Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report :The Battle Of Kubica Pass (Pt. 1: Deployment & Strategy)

Buffalo 2-7 patrolled into the deep dark wood.

They deployed into cover and the cover was good.

Up on point was stealth sniper team Ghost 7.

They counted Soviet tanks, all the way up to 11.

But then something mighty shook the ground below –

Oh Help! Oh No! It’s Stompy Uncle Joe!

Stompy Uncle Joe? Who’s Stompy Uncle Joe?

Stompy Uncle Joe? Why, didn’t you know?

He’s fifty feet tall, with a terrible roar

And a terrible flamethrower on his terrible claw

He can fire lightning into the air – his antiaircraft machine guns have our Rocketeers scared!

Where his he headed? He’s on our left flank – 

AND HIS FAVOURITE FOOD IS CENTURION TANK!!!!!

(thank you Julia Donaldson)

It’s time.

New board. New terrain. New and improved armies. After a summer of repainting and terrain building, Dan and I are champing at the bit to get this game underway and try out all our new toys, and this is going to be a BIG post. So big, in fact, we’ve decided to split it into two parts. This week, we’ll cover the army lists, deployment and strategies, and once the dust has settled and the empties cleared away, we’ll take a look at how the battle unfolded.

We decided to flip the narrative for once – the Atlantic Alliance would be the attacking party, striking deep into formerly Polish territory to try and secure the strategically vital village of Kubica Pass (yes, named for the racing driver.. we’re both rooting for you and hope to see you back on the F1 grid in 2018!) while the Holy Soviet Army would be trying to hold them back and protect this newly acquired slice of Motherland.

There were six objectives on the board, each worth 30VPs each – the central gulley and various hills and buildings around the battlefield. We reckoned each force chimed in at roughly 3000 points, so it should give us a good balance of manoeuvre and flat out slaughter!

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The board (Soviets nearest the bottom) – objective 1 just out of shot extreme left Soviet flank, objective 2 the rocky hill next to it, objective 3 the central gulley, objective 4 the ruined department store to it’s right, objective 5 the hill near the Allies, objective 6 the ruined church

Army Lists:

Holy Soviet Army – Task Force Polikarpov, 63rd Guards Tank Division

Command  –

Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Commissar, RTO, Standard Bearer, 3 x Riflemen

Line

Rifle Squad (No. 1)

Rifle Squad (No. 2)

Rifle Squad (No. 3) – Flamethrower replaces Light Machine Gun

Heavy Weapon Squad (No. 4) – reinforced with Lightning Launcher

Support

Strong Men (Sil’nyye muzhchiny) Close Assault Squad

Lightning Storm (Ataka grozy) Attack Squad

Artillery Observation Team

Special –

Noble Sniper (Blagorodnyy Snayper)

Holy Mystic (Svyataya Misticheskaya) & Entourage

Vehicles

T-48 Platoon (4 x T-48 including 1 command tank)

SU-152 Assault Gun

IS-6 Rampager

“Inferna” variant T-48

“Elektra” variant T-48

Kolossus Super Heavy Mech

Shock Drone section (2x Shock Drones)

 

Atlantic Alliance – Buffalo 2-7, VII Corps

Command  –

Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Platoon Sergeant, RTO, Medic

Line (each squad split into 2-man fireteams)

Rifle Squad (Alfa)

Rifle Squad (Bravo) + M85 support bot w/ assault saw, flamethrower

Missile Squad (Charlie) + M85 support ‘bot w/ Stinger/TOW launcher

Light Machinegun Squad (Delta) + M85 support ‘bot w/ LMG & HMG

Support

Dreadnaught power armoured infantry

Rocketeer squad (Warhawk 4-9)

Stealth squad (Ghost 7)

 

Vehicles

M60A3 Platoon (3 x M60A3 including 1 command tank)

M42 Stealth Tank

Humvee – Minigun

Humvee – Railgun, targeter

Humvee – Stinger/TOW launcher

M113 – HMG, 2x LMG

M113 – Light Autocannon, 2x LMG

M113 – Automatic Grenade Launcher, 2 x LMG

Avrocar squadron – 2 x Avrocar Silverbugs w/ 2x Stinger/TOW launchers, targeter and Avenger cannon

Pregame – 

Soviets:

