Tuesday 22 February 2022

Another Go at "The Portable War Game" - WW2 Russian Front Scenario (Long Picture Post)

I have unearthed some photographs from another old game of Portable Wargames from back in 2019, another go at teh Eastern Front Russian "armoured overrun" scenario. The German defenses are interlocking infantry, ant--tank and armoured strong-points backed up with some indirect artillery support (see below, barbed wire crosses abd circles for the minefields, Kallistra hexes with the terrain [hills and woods] I had made for the Fire/Move game, blue dice showing strength points):  

A Red hoard appears at the end of the table, an armoured tank phalanx, well out of range but very threatening (see below, it just goes to show that you never just but one 20mm T-34 model, four seems to be a minimum): 

A Red infantry hoard appears at the end of the table too bring their own artillery along as well, supporting their armoured colleagues the footsloggers are "sprinting down the flanks seemingly eager to make contact (see below, Fritz is popping at them with some long distant [ineffectual] artillery): 

The Russian infantry screens push forward trying to provoke a German response (see below, I cannot help but think this is a post Stalingrad era battle instead of Barbarossa, teh late Pz Mk IV could push it to a 1944 battle, in which case the Russians are using pretty old kit - maybe a Pz IIIL-M would have been a better choice of panzer): 

Anyway the German Panzer decide to move out of its defensive (concealed) laager and take a pop at teh advancing Red infantry while nothing that could hurt it is around (see below, who needs expensive CGI special effects when you have a piece of blackened cotton wool): 

Meanwhile teh T-34s tear down the central track of the board into the teeth of the German defenses (see below, looking scary for teh defenders at this point, not enough anti-tank assets to go around, but also notice the respectful distance the Russian infantry gives the Pz IV on the German left flank): 

The Russian armour survives the defensive fire from the German defenses [taking some damage but is intact as an offensive weapon] and then retaliates in kind (see below, the German defensive values are weaker and ultimately are much more fragile as seen when the German PAK 40 crew is forced to retreat): 

A quick rally, through the exhalations of a senior German commander and the PAK 40 team are back manning the line (see below, "The line must hold, the line must be held, fire the kitchen sink at them or we're all doomed!"): 

It seems to be more of the latter as a particularly valiant T-34 commander takes matters into his own hands (see below, one again bouncing back the PAK 40 team, even with senior German commander present - who himself succumbed to the urge to "run away" after coming face-to-face with the fire spitting behemoth that is called the T-34): 

"The Commissar is in town" (old song from the late eighties or was it the early nineties?), there is a pistol wielding junior Russian political officer extolling the virtues of a Communist Five Year Plan (see below, there is teh chance that other Red infantry may follow him seeing as he has not been shot yet): 

More T-34s advance supported by Soviet infantry as the Red try and expand the breach in the German defenses. On the German left flank a medium range tank duel is being enacted without too much ardour it has to be said. Both sides are in cover and are content to "pop away" at each other looking for a lucky hit (see below, some form of local counterattack has to be attempted by the Germans, as it is getting to "shit or bust" time):

A German infantry force moves up for "tank busting duties", but to their right the German line looks paper thin (see below, teh Russians attack stalls slightly as the Russians decide to "pound away" at static targets such as the German infantry unit on the far right [although that description could apply to any German infantry unit in the Second World War]): 

The brave German infantry counterattack positioning themselves of the flank of the T-34, attacking from cover but "fail" in their assault (see below, the T-34 is stuck fast between the horns of a dilemma - disgrace to go back, death if you linger, best to go forward then?): 

Although bounced back the attacking German infantry unit is the strongest unit in the German front line (see below, there are three front line German combat units down to their last strength point (see blue dice showing 1's) - the front is about to break): 

But the German Grenadiers are hardy fighters, try again and are much more successful (see below, blck clouds of cotton wool indicate a dead T-34): 

The Russians however have no shortage of tanks and infantry (see below, the German infantry unit defending the woods is destroyed): 

