Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Second Time Around

In the morning you go gunning for the man who stole your water
And you fire till he is done in but they catch you at the border

And the mourners are all singing as they drag you by your feet

But the hangman isn't hanging so they put you on the street

You go back, Jack, do it again. Wheels turning 'round and 'round

You go back, Jack, do it again...

Steely Dan "Do It Again" (1972)

So, Dade and I talked ourselves into playing Red Barricades CGIII. After the spirited whupping I took in CGI, as chronicled in earlier posts, I figured the Russians deserve a better showing. As before, we shall be blogging our thoughts before and after each campaign game day. Dade's musings can be found here.

Day One: October 17, 1942

Initial OB:
Rifle Coy (Full): 9-1, 9-0

Rifle Coy (Full): 9-1, 7-0

SMG Coy (Full): 9-1

2 x 45LL ATG

2 x 2-2-8
5 x Fortified Buildings

Purchases (8 CPP):

+80 FPP [2 pts.]

T60 M42 Ptn (Full; Dug In) [2 pts.]

KV1 M42 Ptn (Full; Dug In) [2 pts.]

80mm Btn Mtr OBA (Normal) [1 pt.]
Pre-Registered Hex [1 pt.]

2 x LMG (removed BMG from the Dug In KV1s)

I decided to take an entirely different tack from last game. Since our game concluded, Dade and I have been mulling over the things we learned from it. Our understanding of Red Barricades continues to evolve, even after a dozen or more playings. It had become apparent that a fair portion of the conventional wisdom regarding Red Barricades that we had internalized required a fresh perspective. With that in mind, I'm experimenting with my setup this time around.

As always, I am concerned with my right flank. As the last game amply demonstrated, if the Russian allows the German to push down the riverbank he can force the Russian to cede the northern factories with little or no fight. In the past, my answer was to hem in the German's easternmost entry area with fortifications and make it a bulwark. I erred somewhat in the last game by committing only half-way to the right flank. A few 3+5+7 pillboxes, as I have used in the past, might have helped against the 150mm artillery. I eschewed these in favor of springing a trap on a German thrust into the B12 building that never materialized. As it was, the artillery obliterated my flank.

This time around, I'm going to take a big gamble and lay a trap in front of the Chemist's Shop. Rather than build a bulwark, I'm going to be deceptive and lay successive traps for the assaulting Germans.

In Front of the Chemist's Shop

The basic rule for this section of the front will be: no two visible units will set up so as to be within the same FFE area-of-effect. If Dade plans on reprising his artillery orgy from our last playing, then I'm not going to give him any juicy targets .

I've decided that trying to hold Pribayatinskaya Street along hexes V1 - V5 requires putting too much too far forward. The key is not so much to keep the Germans from reaching the riverbank, but to keep them from pushing along it. I don't have to prevent an overrun of the Z1 building, but I do have to strongly defend the choke-point formed by the Z8-AA8-BB8-CC8 defile.

Much of the defense in this area will be set up HIP. Keeping Dade guessing as to the nature of my forces here will do much in the way of slowing him down.

An AT Ditch in Y8 nicely seals off Leninskii Prospekt and provides a useful place to site a 4-4-7 + Lt. Mtr. Directly in front of the AT Ditch is a HIP 1+3+5 Pillbox containing a 9-1 and 4-4-7 + MMG; flanking the Pillbox is a HIP 4-4-7 in X7 and a HIP T-60 in Z6. A 4-4-7 in Z5 and another HIP 1+3+5 Pillbox holding a 4-4-7 + LMG is in AA2. All of these units are intended to slow down any force moving south along Leninskii Prospect or forming up in the W5/X4 building/rubble hexes.

All ground level hexes of the Chemists Shop are Fortified. There is a lone 5-2-7 in the back of the building as insurance. The remaining dug-in tanks are arrayed around the Chemists Shop. A KV1 is placed in Z9 to cover Leninskii Prospekt. The second KV1 is set up HIP in U11 to cover Pribayatinskaya Street. A T-60 is in V8 to do the same. If any panzers wander down either street, I'm prepared for them.

I've committed very little to holding the Z1 building. 6-factor AP minefields have been placed in W1 and W2 to help protect a HIP T-60 set up in X1. There is a 5-2-7 in X0 and another in Z2. All of these will likely be overrun by a determined German push.

I'm ceding the hexes numbered 5 or less between Pribayatinskaya Street and Leninskii Prospekt, and hoping to prevent the German from breaking out of that cluster of buildings and rubble. To help, there is a HIP 7-0 + Field Phone on the rooftop of U17 calling in Battalion Mortar. The pre-registered hex is V3. The observer will try and keep the FFE in front of the advancing Germans.

The Center

As I wrote in my previous game's setup entry, I find this part of the front to be easy to put together. I cannot hope to hold this area from a determined German assault, so I've sprinkled a number of squads in the buildings and rubble between J4 and R5. The 9-0 Commissar will provide some backbone. These forces will retreat from any meaningful German pressure.

The Left

I dare not try and spring the same kind of trap that I set up last game. My plan here is to prevent a southward board-edge creep and drive the Germans into "the Point", the north-westernmost corner of the factory complex proper. I've put two 5-2-7s right up front, in B11 and C11, just to make the German stop and kill them. Both HMGs are in this area, one upstairs in B17 and the other upstairs in F13. Each is manned by a 4-4-7 and directed by a 9-1. The F13 MG nest has a passle of screening infantry out front. The B17 MG nest has two 5-2-7s immediately in front of it. The two ATGs are sited in A17 and E17 to protect the approaches to each MG nest.

I'm gambling a bit with this setup, especially by not purchasing any infantry on Day One. I hope to avoid heavy casualties and pull the Germans into the factories themselves so that on successive days I can do my fighting with Fanatic Conscripts. We'll see if it pays off.

Now you swear and kick and beg us that you're not a gambling man
Then you find you're back in Vegas with a handle in your hand

Your black cards can bring you money so you hide them when you're able

In the land of milk and honey you must put them on the table

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheels turning 'round and 'round

You go back, Jack, do it again...

Steely Dan "Do It Again" (1972)

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