Last night was the debut for the Russians. As part of a horse trade deal a long time ago I didn’t have many options of composition. The 620pt force being
- 3 regular
- 10 reservists
- 1 professional cavalry
- 2 regular cavalry,
- 2 reservist cavalry
- 4 MG
- 4 Artillery
So a veritable horde… with more cavalry than I’m used to.
The game was against Rays 1914s Germans, and his army was larger than normal with 3 units of his own cavalry and , no professionals at all.
With our usual lackadaisical start neither of use invested much effort in the countdown to war, just using the normal default values. Through slightly better dice the Russians won and ended up attacking – reconnaissance in force. Things to note
- Ray rolled low twice on the events chart and ended up deducting 6 from his artillery assets
- On the events I scored the opponent cannot deploy in the 2 end columns (on one side) & one turn of no scenery penalty movement.
So, the game. As attacker I tried to move all the terrain to my side of the table and hopefully time it well with the movement event. This worked reasonably successful. The master stroke was that having 5 units of cavalry allowed me to utilise the vacant columns in the first turn – this was a real game winner. Moving first meant big columns of Cossacks racing down the flanks with relative impunity.
The mob of Russian infantry lurched out of all the bad going, and was looking frighteningly powerful as after the depletions of the German left flank left them looking fragile. A well placed point effect on the German positions meant that they would have a rather painful morale phase. It might all be over for Christmas!
However, the cruel mistress that SB is had other plans. The German turn saw a suppression barrage placed skilfully over the whole Russians advance. With 13 units of infantry it hard to disperse them to reduce effect. While the suppression barrage is not ‘a killer’ in as much as the casualties it inflicts are smaller. The Reservist saves usually mean that there is a casualty and therefore cause for a moral test. This is really exasperated by the factors of reservists, under barrage with casualties… the morale dice just rack up. The Russian duly failed most of the tests – AND – then because they are suppressed cannot retire and take another 6 hits … again with terrible reservists saving throw. It started brilliantly and turned to **** in one turn. It looked like the entire infantry assault had stalled due to one suppression barrage!
The Cossacks were have more freedom running around the German rear. They had already destroyed one unit of German cavalry and were looking for targets of opportunity.
The Germans were holding on and took some rather risky strategy with their reserves which did not pay off, they ended up with their artillery exposed in the line allowing the stoic Russians to press in those two places. However , the dice dictated against it ,even with a couple of guns they beat of a sizeable Russian infantry assault. The guns had good support and the dice were wacky. So rather than breaking the German lines in two places, the Russians stalled and ended up standing right in front of the German lines.
The Russian cavalry in the rear delivered a textbook flank charge on the German reserves after a textbook point effect barrage preceded it – damaging the MG – UUUrah! The Germans scattered off table , losing bases left, right and centre. Moving off table was probably best thing for them as while taking a savage beating they were still ‘at strength’ and now safely in reserve so victory points that could be gained would be limited.
As the game concluded the game looked favourable to the Russians, and fate had seen big swings in fortune in this game. The Russians has achieved 2 breakthroughs , captured 2 out of 4 objectives and occupied the max allowed squares in rows 2 & 3. However, this was countered but a frightful 27 bases of ‘killed’ troops and Ray having some re-roll events on the objective scored. SO, it ended up with a +7 to the Russians – Minor Victory. The Russians, while on paper look poor and their army rating of 27 reflecting that, have some good synergies. The cavalry and empty flank zones is a great combination. The sheer mass of reservists gives them great resilience … but not for the feint hearted as you cannot make an omelette without breaking some of those Russian eggs.
Great game. Squarebashing always delivers a fun evening with lots of twists and turns.