We kicked off the Patrol phase, the Germans all starting at one point on their table edge and the Soviets in a loose line covering their centre and a kick-off of two free moves.
An aggressive Patrol Phase by the Soviets saw the Germans pushed quite far back, two of the German Jump-off Points are in a woods at the bottom left corner just out of shot.
German supports would be an Adjutant and a battery of four 8cm mortars while the Soviets picked a M1910 Maxim to add some serious firepower.
Screened by the falling shells and with the two MG-34 of the first section deployed another section of PanzerGrenadiers started the advance towards the Soviet lines, sheltered also by a large hill the Germans would be able to cover most of the ground unmolested.
The Soviets held their nerve and no troops yet pushed into action as the Germans advanced, seeing an opportunity, Bruce decided to deploy his final section off the more central of his Jump-off Points and push towards the Soviet JOP in the village.
The Soviets reacted by deploying a section in the village and having them prepare to engage the PanzerGrenadiers when they broke cover.
The mortar observer started walking the barrage towards the village, removing some of the support from the section that was already advancing towards the low hill that screened them from the Soviet lines. Soon mortar shells were falling among the deployed Soviets but although casualties were light shock started to mount.
Buoyed by this success the section PanzerGrenadier section heading towards the village pushed on and the section providing cover from the wood edge also moved to join them.
A second section of Soviet Riflemen were deployed, The Germans now had all their forces on the table, but the Soviets still held back two more rifle sections and the formidable Maxim.
An ineffective firefight between the advancing Germans and the pinned Soviets took place, the Germans at half effect due to movement and the Soviets at half effect due to the barrage. The Germans stopped to set up their MG-34 and a more effective firefight began, although the first casualty of the day was one of the PanzerGrenadiers.
The walking mortar barrage crept onto the second section and they soon were pinned, as expected the firefight started going more the way of the Germans and soon the lead section of Soviets were broken, but not before taking out a fair few PanzerGrenadiers of their own.
It was time to pause the game for some tea and biscuits.
Switching efforts back to their left Bruce started walking the mortar barrage back that way. Having caused the Germans on the right to pause and rally shock the Soviets abandoned the position in the village, firstly running back the unmolested second section and then moving the Jump-off Point back to allow a second defensive line to be formed if one was needed.
With still no Soviet troops in front of them and a double phase in hand Bruce decided to chance his hand with the PanzerGrenadiers on our right, breaking cover behind the hillock they pushed towards the Soviet JOP in the woods. With a poor roll of command dice the Soviets pushed two sections of Riflemen out, only one was able to fire but caught in the open several PanzerGrenadiers fell and their return fire was woeful.
Soon both sections of Soviets opened up and the PanzerGrenadiers were severely depleted - one team completely destroyed,, breaking and running back from whence they had come, in the lee of the hill the wounded Gefreiter hurriedly began removing shock.
With the bold German thrust thwarted action now turned back to the central village, abandoned by the Soviets the Germans soon took up position. The Soviet player used a Chain of Command dice to end the phase but Bruce countered with one of his own to keep the barrage going.
The mortar barrage was proving quite the hindrance to both side though and scant opportunities were made to engage in a firefight while the Soviets moved troops from their left under the cover of the barrage.
Finally the Maxim was deployed to cover any German route out of the village once the barrage lifted and despite both of us still remaining on Force Morale Bruce decided that with so few troops left at his disposal and with a solid line of defenders covering the routes to German Victory it was time to withdraw and lick his wounds.
We had had a good three hours of play and quite a lot had happened, PanzerGrenadiers are a solid force with loads of firepower but with only three small sections are vulnerable on the attack when they cannot call on much support. Maybe I shall get some of the vehicles in the painting queue done soon.
Setting up the game had made me realise that I really needed to get some more Soviet riflemen, some chaps with SMG's had to stand in today, so just like the previous weeks game had enthused me to paint more 6mm ACW stuff, this weeks game saw me set to on the WWII collection again.
As usual, a few spare pictures from the game.