Trying to read the terrain to best advantage, I stuck the SU-152 on the far left with the Artillery Observation team, with the intent of capturing and securing Objective 1, which looked safe enough and would also function well as a firebase with cover and plenty of views over the battlefield. Over on the right, I anchored the superheavies – the IS-6 Rampager and Stompy Uncle Joe, the Colossus, as they could command the open ground and the layout of the village streets gave the Rampager crew a nice field of fire for their twin 140mm cannons…

Objective 2 looked within reach and would provide a nice firebase, so I earmarked No. 4 (Support) squad to take that, and they would be led over the top by the T-48 platoon as I suspected we  might see some allied vehicle activity in that area of the table. Once it was secure, No. 4 squad could sit on 30 VPs of territory, sweep the board with heavy machinegun fire and lightning blasts, as well as dropping mortars wherever we felt like.

Objective 5 looked safely in the Allied zone so I decided to focus on 3 and 4 – this would be the main body of the infantry assault who would use the buildings for cover and get close enough to flush out any deployed Allied infantry with Molotov cocktails and vodka fuelled violence! I deployed the Siberians, Elektra and Inferna to support the HQ and squads 1, 2 & 3 in the centre. This would be my hammer blow, and the Shock Drones went with them to soften up anything foolish enough to get in their way.

By this point I was running out of space in my deployment zone! Vasily the sniper took up position in the ruined tenement block and the Lightnng Storm squad took Uncle Joe’s back as these slow moving but rugged troops would cause carnage when they got in range.. finally, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard found themselves a nice little ruined shop to take refuge in and plot their evil deeds…

The stage was set. Za Rodina!

Atlantic Alliance:

I found myself with a bit of a mental block trying to form a plan, so I decided to deploy my most powerful assets first and build around them. First up was the flight of Avrocar Silverbug gunships – these chaps packed a pair of Stinger/TOW launchers each as well as a potent rapid fire Avenger cannon (essentially an A-10 in B-movie sci-fi clothing). I stuck them out on the far left where I could see the opportunity to pull off a flanking manouevre and quickly secure Objective 6.

The Stealth Tank simply HAD to go in the woods where he would best be able to utilise his ability to transform into a tree, so that solved that conundrum, and I decided that since that looked like a good area of tank country, most of my anti-tank units would go there – Charlie Squad, two of the Humvees and the Dreadnaughts all took position.

The Rocketeers would be a mobile fire brigade, so I kept them fairly central with the intent of having them close up and slaughter vulnerable Soviet infantry, and hopefully the Mystic, and the main grunt of the armour went where I figured the Soviet armour wouldn’t be – the Holy Soviet Empire has little conventional antitank capability, preferring to drown the enemy in T-48s and if that fails get their Mystic to start chucking tanks around like tennis balls. This meand that if you catch them out, they have no answer to the powerful Allied main battle tank. So, 3 M60A3s and 3 M113s formed the central punch, supported by Alfa, Bravo and Delta squads, as well as platoon HQ in order to ensure unit coherency. We would punch through the gulley and secure Objective 3, maybe 4 too. Ghost 7 deployed forward onto Objective 5, the craggy hilltop giving a fine view of the battlefield.

That was the plan. Now to see if the enemy would co operate…

 

 

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Soviet right flank – superheavies take position amongst the ruins
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Left to right in the Soviet centre – Siberians (behind the building), Elektra, Inferna, rifle squads, BTR -152 APC
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T-48 platoon and No. 4 Squad ready to take Objective 2
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SU-152 surveys the scene – it’s first deployment, the crew rueing the fate of all newly painted models…
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The Red Horde!
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Allied right flank – M42 Stealth Tank, Dreadnaught Squad, anti-tank missile and railgun equipped Humvees, Rocketeers and M85 combat support ‘bot
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Air Cav! Rocketeers at the ready
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The Allied centre, deployed in the woods behind Objective 3 – M60A3 Centurions, M113s, grunts and ‘bots
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Charlie squad survey the target rich environment
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Allied left flank – Avrocar Silverbug gunships anchor the far left, then Alfa and Bravo squads with associated support ‘bot
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Silverbug gunship flight.. How will these lads fare in their first battle?
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Noble Sniper Vasily takes position on the tenement block
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His opposite number, Ghost 7, deploy forward onto Objective 5
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Siberian Strong Men lick their lips at the scent of so much decadent capitalist blood to spill.. but will they make it to the fight this time?

