Sunday, 5 May 2019

Westwind Konigsberg 1945 Scenario 5 Outposts at Linderau

The campaign reaches the fifth map as the Germans continue to push their way through the Russian ring around Konigsberg. The previous game The Signal Box at Seerappen was fairly brutal and the toll of casualties suffered during the course of the campaign is really starting to show on both sides. Neither Russian or German can call for reinforcements, but once in the campaign each may call for replacements and I suspect that for both platoons we have reached that moment. As the Russian player I will certainly be making that call.


This is the seventh game in the campaign and the Germans have a total of nine games in which to capture the final map (Map 6), which means if they win this game they have two chances to capture that last map and achieve a campaign victory. First they have to capture Map 5 and that may prove a tough proposition. It requires crossing a great deal of open ground opposed by Russians who can benefit from the hard cover of the stone houses and barns on the outskirts of the village of Linderau. Aside from some drainage ditches that run along the sides of the road there is very little protection as the Germans make their approach. I'm hoping I can make this work to my advantage.



First though we both roll for replacements using the guide in At the Sharp End. I will receive a minimum four men plus whatever I can roll on a D6. The Germans will receive a minimum eight men (helped by a much better CO's Opinion) and whatever they roll on a D6. Unfortunately I only manage to roll a 1, so instead of a possible ten men I will have to make do with five. That's disappointing. The Germans roll a 3 and so will receive a more useful eleven men.

Russian men are in short supply

I will have to hope I can make good the deficit in men with effective support options. This is a Probe scenario which means the levels of support will be limited for both sides. Looking at the map and the prospect of having to cross all that open ground it would be tempting for the Germans to consider calling on a vehicle, perhaps an armoured car? It can deploy and move in the same phase. Not only that, as a wheeled vehicle on a road it can move with double the movement dice. With a 6" deployment distance and going flat out, that gives the potential to move 42" in a single phase. While that gambit carries some risk it will be with the knowledge that the Russians will be restricted to a maximum of four support points. I know I will face a fairly strong infantry platoon so I can't devote too much support to anti tank weapons, especially for a vehicle that may never make an appearance.

The table viewed from the Russian edge

Dave is not normally one for rash moves, so there's a good chance he's considered the coup de main option and dismissed it as too risky. I decide one way to hedge my bets is to consider laying a minefield at the road intersection. It would serve two purposes. Firstly it would prevent any rapid road movement by an armoured car (or a tank for that matter), and secondly it would block off the drainage ditches and force any infantry out into the open. For the same support cost I could consider an anti-tank rifle, but with an AP strike of 3 against an armoured car with Armour 2 it may not prove terribly effective. The minefield guarantees to serve its purpose, even if ultimately it can be avoided. Decisions, decisions.

Russian table edge is red, German blue.

Before we roll for support we run the patrol phase and the Germans start with two free moves. I'm successful in forcing the Germans to place all their jump off points on their right flank and around the road. Naturally Dave will focus on using the drainage ditches as his main avenue of approach, but it means I'm not likely to see an attempt to work around my right flank and that helps me plan the defence.




We will start with both German and Russian force morale at nine. The support roll is a six, which I consider a good and a bad thing. We both receive a +1 to this, so the Russians will have four support points and the German seven. It certainly improves my options, but it also means the Germans could have a tank. I can't afford to risk all my supports on a powerful anti-tank weapon and so I will take the risk and work at stopping his infantry. For that I will call on a MMG team for long range support. I think laying a minefield around the road junction will work against both vehicles and infantry and so decide that's a better option than an AT rifle. Let's hope that's sufficient to deal with what the Germans will bring to the table.

I place the minefield just prior to the start of the first phase and by the look on Dave's face I can see this is the last thing he was expecting. But is it enough?

With that we start the game and a German squad deploys in the ditches either side of the road, with the LMG team on one side and the rifle squad on the other. Both take up overwatch positions.



