Thursday, December 23, 2010

Squad Battles: Advance of the Reich AAR: Crossing the Berezina

I hadn't been paying too much attention to Squad Battles lately thanks to my resurgence in John Tiller's Campaign Series. Today however I decided to fire up Advance of the Reich, update it and mess around in a simple scenario to make sure my mods had installed perfectly. Well as all things go the next thing I know I am fighting a pitched battle that I had no intention of writing up an AAR for but it became so heated I had to take screenshots and talk about them.

The scenario I picked was early eastern front and reads as follows:
02 Jul 41.  The German blitzkrieg had sliced through the frontier Russian defences and just completed the encirclement at Minsk.  The Panzer divisions drove on towards Moscow.  The next natural obstacle was the Berezina River, with bridges at Borisov.  Although the Russians had defenders there including the 50th Rifle Division and the Borisov Tank School, the 18th Panzer Division broke through these defences and crossed the river.

This time I turned Fog of War on and went with my gut. I hadn't played Squad Battles in quite a while so I didn't even bother to brush up on the rules. I just started moving and attacking and threw chance to the wind. Well the battle ended up being very intense. So much so by the end I was pumping my fist at each Russian tank I blew up across the river. I pulled off a major victory but really got walloped casualty wise in the process. The screenshots I have are mainly near the end of the battle when I decided it might be a good idea to log this one.

Near the end of the game I had advanced through the town but lost tanks due to immobility and getting too close to enemy units. The town was a wreck. Dead men, exploded vehicles and abandoned weaponry lay all around. I had taken every objective but the one across the river Berezina itself. As I mopped up Russian resistance the Borisov Tank School rushed armor down the bridge and what ensued was an epic tank duel across the river with my panzers blasting away across the bridge against his weak BT's.

I don't claim to be an expert at this game, in fact I am rather bad. I have spent maybe 20 minutes with the manual and the rest I just wing so that made this game even more fun when I realized how bad I was screwing up my attacks.

Regardless the great thing about Squad Battles is that when a battle is done you can look back at the little things that happened and see where one or two soldiers or a vehicle maybe turned the tide of battle. Rather than this be a normal AAR lets look at some of the digital heroes that stood out shall we?

The 9 brave panzergrenadiers of 1st Kompanie that, along with a immobilized Panzer IVD withstood Russian assault after assault to hold a 20 point objective.



Hauptmann Hafner who, along with 3 of his adjutants, took cover next to an immobilized Panzer IVD (see a pattern here) and withheld the sporadic attacks of Soviets trying to flank him and get back the center of town.



6 men led by Lt. Reinert that led a charge to push back a Soviet counter assault in the nothern part of the town. They suffered heavy losses but managed to push the Russians back into the houses and huts on the north side of the road.



The huge tank battle across the river Berezina. During this time I give a mighty thumbs up to the single halftrack I raced across the bridge in turn 11 of 12 to capture the last victory point. Coupled with unrelenting fire from the Panzer IV's I moved up to shell the Russian armor that halftrack lived through the battle and took the objective.





By the end of the game the final situation was one of mayhem but somehow I had fought my way through the town, bypassed pockets of resistance, gotten my armor to the shore of the river to stop his tanks from crossing, and captured every objective.



The final victory was a costly one for the Wermacht however. A lot of halftracks and tanks had been lost. Some of these were just stuck and could be salvaged but some had downright been blown apart by a Soviet anti tank gun hidden in the town that I rode right up to.



All in all it was a fun battle. I had not intended to even play but once I took a few turns and got involved in the massive city fighting I couldn't stop playing and before I knew it a good hour had gone by. I would like to play this game from the Soviet side and see if the Germans are able to get across the bridge. It would be interesting to see how the AI adapts to my tactics if I am able to rumble those BT's across the bridge and mount some sort of counter attack.

I may have to pick up that new Squad Battles title just announced and try some modern warfare. I already have Red Victory coming in the mail although playing the Germans in that scares me.