Next time out – battle is joined! How will all our new toys acquit themselves? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon 😉

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Stompy Uncle Joe! Superheavy Soviet Mecha

Dan here – I wasn’t going to do a post on this (going to wait to the Grand Unveiling of my new look Holy Soviet Army) but Jim saw it and I thought he was going to shit out a lung – he convinced me it deserved a blog post in it’s own right.

So I began with a Steam Mech papercraft template that I downloaded from http://www.toposolitario.com a couple of years ago (although sadly it doesn’t seem to be there anymore). I built up the main sections of the hull and legs and wound up with this:

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As you can see, I’ve added a few bits – rivets are cardboard using a 1/8″ hole puncher like this which as an essential in doing this kind of stuff. I cut out a couple of bits of cereal box card for extra plating, around the feet, built a Lightning Launcher from card, greenstuff and cocktail stick and one of those ring pull inserts you get in milk cartons and sauce bottles became the anti aircraft radar dish and gun mount.

In these you can see the powerfist/flamethrower arm built from drinking straws, a piece of scrap foamboard for the fist with the fingers built from cocktail sticks chopped down to 1cm ish lengths, snapped in half and the break sealed with superglue. I’ve also added more armour plate, hatches, and HUNDREDS OF BLOODY RIVETS.

Primed with £1 black spray paint and based with Vallejo Russian Green.

Washed with Army Painter Green Tone.

From there, I drybrushed with Russian Green which I lightened with tan craft paint, then a pin wash of Vallejo Brown ink around the hatches and the HUNDREDS OF BLOODY RIVETS, before weathering . This was sponge chipping, first black and then Vallejo German Grey, and I went HEAVY on this, I like a grungy look for my forces. Then I gave the legs, arms etc a drybrush of Burnt Umber dark brown, which I highlighted with a final drybrush of a mid brown tone.

 

Stompy Uncle Joe leading the Holy Soviet Army to inevitable victory! Za Rodina!

Side note – the template was designed with 28mm in mind, I believe – in 1/72 it’s MASSIVE, we’re talking Imperial Knight size. Jim lad, prepare to be crushed beneath Emperor Stalin’s iron fist!

 

From Russia With Love Pt.1

So far it’s been the noble and proud Atlantic Alliance that have been getting the lion’s share of the attention here at Skinflint HQ, so I thought it was high time to redress the balance with a peek at our newly revamped Holy Soviet Empire force:

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Here we have two eight-man squads of Holy Soviet rifle infantry, each squad featuring six troops equipped with assault rifles and two with light machine guns. In support we have a BTR-166 APC and a T-48 medium tank.

Both vehicles are papercraft downloads – a medium I throughly recommend the thrifty wargamer seeks out – the T-48 began life as T-54 15mm template from I-forget-where, which I scaled up in Photoshop before printing out onto card, while the APC was a Fiat 2000 from Landships II (I throughly recommend that site, it’s fascinating).

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After assembly, I undercoated each model black with cheap acrylic paint and then basecoated with Vallejo Russian green. This was followed by a light black ink wash, and a “wetbrush” of Russian Green. I then lightened the green with fawn and drybrushed, graduating the shading. Finally, a very light drybrush of Vallejo brown for a muddy effect.

I had ordered some white metal accessories from Sgts Mess – was very pleased with quality, service and cost. You can see these on the T-48- check out the turret machine gun and stowage items on the hull.IMG_4316

Decals were also from Sgts Mess.

Moving to the infantry:

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These are WW2 Soviets -and yes, if you’re familiar with the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series, you might just notice an influence in the colour scheme!

I began with a white undercoat, then blocked the whole lot crimson, before a light wash of brown & sienna ink. That was followed by a scarlet drybrush, then fawn for the belts, packs & webbing. Next up, a little blacklining using thin black ink, a splash of flesh tone for face and hands (aided by a wash of Vallejo Skin Wash), and black for rifle, boots and helmet/ushanka. The white dots on the helmet are there for easier squad identification

The whole lot was unified by a brown ink wash, and a very light ochre drybrushing afterwards (I like the weathered look it gives).

Bases are 20mm squares of cardstock, painted Burnt Umber and flocked, and the whole thing was given a light spray of matt sealant to guard against wear and tear.