This is followed by the sound of an engine from down the road and an Sdkfz221 makes an appearance (the observant of you will notice that this is actually a Sdkfz222 which is standing in for the earlier 221 model which is only armed with an MG). Despite an instruction to the driver to move with haste the armoured car edges forward slowly. Nonetheless the commander has the MG on overwatch, ready for any eventuality.



I sense the minefield may have been a wise choice as it looks like Dave could well have considered attempting a coup de main with the armoured car.

The Russian command roll then delivers a double phase and there seems no reason not to take full advantage of this opportunity. The Maxim MMG wastes no time and opens fire from the barn. 



The German LMG team take a casualty and both teams suffer shock. That's a good start.


However the fire is not all one way. The Germans were on overwatch and return fire, killing one of the MMG crew and inflicting a point of shock. This is only the opening exchanges and already men are dropping on both sides.



The machine gunner in the Sdkfz221 also reacts and opens fire, but the sturdy barn offers the MMG crew good cover and the fire has no effect. 


As the Russians know where the Germans will be coming from there seems no reason to hold back and so a squad deploys behind the hedgerow next to the barn (when I say 'squad' I mean the term loosely, this weakened platoon is fielding some squads with as few as three men and their Serzhant, this being one of them).



The Germans may be out of range of the SMGs but the light machine gun can still open fire. This time a rifleman is hit and the German squad accumulates more shock.


With another phase to come I'm hoping I can continue to cause casualties and things don't look any better for the Germans when the next Russian command roll contains a triple 6. Not only that, it will still allow both the squad and the MMG to fire.


They pour fire into the Germans and it wipes out the LMG team and inflicts more shock on the rifle team. Despite all the casualties the Obergefreiter (JL) seems to be leading a charmed life and so far has escaped unscathed. Nonetheless the loss of the LMG team sees German morale drop to eight.

In the following Russian phase another squad deploys and joins the MMG team in the barn. They also open fire on the Germans in the ditch.


This inflicts another point of shock and that's enough to pin the rifle team. At least they can now enjoy better protection as they seek more cover.


The Russians can sense a kill here and so yet another squad deploys behind the hedgerow next to the barn. They open fire on the hapless German rifle team.


Those Germans may be seeking better cover, but it does them little good as another two men are hit. Remarkably the Obergefreiter (JL) remains unharmed although no doubt very alarmed to see his command whittled down around him.


That loss is enough to break the rifle team and they fall back with the Obergefreiter joining them from the other side of the road. With that German morale takes another fall down to seven.


With all the Russian units now deployed all that remains is for their Leytenant (SL) to join them.


He takes up a position from where he can shout orders to all of the squads and the MMG team. His first instruction is to have the Maxim team continue to target the remains of the German squad.


Yet another German rifleman is hit and yet once again the Obergefreiter manages to avoid injury.


With the German squad ineffective I decide it would be more useful to be prepared for the arrival of fresh enemy units and so the remaining Russian squad is placed on overwatch covering the German jump off points.



The Germans are reeling after a devastating run of Russian phases, but what is clear to Dave is that I don't have an effective anti-tank weapon amongst my supports. Emboldened, the Sdkfz221 moves slowly along the road firing its MG into the hedgerow as it does so, however it has no adverse effect on the Russian squads.



With no new enemy squads appearing the Leytenant (SL) directs the MMG crew and the squad in the barn to finish off the remaining Germans.



The sole surviving rifleman is hit thus wiping out the rifle team. While the Obergefreiter has led a charmed life the same cannot be said for his squad and the loss of the rifle team sees German morale drop down to six.  


I can have few complaints, for the loss of a single member of the MMG crew I have wiped out an entire German squad. Perhaps there's a chance I can hold the table for this game?

However, it is not over yet, not by any means, and in anticipation that it won't be long before I start to see more Germans the second Russian squad behind the hedgerow takes up overwatch positions. 


Aware that the Sdkfz221 presents quite a threat to the Russians it moves slowly forward down the road. As it does so the commander can see over the hedgerow and suddenly spots the lone Russian Leytenant come into view.


