AAR: British Paras vs Soviet Tankovy 1650pts – Pincer!

Once again I am behind on battle reports, I’ve had quite a few good games recently but I forgot to take pictures towards the end and I like a battle report to have pictures throughout. Last week I got a game in against Lee, myself and Lee have had a few games since he’s come back to Flames (after hibernating over the winter due to coldness of the mill) and he’s beaten me in every one so far, My German Grenadiers were beaten by his Soviet Bunker Busters (ISU-152 and ISU-122s), then my US Tank company got thrashed by his Tiger list, and then he beat me in a mid war tournament when my Matildas and T34s couldn’t take on his Panther company. Sad times. I wasn’t feeling too confident going into the game but I’d gotten pretty immune to his jibes on the various forums, lets see how this one goes.

I gave my paras a run out as they’d not really had a good game since I got the 75mm Pack Howitzer battery painted up, this is how the list looks at 1650pts.

 

 Fearless    Veteran   British Parachute Company
 
British Late-War
Infantry Company
Platoon Qty Unit Points
Headquarters
Parachute Company HQ  p.34
2
2
Cmd SMG team
PIAT team
100
Combat Platoons
Parachute Platoon  p.34
1
1
6
Cmd Rifle/MG team
PIAT team
Rifle/MG team
230
Parachute Platoon  p.34
1
1
6
Cmd Rifle/MG team
PIAT team
Rifle/MG team
230
Weapons Platoons
Parachute Mortar Platoon  p.35
1
1
2
Cmd Rifle team
Observer Rifle team
ML 3″ MK II Mortar
75
Support Platoons
Glider Pilot Platoon  p.45
1
6
Cmd SMG team
SMG team
225
Airlanding Anti-tank Platoon  p.41
1
4
Cmd Rifle team
OQF 6 pdr gun (late)
160
Airlanding Anti-tank Platoon, Royal Artillery  p.54
1
2
2
Cmd Rifle team
OQF 17 pdr gun (late)
Cut-down 15 cwt truck
170
Airborne Reconnaissance Platoon  p.49
4 Recce Jeep 150
Airlanding Light Battery, Royal Artillery  p.55
3
1
2
8
Cmd Rifle team
Staff team
Observer Rifle team
M1A1 75mm pack howitzer
Airlanding Light Battery Medium Artillery Support
310
Company Points: 1650
www.EasyArmy.com Source document: Market Garden Book

Lee had brought Soviet Tankovy, the models in the picture are 85s but he was running 76s in the list, it makes no difference to me as none of my list is armoured anyways. Side note: Lee forgot he had paid for the tank escorts and never used them, though there was only one combat where they would have mattered, he can have the honorable victory if he likes.

 

Confident    Trained   Tankovy Batalon
Tank Battalion
Soviet Late-War
Tank Company
Platoon Qty Unit Points
Headquarters
Tankovy Batalon HQ  p.21
1 T-34 obr 1942 45
Combat Companies
Tankovy Company  p.22
10
10
T-34 obr 1942
SMG Tank Escort
450
Tankovy Company  p.22
10
10
T-34 obr 1942
SMG Tank Escort
450
Corps Support Companies
Motostrelkovy Company (Red Army)  p.99
1
14
Cmd SMG team
SMG team
240
Spetsnaz Platoon  Fearless  Veteran   p.103
1
1
2
1
Cmd SMG team
Captured Sd Kfz 250 half-track
SMG team
Captured Sd Kfz 251 half-track
100
Heavy Mortar Company (Red Army)  p.101
1
6
1
Cmd Rifle team
120-PM-38 mortar
Observer Rifle team
155
Air Support  p.155
5 Limited Air Support Il-2 Shturmovik 200
Company Points: 1640
www.EasyArmy.com Source document: Red Bear (Revised)

We rolled up Pincer. I thought about attacking but having tried previously to attack Soviet tanks with Brits, I didn’t think it would be too successful, I think i’d struggle even with some lucky dice to get through the wall of machine gun fire. I opted to defend, what I did do is choose to start with only one infantry platoon, this is so I could have two gun platoons on the board, the 17pdrs on board and the 6pdrs in ambush.

