Friday, November 20, 2009

Day shall come again!

"Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Húrin cried 'Aurë entuluva! Day shall come again!'"

- The Silmarillion, p. 195.

October 18, 1942

Retained Forces:

2 x 6-2-8
8 x 5-2-7
11 x 4-4-7
4 x 4-2-6
1 x 2-2-6

9-2, 9-1, 9-0, 9-0

45LL AT Gun

Purchased Forces (18 CPP):

Militia Coy [Full] (Cost = 4 CPP)
Militia Coy [Full] (Cost = 4 CPP)
Rifle Coy [Full; On-Map Setup] (Cost = 8 CPP)
80 FPP (Cost = 2 CPP)

Behold the resilience of the Russian in Red Barricades: on the day following a thorough shellacking by the German, I'm fielding 60+ squads up on line. In addition, my leadership rolls were smoking hot: 2 for the Rifle Coy, 5 for one Militia Coy and 8 for the other. I was able to add a 10-2 (Major Ludinov), 10-0 (Commissar Rodmitsev) and two 7-0s to my stable of leaders.

When setting up, I must keep in mind these concerns:
  • My AT Gun will not be properly crewed, and will not set up HIP unless I man it with my lone Conscript half-squad (not really an option).
  • The German may very well repeat his artillery saturation on Day Two. If I were the German, I would throw a Nebelwerfer barrage into the factories and push my attack so as to have the barrage shield a flank.
  • The German may make a determined push for either the Commissar's House, the factories or the Power Station. There is a small chance he might try to run half-tracks down the riverbank. The potential for the strongest push lies in the west - reinforcing Sturm Coy have the shortest distance to move before engaging the defenses
The bottom line is that whatever the German chooses to do, the Russian has to steel his nerves and just take it. My defense will comprise three sectors: West, Central and East. The West sector includes all forces set up west of hexrow H; the Central includes all forces set up between hexrows H and T; the East includes all forces set up east of hexrow U.

West Sector:

I have three goals in this sector:
  1. Harass any forces creeping southward along the board edge.
  2. Keep the Germans out of building B12 for as long as possible.
  3. Hold the F16-F17-F18-F19 factory.
Each of these goals is in line with keeping the German out of the main factory complex for as long as possible, and making the butcher's bill for getting there as high as possible. My fortifications from Day One are still intact, and the German is aware of neither the 6 AP Minefield nor the Fortified Building hexes.

The harassing force is set up in hexrows A-C:

A11 2 AT Minefield [Known]
A12 6 AP Minefield [HIP]
B11 8 AP Minefield [Known]
B12 (Fortified Buildin)] 5-2-7 [HIP]
B15 (1S Foxhole) 4-4-7
B17 7-0 + ATR
B17.1 4-4-7
C10 2 AT Minefield [Known]
C13 (Fortified Building) 5-2-7 [HIP]
C16 (1S Foxhole) 4-4-7

The defense of the factory is concentrated on hexrow F:

F11 5-2-7
F12 5-2-7
F13 5-2-7
F14 9-1, 5-2-7
F16 2 x 4-2-6
F17 2 x 4-2-6
F18 4-2-6 + LMG, 4-4-7
F19 9-0, 4-2-6 + MMG, 4-4-7

The bulk of the factory defense rests with half of a newly-purchased Militia Coy. However, giving conscripts support weapons is unwise (they tend to break them). As soon as possible, the conscripts possessing the machine guns will transfer them to the rifle squads set up in their hexes.

All the forces in the Factory are Fanatic, meaning they will not Cower and have their printed morale factor increased by 1. On top of that, any squads stacked with the Commissar will also have their morale factor increased by 1 and will ignore Desperation penalties when Rallying. This particular factory is key to the defense of the Power Station (building J21), which provides a nasty potential overwatch position for German machine guns. I know my opponent places a great deal of value on this building, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him strike hard for it on Day Two.