I really like the look of this force, it looks distinctive and very Soviet, without being too impractically “cartoony”. In the next few weeks there’ll be the Tesla Armoured troops, the Holy Mystic and bodyguard, the nightmare Spetsnaz beastmen and more to come, as well as more armour – including specialist variants on the T-48 chassis as well as the mighty Rampager super-heavy tank! Stay tuned and enjoy the pics 🙂

 

Battle Report – Early playtesting, 2012

Battle Report – Meeting engagement

Atlantic Alliance Infantry platoon

1 x HQ squad: Lieutenant – assault rifle w/grenade launcher

Platoon sergeant – assault rifle w/grenade launcher

Radio operator – assault rifle

Medic – assault rifle

Alpha squad (rifle)

Sergeant – assault rifle
3 x Troopers – assault rifle

Bravo squad (LMG)

Sergeant – assault rifle

1 x Trooper – assault rifle
2 x Trooper – LMG

Charlie squad (LMG)

Sergeant – assault rifle
1 x Trooper – assault rife
2 x Trooper – (LMG)

All troops – helmet, body armour, hangun, knife, frag grenade, smoke grenade. All troops are Regulars with “Deploy” skill. May use fireteam formation.

Soviet Empire Infantry platoon

HQ – Lieutenant – handgun

Commissar – handgun

Platoon sergeant – assault rifle

2 x Troopers – assault rifle

3 x Infantry squads, each consisting of
1 x Sergeant – assault rifle
5 x Troopers – assault rifle
1 x Trooper – LMG

All troops – helmet, knife. All troops are Conscripts with no additional skills.

Introduction:

Right, with the fundamental combat mechanics of the game worked out, we’ve been trying to balance out the army lists for the first of the factions. Of course, the mighty Holy Soviet Empire of Tsar Joseph Stalin was the first on the list for development, but we would need an opponent for them to test their mettle against and decided, in a moment of Jubilee-soaked flag waving, that it would have to be the “white knight”force, the Atlantic Alliance.

Although both sides will ultimately feature terrifying superweapons of diabolical ingenuity, the true strength of any army rests in the grunts who do the actual fighting. So, to this end, we set up a “meeting engagement” between a prototype AA platoon and an equivalent force of Soviets. The scenario here is simply two patrols engaging each other and attempting to destroy or drive off its opponent. Although the game proved ultimately to be a little unbalanced, it did provide an interesting insight into the dynamic of the Apocalypse: Earth system.

Deployment:

The Soviets won the initiative and chose the northern edge of the battlefield to approach from, and forced the Atlantic Alliance to deploy first. One can only assume particularly sluggish junior leadership from the AA here, as normally their Initiative rating of 5 would trounce the paltry Soviet 2!

As per the rulebook, both sides alternated deploying their units beginning with the Soviets making the Atlantic Alliance troops deploy first.

Soviets:

Having secured the northern edge of the battlefield with what I felt was a more sheltered approach to close on the AA troops and overwhelm them. Bitter experience has taught me the folly of advancing on deployed AA infantry across open ground, but the flipside is that if you can infiltrate your squads close enough using cover to prevent too many casualties, the hammer blow of Soviet firepower can annihalate their dainty little fireteams, and the smaller Atlantic Alliance forces can ill afford the losses.

Looking at the board I conceived a variation on the basic strategy of “fix and destroy” – No. 3 squad would be deployed in the scrub and woodland on the right flank as a kind of sacrifical lamb – drawing and absorbing Allied fire whilst using the woods for cover, and hopefully inflicting one or two casualties of their own. Meanwhile, the bulk of the force (including HQ, with the Commissar providing useful morale re-rolls) would advance up the centre, using the ruined buildings and the wreck of the downed TR-1 spy plane to shelter them from Allied fire until I was able to assault en masse through the gap and unleash the bludgeoning wait of Soviet firepower on their puny capitalist infantry. Za Rodina!

Atlantic Alliance

Losing the initiative to the Soviets?? I can only assume that Command was asleep at the wheel on this one. Hopefully junior platoon leadership would prove superior. With the Soviets in the driving seat I had to adjust my plans as I saw their deployment. I decided that Bravo and Charlie squads would anchor the left and right flanks respectively, and the first order of business would be getting them into good sheltered positions from which they could deploy and let their LMGs rip into the Commies.