The MG opens fire, hitting the Leytenant who is wounded and stunned for the rest of the turn. That's a blow to Russian morale which drops down to eight. I wasn't expecting that and thought the Leytenant was well placed to command the platoon from a secure position. I hadn't factored in that the armoured car could advance and have the height advantage from its turret to see over the hedgerow.



The biggest threat now is the Sdkfz221 and my only hope is to try to drive it off with MMG fire.


Despite its relatively thin armour the MMG rounds bounce harmlessly off the armoured car and fail to unsettle the crew.


The squad in the barn opens fire at the lone Obergefreiter and despite three hits he continues to prove impervious to Russian bullets. 

With the Russian squads and the Maxim MMG presenting such a threat to any further German infantry deployment the relatively invulnerable Sdkfz221 becomes a powerful asset. It continues to dominate the road, spraying MG fire into the hedgerow.


There is little I can do about it, but fortunately the fire is not that effective and only inflicts a point of shock on one of the squads. However I can't expect my luck to hold for too long and what is to stop Dave using the lone armoured car to slowly inflict casualties and soften up my defence?


A Russian double phase is welcome, but the MMG crew can't be activated and I really need to use it to try to drive off that dangerous armoured car. Despite that the Russians can rally off some shock and try once again to hit the lone Obergefreiter.


It takes two phases of fire, but eventually the Obergreiter is hit. He wounds and is stunned and that drags German morale down to five. Despite the threatening presence of the Sdkfz221 I still have a reasonable chance of holding off the Germans if I can just find ways to drag down their force morale like this.

The Germans now have their own double phase and this one will also end the turn. Before that happens the armoured car fires at the wounded Leytenant, but he comes to no further harm. The end of the turn sees both the Obergefreiter and the Leytenant get to their feet.



The Germans decide to hold off any further deployment hoping the armoured car can drive back the Russian defenders.


It opens fire at the hedgerow and the Russian platoon take their first casualty. I will need to be careful here as the armoured car can take its time firing into the Russians before any more German infantry need to appear. Unless the Russian Maxim can rattle the crew with some effective fire there is little else I can do other than suffer more casualties or pull back out of its line of sight - which would be to play into the Germans' hands.


First thing for the Russians is to have the Leytenant move to a safer position and he quickly moves to the protection of the barn.


He then orders the MMG team to target the armoured car, but once again their bullets fail to discomfit the crew. 


There is no point my squads at the hedgerow making themselves inviting targets, but at the same time I don't want to surrender a position that can cover any further German deployment and so both squads seek better cover by taking up tactical positions. They will lose the ability to remain on overwatch but should be able to hold the hedge line.



The Sdkfz221 commander decides there is no point staying within close range of the MMG. While his luck has held out for now that might not remain the case and so he reverse slowly back up the road, firing his MG as he goes.


The Russians at the hedgerow take a single point of shock, but with the armoured car now safely out of close range of all the Russian MGs there is no reason why it can't continue to blast away at my units until his squads feel it is safer to deploy.


A Russian double phase offers very few benefits as the only viable target is the solitary Obergefreiter in the ditch and he appears to be bullet proof today. Something he demonstrate once again when the MMG and the squad open fire, score six hits and the defiant squad leader remains unharmed.


The Russians then have the good fortune for another two consecutive phases, so once again all fire is targeted on the Obergefreiter. Finally, despite numerous hits he is wounded, just a light wound this time and Dave uses a CoC die to negate the morale roll.

Then, the moment the Germans have been waiting for so patiently arrives with a double phase. With the Russians at the hedgerow in tactical positions and the units in the barn having fired there are no units on overwatch. A solitary CoC die will allow me to interrupt, but with this double phase Dave senses a great opportunity.

The Germans waste no time and a squad deploys on the right flank in the open.


At the same moment another squad deploys into the ditches by the road.


Simultaneously a MG42 MMG team emerge on the opposite side of the road and all units prepare to open fire.


I decide to interrupt using one of the squads at the hedgerow and target the German squad in the open to my left. It's not much, but I might as well try to do some damage while I can and a squad in the open is as good a target as any.




