Club Night 29/02/’16: FFT3, Austria 1985.

I had been contacted by a new member at the club who wanted to try out Fistful of Tows and as it had been a while since I played I was happy to oblige. Alex was bringing down a Soviet BMP Motorised Rifle Regiment and I was going to try and stop the red horde from steaming through Austria with my Austrian kampfgruppe. We didn’t use my activation/command and control rules but did add Div and Corp artillery – they are rolled for in the usual way but are harder to call in (-1 and -2 to the dice respectively), usually means that they aren’t available but can be great if they are – especially for the Soviets!

Soviet forces

  • Recon Coy
  • T-72 Btln
  • 3 x BMP-1 Infantry Btlns
  • Regt Artillery Btln
  • Divisional Artillery Regt
  • Corp Artillery Btln

Austrians

  • M60a1 Pzr Btln
  • PzrGren Btln
  • Landwehr Inf Btln
  • SK105 PzrJager Coy
  • Landwehr 85mm PaK Coy
  • M109 Btln
  • Corp 105mm Btln
  • Army M-59 mrls battery

Once again due to going through rules  and needing to check them myself (big thanks to Terry here, it is amazing what you forget if you don’t play regularly!), I again forgot to take many pictures. What is worse I forgot to take one of the whole battlefield to help with this AAR, I really do need to get a grip.

Anyway I had set the terrain out so that it had a valley running along the widest axis roughly half way in the table, a road ran across the short axis meeting the lateral road at a small town. This road junction was near one edge of the table about a foot and a half in. There were some woods and a few farms scattered about to break things up further. We diced to see where the Soviets would come in from and they came across the table along the short axis. We decided that the Russians had been tasked to control the valley, I marked my units on a map and we got to it.

Alex started by running a MR Btln along the road heading for the town where I had put my Landwehr with the AT guns deployed in the wood to its right covering the road, these opened up when Alex’s recon elements got close and then got targeted with Artillery for their efforts and were supressed. I wasn’t too bothered as I wanted to channel Alex onto the other side of the town to where a Kurassier company had the road covered, which I duly opened up with.

A second BMP Btln was coming round the left flank as well past the farms at the end of the valley. I had positioned 2 tank companies and the other Kurassier company here though so was quite confident that I’d be able to hold this sector. As soon as the BMP’s got close enough I opened up with the Kurassiers, their overwatch fire causing quite a few casualties. The Soviets replied with their BMP’s and a mixture of ATGM (both from the BMP’s and their SP ATGM platoon) and canon fire resulted in the PanzerJagers losing 2 platoons – the third did pass its formation check but withdrew behind the hill they were on to avoid any further attention.

Alex was hitting me with as much artillery as he could call up , although he had left the town alone, on all the positions that he knew I had units in which was doing a good job in supressing me. He had also brought on the remaining BMP btln across the middle of the table through a large wooded hill whilst launching the T-72 btln forwards to support the stricken BMP btln and as soon as they came into effective range I opened up with a M60 company positioned in a wood to the right of where the Kurassiers had been. This company managed to cause some damage but then suffered from a near full battalions worth of 125mm fire plus attention from the ATGM platoon and although one platoon survived unscathed it failed the formation check and legged it. With their work seemingly done here the T-72’s then moved across into the wood in the centre.

The next phase of the battle saw Alex put in an infantry attack on the town which in usual FFT style was a bloody affair, especially as the Landwehr defenders hadn’t been softened up first (actually Alex did have quite rotten luck all night calling in his artillery), and although I had lost a couple of companies they took about the same number of Soviets with them. Alex was about to put a better attack in on the left hand wood where my tanks had been – he had softened the defending Panzer Grenadiers up a bit first with artillery and BMP fire – but we had run out of time.

It was good to play FFT again, I had forgotten in the past couple of months Chain of Command madness how much I enjoyed these rules. Alex said that he liked the rules so hopefully we might get some more games in in the future, and it was a shame that we ran out of time as the game was poised at a critical point, we both had uncommitted units to throw in and I was thinking about a counter attack! Daren had sat in on the game as well as he was interested to see how they played out and he was a fan too, and we will definitely be having a bash sometime soon.

I think I might have had too much Austrian kit to be fair, maybe losing the extra Kurassier or AT gun company and maybe also the Landies might have balanced things up a wee bit. I had added them as the Austrians are hamstrung somewhat by their lack of missiles, which is actually what makes them such an interesting Cold War force, also they had a hugely inferior amount of artillery – maybe if we do this again I’ll try it out.

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