Meanwhile, Alpha squad would take what sheltered firing positions on the hilltop they could find, as it would be up to them and HQ to counterattack after the the machineguns had done their work and thin the Soviet numbers down. So, with a plan of action readied, let’s hope someone gets my lieutenant a very strong coffee before the fun starts..

Turn 1

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

On the left flank fireteam Charlie 1 spied three Soviets in the open (from No. 3 squad) and opened up on them, downing two (including, joy of joys the Soviet LMG gunner) before diving into cover behind one of the vehicle hangars. Unfortunately for me the Soviets passed both their morale checks so my brief hope of routing the Soviet flank on the first turn was dashed.

No. 3 squad responded- I know, it’s folly to simply react to your opponent, but none of my other units were in danger of being hit again- with the survivors opening up on Charlie 1, killing the rifleman before diving into the cover of the woods. Clearly the members of Charlie squad were very close as seeing his comrade fall sent the remaining member into Frenzy! Thankfully (for me) he had no visible targets but hurtled forward into a more advantageous position from which to avenge his squadmate.
With no targets available, Bravo 1 double-timed forward to establish a deployment position in the ruins, screening the right flank.

All lines of sight to the Allies were blocked, so I double-timed No. 2 squad forward closer to the TR-1 wreck, using the hill to shelter the squad’s flank.

Still no targets, so Bravo 2 leapfrogged past their squadmates, double-timing forward into cover on the far right.

The terrain was doing an excellent job of screening my forces from Allied firepower, so I double-timed No.1 squad forward, clustering into cover around the wrecked tank.

The jockeying for position continued as Alpha 1 double-timed, taking cover behind their own wrecked tank.

Damn. Due to No. 3 squad diving for cover, I realised I was going to have to expose my HQ group on the central hilltop to maintain platoon coherency. Rookie miscalculation there! Thankfully the Lieutenant, Commissar and Platoon Sergeant all had the presence of mind to grab what cover was available.
Target acquired! Alpha 2 spotted the Soviet Lieutenant on the hilltop and open up before relocating forward into cover. Despite the Lieutenants covered position, both riflemen scored a hit, resulting in an immediate and untimely demise for the young Soviet officer. However the Commissar’s inspiring presence ensured that the line held.

Charlie 2 now acquired a target on the left flank, as No.2 squad had misjudged some lines of sight, leaving them exposed. Fire & move – one rifle, one LMG, nine dice in all. Four targets visible, one in the open, three in light cover, result….. nine misses. Take some lessons from Alpha 2, boys. Now get in those bushes and zero your sights!

In the centre, HQ identified two targets in heavy cover on the hilltop. Moving as one unit, both fireteams opened up before moving forward into cover. From twelve dice, needing an 8 to hit , result- lots of shredded bushes, but two very intact Soviets.

Turn 2

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and forced the Soviets to move first.

Realising my error reading the terrain, I rushed No. 2 squad into the cover of the ruined central building before the Allied machinegunners got their aim together and inflicted serious casualties.
Moving forward, Alpha 1 saw an opportunity to target two members of No.2 Squad, but their heavy cover saved them, the bullets ricocheting harmlessly off the masonry causing no casualties.
Next priority was getting HQ off the exposed hilltop, so they double-timed into the ruins, massing behind No. 2 Squad.

Alpha 2 scrambled up the reverse slope of the hill to get a shot in- they glimpsed the Soviet Platoon Sergeant in light cover but unfortunately their previous marksmanship deserted them and they failed to score a hit.

On my left flank, No.1 Squad peeked out from cover and saw Bravo 2 in the scrub and opened up. Unfortunately, only two members could see the Allied troops and their fire proved ineffective, so I used the remaining action to move the squad into cover behind the downed TR-1.

Charlie 2 deployed in position on the left- with one target to their front they opened up. With the double fire plus the deployment bonues, that gave me a monstrous eighteen dice needing only a six to hit. The Soviet sergeant was well and truly perforated but once again the stoic No.3 Squad held.

Following the “fix and destroy” plan, No. 3 squad advanced deeper into cover, firing on Charlie 2 but the Allies were dug in deep and my troops failed to hit anything.

I was beginning to get a little perturbed by the inexorable advance if the Soviets on my left flank, so Charlie 1’s remaining member opened up with his LMG, double-firing on No. 3 Squad. Another casualty, but the brave (or foolish) Soviets refused to break.

