For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I returned again to the March Madness Commissar Pack for our next scenario. MM31 Sevastopol by the Sea was chosen and it would no peaceful visit to the coast!
This particular scenario is fairly complex with night rules, assault boats and attacking a fixed position. I would draw the attacker for this scenario and would therefore lead the Germans of the 65th Infantry Regiment, 22nd Infantry Division.
My assaulting Germans would start the scenario in assault boats heading for hostile Soviet shores. My force would consist of 5 x 4-6-8's, 14 x 4-6-7's, led by a 9-2, 9-1, 2 x 8-1,'s, 2 x 8-0's, and a 7-0 with an HMG, 3 x MMG's, 6 x LMG's, 4 x DC's and an 81 Mortar (dismantled). This would be a fairly substantial force and if I could properly concentrate it...would be tough to stop.
Dan as the scenario defender would command elements of the Soviet 79th Naval Brigade. These tough hombres would be waiting in the dark in nice foxholes and trenches...just waiting to rain death down on my unsuspecting Germans.
Dan's bad ass Naval Infantry would consist of 9 x 4-5-8's, 5 x 6-2-8's, 8 x 2-4-8's, and well led by a 9-1, 9-0, 8-0, and 8+1 supported by 2 x MMG's, 4 x LMG's, 2 x ATR's, a 50 Mortar and dug in with 7 x trenches and 8 foxholes.
The only real weakness for Dan's force was a low ELR of 2.
The victory conditions for this scenario required the Germans to seize control of 19 or more Level 3 hill hexes on Board 58. The hill on the west side had 19 level 3 hexes all by itself. So, I decided to focus on just that hill. In addition to playing the scenario defender, Dan was also the scenario designer. So he would definitely have a solid defense awaiting me.
I had not played a lot of Crimean scenarios, so was was looking forward to this scenario. My only reservations about it were playing another night scenario.
I even told Dan about half-way through this game, that I needed a break from night scenarios...especially ones with a Full Moon. A 5 NVR would prove to be less than desirable...so note to self...play "darker" night scenarios in the future!!!
Nothing like a nice full moon to shine a nice bright light down on you as try to be sneaky sneaky...
My boats began within 2 hexes of the shore. The arrows depict my planned moves. The lone center boat contained my 2-2-8 with the dismantled 81mm Mortar. I wanted it where it could fire at both hills and possibly interdict Soviet reinforcement from one hill to the other. My primary focus was the big hill on the west/right flank.
Landing takes a lot of movement...so I was hard-pressed to find suitable locations to disembark that didn't immediately CX my boys. I though this move might throw Dan off as I intended to move towards the big hill and not the little hill. I don't think it fooled him at all...
I wasn't in my boats very long...but probably should have stayed in them!!!
My main assault. My big MG's and my best leaders all ready to storm the hill or ride off to Valhalla...whichever came first.
The landings went fine. Everybody got on shore and in generally good position. With an NVR of 5, my boys had a pretty easy time getting out of the boats.
My main push hit some snags as Dan had 25% of his force (Night Scenario basic SSR) HIP'd. Yes...I had forgotten that and was miffed in the early stages of the scenario as Soviet 6-2-8's in foxholes kept popping up like prairie dogs all around me. I will credit these 6-2-8's with doing a great job of breaking up my attack on the main hill.
At the conclusion of my landings, only Dan's revealed HIP 6-2-8's had joined the fighting.
But as Dan launched his full D-Fire on me...starshells lit up the night to comingle with machine gun tracer rounds. A veritable May Day celebration opened up on my Landsers.
Even CX'd, I still sent one of my 4-6-7's into CC with the nearest 6-2-8. After a long...long...did I say long...Melee, my boys would eventually be KIA'd. The Soviet 50mm Mortar was also in action and would DM my 9-1 and his MMG stack. They would stay DM'd for much of the battle.
And just like that...my main effort was hit hard as my forces crumpled under heavy Soviet small arms fire.
Back on the left, my boys began marching down the road to support the main assault. Straying DR's are not required when moving on a road, so my boys made good time.
Throughout the battle I only had two units, which actually strayed.
Dan, ever the wily fox that he is, sent units down to the shore and effectively split my bridgehead. Despite, that, I was feeling pretty good about my two jump off points.
But Dan was watching my every move...
An overview as a German Fiesler Storch flew overhead....
His radio must not have been working...cause the dude didn't tell me anything...
Soviet Prep Fire...oh good grief...what a firestorm of lead Dan put down on me. I immediately regretted not moving around to attack the hill from the rear.
The circle indicates another of Dan's 6-2-8's that effectively held up my advance up the hill.
There's nothing that steals the smile from your face faster than when your opponent reveals yet another HIP 6-2-8.
In one of the more bizarre CC's I have experienced, my 2-2-8 81mm Mortar Crew found themselves the target of a 6-2-8 squad hell bent on eliminating them. Dan got his roll...but I rolled snakes...so created an 8-1 officer and decided to infiltrate into the 6-2-8's foxhole, leaving the 6-2-8's to destroy my 81mm Mortar. Easy come...easy go.
"Dmitri...where are the Germans???"
The 6-2-8 that had passed my 2-2-8 in the dark, quickly became the target of a bunch of berserk Germans, who would be joined by two more squads in CC. I needed a 9 or less...and rolled 11. Dan killed the entire stack. It was the moment that my secondary attack was basically destroyed. I would not seriously threaten the hill again from this group.
After some initial struggles to find star shells, Dan began to send a few up to illuminate my struggling grenadiers.
My 9-2 went Heroic and would finally give my grenadiers a shot in the arm to keep up the fight. Up until that point, both Dan and I could see that my attack was going nowhere.
For much of the early part of the battle, I had kept my 9-2 out of harm's way as moved through the gully system. In retrospect, I needed his skills much earlier in the battle. By the time I had him really engaged in the fighting the chances for winning had slipped from my grasp.
By the end of Turn 3, I hadn't made much progress. Dan had split my bridgehead and was effectively keeping me off the hill.
Despite his defenses' success, Dan wasn't idle. He sent his 8+1 Commissar on a mission to grant freedom of movement to his squads on the little hill.
You sure don't want to be on the Commissar's naughty list!!!
Led by my Heroic 9-2, my grenadiers finally began clawing their way up and onto the hill. For the first time in the game, I began to find my groove.
My successes didn't go to my head. The Soviets were strongly entrenched at the other end of the hill and my forces were battered and fragmented.
I sent my boys moving into contact with Dan's troops and more than a few my boys would break.
In the chaos of battle, another group of my boys would go berserk with better results this time around.
My 9-1 had finally rallied and was actually on a level 2 hill hex...
A last look at the game before time and a phone call from my wife disrupted our game. Due to poor quality wi-fi at my hotel, I was using my iPhone for the SKYPE call....well around 10:00 PM...my wife called and there went our SKYPE connection and I couldn't get it reset. So...I called Dan back and offered my concession.
Ah honey...I'm right in the middle of a game...yes I probably can't win...but I can't just give up....
My concession actually came at a good time, as after 5 solid hours, Dan and I were both tired and my Germans didn't have a realistic chance of winning. So I would finish the game with control of 6 of the needed 19.
Congrats to Dan on a solid win. His defense was never seriously compromised.
Dan and I will take a two week break as the Kansas City ASL Group has a Games Day next Saturday and then the following weekend with be spent with family to mark the Memorial Day Holiday.