A rifleman is killed and the squad suffers a point of shock, but it will make little impact on the overall volume of fire the Germans can return.


In a blaze of fire the Russian squad nearest the barn is wiped out and their Serzhant wounded.


The accompanying Russian squad takes two casualties and enough shock to see the survivors pinned down.


That's a nasty blow in every sense and Russian morale tumbles three points down to five. The next German command roll is a mixed blessing. While the roll of 66655 means there is no more firing this phase, it will mean yet another German phase. With the turn ending the stunned Serzhant clambers to his feet only to discover his command have all been hit and are out of action.


With the following phase the Germans are able to activate all their units to pour more fire into the Russians. The squad on their right flank fires into the hedgerow and kills the remaining member of the squad and with that Russian morale drop to four.


The Unterfeldwebel (SL) deploys and joins the squad in the ditch. His first commands are to order the LMG team and the MG42 MMG team to target the Maxim MMG in the barn.


The Russians suffer a point of shock. With that the German rifle team lay down covering fire on the barn.


Lastly the Sdkfz221 moves forward slowly also firing at the barn. 


This time the fire is more effective and one of the Maxim MMG team is hit.


That sequences of phases saw a very violent response from the Germans and has swung the initiative very much in their favour. There was a moment where I thought I might be able to hold off the attack but the loss of the squads behind the hedgerow has changed the situation dramatically. What to do?

I decide to continue fighting given I have already inflicted a lot of casualties. My surviving units enjoy the hard cover of the barn and I may be able to do further damage while the Germans remain exposed. After all their morale is down to five. With that the Maxim opens fire at the squad in the ditch accompanying the Unterfeldwebel.


The rifle team lose a man and suffer shock and the squad's Obergefreiter is wounded and stunned. This takes German morale down to three and gives me hope I might yet be able to salvage something from this.


With the Germans reduced to three command dice I'm hoping their ability to react as a cohesive unit will be hampered. While the command roll of 654 is not the best, it does allow the influential Unterfeldwebel to exert some control. He orders the LMG and MMG to fire at the barn.


Despite the sturdy protection the Russians lose three men, two from the squad and one from the Maxim MMG team. This puts me in a very precarious position with barely any men on the table. Can I possibly snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?


Meanwhile the Unterfeldwebel has the rifle team continue to put covering fire on the windows of the barn.


I'm determined to fight this one out, but first I need to prevent the Germans targeting my lone Serzhants and so bring one of them in behind the barn to better cover.


The Leytenant rallies shock off the MMG team and orders the squad and Maxim to fire into the road.


The covering fire makes this less effective and it only results in increased shock on the rifle team.


What now unfolds is a desperate firefight between the Russians in the barn and the Germans in the road. Both sides are hampered by limited command dice but the key aim is to gain the upper hand and drive down enemy morale. The next German phase sees continued fire from the LMG and MMG into the barn.


The stone walls of the barn provide better protection this time around and the MMG team suffer a single point of shock.


The Sdkfz221 appears no longer concerned about the MMG and drives to the edge of the minefield firing its MG towards the barn.


The squad suffers a point of shock and yet for this German phase it feels as though the Russians have escaped relatively unscathed.


However the Germans have the numbers and the squad on their right flank moves forward. Despite their failure to move as fast as they would wish this does look like the start of a flanking move.



The Russians can do little in their phase other than have the squad in the barn fire into the road, but it has no effect. The Germans find themselves equally limited in their phase, nonetheless the section in the road fires back at the barn.


They inflict more shock on the MMG team which is enough to see them pinned. That could well mark the end of the Russian defence.


Despite that setback I'm determined to go down taking as many Germans with me as I can and so decide to continue fighting. It turns out that fortune is on my side as a command roll of 6664 is almost a perfect roll, allowing me to activate the Leytenant and reduce the shock on the MMG so that it will no longer be pinned at turn end.

The Leytenant rallies two points of shock off the MMG team and orders the squad to fire into the road.


Shock is slowly building on the Germans and while this fire only inflicts another point it is all adding up.