Over on my right flank, Bravo 1 and 2 caught fleeting glimpses of the Soviet No. 2 squad and HQ in heavy cover, but their combined firepower succeeded only in downing a single infantryman, and with the Commissar’s inspiring presence so close by, they held their nerve.

I split HQ into two fireteams and fanned them out to ensure platoon coherency- HQ 1 took position behind the wrecked tank, while HQ 2 ensconed themselves on the reverse slope of the hill.

Turn 3:

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

Now in position on the hilltop, Alpha 2 deployed and poured fire into No. 2 Squad, without success- even with the aim bonus for deployment, the Soviets were using cover skilfully.

As I saw it now, the time had come. My troops were massed in the centre and it was time to strike. The Allies might dance around us with their tactical flexibility, but let’s see how they dealt with some good old fashioned Soviet violence!

My initial attack was somewhat underwhelming though, with no Allied troops within close assault range, the best I could do was to get No.2 squad into cover behind another wrecked tank and open up on Alpha 2 , killing one of the riflemen.

This was clearly it for the Soviets, their strike was going to fall hard on my centre, so Alpha 1 charged out of their covered positions to hurl fragmentation grenades into No.2 squad. Unfortunately, clearly these two riflemen had got very sloppy with grenade drill – one misfire and one spectacular miss turned an attack that could have wiped out No. 2 squad into an embarrassment that failed to cause a single Soviet casualty. At least they manage to find a hedge to hide behind.

I switched my attention to the right flank, hoping to tie down AA forces there and distract them from my main attack. The remaining members of the stoic No. 3 Squad hunkered down in the woods and double-fired on Charlie 1, killing the remaining LMG gunner.

That wasn’t going to put me off my stride. The central attack was where most Soviet strength was, and HQ 2 deployed in cover behind the tank wreck, firing on No. 2 squad, with no effect. Clearly, one of these Russkis had brought along his lucky rabbits foot!

With nothing looking like it was in close assault range, I brought No. 1 Squad up in support of their comrades, moving into position between the ruins and the downed TR-1 to open up on HQ 1 and Alpha 2 – HQ got off unscathed, but Alpha 2 lost its remaining member. A second fireteam wiped out!

This was getting slightly worrying, as the tactical flexibility brought about by having lots of little units instead of a few big ones is one of the key strengths of the Atlantic Alliance. The ability to deploy units is another, however, so I deployed HQ 1 on the reverse slope of the hill where they could fire into No. 1 squad. They downed one Sov, but with the Commissar nearby passed their morale check on a reroll and held firm.

I wanted to keep the weight of Soviet troops together, so rather than have HQ charge off and get itself killed, I took a chance and fired on HQ 1. This was a long shot, firing on troops deployed in heavy cover meant 9s to hit, and sure enough we got close but no cigar. HQ then moved forward into cover to occupy the ruins.

With the main Soviet axis of attack now clear, I saw that Bravo squad was going to have to be shifted if it was to play any part in the fighting. Bravo 2 advanced out of cover to get a flank shot on No. 2 Squad, killing the sergeant, whilst their squadmates in Bravo 1 double-moved forward on he far right, sweeping round to take positions enfilading the Soviet advance.

Finally, pver on the left flank, Charlie 2 deployed and pumped fire into No.3 squad, to no result. Both sides were effectively stalemated in a Mexican stand off on this side of the battlefield, while the action shifted to the centre.

Turn 4

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

Realising that they were ripe to be overrun, Alpha 2 desperately hurled grenades into No. 2 squad, but amazingly from a full four grenades thrown, they only managed to kill one enemy! If they survived this, their NCO was going to be pulled up short on grenade drill. However, that looked like being quite a big “if”, as they now sat dangerously exposed…

To close assault! This ran the risk of exposing No. 2 Squad, but in counterattacking, the Alliance forces would have to expose themselves to my close range fire, whereas otherwise I could see my forces being decimated by dug in enemies.

As luck would have it, the casualty from the grenade barrage had sent No. 2 into Frenzy!, giving me +1 to CCR, plus the +1 charging bonus, and the fact that Frenzied troops don’t need to check morale…. Za Rodina!!!! My troops leapt forward, but clearly the sight was too much for the puny capitalists of Alpha 2, who promptly surrendered.

