Monday, June 17, 2002

I really can't do WW2 tactics.

On Sunday John organised one of his amazing figures wargaming events. It was set in Russia, Winter 1943. William and I were Soviet commanders entrusted with organising a Corps advance on Kharkov. Phil was putting together a scratch defence for the Germans. John briefed us without letting us see the terrain, and asked me (as the Corps commander) for a plan and written orders before we had any knowledge of what we were facing or where. My orders from higher up had emphasized the necessity for speed, so we decided to race down the central road and deal with opposition as it came up. William was commanding the first unit onto the table, an armoured brigade, which crossed the first river then immediately ran into devastating crossfire from AT guns Phil had posted in two flanking villages that we had planned to ignore. After half an hour William had lost most of his brigade, and the "killing ground" between the villages was littered with burning vehicles. I wasn't impressed with his performance, but he had the cheek to blame the disaster on my orders!

Next on was a motorised infantry brigade which I took command of in person (William was being interviewed by the commissar at this point) which I detrucked for a proper assault on the Northern village, while our remaining tank brigade would take out the Southern one. Ominously Phil received a couple of Tiger tanks as reinforcements at this point, but he had already done a tremendous job - a couple of well-sited AT guns with a handful of infantry had stopped a Soviet Corps in its tracks.

This was an immersive wargaming experience - loads of atmosphere and tension, confusion and fog-of-war in abundance. Many thanks to John for putting it on.

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