With the turn end the Maxim MMG team are no longer pinned and ready for another phase of fire. 


While the stunned Obergefreiter also gets to his feet.


More importantly the Russians have another phase and there is no longer any German covering fire on the barn. With that the squad and Maxim return fire into the road.


The LMG team lose a casualty and the rifle team also lose a man and add to their shock. In spite of the setbacks the few remaining Russians continue to inflict losses on the Germans. 


The German squad on the right flank makes a much more determined move and this time move swiftly and over the wire fence.


Once again the Unterfeldwebel orders the LMG and MMG teams to target the barn. This time the Russians lose a man from the squad and the shock brings them very close to pinning. My core platoon is down to one man, three Serzhants and the Leytenant and it seems remarkable that my force morale has held up.


The rifle team try to suppress the MMG team once again with covering fire on the barn. 


The blazing firefight between the barn and the road continues unabated in the Russian phase. The Leytenant rallies off some of the shock before ordering the Maxim to fire.


Before that can happen the MG42 MMG team interrupt and pour fire back at the barn.


It has little effect other than to inflict a point of shock on the squad.


On the other hand the return fire from the Maxim proves to be far more deadly.


Both the LMG team and the rifle team lose a casualty and take a point of shock. The Unterfeldwebel and Obergerfreiter are unharmed, but there is enough shock to pin the squad. The Russians refuse to throw in the towel just yet.


The Serzhant in the barn rallies off a point of shock and the LMG fires, but it has no effect.

In the German phase the Unterfeldwebel rallies some shock off the pinned squad before ordering the German MMG to maintain its fire at the barn, but it too has no effect. I'm not sure how much longer either side can maintain this frenzy of fire but with force morale precariously low for both sides there is no reason not to keep on fighting.

The squad on the German right can see through the gap in the hedgerow and they target the lone Russian Serzhant.


He is hit and wounded, stunned for the remainder of the turn. More significantly this drags Russian morale down to three. 


No longer hampered by covering fire the Maxim in the barn is able to direct more accurate fire at the Germans in the ditch. Each team takes a casualty and one of those hit is the Unterfeldwebel. He is wounded and stunned and German morale falls to two. This is coming right down to the wire.


The Germans return the fire, but with the squad pinned the weight of fire is now more reliant on the MG42 MMG .


However this seems to matter little as the Germans score eight hits from twelve fire dice. Not only that, this time the hard cover provides insufficient protection and the Russian Maxim crew is wiped out. Disaster. Russian morale joins the Germans down at two.


The German squad on the right moves forward slowly and targets the stunned and wounded lone Russian Serzhant behind the hedgerow.


He is hit and wounded again, this time with a light wound and this takes Russian morale down to just one. Can I hold on?

My best chance is to wipe out one of the teams in the road or inflict another wound on one of the leaders. I have a single weapon in range which is the LMG in the barn and it opens fire. The fire is not ineffective but it only adds to the shock. That squad is very, very close to breaking and one more point of shock would do it, but it won't be in this phase.


Okay, I have to be honest I'm feeling desperate now. If I'm going to go down, then why not in a blaze of crazy glory? I decide my remaining Serzhant will attempt a mad charge into close combat with the Germans at the hedgerow. What the heck, I've got two CIs and an SMG, I could take four Germans down with me, maybe a leader. So off he goes moving normally and he has no problem getting within range.



A desperate bid for glory? Well it might be if I'd done the maths beforehand and all credit to the CoC rules for a lovely self-correcting mechanism to prevent this sort of gamey play. The odds are stacked against my leader both figuratively and literally. Stacked so high in fact they exceed 4:1. What was I thinking? There isn't going to be any close combat, my Serzhant turns tail and routs. You can save those sort of Hollywood moves for other rule sets!


Things are not quite over yet as the German command roll of 554 leaves them with nothing to do - the Unterfeldwebel is out of action. Could this be a last chance to inflict some more casualties and tip the balance?

