I had a game of FFT3 booked in for this week against Alex who hadn’t played for quite a while and was keen to get another game in. He told me that he would be bringing a Soviet Tank Regiment along so I figured why not take the survivors from the Lithuanian force from last weeks game and see how they did against the follow on force. Obvious really if you think about it and I was really keen to have a go with them as I had just painted them! We would be just using the vanilla rules this time round and wouldn’t be using any air assets.
My much reduced Battle Group consisted of the following:
- Tank Coy:
- 4 Chieftain mk.13
- Armoured Inf Coy:
- 3 Inf, 1 Weapons stands + 4 Stormer 20’s
- Mech Inf Coy:
- 3 Inf, 1 Weapons stands (dug in, no vehicles)
- Cav Combat team 1:
- Recon VBC-90, VAB-VCI + Inf stand dug in
- Cav Combat team 2:
- Recon VBC-90, VAB-VCI, Inf stand dug-in + VAB-Milan
- VAB-Milan platoon
- TOW platoon (1 ton LR transport)
- 2 x SP 155mm batts (off table)
- 2 x 5.5″ gun batts (off table)
- 2 x 155mm batts (off table)
Not big in numbers but it definitely had some punch with the mix of 120mm & 90mm guns and Milan and TOW atgm. I probably wouldn’t be able to completely halt the oncoming tide of armour but I’d at least be able to exact a hefty toll on the attackers and maybe might be able to pull off another victory like last week.
Before we started Alex informed me that he had brought a BMP Regiment instead of a Tank Regiment so my morale went up immediately, I might just be able to deal with the onslaught after all! However he still had a massive superiority in Artillery and his force was still quite large:
- Regtl base:
- 2 Brdm-3
- 2 Vasilek 81mmM
- Recon Brdm-2 + BMP-R
- Tank Btln:
- 9 T-72
- 3 Motor Rifle Btlns:
- 9 Inf stands (3 with AT-7 atgm) + 9 BMP-1’s
- Off table Artillery
- SP 122mm Btln (4 batts)
- 2 x SP 152mm Btlns (4 batts)
- 2 x BM-21 MRLS batts (6 units each)
So we got to it with Alex bringing on a MR Btln down the road and another over on the left, so exactly the same approach as the chaps last week. Alex had rolled up only one turn of pre-game barrage and it only suppressed one infantry stand which was lucky. I decided that I’d open up as soon as possible but waited for the road column to get past the farm before unleashing with a combination of TOW, 90mm gunfire and 20mm autocannon. I managed to take out a couple of platoons of BMP’s and suffer only suppression in return fire, the second round of firing having some effect too even with being supressed and the Soviets started to lose platoons. Alex shrugged this off though and stating that he was going to do it the Soviet way didn’t pause to return fire and continued to barrel up the road before turning right and heading for the wood.
There was another Battalion of BMP’s following along the road and these were tasked to take out the Cavalry that had been tackling their comrades in front and pretty soon massed ATGM fire and artillery strikes had caused the end of the plucky VAB and VBC-90 platoons but not before they had virtually destroyed the lead battalion with only 5 platoons making it to the safety of the wood. With the end of the Cavalry on the hill (which I had left in place for a move too long) I decided to withdraw the TOW platoon and they duly mounted up onto their 1-ton Land Rovers and started to pick their way slowly through the trees. Unfortunately for them they were caught by the advance of the vengeful BMP’s and we decided that they were captured. there was one last bit of action in this wood though as the dug-in infantry platoon took out another BMP before being forced to quit the field in the return fire.
The action in the centre now paused for a bit as Alex consolidated his position in the wood by the road and brought his T-74 battalion forwards. On the flanks things got hotter, much hotter. Whilst the fight for the central position had been going on the BMP’s on the left had been advancing through the wood seeking out the Lithuanian forces and after clearing the trees Alex pushed them forwards to take post on the hill in front of the stream. This meant that they ran smack into the infantry company entrenched there. A quick and brutal close combat ensued with 3 BMP platoons soon knocked out whilst the infantry only lost their weapons platoon. Retribution was swift however with the surviving platoons of AIFV’s letting loose with their 73mm guns which forced all 3 Lithuanian platoons to fail QC checks clearing the way for the advance to continue.
Over on the right the survivors of the first Motor Rifle Battalion that had reached the wood were making their way out the other end when they ran into the second Cavalry combat team and the combination of close combat with the dug-in infantry, 90mm guns of the Armoured cars and MILAN fire soon saw them reduced to a solitary platoon which promptly failed their formation test and left the battle. With their work done the Cavalry team began to withdraw but suffered the loss of the VAB/Milan platoon when a retaliatory Soviet artillery barrage rained down on the hill hitting them as they withdrew. So all in all at this point I was quite happy with how things were going, I had suffered some casualties yes but I had taken out a whole battalion caused casualties on two others and still had my Chieftains uncommitted. Alex still had the numbers to finish the job though and so the fight moved into its final act.
Whilst the quick flurry of action had been taking place on the flanks Alex had brought his tanks forwards and had sent them into the wood, I had taken them under fire with the VAB-Milan platoon posted at the end of the wooded ridge in the rear of my position and soon a couple of tanks were burning, however retaliation was swift and the huge weight of return 125mm fire soon saw the anti-tank unit to quit the field. Alex was busy debussing his infantry in the wood, he had failed to save any from all of the ones hit so far and wanted to use their AT-7’s against my tanks once he located them, and slowly moved to the edge of the wood. At the same time the battalion on the left had recovered from their fight on the hill and surged forward to the stream which was the queue for the Chieftains to open up. I decided to split the fire of each platoon to try and maximise the damage and hopefully cause a formation check, it nearly worked but one platoon somehow survived and the battalion was still in the fight.
With the Chieftains now located Alex bravely pushed his infantry out of the wood to the stream covered by the BMP’s and newly arrived T-72’s. The combined fire from the various ATGM, tank guns and a massive MRLS strike supressed the Chieftains who gamely returned fire resulting in more BMP’s bursting into flames but the writing was on the wall and when one of the Lithuanian tanks brewed up after the next massive onslaught of Soviet fire I decided that it was time to pull out and leave the field to the very much battered Soviets whilst I still had some forces left.
It was a cracking game that really did go down to the wire, for the loss of 4 platoons KO’d, 1 captured and 5 that quit the field I had eliminated a battalion of BMP’s, totally gutted another and inflicted casualties on the remaining one and the tank battalion so very much of a Pyrrhic victory for the Soviets. Alex was a great opponent and enjoyed the battle too and I look forward to playing him again. Next week will see some more FFT action as I try and get an even better handle on the rules and this time it will be the turn of the Poles to have a crack at the Lithuanians who are now firm favourites of mine.