For our Saturday game, Dan and I elected to play another from the Kansas ASL Best of March Madness Pack. The choice was PP05 Hot Zemlyankas. This particular scenario takes place in January, 1944 in the wooded mountains of the Crimea. This is an 8.5 Turn scenario with just tons of men on both sides.
The term Zemlyanka in Russian refers to a dugout. In this scenario the Partisan Player would have 20 of these Zemlyanka Pillboxes scattered throughout the hilly, forested hexes of boards 36 and 39. The Partisans would also have 20 wire and 10 trenches to fortify their Zemlyankas. And 60 factors of AP mines would cap off the fortifications.
The Partisans would have 5 x 5-2-7's and 25 x 3-3-7's will a single HMG, MMG, 5 x LMG's and ATR.
Dan would draw the Partisans and would be the scenario defender. These Partisans would represent elements of the Yalia Muntains Partisan Brigade. They would also have Molotov capability.
Facing my erstwhile opponent's hidden Partisans would be the Romanian 2nd Mountain Division and elements of a motorized cavalry platoon. As the scenario attacker, these Romanians would represent my hopes for victory!
It has been a while since I played with the Romanians...but man would this scenario make up for that!! My force would be HUGE...HUGE...I mean HUGE!!
8 x 4-4-7's, 20 x 5-3-7's and 8 x 3-4-7's with plenty of officers, LMG's, and MMG's.
And to top it off, I would have two off board 120mm mortars at Level 5 height. These bad boys would cover the valleys below pretty well. But it doesn't end there!!! I would also get 4 x Panzer 38(t)'s. These little cracker-jack tanks would be perfect for both the terrain and the mission.
All in all I was pretty stoked about my force composition...but honestly less so about the scenario objective. The VC are tough. The Romanian Player must amass 105 or more CVP. That's a lot, and especially when the Zemlyankas are hidden and are only revealed if the units inside of them fire or the Romanians find them by searching a hex. Easier said than done...but ROAR does show that this scenario favors the Romanians. Of course, that has never stopped me from blowing it and losing anyway.
So...as my first thought about this scenario was that it was going to be a BUG HUNT!!!
The start of the game...do you see any Partisans??? I don't...this isn't good...I don't see nuthin...
The Romanians enter on both the West and North Edges of the map. I concentrated on the Southwest Corner and this group is dedicated to sweeping Board 36.
This is the enemy that awaits me in the hills and valleys ahead..."the beast is out there and he hungry!"
My 9-1 Officer in a moment of foreshadowing...
(he would die after rolling a "12" on an NMC.)
(he would die after rolling a "12" on an NMC.)
My forces were pretty impressive as well.
My force on the North was heavy on 5-3-7 squads and these seem best suited to operate on their own and move into the hills and deep forest in search of the elusive Zemlyankas!!!
Let the bug hunt begin!!!
My opponent's Fabian tactics were first rate, as I immediately drove my first tank right into a wire hex and promptly bogged after rolling..."wait for it...wait for it...AN 11...yes...I rolled an 11", which as my readers know...is my all-time favorite dice roll.
Why...why do my dice bully me so...???
After spotting a wire hex to the south, I quickly sent a tank towards it and moved several infantry groups in that direction. In the center, my group made contact with a Zemlyanka with some point blank fire. But I wasn't the only one to see some bad rolls. Dan's initial ambush fires on Turn 1 weren't stellar rolls and allowed my forces to escape from some potentially destructive fires.
My luck really held out on Turn 1.
Once the first Zemlyanka showed itself, I quickly moved my 9-2 and 8-1 stacks in to put down some fire on it.
In this sector, my Turn 1 moves didn't reveal too many Partisans. I was a bit surprised....but I may have to conduct some searches as I get to the crest of the ridge in case Dan is waiting to spring an ambush on me in the later game turns.
With one tank bogged on the wire, two others successfully eliminated the wire and survived the minefield just beyond it.
Back to the southwest sector, I pushed ahead and ran right into Zemlyankas galore...with mines and wire.
Dan was just waiting for me!
But my luck continued to hang on and I survived the first fires of the hidden Partisans. I managed one shot with my flamethrower...an 11, but it was enough to get a break on the Partisans.
At the end of Turn, I had revealed about five or so of the 20 Zemlyankas.
Back to the Northeast corner, my armor would come into play and help push back the Partisans in this area.
In the North Center, I tried to to maneuver so as to get behind the Zemlyanka...but Dan...had trenches behind the Zemlyankas...how dastardly!!
Back in the southwest the Partisans managed to escape from the noose and made a dash for freedom.
They were well led...but all would ultimately fall to the fire from my Romanians.
My armor swung into the valley with the purpose to scour the ridges on both sides for wire obstacles and the tell tale signs of possible Zemlyankas.
My bogged Tank managed to roll another 11 and became immobilized...so the Partisans took out a tank with barb wire...not a bad trade off.
The Zemlyankas in the center would prove to be pretty thorny for me. Finding the Zemlyankas with a small force is one thing...but attacking them is a bit tougher...so I may need to gather my forces...but the terrain is a killer. The double slopes with woods take all the movement in one hex....so it's going to be a tough slog.
The stream is frozen, and the marsh hexes are -1 level crags.
In the southwest my forces had made good progress and eliminated two Zemlyankas.
Back in the center things got ugly. Dan's Partisans crept out and ambushed two squads and eliminated both by winning the ambush. It was a tough hit.
Great move by the Partisans and something to remember as I get adjacent to the next Zemlyankas.
In the northwest, my boys discovered that the Zemlyanka in their front was also connected to a larger network as more Partisans funneled into the action. fortunately my tank's 8 MG factors are helping me and the Partisan wire is also helping me. Those dang Partisans are sneaking forward with Molotovs!
A last look at the battlefield as we head into Turn 3. One of the things that has really helped my Romanians are the two 120cm Mortars. In one fire phase, I rate of fired nearly 8 times in a row, against a Zemlyanka on Board 36 which housed the Partisan MMG. As the game proceeds, I will be relying heavily on those mortars.
Turn 3 Next Sunday!