Having familiarized ourselves with the general special rules for VotG, Patch and I started the smallest of the Campaign Games included in August 2008…:

After a week or two off for our respective setups, Patch and I started VotG CGI tonight. (Who says we can’t jump on the bandwagon?) We diced for it, and I got the Russians, so I got to try and figure out my setup first. The map surprised me, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so long and skinny. I could really wish for a bit more backfield.

Anyway, we got through the first German turn, and most of the first Russian Turn tonight.

Patch set up a lot more North-heavy than I was thinking in terms of. I’ve got to stop letting him do that to me. So the initial line of pickets didn’t last long at all (no surprise), and there’s a lot less in front of him than I’d like.

Then again, with these forces, he could attack anywhere, and I would want twice as much in front of him. I’ll admit the idea of defending this area for multiple CG dates has me a bit rattled.

Opening setup, 15th September.

At least he got off to a poor start. Prep broke a conscript, but out of three search attempts, he got 6, 6, 5; and that last was with a CX unit, so he still didn’t manage to search. Also another HS that was about to search got Pinned on a SFF shot. Sadly, that same shot activated his Sniper and he killed one of my only non-Commissar leaders.

Advancing fire revealed dummies in I30 and D34. He also pinned a real conscript in E30, but that activated my Sniper and he managed to fatally wound a 7-0. Sadly, he then performed a successful Sniper Check and reduced my SAN to 4. With the way the Sniper has been for me the past few games, that could be very bad.

He advanced into a couple of close combats, ambushing the conscripts in E30 and revealing another dummy in D31.

On my rally phase, a Commissar promptly reduced my broken conscripts to a HS for abandoning their post. Generally, my turn is just rushing troops up from the extreme south end of the board, where he hasn’t put anyone to create a new second line.

I hope.

“An interesting start to what may be a long campaign.”

“I took a look at the map and a few AARs, and decided I wanted boots on the ground. Lots of them. Thus, there’s a great deal of infantry pouring onto the map on turn 1. My intent is to overwhelm the forward lines and push deep, hopefully isolating and eliminating forces that set up on the northern half of the board. I took a look at the Rail Station, my lack of heavy units for an assault on a fortified building, and decided to pass. That will have to fall on a later date, hopefully when my Engineers aren’t led by Col. Klink (where the hell are all of you people getting those 9-2s, 10-2s and 10-3s????)”

“Turn 1 didn’t go as well as I’d have hoped. I forgot to Prep Fire my main stack, forgot to move a scout, and none of my searches panned out. On an interesting twist both Rindis and I traded “1” SAN dr’s for the loss of a leader each, and a Sniper Check by a single squad rolled a ‘2’, popping his SAN down to 4. After 20 years of ASL, that’s the first Sniper Check that’s actually done anything.”

“The assault through the railyard went well. I found several dummy stacks, and the conscripts guarding the front line fell rapidly. I’m slightly further ahead of where I expected to be, and am primed for turn 2.”

“The downside I’m seeing is the potential for HIP units. There’s so many possible locations I’m not certain it’s worth the SAN risk to fire at empty hexes with the hope of revealing a unit. I’m scouting instead, and time will tell if that’s a good ideas.”

“Nothing happened Russian Turn 1. Those units still on the front line fell back, those in the south shifted north, and defensive fire was universally ineffectual. I’m hoping my Stukas finally come in Turn 2 to reduce this annoying bit of reinforcing he’s doing.”

Tater commented:

“I took a look at the Rail Station, my lack of heavy units for an assault on a fortified building, and decided to pass. That will have to fall on a later date, hopefully when my Engineers aren’t led by Col. Klink (where the hell are all of you people getting those 9-2s, 10-2s and 10-3s????)”

“I am playing the Ruski in this one.”

“Based on our playing (Turn 4 of 9/17 day) I am beginning to think that the German needs to drive for the Rail Station ASAP. Do whatever it takes to get it in scenario #1. Attacking else where just seems to bog down…and the longer the Ruski keeps the Rail Station the more fortifications he can pile on it.”

“Unfortunately, I am not in any condition to do so this date. If all goes well I won’t approach the northern outskirts until turn 4.”

“On the bright side of things, three Stukas arrived this turn.”

pward added:

“I’ve got the Russians in this one as well.”

“The German player (BruceC) did a strong push with engineers for the station (taking it handily) and a reasonable push south from the northeastern corner of the map (scrubbing the edge). Conscripts in the burnt out buildings have basically no maneuverability, and you certainly don’t have many leaders to go around to speed things up. The scripts are speed bumps, save the NKVD and Commissars for the night and later days conflicts.”