From seemingly out of nowhere another T-34 appears (as the portable wargame does not have the sticky-stop concept of "zones of control" and a T-34 weaves its way through the defenses to threaten the German artillery with an overrun (see below, it is a very bad sign when your rear echelon units come under overrun attack): 

A wider panorama of the battlefield shows an intense battle as the German defenses disintegrate (see below, the lack of strategically placed German reserves is really hurting them to react to the Soviet threat): 

With the defenses broken it is now a case of "what" (if anything) can be salvaged from this mess (see below, the Soviet armour is attacked and weakened but not destroyed, so it will attack again next turn):  

The German artillery which (if it rolls lucky) can destroy armour with desperate direct fire is attacked and worn down to its last strength point (see below, hurt but not broken): 

But just when you think things cannot get any worse, they do, a second T-34 rolls into shot (see below, the artillery won't be able to take out two armoured threats next turn):

Russian infantry have penetrated the German right flank and consequently push the German MG Team back, isolating the strongest remaining German infantry in a salient (see below, by being pushed out of these defenses the MG Team have allowed the threat of a dangerous flank attack without defensive bonuses next turn): 

The Soviet armoured overrun is in full progress (see below, close range direct fire destroys the stubborn defending artillery gunners): 

Overrun achieved and the remaining crew are killed (see below, a fresh T-34 takes possession of the hex - "Where is the Panzer IV?" you may ask, it has quietly retired from the field leaving the infantry to its fate): 

There is nothing left to stop the T-34's from carousing around the battlefield behind the German defensive positions while effective Soviet infantry fire removes the German MG Team from play (see below, the middle and right of the German line have ceased to exist): 

There is one last remaining German defensive strongpoint on the German left held by a full strength German infantry unit (see below, it is holding the line as the Panzer departs [which caused some strangled criticism from infantry players - but it was agreed all was lost] along with some battered German infantry, probably hoping for a quicker ride home on the back of a tank): 

"All is not well!" mutters a senior German as he leader departs the battlefield (see below, not much you can do with a pair of binoculars and nothing left to spot for): 

Not a good sign when you are surrounded, down to your last strength point and facing a combined armour/infantry assault (see below, which signaled the end of German resistance in this sector): 

A convincing Russian victory (again) but I do so like getting the toys out on the table. Again this battle was played with teh basic Portal Wargame rules, there are additional rules I would like to bring in from Bob Cordery's later sets (Developing The Portable Wargame). 


Archduke Piccolo said...

It all looks very good - and I do believe it is a battlefield I've seen before 9translated to my square grid table)... I think the Germans have a tough taskl to hold if you're not using the 'quick kill' option. It is a nice sized battle, too, with a very satisfactory amount of kit on the attacking side.

Martin Rapier said...

We've played that scenario a few times. I agree I is more like 1944 (Lvov or Bagration) so I gave the Germans a Pz IV and the Russians Sherman 76s! The sequencing of firing and retreats and moves led to some very odd results with the AT gun (basically it kept retreating, then moving back and blazing away in the artillery phase as if nothing had happened).

'The Commisar is in town' is probably There's a new kid in town by The Eagles. 1970s

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Cheers Archduke Piccalo and Martin
I think from memory I have played it (and probably blogged it) three times now with the same results for the German (aka devastating retreat)
It reminds me of Cross of Iron with a frantic German withdrawal
Still fun
It has been a while since I have played the Portable Wargame so it is worth me picking it back up (along with Developing the Portable Wargame)
I was wanting to play with a few 18th Century games (that was a plan that went awry some years back

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

It’s great to see this scenario being fought and enjoyed. I enjoyed writing it and play testing it several times, and I’m glad that I included it in my book.

All the best,


Pete. said...

Looks great fun. I really should pick up the book for myself.

That and get a set of the fancy kallistra hexes too.



Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Cheers Bob,
It is a good scenario and worth playing a few times to get all the angles
Plenty more PW games to come, probably heading off to the Western Desert
Best Wishes

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Hello Pete,
PW is a good little tool-kit for testing out scenarios
You also get to use your kit as it stands, no re-basing needed
Likewise you can also add bespoke rules and stuff in quite easily
Best Wishes