Pincer!

So i started with one platoon of Paras (with BOTH HQ PIATS) 6pdrs, 17pdrs and 1 75mm Pack Howitzer platoon (with staff team), in reserve would be two infantry platoons, another 75mm howtizer platoon, recce jeeps and mortars.

The objectives have ended up on the north side at the front of my deployment zone, and centrally in my deployment, this gave a small amount of distance between the two, however I made a large mistake here in that I deployed a platoon of infantry on the northern objective but this is where my reserves were coming on from, so the infantry would have a decent amount of ground to cover to get to the central objective.

75mm guns deployed at the back and I kept the 6pdrs in ambush, for the 17pdrs, I tried to pick some points of concealment so they could be used for area defence rather than specifically targetting the tanks, if they didn’t get to shoot all game that would be fine so long as the tanks didn’t come anywhere near them, however in hindsight I think one of them was deployed too far forward making it easy for the tanks to drive around.

Lee wisely chose to keep the T34s away from the 17pdrs as much as possible until he could flank them, so used the southern end of the board to run down that flank, his small motorstrelkovy platoon (small being 15 teams (!) ) lined up to assault the northern objective and put pressure on me to stop me moving my infantry platoon centrally.

Lee was able to infiltrate a platoon of T34s a bit closer to the objective and I failed to roll the 6 so off we were.

Turn 1

As is often the case with soviets everything pushes forwards, the T34s move up and machine gun some things but fail to do much, Air Support arrives and tries to deal with the artillery at the back and mortars can only pin the foward platoon of paras.

In my turn one, i am tempted to pop my ambush but opt to wait until nearer the time, the 75mm howitzers range in on a T34 to try and nip a half track but fail to any damage, however the ranged in token now sits right in the middle of Lees tank horde which should keep him moving.

Turn 2

Air support arrives again and continues its plan, the T34s try to get mostly out of the way however 4 teams cannot move off the template and so will take a bombard next turn, the mortars managed to kill off a para team and the infantry move up. Now, here is where I made another gigantic cock up. One para team is deployed in a bunker on the half way line, however the entrance to this bunker is ever so slightly over the half way line, what this means is that Lee has 3 teams within assault range of the bunker, normally deploying the infantry just behind the half way line puts the attack 16.1″ away so with a 6″ move it still leaves them 10.1″ away so not possible for a turn two assault, however in my haste at using the bunker (which we were playing as a building as quick glancing the bunker rules seemed a little complicated) I had given Lee a turn two assault, and the took it, only 14 teams were in range so no quality of quantity, but that didn’t matter as there were only 5 or 6 shots from defending teams, the Soviets went in and smashed the one team in the bunker, I opted not to counter assault as I didn’t want to lose half my platoon so early on, so Lee consolidated and moved his platoon up some more.

In my turn I pop the ambush so I can hit the T34s with a high dose of pain, the 6pdrs line up in the nearby woods, as tempting as it would have been to use the cornfield for flank lots Lee had moved one T34 too close so I couldn’t use the edge of the cornfield, it would have meant concealed shots and I wanted more hits. The 6pdrs scored 8 hits and Lee failed almost all saves, however Firepower tests were not my friend and I could only kill 3, despite the bails it was not enough for a test.

The 75mm howtizers could only hit the platoon at the back on their repeat bombardment, however a spetznaz team was under the template so took a hit as well, two T34s went down and another bail but the infantry were ok (albeit pinned)

Turn 3

No Aircraft this turn, the SMGs continued their advance and it is looking like the T34 attack might have been a very good distraction. some of the T34s re-mount and Lee keeps one platoon steady to open up on the guns whilst the other platoon uses their gaps to advance, however all goes wrong as the stationary T34s only account for 1 hit, which is then saved. The Machine guns fair better but again no firepower checks can kill a gun, I have another round of 12 AT11 shots! Very bad luck on Lee’s part. The SMGs however continue to push through and kill a couple of Para teams, at this point (after a discussion) I am pretty much forced to counter assault to try and hold back the tide, the Paras counter easily thanks to British Bulldog and kill a couple of teams but there are more where that came from, Lee counter assaults and kills more paras, there are now no teams without 4″ so I am forced to push back, Lee consolidates and it looks like it might be over.