“I regret fortifying the train station, then not putting more troops inside. I didn’t allow enough “reserve” to keep unbroken folks up front. Against FT toting AEs, I don’t think it would have made a difference. In the long run it probably wouldn’t have helped to put both NKVD companies in there in the first place. Use those forts elsewhere to hold the Germans north of the block containing the Nail Factory, or to fortify the Children’s Home perhaps.”

“Whatever you do, don’t expect too much from your Katushas (even with pre-reg) and don’t give darn near every German LOS to a level 2 building location, thus granting unilateral freedom of movement on turn 1 of a night scenario. The German 10-3 and his ever present stack of MG’s is also making my scenarios into a game of cat and mouse. (I recommend staying out of LOS from a 10-3 whenever possible…)”

“My Engineers came on reduced T_T and I thought it best anyway to throw that second full company on board Day 1 and make a heavy infantry push. We’ll see how leaving the rail station for now goes for me.”

“I don’t have any 10-3s. Hell, I don’t even have any 9-2s. T_T”

The good news is that your depletion rolls couldn’t have been worse than mine….

“Just mailed off the end of German Turn 2 to Rindis. There’s still a CC to resolve on his end, and there’s the possibility I moved into a HIP location, but for now, I think below is fairly final for our entry into Russian Turn 2.”

“The NW rail yards cleared out easier than I had expected. Rindis FPF’d his remaining conscript, breaking him, and I captured him in Rout. A second conscript fell when he was CR’d by my sniper, and killed in Advancing Fire.”

“My strategy this turn was to capture the K31 building, and prepare for the assault on H33. No longer useful where they were, I moved all of my armor, and Rindis revealed an NKVD 628 with ATR in the K31 cellar who took as ide shot at a StuG B, but failed to kill it. Glad I didn’t go with my first impulse, which would have given him a rear shot! The lowly 628 is being swarmed by 6 squads and the StuG, and I don’t think he’ll last. In the meantime, I’ve moved the second StuG to D37 where he can peek at the Rail Station, and the third is slowly moving south in the hope of finding Russians. Elsewhere I’m across the C-column road, but I’m hanging back to gain concealment and wait for the northern troops to arrive before starting an assault.”

CraigBenn pointed out:

“The NW rail yards cleared out easier than I had expected. Rindis FPF’d his remaining conscript, breaking him, and I captured him in Rout. A second conscript fell when he was CR’d by my sniper, and killed in Advancing Fire.”

“No quarter is in effect in all VOTG scenarios and CG games – which is a big and needed advantage to the Russians I think. Great AAR by the way.”

Tork chimed in:

“Pushing south along that eastern edge is going to be important for the Germans. If I got the rules right, then those hexes under German control are not eligible for Russian entry. I’ll see how reducing the perimeter exposed to the Russian night attack works out.”

“Otherwise, my map looks very similar to yours, with my Germans in a couple hexes of the Station.”

“Any guesses as to what the Russians (and Germans) bought? I’ve been keeping track of various purchases…”

“Offhand, I think he bought the at-start NKVD companies and the T-34s, but there’s an awful lot still concealed to know for sure.”

“I’ve made it clear I’ve bought heavy in infantry, but there’s still a surprise or two up my sleeve.”

Nearing the end of Turn two, the best I can say is that my luck is now inconsistent, instead of merely bad. Though it is still mostly bad.

CC went well. Well for me that is. He advanced into F34 at the end of his turn, and the 467 and 426 went down on a mutual kill. Also, during his AFPh, my Sniper activated again, and broke a MMG squad in a 9-1 kill-stack. However, he managed a second successful Sniper Check, and my SAN is down to 3.

During my Turn 2, the 628 in the K31 cellar managed to pin one of the concealed squads above him, but that was it (other than revealing them both). Short range fire at the Germans in front of the H33 building… didn’t go so well. I broke the DC-toting squad, but couldn’t even get a result on a 16FP +2 shot at a FT squad in I32. And I revealed a second surprise: A HIP T-34 dug-in in J33. In the first of several small errors this evening, I fired the MA and then the CMG, negating my Acq. Of course, with a 10 +2 shot and a good TK#, I wasn’t really expecting to need acquisition. Original 10, missed it by 2. The 4 +1 MG shot didn’t do anything either.

Movement was pretty calm (especially with Stukas about), but I vapor-locked twice and blew concealment on dummies. I am definitely rattled. On the other hand, Patch got screwed by the map, so he has it coming. We had different versions, and he showed a gap in the E37/E38 hexside that isn’t there in mine or the physical map. He updated to mine as it’s closer to the physical version. (I had been wondering what the StuG was doing there.)

[Sadly, the shot of the incorrect map is missing.]