Surrender! The shame of it! Not to mention my third complete fireteam lost. Vengeance will be mine… Bravo 1 deployed into cover and opened up on the now exposed No. 2 squad gunning them down.

Hmm. This was starting to look bad. The Allies had good positions in heavy cover and were going to be difficult to hit. Although No. 3 Squad were doing a good job on the right tying down Charlie 2, the main attack didn’t have the mass to overhwelm the AA in the centre and I was going to end up feeding my units into the meat grinder. Time for a left turn – quite literally, in fact.

No. 3 squad was still in reasonable shape and not facing too much opposition, so I double moved No.1 Squad to join them. Hopefully that would leave the Allies scrambling to redeploy and react to me, and give my battered troops the chance to inflict enough casualties to chase the enemy from the field!

??? Damn, wasn’t expecting that! Having painstakingly positioned my fireteams to shred the expected Soviet assault in the centre, pretty much my entire platoon (or what remained of it) was in completely the wrong position to deal with a sudden shift to my left. All I had on that flank was Charlie 2, who opened fire from deployed covered positions on No. 1 Squad. Thankfully their aim was true and despite the heavy cover of the Soviet positions, Charlie 2 killed two of their number. However, I couldn’t quite breathe easy yet, as the casualties coupled with the proximity of the Commissar enabling rerolled morale checks ensured that the stricken squad went into a….

Frenzy! Haha! Right, Comrades, we’re still in the fight – No. 1 Squad uses its Frenzy action to get into cover and return fire (albeit ineffectually). HQ also double-moved into the ruins, everyone who’s left now massed in heavy cover.

Slippery sod – No. 1 Squad’s Frenzy bonus turn doesn’t affect the sequence of play, so the only other target open to me (Soviet HQ) was now squirreled away in heavy cover. Nothing left to do but redeploy – all units double-moved to the left flank, looking for firing positions.

Turn 5

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.

Finding themselves out of coherency with HQ, Charlie 2 checked morale and an outrageously lucky roll gave me a Frenzy! result! Fearing the rest of the platoon were dead or ahd abandoned them, Charlie 2 zeroed their weapons and unleashed a hail of fire onto the Soviets crouching in the ruins. Double firing from deployed positions with an assault rifle and light machine gun gave me 18 dice. Then as Frenzy! turns don’t affect the sequence of play I immediately activated them again, giving me a grand total of 36 dice blazing away at the Soviet HQ and No.1 Squad. The Commissar and his lackeys managed to take cover but No. 1 Squad never stood a chance, despite their heavy cover and were wiped out to a man.

It was at this point the Commissar realised that the assault had failed. With No. 1 Squad dead in the ruins around him, that left only HQ and the remains of No. 3 Squad facing an Atlantic Alliance force that now outnumbered and outgunned them, with no chance of massing enough combat power to successfully break the enemy. With heavy heart he signalled a retreat – no more sons of the Rodina would die today.

Debrief: Atlantic Alliance

Whew. Right, a very luck break at the end there, but I think by that point I would probably have won anyway, albeit with a few more losses, as the AA fireteam formation means that four squads gives me eight independent units (as opposed to the four Soviet ones) – plenty to respond to the sudden shift of attack focus. My luck with the grenades was beyond belief, and had the Soviets had them as standard equipment No.2 Squad in the cetre could have caused me some serious trouble. Overall, my plan suited the strength of the Atlantic Alliance – tactical flexibility and high initiative meant I always felt in control of proceedings.

Debrief: Soviets

Damn those capitalist running dogs! In all seriousness, I think my plan was solid but there were some sloppy errors – misjudging terrain and fields of fire left No. 2 Squad open to flank shots, weakening them before I was able to mass them for I disagreeault. I also agree with Dave that grenades would have made a difference in the centre as No. 2 Squad could have given Alpha Squad a pasting without having to expose themselves to pretty much certain destruction.
Again it showed with the Soviets, concentration of force and mass is everything, don’t get suckered in to tit-for-tat firefights, keep rolling forward until you’re close enough to get in amongst the Allies and get around their cover.
For the next game, we will be tweaking the list slightly- Soviets will get frag grenades as a 5pt upgrade and there will be an extra trooper in each squad. Lets see how the imperialists like that!