I have been busily painting up a couple of new forces for my Modern FFT3 project, concentrating on the Alt-History Lithuanians and the first part of the Soviet forces. As I had volunteered to get a game on and they were ready to go it meant that it was a no brainer that they met on the table.
The scenario was a simple one, a Motor Rifle Battalion reinforced by 2 Regimental Tank battalions and the Divisional Tank battalion was tasked with breaking through to Vilnius. The remainder of the Division was busy taking on the 3 Lithuanian Infantry Brigades whilst this force had slipped through and was launched at the capital. Unfortunately the Lithuanian Armoured Brigade had been deployed to prevent this happening. The Soviets would have a near 3-1 advantage in tanks and artillery but the Lithuanians had managed to throw up hasty defensive positions and lay a quick minefield to help boost their efforts, they also had 2 dug-in tank turret positions for the enemy to worry about. The Lithuanians were of better quality too, being rated Regular (QC4) vs the Soviet Conscript (QC 5). The Soviets were commanded by Dan and Daren, the Lithuanians by Phillip. Unfortunately due to having to umpire I didn’t get any time to take photo’s during the game so only have a few but here is the battlefield from the Soviet perspective (the dark squares on the 2 round hills are the dug-in Conqueror turrets):
I had allowed the Soviets pre-planned barrages for the first 2 turns which meant that they didn’t have to roll for the availability of their guns but were limited to 3 out of the 4 fire units available to each battalion. They used these to hit the 2 dug in Conqueror turret positions with a 152mm battalion shoot each whilst the 122mm battalion hit the front of the left hand wood behind the fields. Both turrets were supressed as was an infantry platoon in the treeline. Dan brought the first of his units on in a manoeuvre straight out of ‘Comrade Noakesavitch’s Instructions to Armoured Troops’: Belt some tanks straight up the road and see what happens, plenty more where they came from! So the ‘spare’ Regimental Tank Battalion was duly dispatched for this reconnaissance of death duty. Elsewhere, over on the left, Daren brought on the Recce company (one BMP-R and one BRDM-2 platoons) and headed for the wood just targeted in the barrage.
The Soviets then piled more units on, the Divisional Tank battalion entering along the road whilst the other Regimental Tank battalion entered behind the recce company along with the BTR-70 battalion in a scary looking phalanx of Communist might. Their pre-planned barrages continued to hit the turret emplacements on the hills, knocking one out, and re-arranged some more of the lovely Lithuanian forest. However, no Lithuanian troops had revealed themselves yet although their artillery had supressed a T-72 platoon on the road. Phillip then gained the initiative off of the Soviets and, bagging himself 3 command pips, he duly called in a strike from his air support. This saw a plucky flight of Jaguars brave the Soviet air superiority and head straight for the mass of armour arrayed along the road. Unfortunately for Dan, he his AA assets were stuck at the back of the traffic jam and couldn’t prevent the attack from hitting home. When the dust had settled 2 T-72 platoons had to retire (failed QC checks) and another was supressed. One of the Lithuanian VAB/Milan vehicles also opened up on Daren’s attacking horde and ko’d the BMP-R from the recce company whilst an artillery strike supressed a couple of BTR-70 platoons and the BRDM-3 AT platoon. It was quickly dispatched by one of the supporting T-72’s though.
This suppression had a massive effect on the rest of the game as Daren consistently failed to roll high enough to clear the suppression and move the Motor Rifle Battalion more than half speed for the rest of the game – even when Daren spent one of their command pips he failed, a terrible sequence of 1’s and 2’s – which basically stymied his advance and the action here was limited to the BRDM -2 nosing close to the wood and shooting up an infantry platoon so bad that it retired (QC fail). The brave Recce chaps inside then spent the rest of the game calling in artillery fire on the wood that eventually caused another Lithuanian platoon to fail a QC roll and the survivors to retire back to their waiting VAB’s and start to bug out.
So the action was all over on the other side of the table and along the road in the centre. Dan was also finding it difficult to unsupress the survivors of the Div. Tank battalion and also get them moving again as they recovered from the air strike so swung the huge 5 company Battalion of T-72’s with their attached ZSU-23/4 and Engineer company off to the right aiming towards the hill with the now kaput Conqueror turret on. This manoeuvre was carried out well and shrugged off attempts to disrupt it from the Lithuanian artillery, which Phillip was having trouble calling in now, until all of a sudden the unmistakeable crack of tank guns were heard. One of the Lithuanian Chieftain companies stationed along the stream opened up and had caught the Soviets in the flank too and soon a few platoons of T-72’s were burning. The Lithuanian’s also opened up with their TOW launcher but this was not as successful, only causing one suppression I believe. Dan reacted bravely to this new threat, taking the Chieftains under fire with half the battalion whilst surging forwards with the survivors of the other half to gain the hill.
The return fire did well enough, causing a suppression, and the attention of nearly all of the supporting MRLS artillery supressed another platoon and caused one to quit the field. The arrival of a Hind really began to tip the balance though as it sat at the back of the battlefield immune from Lithuanian AA fire and started to pick off the Chieftains with long range ATGM fire. Meanwhile though the Chieftains were knocking out T-72’s so it was imperative that the companies of tanks heading for the hill got there quickly to help out. Unfortunately for them they ran smack into a dug in Infantry Company at the base of the hill, which saw some bloody close combat. This fight actually went a lot better that it could have done for the Soviets, admittedly they lost a few platoons but they did succeed in punching through and caused the Lithuanians to fail a formation check – probably due to the survivors watching the ZSU take out a platoon with ground fire. The T-72’s duelling with the Chieftain company had closed the range, bravely driving through a minefield to do so without a scratch on them, and with the help of the Hind had finally eliminated the last of the brave Lithuanian tankers.
In the meantime Dan had finally got the stuck remnants of the Divisional Tank Btln sorted out and the leapt off down the road whereupon they were duly ambushed by some Lithuanian Recce types hiding in the wood by the road junction, this resulted in another platoon gone and one more supressed. Phillip now started to move his second Chieftain company from its position on the right by the stream over to engage the T-72’s of Dan’s battered command. With time running out we decided that the Soviets had shot their bolt and would have to retire to re-organise before trying again as Dan’s units were all close to triggering formation checks which, given their QC rating of 5 might be tricky to pass and Daren’s were effectively out of the fight. Daren’s awful luck activating his chaps had a large bearing on the outcome we felt (as all the troops on the table were newly painted one lot had to have rotten luck as is the first law of wargaming) and we believe that the commander of his MR battalion was called to a ‘meeting’ with the Regimental Commander and the Commissar. Philip had lost half of his tanks and nearly half of his infantry but had held on just, medals all round, especially for the Jag pilot as we all enjoyed seeing one on the table!
Hopefully the game went alright for the chaps involved, and I’d like to thank them for taking part and putting up with my sometime befuddled handling of things – it’s been a while since I played the rules and I did make a few mistakes! I will be tweaking the activation rules a touch to try and prevent what happened to Daren’s force happening again. I’m hoping to put on a big FFT game at the end of the month so this helped an awful lot in planning for that. Cheers gents!