His defensive fire naturally broke the 628 in K31, which was eliminated for FtR, and broke everything in I33. With it being fortified, I held out okay against the normal FP, but the FT’s +0 shot promptly broke everything.

Situation, Russian Turn 2, after Routs.

Tork responded:

“I just checked my vasl map, and I’ve got that gap in the rail cars too. I’ll need to check versions as well.”

“I picture a bunch of Russian conscripts, laughing intensely, racing back to the Rail Station after having shifted a loose rail car several meters after my scouts left… >.<“

No session tonight, but it’s been exciting enough over the last week anyway.

Patch is definitely concentrating on the north assault. Of course the line up there is a lot thinner than it needs to be to hold him off, so I can’t blame him…. He smoked the T-34 and then managed to stun it with a Stuka, and then eliminated it in CC.

I had moved the conscripts in H33 over to the fortified location in I33 hoping that might manage to buy me some time. Not really. As I halfway expected, he took the adjacent fire fine, and then died to the flamethrower.

My next little surprise worked out better than the last couple however. My 82mm MTR opened up from the top of gutted building L38 and managed to fatally wound an 8-1, break two squads (each with an MG) and CR one of them in a nice little rate tear.

On the other hand, I’m paying for a couple mistakes. I never did find a good place to park my leader with my Radio, and he had to evacuate from I35, and was broken in the process. Also, after staring at things for a while, I realized the only way to get my broken Commissar and NKVD squad out of the area involved a hex of interdiction, or staying out in the street. I took the chance, and the squad was reduced.

During my rally the Commissar and NKVD rallied, but the radio holder died.

I had been trying to get an extra unit into the area to slow him down a little more, but it all collapsed before he could get there and is headed back to the railway station. My turn has naturally featured me continuing to feed troops north. The MTR managed an amazingly long rate tear that eventually nailed his other kill stack in the area between the station and the buildings he’s taking. I fatally wounded a 9-1, eliminated an elite squad and reduced another one. I think he’s out of leaders in that area, so the brokies that are starting to pile up there should become a problem.

In response, one of his light MTRs has opened up on the position, pinning the crew (while activating my Sniper three times—pinned the same squad twice, then broke it), all three Stukas tried attacking it, two failed to see the target, one malfed his MG and missed with his bomb, a StuG fired and missed, and… a SR has come down on it.

I think it’s time to get moving. Wonder if I can survive the initial bombardment long enough to dm the thing and clear out.

His other fire managed to strip some concealment, but only his Sniper actually broke anything.

Situation, during Turn 3 Russian RtPh.

Contents of L38.

“Finished off German Turn 4 in email, and will be playing Russian Turn 4 tonight.”

“Rindis’ 82mm Mtr has been devastating. I lost another kill stack to that Mtr, making the total losses two leaders and 4 squads. That has effectively ended my assault on the northern train station until I can regroup, which I began this turn.”

“My artillery came down right on target, but failed to do a damn thing as I rolled high on just about every hex. Naturally, I rolled a CH on an empty hex, and did no damage. However, the crew finally fell to a kill stack in the NE, freeing me up to move with a bit less risk. The conscript in L34 responded to a MG ROF tear by going Berserk, postponing my assault on that block as I’d rather deal with him in the open. Probably a bad choice, given later thought, especially as he went and broke one of my units in Defensive Fire.”

“In movement I shuffled a leader west to plug that leaderless hole, and moved into the I-35 area. I’m now in a better position for an assault the K35 block, and interdict the back side of the train station. To the south, the sudden high casualties have made me cautious, and unable to mount a solid two-prong attack has reduced much of that front to a holding action. My armor slowly shuffles south to help hold the line.”

“Rindis’ Defensive Fire, as stated before, broke a 467, but did little else. Despite being a ‘3’, Rindis’ sniper is active and kills a leader, making my total leader losses 4! It’s a bad day to be an NCO. Advancing Fire and Advance were uneventful, and we’re into Russian Turn 4.”

Start Russian Turn 4 Rally

Got into German Turn 5 last night. I’m really hoping that it can repeat the performance of the last few dates of our PBr campaign and end on the first roll (hey, 1/3 chance this time).

I’m still paying for my radio mistake. I forgot to try and recover it on his RPh, and failed in mine. Subsequent events pushed me out of it’s hex, and I’m scared to go back as he’s got a FT across the street that would love nothing better than to cook up a little Commissar flambe.

I thought that the T-34 in K39 had just missed it’s target. We forgot until after I revealed my -1 AL that there was an extra +1 for the FFE that it’s parked in. Drat. Well, I know what Patch’s next goal is: kill that tank!