Central Sector:

These are the factories proper, and controlling them is what this campaign game is all about. I see two likely vectors of attack:
  1. From the H8-I8-I9 building cluster.
  2. From the Manufacturing Hall (building O6)
As I mentioned in a previous post, the German has only 6 Sturm squads (5-4-8) with which to stage an assault. The rest of his on-board force are Rifle squads (4-6-7) which do not hit nearly as hard. I expect the German to lay back and used Preparatory Fire to soften up my defenses, then creep forward with his Rifle squads toward the factories. If he does commit his Sturm troops here, I am confident I can make them pay.

J13 4-2-6
K10 4-4-7
K11 4-4-7
K13 4-2-6
K14 4-2-6
L9 4-4-7
L10 4-2-6
L11 4-2-6
L12 4-2-6
L13 4-2-6 + Lt MTR
M10 4-2-6
M11 4-2-6
M12 4-2-6
M13 9-0, 4-2-6 + Lt MTR
O9.R 2-2-6
O10 4-2-6
O11 4-2-6
O12 4-2-6
P9 4-2-6
P10 4-2-6
P11 4-2-6
Q10 8 AP Minefield [HIP]
Q11 4-2-6
R9 8 AP Minefield [HIP]
R10 4-2-6 + LMG, 4-4-7
R11 9-0, 4-2-6 + MMG, 4-4-7
S11 4-2-6

I don't expect that any conscript squad will ever fire the SW it possesses at game start. They will either transfer the weapon to a Rifle squad at first opportunity or just drop it.

East Sector:

This area presents the greatest challenge, because the terrain is so much softer than elsewhere on the front and there are no factories in which to take refuge. The rest of my MMG and HMG are setting up HIP in this sector, with a -2 leader to direct each stack. The objective is to pummel any German who ventures south of the ravine, which creates a natural choke-point on which I can concentrate my fire. The MG nests are setting up hidden so that the German won't know precisely where to drop his Smoke, and won't be able to pre-emptively hose them down with his own MG.

I have three goals in this sector:
  1. Protect the east flank of factory O10.
  2. Retake the isolated German pocket south of the ravine.
  3. Prevent a half-track blitz down the riverbank.
U11 4-4-7 + LMG
U12 4-2-6 + ATR, 4-4-7
V12 4-4-7
X11 2 x 6-2-8
X12 10-0, 5-2-7
X15.1 10-2, 4-4-7 + HMG, 4-4-7 + HMG [HIP]
Y13 (Trench) 4-4-7 + Lt MTR
Y14 4-4-7 + 45LL ATG > Z12
AA13 4-4-7
BB11 5-2-7
DD8 4-4-7 [HIP]
FF10 7-0, 4-4-7 + ATR, 4-4-7 + ATR
FF12.1 9-2, 4-4-7 + MMG, 4-4-7 + MMG [HIP]

If a push down the riverbank does not materialize, the 9-2 and his MGs will relocate to the buildings around BB9 where they can interdict movement toward the Chemist's Shop. The three squads and 7-0 leader on the riverbank will attempt to reclaim the DD0 board edge hex and, if wildly lucky, the Day One headquarters building at Z2. I would be aghast if the German allowed this to happen, but having the threat in place is worth the effort. We might have to break out the Climbing rules...

Golovkin peeked out from his hiding place in the charred ruins. Just ahead, looming against the predawn glow, was the Chemist's Shop. The greater part of the structure had collapsed into a jumbled pile of brick and broken casement, but the southernmost wing still stood. Golovkin could feel the searching eyes of the German sniper that must be out there, somewhere. Soon it would start. Strangely, he felt no exhilaration or dread, just a sense of purpose. Golovkin's hand strayed reflexively to the pistol on his hip. Nearby a submachinegunner eyed him nervously. Golovkin smirked. It was better they feared him more than the German. Behind him, Major Ludinov had prepared an overwatch position upstairs in an office building. Once Ludinov had suppressed the Germans in the Chemist's Shop, the submachinegunners would storm it. Some might even survive.

From far away came the muffled whumps of mortars launching their payloads. "Steady, boys," Golovkin commanded. "Remember your duty to the Motherland, and to Comrade Stalin." If you should forget, he mused, I will be right here to gently remind you.

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