germans cannot hit slow moving tanks in the open . . .

Another Tiger moves forward . . . and misses . . . again.

German artillery preparing to fire, their right flank protected by Stug G IV assault guns.

The Soviet counterpart to the German artillery in the battle: A Guards Rocket Mortar Battalion consisting of BM-13 Katyusha Rocket launchers. Colin made a good decision to dig them in on the first turn; unfortunately, they would suffer from shiny new model syndrome and miss 99.9% of the time. The one time they do hit the target, they destroyed half of the German artillery.

German paratroopers on the right flank guard an objective and wait for the inevitable Soviet assault.

Platoon leader of the German paratroopers with panzerfaust anti-tank rocket.

Soviet reinforcements of T-34's and Infantry arrive . . .

. . . while the Stug G IV assault guns wait in ambush.

"Ummm sir . . . that's a lot of Russians."

The platoon leader is destroyed in the first volley . .
. . .quickly followed by another. The last assault gun's will breaks and they leave the field.

Two airstrikes by the Luftwaffe fail to stop the Soviet advance.

Tiger commander repositions the tanks as infantry reinforcements arrive.

Two Tigers are destroyed quickly by accurate Soviet fire. The German Radio Truck is the Objective in Shklov.

Well . . . that didn't work.

The surviving Tiger retreats back to the rear of the village as German infantry reinforcements arrive in an attempt to stop the Soviet iron juggernauts.

Soviet infantry puts pressure on the paratroopers on the right flank.

Paratroopers continue to successfully defend.

German infantry prepares to assault the Heavy Tanks at close quarters.

Dedov pushes his command forward . . . encouraging to destroy the German infantry and liberate the town.

German infantry launch their assault.


The elite 9th Naval Rifle Brigade, armed with submachineguns, leap from T-34 obr43 tanks and assault the Germans in the woods between Shklov and the paratroopers on the other flank.

The fighting swings back and forth at close quarters. The Kubelwagon belongs to the German forward observer.

For Mother Russia! German defences start to crumble in the center.

The Comrade Colonel sends his T-34/85's two times without infantry support against the paratroopers, who, after a valiant defense have to retreat. The pig sty is the objective.

The paratroopers break, the Soviets seize the objective. With the loss on the right flank, the Germans have to retreat from the village giving the key objective to the Soviets - a stunning victory (6 points vs 1 point for his Dad).

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