I get no reserves (typically), however one of my command teams can leave his foxhole and get to within 4″ of the objective to keep the game going, The 6pdrs open up on the T34s again but only get 6 or 7 hits this time, this results in another few kills and bails and puts the first platoon on a test, which they pass. Frustrating as this puts the guns on clean up duty assuming they last, one of Lees T34s from platoon 2 (the larger one) has strayed onto the other side of the woods, so the 17pdr can have a shot, as predicted it goes straight through and destroys the tank easily.

the 75mm howitzers can get another 3 under the template on repeat bombard but the Spetznaz have moved up out of the way, another T34 is down and one bailed.

Turn 4

Lee is again without Air support, however all his T34s remount, the SMGs are pushing forward to finish the Paras off, however a few too many teams are in range and 6 shots results in 5 hits which forces the assault back. buying me another turn , Lee opts to keep ALL his T34s stationary and starts pouring shots in the 6pdrs, however this time the luck is with him, the first platoon managed 4 hits with main guns, which results in 4 failed saves and 4 dead guns. The commander fails his sole survivor test and legs it, without much of a target a couple of other T34s have a crack at infantry and the 17pdr however it doesn’t result in any kills. The Mortar fire again pinning the remnants of the para platoon (commander + 1 team at the moment)

I don’t get reserves again in my turn, and repeat bombarding doesn’t seem to do anything, my turn is fairly short.

Turn 5

The T34s are now consolidating and re-positioning to prepare for the final assault, however one platoon would still like to stay still and remove the 17pdr, which they do with ease, The SMGs push forward again and this time make it through the defensive fire but lose a team or two in the process, the assault kills the para commander but the 1IC opts to heroically push back and smack a team before he is killed, Lee consolidates however I am guaranteed a platoon next turn so the objective should not be held for long.

My Glider pilot SMG platoon arrives and shoots up the motorstrelkovy, killing another team, in the assault they punch through and kill off enough teams to force a test which is failed, talk about rescue at the last minute. They use the consolidation to push foward again as they now need to look at stopping the T34s. I opt to range in a bombardment in a new position now the T34s don’t have many places to go;

Turn 6

Lee gets 3 planes, and they as well as the heavy mortars call a bombardment in on the newly arrived infantry platoon, a team or three is killed and they are pinned down. The T34s are looking to finish off the 17pdr and do destroy it however this ties them up for another turn.

Two reserve platoons arrived for me so the 75mm howtizers are on, and the last Para platoon, the SMG Glider pilots pushed up using the buildings for cover to avoid the T34s, the repeat bombardment puts another T34 out of action and the first platoon is now on another test which it fails, leaving one battered T34 platoon, some spetznaz and heavy mortars left to finish the job.

Turn 7

Lees turn 7 looks for him trying to finish the game off, the spetznaz move up to assault the building and kill off observers and a lone para team in there, the T34s are now pushing to assault the one para team covering the objective. The Spetznaz move in and kill an observer however the para team counters and kills a spetznaz team and pushes them out of the building. The T34s assault and destroy the para commander however this has put the SMG glider pilots within range to counter assault, they move in and kill one T34 and bail another, then the T34s counter assault but miss with 4 swings, the British counter again however can only bail one tank, another counter from the T34s manages a single killed team, and the British again push back but fail to kill a tank, the counter assault test is failed by the T34s and they withdraw from the objective however both platoons (SMG Glider pilots and T34s) are on a test, the T34s stick around however the SMG Glider pilots fail and quit the field.

At this point, it is gone 11pm and we have played more than 6 turns, despite being pushed off the objective Lee would take it if he had one more turn, however we called “time” on this one and gave the win to the defender, making it a 5-2 win.

 

Conclusion

I thought it was a major risk starting with one platoon of infantry however I think more obvious faults in my deployment were weighting up the northern side of the table where my reserves would arrive and deploying that infantry team in the bunker which gave the Motorstrelkovy a turn 2 assault. Other than that though i’m happy with how my Paras worked and not too many freak dice rolls although Lee missing the 6pdrs did grant me another turn of whittling them down.