Despite only two command dice the Russians can activate the Leytenant and so he orders the squad in the barn to continue firing into the road. Unfortunately this time is has no effect. He then shouts over to the crazed Serzhant that it might be wiser to come and join him behind the barn, perhaps the two of them together have more chance of dealing with the German squad coming around on the flank.


However that German squad has other plans and they move behind the hedgerow to close assault the wounded and stunned Serzhant and that's the end of him. Not only that it's the end of the scenario as Russian morale hits zero with the death of the Serzhant. 


Well, that ended up being a lot closer than I had imagined it would be following that devastating run of German phases. The Russians put up a dogged defence with very little and we ended with German force morale at two and the Russians at zero. In the process we racked up quite a butcher's bill. There were fourteen casualties apiece, however the Germans see two men return immediately due to the difference in force morale.

With twelve casualties the Germans lose six men permanently and have three wounded who will miss the next game. In total they will be short ten men.

The Russians suffered nine casualties from the core platoon and five from the MMG support team. That means they lose four men permanently and three wounded who will be absent for the next game. With two wounded men returning the core platoon will consist of six men, two Sergeants and the Leytenant, not much of a platoon, more like a single squad. 

The Russian CO is not impressed and his opinion drops to -4.  The Men's Opinion plummets to -6. The platoon commander's outlook was Content but is now Thoughtful.

On the other hand the German CO's opinion rises to a very healthy +6. The Men's Opinion is a lot less robust, they have seen the fall of too many comrades and remains at -3. The platoon commander's outlook has moved from Gregarious to Loud.

We now move on to the final map and Scenario 6 - Finish Line at Powayen and you can follow what happens next in this post.

The Westwind Königsberg Campaign appears in the Too Fat Lardies Summer Special 2014. You can purchase this as a downloadable pdf from TFL Summer Special 2014.

You can find all of the Chain of Command campaign AARs on this page.

11 comments:

  1. A splendid action, very gripping right to the end, really thought the Soviets would snatch a victory.

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    1. Thanks Phil, it felt like a possibility which is why I was prepared to stick around and fight it out.

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  2. Another great heart-stopping AAR. Question: with a loss of 9 shouldn't the Russians loose only 4 men permanently? Be careful - you need all you can get!

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    1. Dick, thanks for pointing that out, you are correct and absolutely right - I do need every man I can get. I've gone back and corrected the post.

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  3. Great stuff. Another terrific AAR. I'm just wondering if the Russians haven't sacrificed any chance of a campaign win with the level of casualties they have suffered. Lovely terrain and figures as usual, even if that 221 is a 222. :)

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    1. It was always going to be tough taking the SMG platoon into this campaign given the small contingent of men. I have to be honest and say I really don't fancy my chances for the rest of the campaign, but I'm not conceding defeat just yet. Yes, of course you are right the 221 is a 222, which I meant to make note of when writing the AAR (and have since gone back and done so before others haul me up for not pointing it out!).

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  4. Great report. Did you consider the 12.7mm DSHK HMG for 1 point more versus the Maxim to add a weapon that reduces cover and has 2 AP? Not quite as good as an ATR for anti tank effect but certainly scarier to the 221.

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    1. Up until now Dave has been reluctant to use any armour as support, so I was never sure if I would need a suitable weapon. I suspect the armoured car was there to try a rush down the road and off the table and the HMG might not have been enough to damage it before it managed to do that. I knew a minefield would guarantee to slow one down plus it had the added advantage that if he didn't select a vehicle the minefield would deny the ditches to the infantry. Always a difficult juggling act with supports and hindsight is a wonderful thing!

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  5. Nail biting stuff! I thought the Russians stood a tiny chance of beating off the German assault at the end.

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    1. It came very close, breaking the squad in the ditch or inflicting a further wound on the German senior leader might have just been enough to do it.

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  6. Wow. Lots of double and triple phases shaping this campaign. Also, it's been a real meat grinder for the men. I thought the Germans were near breaking, in terms of manpower, but now it seems the balance has shifted in their favor. You'll be forced to play with only 10-ish men next game?

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