The ‘Zerkies succumbed on the first shot to the obligatory 5KIA. Patch’s OBA got another CH, and rubbled M38 down to the first level. Thankfully, no falling rubble, and no one was inside.

He’s starting to get some real fire into the Train Station. One Stuka broke a unit crawling around the south, and the other hit but failed to kill the K39 T-34 with both the MG and Bomb (Near Miss anyway).

German Turn 4 rally went fine… for Patch. He got most of the NW survivors back, and I lost a squad and a half. Hint, when rallying conscripts with a Commissar, don’t roll ’12’. Thankfully, while Patch initially drew a second black card for his OBA, he kept it where it was, and since no one there was in LOS, the extra card came up Red. Prep nailed F36 with a ‘2’ (thankfully the HMG cowered) and the NKVD there rolled a ’11’–just missing CR and ELR (2MC).

Movement was nerve-wracking. He sent a lot of troops in the M34 block where I couldn’t see them. And a couple squads that I wasn’t sure about. Finally, I fired the MMG in G40, putting down a FL across the square into L33. We both thought the LOS was in trouble from the fountain, but it wasn’t even close. The 548 walking in the open rolled a ’12’, turning into a broken 237.

Suddenly, things stopped moving towards my next stronghold in the K37 area.

Now things are moving back towards the west and the Railway Station, which isn’t all that comforting either.

Situation, end of DFPh, German Turn 5.

Sorry on being so late with the latest dispatch. Life smacked me around some last week, so I haven’t had a chance to report on what’s going on.

Last Monday was the end of the CG Date in a long session that went from Russian turn 5 AFPh to the end of Turn 6.

The balance of Turn 5 saw Patch creep up, reclaiming the corner of the rail station, moving into Volgograskaya street next to my next line of defense on the east edge. He also started moving the long line of troops near the rail station forward.

My turn 5 Prep wasn’t bad. The T-34 in K39 managed break a MMG squad in a stone building, but they weren’t directly adjacent to anyone, and there were plenty of Germans who were. I revealed a MMG in F37 and broke a HMG squad (not even touching the ‘?’ in the same hex), but didn’t get rate, and he had a lot of targets. I revealed a third MMG in I40, and managed to break the FT squad that had advanced into the open. The main problem was all the Germans adjacent to F37 & G37 and the kill stack that had collected in E36.

Patch got his OBA back, but the SR scattered out of LOS. His Stukas didn’t do anything but cause a MC which I passed. The Sniper that generated hit my Sniper and reduced him to a 2. A 2! In Stalingrad! His fire went well until about a third of the way through. A ’12’ reduced the NKVD squad manning the MMG in the train station to a Disrupted HS, which evaporated on a subsequent shot. He broke the NKVD squad manning the MMG in I40. The point blank shots into the NE corner of the station reduced me from a (broken) squad and a half to a HS.

In advance, two brave volunteer squads went forward into the recently vacated portions of the station. The defenders of the east edge moved into position. I had to slow Patch down, and hope for an early end to the game. Which didn’t happen this time.

My hopes for the east edge were quickly dashed. He reduced and broke the visible squad, broke a concealed one, and pinned the final concealed HS. As expected, he broke the new defender in G37, but expended a lot of fire doing it, and didn’t manage to reveal the ‘?’ in F37

Situation, beginning of DFPh, German Turn 6. That’s one heck of a lead export there Patch.

My DF did nothing, and Patch advanced into the next two hexes of the station. Or tried to. As it happened, F37 was Fortified, but had never been revealed because he’d gotten the lower of two identical results each time he got a result on that hex. But with the advance into F37, he had pretty much surrounded the location.

My rally saw everything but I40 come back, including the MTR crew that had been refusing to rally for some turns now. The only things my Prep did was pin a German squad and break the only MMG I had in service (G40 – probably the most important one). The Crew moved upstairs to try to get to the MTR, but the first shot at them broke them again (and nearly worse, I rolled an 11).

I was sorely tempted to try to recover the MMG in F37 and drag it out of the hex, but the amount of adjacent FP meant it’d be suicide even with +4 terrain. As if to point this out more forcefully, he managed a 36FP area fire attack, which promptly broke and disrupted the poor conscript. He also broke the east side defenders that’d just rallied again. He also got a better idea of just how thinly stretched I was as he eliminated two more dummies, one of which was in a building on the south flank that a StuG had been shelling for turns. And he found that F38 was also Fortified.

Thankfully, with the -1 modifier, I rolled just low enough to end the game.

Situation, end of Game/Russian Turn 6, with remaining HIP units revealed (G40hC, G49, I49).

I have since announced a night counterattack, which we’re still working up to.

[Next Date: Sep 15 N]